Howard induction stirs glory

October 11, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

He once roomed with future Cy Young Award winner Denny McLain and pitched for the New York Yankees from 1963 to 1969, but Cecil Perkins called his induction yesterday into the Howard High School Hall of Fame as one of his most satisfying experiences.

"I haven't been back here since 1961," said the 1959 graduate, who drove about 100 miles from his home in Martinsburg, W.Va. "It's fun to come back and see some of these guys and reflect on what happened nearly 40 years ago. It certainly puts everything in perspective."

Those sentiments were repeated often as 37 athletes made up the first class inducted into Howard's Hall of Fame.

The accomplishments of the athletes are impressive: two former pro football players (including Wayne Wilson, Class of '75, who won a Super Bowl ring with Washington in 1987), a former Washington Bullet in Sam Knisley ('55) and a 1989 National Soccer Player of the Year in Todd Haskins ('90).

There was a family theme, too. Father-daughter duo George Petrlik ('65) and Emily Petrlik Walker ('92), and brothers John ('64) and Jeff Merson ('71, football), and Mike ('78) and Jeff "Buzzy" Miller ('81) were inducted.

Yesterday's inductees received plaques before the start of the Howard-Hammond football game, but many said the highlight of the day was seeing familiar faces.

"It is an incredibly rewarding feeling to come back and see people whom you shared the most with and who created a road of success for you," said Sam Harris, a 1985 alumnus who was a state champ in the hurdles. "It's great to see that no matter how much has changed around here, the people are still who they are and what they represent."

Many of the inductees relived memories of Howard as a "country school" fighting for respect from other schools.

"People never even heard of Howard," recalled Diane Schulte, a 1963 graduate and a retired Howard County judge. "We were viewed as hayseeds."

But Howard, the county's oldest high school, has enjoyed the last laugh, winning three boys indoor track state championships during the 1980s and two girls track state crowns during the '90s.

And no one forgets the 47-game winning streak posted by the school's football team from 1971 to 1974 when the Lions won the school's lone state championship.

"That was a source of pride for us," said David Fadrowski, a 1974 alumnus and former linebacker for the Oakland Raiders. "We were a small school, and everybody in the state was trying to beat us. We knew it, but we didn't let them."

Pub Date: 10/11/98

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