Which Holy Spirit football team was the best in history?
2007 — Coach Bill Walsh with assistants Charlie Roman, Kevin Burns, Joe Kember, and Dino Hall led the undefeated Holy Spirit Spartans to the state championship against the unbeaten Immaculata Spartans with future NFL star Theo Riddick (Notre Dame). The Spartans with running backs William Washington and Nick Hall won 26-13 at Rutgers Stadium. The defense limited Riddick to 38 yards rushing.
The Spartans were ranked second in the state and No. 112 in the country.
2010 — State champion Spartans coached by Charley Roman with Joe Callahan (Green Bay QB) were third in the state and 99th in the nation.
The argument continues today as to which team was the greatest in Holy Spirit history.
Yet, some locals who played on the 1989 state championship team with Chris Stoll and Gregg Roman coached by Ed Byrnes vehemently argue that it was the best Spirit team ever. Unfortunately, we do not have the state or national rankings for that team.
The Scrapbook agrees with Walsh that the 2007 team was the greatest in Holy Spirit history. We also believe that Walsh is the greatest coach, edging the legendary Lou Paludi, who put Spirit football on the map winning multiple state championships.
Turning back the pages to …
1955 — The Atlantic City Summer League All-Star team ended Palmyra’s 21-win game streak with a 6-5 win. The All-Stars lineup included Joe Di Santi 2b, Mike Brennan cf, Charlie Cole rf (Cole Bros.), Sloan Stewart 1b, Don Marrandino c, Charley Meyers 3b, Don Decker Pitale ss, Pete Sallata lf, and Bill Hirst p.
1955 — The Philadelphia Warriors selected La Salle’s All-American Tom Gola as their NBA territorial pick. Tom was joined by Wilt Chamberlain in 1959 on the Warriors team that eventually left Philly for San Francisco.
1964 — Paul Tomlin (CVS Paul) was a freshman at Bucknell when the team won the Lambert Cup signifying supremacy in the East. Paul was a back on the champs.
1999 — Tom Cooker led Holy Spirit’s 200 freestyle relay team to a first-place finish defeating Hammonton 153-29, giving the defending champions an opening day win.
1999 — Tiffany Trockenbrod (Atlantic City High) finished her outstanding college career leading the College of New Jersey to the Division 111 title with a 4-1 victory over Amherst in field hockey. The All-American from Brigantine ended her career by scoring the last goal of the season, setting a school record of 37 goals.
1999 — The Atlantic City High girls tennis team defeated Holy Spirit 4-1 in a match that pitted friendly rivals from Brigantine against each other. The Vikings were led by Nicole Van Note.
2010 — North School Guidance Counselor Gregg Smallwood combined with his brother Carl to win the 4-mile Hammerhead Row through the Intracoastal Waterway in Longport. Gregg is captain of the Margate Beach Patrol.
2013 — Holy Spirit’s Franco Rifici, a 5-foot-7-inch, 165 pound Holy Spirit senior, was named The Press of Atlantic City’s Football Player of the Year. Franco led the Holy Spirit team to an 11 and 1 record, losing its only game in the state championship to DePaul.