Tom Crowl selected to play in East West All Star Football Game

Four years ago, the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association decided that too many athletes were being denied the opportunity to showcase their skills on a statewide basis. The only existing way to do so was the annual Big 33 Game played each summer in Hershey.
The result was that a second game, the East West All Star Game was established to give that opportunity to more Pennsylvania athletes. Most of the athletes who are selected to play in both games will be attending division I colleges and universities in the fall and most will be on scholarships to play football.
The fourth annual East West All Star game will be played tonight at Mansion Park, beginning at 7 p.m.
In the short history of the East West Game, the East squad has captured two of the three games that have been played. The game will be broadcast live on the local PCN channel and then rebroadcast on tape directly following.
Although the game is played each year at Altoona’s Mansion Park, and the two local high schools have a long history of great football programs, very few athletes from Tyrone and Bellwood-Antis have appeared in the game.
This year, Tom Crowl has been selected to play for the West squad.
That Crowl, a 2004 Tyrone Area High School grad was able to play at the level he achieved to earn his elite status for selection to this game is nothing short of phenomenal. After surgery for an injury incurred near the end of the 2002 football season, Crowl took both the wrestling and track seasons off during his junior season recovering. Then shaking off the rust, Tom worked his way back to give the Golden Eagles a genuine threat to score from anywhere on the field either from his wide receiver spot on offense or his kick return skills.
From the first time he touched the ball, running a punt back 36 yards to give his teammates excellent field position in the 2003 opener against archrival Bellwood-Antis, Crowl was what Tyrone head coach John Franco described as “ a big play guy.”
Crowl, who would be chosen to the First Team Big-8 All-Star on defense and Second Team on offense and special teams, started slowly on offense in 2004. Owing to his rust, Tyrone’s predominately rushing-based attack and a quarterback situation that didn’t get resolved for several games, Crowl had just two catches for nine yards through the Orange and Black’s first four games.
Always a threat on special teams. Crowl warmed up on offense to catch 16 passes for a team high 361 yards and five touchdown catches.
On hand for an April press conference, Crowl recalled serving as a water boy for the 2000 Eagle football team as a ninth grader, or “water management” as Tom prefers to refer to the duty as. “It was like motivation to work hard between my ninth grade year and 12th grade to try to get on a team like this.”
Crowl was an Honorable Mention Pennsylvania Football News All-Star as well as a member of the PFN All Academic Team.
Also a state qualifier in the 400 meter dash in track, who was unbeaten in his specialty until the State Meet in Shippensburg, Crowl led the Mountain Conference in points scored and was a dependable point-getter in the 100 and 200 meter dashes and the long jump, in addition to the 400. Tom broke the 400 meter school record this season eclipsing the old mark set by Marcus Owens.
“Tommy has been a leader, a role model,” said Tyrone Athletic Director and head track and field coach Tony Yaniello. “On the track, he was something all the kids looked up to. He’s not a yeller, he leads by example. It was hard for other kids to take it easy in practice, when they see Tommy busting up the hill and wanting to do more.”
Tom received the Tom Templeton Outstanding Athlete Scholarship Award winner presented to the graduating senior who has participated in football/basketball and been accepted at a four-year college. The award winner must have demonstrated outstanding character, scholarship and leadership abilities, while exhibiting and spreading team spirit in a varsity athletic program. Tom also was selected to receive the Albert “Teet” Snyder Memorial Football Scholarship given annually to a graduating senior who has excelled both athletically and academically, is of a sound moral character and exemplifies what a coach looks for in a true “team player.”
Tom Crowl will continue his education in the fall at Slippery Rock University.