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The play call seemed simple. With the Bishop McCort (Johnstown, Pa.) football team leading Richland (Johnstown, Pa.) 56-35 last Friday night, the Crimson Crushers called for an off-tackle run to the right side for senior running back Josh Seidel.
And just like he did all evening, the 5-foot-10, 195-pounder found paydirt -- this time from eight yards -- for his sixth and final touchdown in a game McCort would win 69-35.
"He was outstanding that game," said McCort head coach Ken Salem. "He was never brought down on first contact. He was running hard and was playing with a lot of intensity, passion and emotion."
The emotion shined through on Seidel's sixth score when he pumped his right fist as he crossed the goal line with 7:17 to play. The touchdown had a lot more meaning to him than the other five since it tied the school record for scores in a game held since 1981 by his late father, Dave, a former running back and assistant coach at McCort who died Aug. 21 after a long battle with brain cancer.
"It was an emotional score," said Salem, who coached with Dave Seidel at McCort for 13 years. "After he scored, it was real poignant it rained."
|After tying his late father's 1981 school record for touchdowns in a game, Josh Seidel said: "Hopefully I made him happy up there."|
Seidel said he wasn't even thinking about the record until he scored his fourth touchdown on a 3-yard run in the third. That's when his older brother, Chris, a volunteer assistant coach with McCort, reminded him of their father's mark. It was at that point Seidel decided to try to break it.
While Seidel wasn't able to get a record seventh score, he did set the school standard for rushing yards in a game with 327 and was selected as the ESPN RISE East Region Player of the Week.
Seidel conceded it would be nice to eventually break the school scoring mark this year, but if he ultimately had to share it, he couldn't think of anyone else he'd rather share it with.
And even though Dave couldn't be there to see Josh tie his record, Josh believed his father played an important role on his record night, making what seemed like a simple play feel so special.
"Hopefully I made him happy up there," says Seidel. "Obviously I had some help from my teammates with their blocking, but I felt like I had a little extra help from above."
Jon Mahoney covers high school sports for ESPN RISE Magazine.