It’s another year of Wyoming Area football. That means another year to induct former Warriors into the Ring of Pride.
Warrior Pride weekend is set for Friday, Nov. 1. Former Warriors Ed Labatch, Dan Gercak, Roger Orlandini and Joe Bartell will be inducted into the Wyoming Area Alumni Ring of Pride at halftime of the annual Wyoming Area-Pittston Area game Friday night at Jake Sobeski Stadium.
Wyoming Area’s 1978 Division 1 champions of the Eastern Conference will also be honored on their 35th anniversary. There will be a noon luncheon at Marianacci’s. At 6 p.m., the group will gather in the weight room parking lot. At halftime, the ‘78 team and the four Ring of Pride inductees will be honored.
The Wyoming Area Alumni Association invites all seniors, juniors and sophomores, along with coaches from the ‘78 team to take in the festivities.
The 1978 football team will be remembered as the team that finished 10-1. Its only loss came to GAR in week 2 — a 6-0 defeat. The sophomores of the 1978 team went on to finish their careers 30-4 in a three-year span.
Two of the most notable players were Al Harris and Don Casey. Harris continued his football career at Penn State, where the Nittany Lions won the 1982 National Championship. Casey went on to Villanova University.
The following three former Wyoming Area football players will be inducted into the Ring of Pride during Friday night’s game:
Gercak was a 1982 graduate of Wyoming Area. During his time with the Warriors, Gercak participated in four years of football, two years of basketball and three years of track and field.
On the gridiron, Gercak was second team All-Conference as a junior, first team All-Conference as a seniors, and was a recipient of the UNICO Sportsmanship Award as a senior. He was The Sunday Dispatch Male Athlete of the Year in 1982, and was the Honor Society President.
Gercak attended Carnegie Melon University from 1982-86. He was a double major in Information Systems and Industrial Management. He was also a 4-year letterman on the football team.
Gercak now resides in Bethel Park and works at Ariba Inc. He’s involved with the St. Thomas Church and a board member of Bethel Park Wrestling. He lives with his wife Cindy, and they have two children, son Sam, 18, and daughter Riley, 15.
As a 1979 graduate of Wyoming Area, Labatch was captain of the football team where he earned three letters. He was an All-Scholastic selection. He also earned three letters on the track and field team.
Labatch got a freshmen letter at Susquehanna University. From there he completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Civil Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Labatch was a junior high football coach for 16 years and at the high school level for six years. For a total of 19 years, Labatch was a youth coach for wrestling and baseball.
The ‘79 graduate resides in Easton with his wife, Jacqueline, and their three sons, Ed, Christopher, and Nicholas.
Orlandini is a 1992 graduate of Wyoming Area. While lettering in football and basketball for the Warriors, Orlandini earned a full football scholarship to Eastern Kentucky University.
While at Eastern Kentucky, Orlandini was a 4-year starter on the offensive line. He was named to the second team All-Conference as a junior, and the first team as a senior. He was part of the 1993 and 1994 championship teams of the Ohio Valley Conference for the Colonels.
Orlandini earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
Orlandini, a store manager at Wal-Mart in Wilkes-Barre, is married to Melody Orlandini. They have three children: Ryan Marvin, 15; Roger IV, 8; and Kierstyn, 5.
Bartell, a 1967 graduate of Wyoming Area, was one of the first two three lettermen winners — football, wrestling and track and field.
Upon graduation from Wyoming Area, Bartell earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Elementary Education from Wilkes College. He played football for Wilkes and wrestled for Keystone Junior College. He also earned his Masters from the University of Scranton in 1974 for Rehab Counseling.
The former Warrior retired in 2010 from the Wyoming Area School District as a Guidence Counselor. He also coached football, wrestling and girls softball.
Bartell lives with his wife, Rosanne, in Wyoming. They have a son, Joe Bartell, Jr., who is a 2001 graduate of Wyoming Area and a 2005 graduate of Penn State University.