Up Periscope is the story of a young football team that came together on an August afternoon in 1965. Thirteen weeks later this group of young men brought home the WPIAL Class B Championship. On the 50th anniversary of that winning season, quarterback Rob Erdeljac tells the story of the ’65 Mighty Oaks with the same passion and energy that he and his teammates exhibited on the field during their quest for the championship. It is the story of the team, the coaches, the school and the community of Oakmont during that winning season. I thoroughly enjoyed the book as both a historian and sports fan. Up Periscope rekindled so many fond memories of Oakmont from the days of my youth.
Gary Rogers / Oakmont Historical Society
Just like a periscope itself, Up Periscope gives readers a rare peek into what comprises a championship season in sports — from beginning to end. For sports fans and non-sports fans alike, Up Periscope chronicles human anxieties, overcoming obstacles, respect for opponents, and lessons on life that follow players and coaches for years and years. It is also a story of triumph for small-town America, in a town from the days when communities and school districts were one and the same, a time when everybody knew everybody and towns could pull together for a common cause before the school consolidations and regionalization came along.
George Guido, of Lower Burrell, PA, has covered scholastic sports in
Western Pennsylvania’s Allegheny-Kiski region for over forty years.
Rob Erdeljac’s account of the 1965 Oakmont High School Championship Team is so much more than a book about football. It’s the story of a group of young men bound together by love for one another and for their community. It is also a glimpse into what we like to think was a kinder and simpler period — before Vietnam and Watergate — when your mom greeted you at the door after school; when you could attend church with your classmates without creating an incident; and when students actually looked up to their teachers as role models. Richly detailed and part biographical, Rob mixes game details and experiences with broader observations about friendship, honor, life, and teamwork. Fans of local history and high school football will love this book.
Jon Grogan, Ph.D. / Coraopolis opponent ’65
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About the Author
Robert J. Erdeljac is a graduate of Clarion State College and Oakmont High School. For thirty-eight years, Mr. Erdeljac taught American history at Springdale and Knoch High Schools. He coached varsity football for thirty seasons after his playing days as a quarterback in college and in high school, on the very team he writes about. He was inducted into the Clarion University Sports Hall of Fame and the Allegheny-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame. His enthusiasm for history and football are expressed with heartfelt conviction in this new book that brings to life a unique autumn in 1965. His is a story worth capturing, as it expresses an event from fifty years ago, but still very much alive in the hearts and memories of those who made it happen. The writing of this book has been a labor of love for Rob.