Father, son share championship bond at York Suburban
The bond between Garth Hoffman and his son, Teague, has always been about more than just being father and son.
The two also have a shared passion for the game of football. It spans their entire lives, and picked up even more when Teague began playing the sport competitively in seventh grade. Now a junior at York Suburban, Teague is living through many of the same experiences that his father had during his career as a football player at York Suburban back in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
"Ever since I started playing varsity football, (his high school career) has been brought up," Teague said about his father.
Nothing can bring together two people more than a shared interest, and for this father-son duo, that was football. But, after last weekend, the two will always be linked in Trojan lore for what their teams accomplished on the field 33 years apart.
1982 season: Garth Hoffman graduated from York Suburban in the spring of 1983.
That previous fall provided some of the fondest memories from his high school career. The fall of 1982 was Garth's senior football season and, without a doubt, the best one during his four years at Suburban.
That season, Garth and the rest of his Trojan teammates went a perfect 6-0 in Division II in what was then called the York County Interscholastic Athletic Association. They were division champions and made it all the way to the District 3-AA championship game against Lancaster Catholic. Suburban lost that game, 23-22, but it wasn't without some controversy.
Garth, who played middle linebacker and tight end, caught what could've been the game-winning two-point conversion late in the contest, only to have it overruled and then upheld in a protest.
The finish to the season was a bitter end to what was otherwise a tremendous year for the 1982 Trojans.
"Looking back on those days, those days were the fondest memories of my high school career," Garth said. "We kicked a-- and beat everybody. Those friendships that I developed with those guys, I still keep in touch with them."
However, nobody could've predicted the drought that would ensue.
Three-decade dry spell: For the next 32 seasons, York Suburban never claimed another outright division title.
In 1989, the Trojans would tie for first in Division II with five other teams at 4-2. That would be the last time the team even shared a division title, never finishing better than second over the next 2 1/2 decades.
Mixed in between that 1982 season and now, there were also some difficult years. In 1994, 1999 and 2001, the program had 3-7 records. The 2010 squad went 2-8. And the 2000 team was 1-9. There's really no explanation for the ebbs and flows of high school football success, except that things happen in cycles.
"Back when I played, back in the early-'80s, the late '70s, Suburban was a powerhouse," Garth said. "I think it's just the cycles that teams in York County go through. You have your ups and downs, but I would've thought before 1982, there would've been some more up cycles for Suburban."
Back on top: When Teague began playing football in middle school, he knew that by the time he became a junior in high school, his Trojans' team would be good.
"We've had a good team since my seventh-and-eighth grade year," Teague said. "And we've always talked that when we're seniors and juniors we were going to have a great team and it ended up becoming a division championship team."
While the season got off to a rocky 0-2 start under first-year coach Andy Loucks, Teague knew the team would turn it around. There was just too much talent not to.
Since the second week of the season, all Suburban has done is win. Eight straight victories helped the team capture the program's first solo division title (also at 6-0) since Teague's dad did it in 1982. The Trojans are the hottest team in the York-Adams League going into the District 3 playoffs.
It took an entire generation for Suburban to return to its glory days, but finally it's here. And just like his father, Teague had a big hand in making it happen. On defense, Teague plays linebacker, just as his dad did. And although Teague plays running back for the Trojans, he still possesses the catching abilities Garth did. As a junior, Teague has rushed for 347 yards, second on the team, had 138 yards receiving on 12 catches. He's scored eight touchdowns.
"It's good to see my boy out there experiencing the same things that I did," Garth said. "It's pretty awesome. I'm as excited now as I was when I played to go out and watch him be even more successful than me."
Forever linked: Football has always been the passion that Garth and Teague shared.
It's made their father-son bond even stronger. And, even though their playing days were separated by more than three decades, they'll forever be linked as champions.
"It's been a coincidence," Teague said. "It'll be cool later down the road. We'll be discussing it for however many years and it's pretty cool how we have that connection and can say we were (division) champions at York Suburban."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker