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1977 football team powered to city title

40+years+after+their+1977+championship+win%2C+the+team+still+gathers+for+events%2C+their+most+recent+being+the+football+game+versus+Simeon.
40 years after their 1977 championship win, the team still gathers for events, their most recent being the football game versus Simeon.

40 years after their 1977 championship win, the team still gathers for events, their most recent being the football game versus Simeon.

Photo by Joshua Tarafa

Photo by Joshua Tarafa

40 years after their 1977 championship win, the team still gathers for events, their most recent being the football game versus Simeon.

By Jeffrey Taraszkiewicz and Joshua Tarafa

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After the cheerleaders ran off the field for their halftime performance, during the home game against Simeon on Sept. 15, the crowd cheered as 13 people from the 1977 team walked onto the field. These people were from the team that won the city championship, one of the nine Lane teams to do so.

The championship season ended nearly undefeated for Lane and culminated in a victory over Prosser in the football city championship game by a final score of 49-6. The team did suffer one defeat in the Prep Bowl against St. Rita following their city title.

Art Fiumetto was the team’s starting safety and one of the captains during the 1977 season.   

 “I was on the varsity team for four years and then the three previous years we lost the championship to CVS,” Fiumetto said. “My senior year we got to go all the way and won it all.”

The title game victory wasn’t their only blowout of the season. According to Fiumetto, they averaged 44 points a game on offense and only gave up eight points per game on defense.

Their playoff wins included victories over Amundsen, Robeson and Schurz. Fiumetto attributed the team’s success to the players’ personalities.

“We didn’t have any great guys,” Fiumetto said. “We had a lot of good players, but we had a lot of crazy kids. I mean really crazy kids. Coach would hope we wouldn’t get arrested before the game started.”

Despite the players sometimes being out of control, Fiumetto credited the coach with helping them work as a team.

“We all stuck together and the coach would just keep us disciplined,” Fiumetto said.

The coach at the time was Ron Rio. He played a pivotal role in the team’s success as well. He coached at Lane from 1975-77 and then returned for one season in 1997, according to the Lane Football webpage. During his entire tenure with the program, he had an overall record of 40 wins and eight losses.

Luis Munoz, also captain of the ’77 team, remembers Rio for his amazing ability to unite his players.

“He had a way of tying everything together,” Munoz said. “Everyone bought into the program that he set up, a major key to our success.”    

Rich Rio, brother to Ron and defensive coach, took over as the head coach in 1998 after his brother’s second stint with the team. Ron Rio’s 98-42 record kept Lane competitive for many years.

Munoz would years later become a coach alongside Fiumetto and Rich Rio.

“Looking back on it, his coaching really affected how I would teach my players,” Munoz said. “If one person did not buy into our practices 100 percent, everyone else pays the price. This type of accountability is key to having a running machine.”

The team has met many times outside of football games as well.

“We want to keep in touch with everyone on that team because that team achieved something special, and breaking a bond like that is something we don’t want to happen,” Munoz said.

These events include BBQ’s, bowling outings and attending Lane football games. One of the recent events attended was a game against Simeon. The night was meant to honor the championship season.

During halftime, the 1977 team went onto the field with senior football player Ethan Galvin, Div. 865, holding a plaque that lists all of Lane’s football city championships.

Tony Faltin, current head coach of the football team, takes their visits with the highest regard.

“Having the support of the alumni and being able to honor that team on the 40th anniversary, it’s a big deal,” Faltin said. “The Lane tradition is taken seriously and the alumni take it seriously. We got to make sure it’s acknowledged.”

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1977 football team powered to city title