Remembering The ’71 CRHS Golden Eagles
Most of you have no idea how good the 1971 Central Regional High School Football team was but I’m here to tell you that it was nothing short of sensational…and that might be an understatement.
The Golden Eagles ran roughshod on nine opponents with only two providing any type of challenge and finished as the top ranked team in the Asbury Park Press, the only Central football team to achieve that honor. I was a first-hand witness to history as a 15-year old junior backup offensive tackle who got in several games well after the outcome was decided.
I bring this up because 41 years later that team will take its rightful place in the school’s Hall of Fame tonight at halftime of Central’s game against Barnegat. In addition to that illustrious team entering the Hall will be another one of the famed Leiter Brothers, 1979 graduate Kurt who later would shine at Oklahoma State and pitch in the Orioles organization before arm troubles ended his career. Joining them will be Kelly McGowan from the class of 1989 who was a standout in softball, basketball and field hockey.
Let me go back in time to the fall of 1971 when things were quite a bit different in Ocean County. There were only ten high schools and Point Pleasant Beach and St. Josephs (now Monsignor Donovan) were the only ones schools with lights on their football field. Brick, Toms River South and Point Boro were the dominant teams at that time although Central was coming off a very good 7-2 season in 1970 and optimism was high.
The Golden Eagles returned an outstanding quarterback in Robbie Keyes along with receiver John Kilmurray, both would go on and earn All-State recognition. However the supporting cast was also loaded and featured players like Peter Bell, Rich Breitenbach, Mike Curry, Steve Ditchkus, Pete Callahan, Mike Boyd and John MacIntosh.
The legendary Joe Boyd, who the football field is named after, was the head coach and his top assistant was John MacIntosh. Boyd died shortly after the season and Mr. Mac passed away this summer.
The season opened with a hard-fought 20-12 win over Manasquan and would close on Thanksgiving with a 34-19 win at Southern on a day when the weather forced the postponement of most other games in the state. In between the Golden Eagles outscored 7 opponents by the score of 350-40, including a 64-20 rout of rival TR South that was even more lopsided than the score.
It was a season not to be forgotten and tonight I’m looking forward to see many of my teammates while broadcasting the Central-Barnegat game on 105.7FM and shoresportsnetwork.com. Should be a lot of fun!
1971 Central Regional “Golden Eagles”
Point Boro 36-0
TR South 64-20
Trenton Central 54-8
Head Coach- Joseph J. Boyd
Assistants- John MacIntosh