By: Robin Palmer | Wellsboro Gazette | November 27, 2008
The face of Wellsboro Football is soon to change. After 12 season of coaching at Wellsboro, Chris Morral has decided it is finally time to turn over the reigns. Throughout his coaching career, Morral served as a volunteer assistant, offensive coordinator, and for the past six seasons has been the head coach of the Hornets.
Morral's career as a Hornet began as a player under former head coach Russ Manney. Throughout his career Morral rushed for over 1,000 yards in two consecutive years and was named to the All-Twin Tiers first team and was a two-time NTL first teamer. Morral ended his high school career as the most valuable player in the District 4 All-Star game in 1994. Upon graduating from high school Morral continued his career at Lycoming College and ended his collegiate career playing in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in 1998.
As a head coach for the Hornets over the past six seasons, Morral had a combined overall record of 28-33 (.459) with one playoff appearance in 2008. Morral says, "2008 is definitely one of my most memorable years in coaching but I can remember the years in which we struggled to find a way to win games. I will definitely miss the players I have coached that are returning next year and I wish them the best of luck."
Throughout his career, Morral had 12 players play at the collegiate level, and that is always on his mind and has definitely been a priority for him since he became the head coach in 2003.
"Throughout my coaching career, I have been very fortunate to have great coaches to coach with and some very talented players who were able to play at the next level. As a coach it is always nice to see guys who played for me walk up to me and thank me for helping them in one way or another."
In the 2008 season the Hornets compiled an overall record of 7-4 with a first round playoff loss to Athens. 2008 was the first district playoff appearance in 13 years and the first winning season since 1996. Throughout the 2008 season alone, many Wellsboro individual records were broken*, and they included the all-time leader in single season pass attempts (174), single season passing yards (1,348), career passing yards (2,430), and touchdown passes (12) in Cameron Jones. Pat Driebelbies also joined the 1,000 yard rushing club in which Chris Morral was a part of two consecutive seasons in the 1990's. Also in 2008, Aaron Moss recorded 144 tackles and now has 229 career tackles, which ranks fourth all-time in Wellsboro History*. Jake Coolidge set the pace on the ground and in the air in 2008 with over 1,400 all-purpose yards and holds two punting records of his own in attempts (145) and yards with 4,535 resrectively*.
Not only will the face of football change at the High School but also at the Middle School. Jim Dinsmore will be retiring from coaching at the Middle School after 20 years. Within those 20 years, Coach Dinsmore had a total of five undefeated seasons and a winning percentage well above (.500). Morral says, "Coach Dinsmore is a guy who truly made a difference within our program and he will definitely be missed."
"Coach Dinsmore's knowledge, patience, and commitment to Wellsboro Football is second to none. For the community, school district, players, parents, and fellow coaches I want to thank Coach Dinsmore for all that he has done."
In addition to Coach Dinsmore, Morral also credits his current staff of Mike Pietropola (Defensive Coordinator), Jeff Zuchowski (Offensive Coordinator), Ed Weaver (Running Backs, Linebackers), Matt Hildebrand (Receivers, Defensive Backs), John Johnston (Offensive / Defensive Line), and volunteers Craig Christman and Jeremy Walrath for the success Wellsboro has had.
"This group of coaches is an outstanding group of guys who have spent countless hours doing whatever I asked of them. Our hard work finally paid off this year, and I give them all the credit for doing an outstanding job."
As for Morral's future in coaching, "I have been involved in football as a player and coach for 20 years, so I just want to take some time and do some of the things I have never been able to do during the fall. It will be tough next fall not being a part of Wellsboro Football, and I guess you never know, someday I may decide to return to coaching."
* Records may not be accurate to date due to incomplete stats. If you know of a record not currently listed on this page, or have game statistics or film from previous years, please contact us.