Wednesday, June 26, 2024

A. J. Nastasi to be Inducted in Bedford County Sports Hall of Fame

On February 7, 1998, Northern Bedford County 3-sport standout A. J. Nastasi hit a 3-pointer with 6:20 remaining in the second quarter breaking the Pennsylvania all-time scoring record of 3,608 held by Mansfield’s Tom McMillen.  McMillen, a future NBA player for the Washington Bullets and US Congressman, had held the record since 1970.  Nastasi finished his high school career with 3,833 points and a state record that has yet to be broken. 


Jeff Batzel, the Everett High School basketball coach during Nastasi’s playing days understood the challenges that A. J. created for his opponents.   

“He was the most outstanding pure scorer any of my teams ever had to defend,” remarked Batzel.  You couldn’t stop him.  Slowing him down was the best you could hope for.” 

During his time at NBC, Nastasi displayed his athleticism in baseball, basketball, and football.  His skill on the basketball court was exceptionally noteworthy.  He averaged an amazing 33.3 points over 115 high school games.  Throughout his career he scored 40 or more points in 28 games and surpassed the 50-point mark in five contests.  His high point was a dominating 59-point performance against Fannett-Metal High School.  A. J.’s high school uniform and sneakers were displayed at the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. 


In football, playing for his father Joe, Nastasi was equally dominant. Over his four-year high school career, he amassed an impressive 2,429 receiving yards, a testament to his speed, hands, and football IQ.  


His athletic accomplishments in high school earned him four-time Bedford County All-Star and four-time regional All-Star honors in both basketball and football. Additionally, he was named to six All-State teams across the two sports, underscoring his versatility and elite performance. In the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons, he was named the Pennsylvania Basketball Player of the Year, reflecting his dominance on the court.  His talents were recognized on the national stage as he appeared in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” celebrating emerging sports talents. 


Nastasi showcased his athletic ability in high-profile all-star games, playing in the
Pennsylvania Big 33 All-Star football game and the USA National Basketball Born to Run All-Star Game. These appearances further solidified his reputation as one of the top athletes among his peers.

Tussey Mountain rival Randy Meck expressed his challenges competing against Nastasi.

“I battled against him beginning in third grade.  His mental toughness set him apart from other opponents and his work ethic allowed him to be successful in anything he wanted to doA. J. had great sportsmanship, except for lighting us up on the scoreboard.” 

Nastasi's athletic path continued with a full football scholarship to West Virginia University, where he excelled as a wide receiver. Over his four-year collegiate career, he became a key player for the Mountaineers, earning four letters and making significant contributions to the team's offense. In 2001, Nastasi led West Virginia with 42 receptions, ranking third in the Big East Conference. His performance that year included three touchdowns, placing him ninth in the conference. 

Off the field, Nastasi's dedication to academics was equally commendable. He was named to the Big East Academic All-Star team in 1999, 2000, and 2001, highlighting the balance between academics and athletics. 


His legacy continues to motivate young athletes, showing the true nature of excelling both on the field and in the classroom. 

A. J. and his wife Nicole live in West Virginia with their three children.

Nastasi will be inducted into the Bedford County Sports Hall of Fame on June 29 at Everett High School.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

District 5 Track and Field Championship Archive


District 5 Track and Field Championships Archive

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Navy Dominates UAB on Veterans Day, 31-6

Annapolis, MD - In an inaugural meeting between the Navy Midshipmen and the UAB Blazers at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, a crowd of 29,078 fans witnessed a memorable clash that showcased the resilience and determination of Navy's football team.

The first quarter saw an intense exchange of offensive and defensive maneuvers. Navy's Alex Tecza's impressive 36-yard run set the stage for a goal-line stand by UAB's Keondre Swoopes, intercepting a pass from Xavier Arline in the end zone. However, Navy struck first with Arline connecting with Regis Velez for a 45-yard touchdown, giving the Midshipmen a 7-0 lead with 2:49 left in the first quarter.

UAB responded quickly with a 51-yard drive culminating in a 37-yard field goal by kicker Matt Quinn, cutting Navy's lead to 7-3. The Blazers continued their comeback in the second quarter, as Quinn's accurate leg cut the lead further with a 29-yard field goal, making it 7-6 with 6:22 remaining in the half.

The third quarter showcased Navy's resilience as Xavier Arline's 22-yard pass to Brandon Chatman set the stage for a field goal by Nathan Kirkwood, extending Navy's lead to 10-6.

Kirkwood replaced Senior kicker Evan Warren who missed today’s game for a wise reason. Warren is a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship and had interviews yesterday and today in Washington, D.C.  If Warren were selected for a Rhodes Scholarship, he would be just the third football player in school history to receive this scholarship and the first since 1947. 

The fourth quarter proved decisive for Navy, as Daba Fofana's 2-yard touchdown run capped a marathon 20-play, 80-yard, 12:34 drive, increasing Navy's lead to 17-6 with 10:08 left in the game. Navy's offense continued to impress, driving 86 yards for another touchdown. Quarterback Xavier Arline showcased his dual-threat capabilities, rushing for 50 yards and a touchdown, securing a commanding 24-6 lead with 4:12 remaining.

Navy's defense delivered the final blow when Rayuan Lane intercepted a Jacob Zeno pass and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. The pick-six not only solidified Navy's dominance but also etched its name in the stadium's history as the longest interception return for a touchdown. It was also the second longest pick 6 in Navy football history.

The game finished with a resounding 31-6 victory for the Midshipmen, keeping a chance of bowl eligibility available with two more wins.

Colin Ramos led the defensive charge for Navy with an outstanding performance, tallying 12 tackles and a sack.

On the UAB side, quarterback Jacob Zeno faced a relentless Navy defense, succumbing to four sacks and four hurries during the game.

Only at Navy - Navy is the only FBS school to start four quarterbacks this season.  Tai Lavatai, Blake Horvath, Braxton Woodson and Xavier Arline have all started for the Mids.  Arline started today.

The Streak Continues - Navy has won 67-consecutive home games when leading after 3 quarters which is the longest streak in the country. The last time Navy lost at home when leading after 3 quarters was against Akron in 1999.

UAB Coach, Trent Dilfer - "I want to give Navy credit.  As we've studied them this week, we thought this was the best-coordinated defense.  It was a challenge to get ready for them.  We felt by the end of the week we had a really good plan and the kids understood it, but from the opening drive a comedy of errors just kept plaguing us."

Navy Coach, Brian Newberry - "Just super proud of of our football team right now.  Coming off two losses, one really difficult one to Air Force and then a really uncharacteristic loss to Temple, I just think it shows the character of our football team the way they responded."

Head Coach Brian Newberry

Saturday, October 21, 2023

#22 Air Force Dominates Navy, 17-6


Annapolis, MD - Air Force, the #22 ranked team in the country, dominated Navy in the first game to determine the winner of the Commander in Chiefs trophy in front a stadium attendance record crowd of 38,803.

The Navy offense was nonexistent until late in the game when the Mids scored their first touchdown when Tai Lavatai connected with Eli Heidenreich on a 10-yard TD pass with just 50 seconds remaining in the game.

Freshman, Braxton Woodson, got his first start of the year at quarterback.  Woodson struggled against the aggressive Air Force defense completing just 2-6 passes for 6 yards.  Braxton struggled running the ball as well carrying the ball 14 times for -14 yards including being sacked 4 times.  The struggles didn't fall only on the freshman quarterback's shoulders.  Navy's offense had ten 3-and-out series out of their 14 drives in the game.

Senior Tai Lavatai came into the game on Navy's first drive of the fourth quarter in an attempt to give a spark to the offense.  Lavatai had 3 carries for 8 yards and completed 13-23 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.  He also had two interceptions.

Air Force scored first in the game with a 94-yard touchdown pass from Zac Larrier to Dane Kinamon in the second quarter.  The touchdown was the longest play from scrimmage in stadium history.  The Falcons held the lead for the remainder of the game.

The Falcons finished the game with 288 offensive yards to the Midshipmen's 124.  Ninety-three of those yards came in the fourth quarter.  Air Force has won the past four games against Navy.

Navy has a bye week and will travel to Temple on November 4.  Air Force travels to Colorado State next Saturday.

Defensive Leader - Colin Ramos, Jr. LB. led the Navy defense with a season-high 11 tackles, along with his first sack of the year.

Day of Legends - Navy honored Roger Staubach with his #12 being painted on the field alongside Joe Belino (#27), the Naval Academy's only Heisman Trophy winners.

Former head coach, Paul Johnson was also honored for being inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame coming up in December.

Air Force Head Coach Troy Calhoun comments - On the closeness of the game - "I think there are enough resemblances both ways; certainly the effort of the young people that play.  They put a good bit into these.  Credit to both sides.  Navy was tremendous.  Their defense; there is a reason they had a shutout last week."

Navy Head Coach Brian Newberry - "First of all, hats off to Air Force.  That is a heck of a football team, and we knew that going into the game.  They really played lights out on defense today.  Offensively, we just weren't good enough."

Game Highlights - 

Navy Postgame Press Conference - 

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Navy Falls to South Florida, 44-30

The Navy Midshipmen jumped out to an early 14-0 lead at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium against South Florida behind two rushing touchdowns by Navy's starting quarterback, Tai Lavatai. Lavatai scored on runs of 1 and four yards on back-to-back drives. The two drives totaled only 48 yards. 

South Florida bounced back and took control of the game behind sophomore quarterback, Byrum Brown.  Brown connected on two touchdown passes to Sean Atkins for one and 88 yards.  A rushing touchdown by Nay'Quan Wright from 10 yards out gave the Bulls the lead that they would not give up.  South Florida outplayed the Midshipmen on both sides of the ball and went home with a 44-30 win. 

Play of the game: Navy quarterback, Blake Horvath completed a short 2-yard touchdown pass to Anton Hall with 1:57 remaining in the first half. The score cut the South Florida lead to 21-20. On Navy’s PAT attempt, the snap was fumbled and recovered by Jhalyn Shuler who returned the ball for a two-point score for the Bulls, maintaining the lead 23-20. 

Player of the game: Byrum Brown completed 26 of 34 passes with three touchdowns. One of the scores was an 88-yard completion to Sean Atkins. The 88-yard touchdown was the longest touchdown pass against the Navy defense since 2017 when Florida Atlantic completed a 95 yarder against the Mids. 

Unsung heroes: Senior Striker Xavier McDonald recorded a career-high 7 tackles in the game including 2 sacks. He also forced two fumbles and recovered one. Will Harbour, a senior linebacker, had a career high 11 tackles. He also had a sack, 1.5 tackles for a loss, and a quarterback hurry. 

A day of firsts: Sophomore slotback Eli Heidenreich caught a 68-yard pass from Blake Horvath for his first career touchdown. The reception was the longest for Navy since 2020. 

South Florida Head Coach Alex Golesh: “I am super excited for our kids. It wasn’t pretty initially, but they kept swinging and swinging and swinging. The guys are resilient and it is showing in their play.” 

Navy Head Coach Brian Newberry: “Our margin for error is small. We can’t beat ourselves and I thought we did that today.” 

Records: Navy fell to 1-3 and South Florida improved to 3-2. 

Next week: The Midshipmen host North Texas and South Florida travels to Alabama Birmingham.