The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


September 23, 2009

The real Deal

Eagle great put it on line

Eighth of a Series...

GENEVA — What’s the big deal? Even though he wasn’t a giant in physical stature by any stretch of the imagination when he played football for Geneva from the 1968-70 season, Doug Deal was the Big Deal for the Eagles on their offensive and defensive lines in those days.

Never listed at more than 5-foot-9, 185 pounds in the program, and probably playing even lighter, particularly in his senior season, Deal was nonetheless the fulcrum for the Geneva squads of coaches Tom Jennell, Gary Prahst and the late Bob Herpy.

Those teams produced a composite record of 22-6-2 and the Northeastern Conference championship in 1969, when they went 9-1 for Prahst. The 1970 team, Herpy’s first, finished with a 7-2-1 record, but that stamped Geneva as Ashtabula County’s Team of the 1970s with a 73-24-2 (.753 winning percentage) and at least a share of five NEC championships. Add in the 1980 season and Herpy’s Eagles went 82-25-2 (.767) and added a sixth NEC title.

Only Hall of Famer Tony Chiacchiero’s Ashtabula Panthers of the 1960s did better with an 75-18-4 record (.806) and an 80-22-4 (.784) mark with at least a share of eight NEC titles if the 1970 season is included.

Just to show how much he meant to the Eagles, in his senior year, Deal was chosen Geneva’s Most Valuable Player, quite an honor for any lineman. That was especially true of a team that also featured talents like Mike Blauman at quarterback and young running backs like Don Craine and Ed Pizzuto.

In addition, Deal was chosen the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Lineman and received awards for the 110 Percent Club and three years as a varsity player while acting as one of the team captains.

Still, if one asks Deal, he wouldn’t have thought much of his accomplishments on the gridiron. So the call he received late this past spring from Herpy’s widow, Sue, to tell him of his selection to the Ashtabula County Football Hall of Fame caught him completely off guard.

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