Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Saturday night’s Lezzer Lumber classic will mark the final time three Golden Eagles and two Blue Devils will hit the football field in their high school careers.
Tyrone’s Tyler Mertiff, Brian McManigal and Dan Grazier will strap on the pads one last time, as will Ryan Myers and Bret McCartney from Bellwood-Antis.
Throughout this week, The Daily Herald will talk to the five players and get their thoughts on playing in one last game.
Dan Grazier
Tight End
Tyrone Area
The 2002 football was a tough one for Dan Grazier. After working hard in the off season to make the transition from defensive back to linebacker, Grazier suffered a broken leg and a high ankle sprain during the Bellefonte game.
“This game is really important to me,” said Grazier. “You don’t look at it as a chance to make up some of the games missed, but it is there in the back of your mind. I want to show the folks at home that I have come back from my leg injury and I am ok now.”
Grazier, who will be attending Westminster College, showed that he could play hurt, with 22 tackles in the season ending loss to Forest Hills, is using the Lezzer Lumber classic as a building block.
“This is good preparation for college,” said Grazier. “These are the type of athletes that I will face on a daily basis. This is a good chance to see how I will do at the next level.”
Grazier, despite missing four games was named to the Second Team All-Big 8 squad at linebacker, but will be playing tight end on Saturday night.
“I am really excited about playing Saturday,” said Grazier. “You have the opportunity to play with and against the best players in Central Pennsylvania. You also have the chance to learn from some of the most experienced coaches the area has to offer.”
One of the coaches Grazier is working with in practice is his high school coach John Franco.
“At first you think he is a lot calmer than he was during high school season,” Grazier said of Franco. “As the week went on, he expects more from us. There aren’t many times that we don’t have to redo a play.”
When asked if coach Franco is introducing the South squad to up-down’s, Grazier said, “no, coach Franco has us doing push ups.”
Grazier has played with two excellent quarterbacks at Tyrone in Brandon Hoover and Tyler Mertiff. This week he is working with Altoona’s Joey Kleiner and Bishop Guilfoyle’s Sean Pacifico and Mertiff.
“We have three great quarterbacks,” said Grazier. “Kleiner throws a hard ball and can move around and make plays. Pacifico is a great pocket passer and can throw the deep ball as well as anyone.”
Grazier will be missing a teammate this Saturday with Aaron Jeffries selected for the team, but unable to play because of an elbow injury.
“I know Brian (McManigal), Tyler (Mertiff) and I will put extra effort in Saturday night,” said Grazier. “It is definitely weird looking out at receiver and not seeing No. 35 (Jeffries uniform number) there. We’ve played together for four years. It is like missing a piece of you.”
The Lezzer Lumber Football Classic is set for Saturday night at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field.
“Our season ended on a tough note with the loss at Forest Hills,” said Grazier. “It is going to be an awesome feeling to play again at Gray Field and have the chance to go out a winner.”
Tickets may be obtained during the week at a coast of $4.00 per ticket at Levines from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and at the Tyrone Area High School Athletic Office from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Tickets at the gate will be available and will cost $6.00.

By Rick