HERSHEY - Way before he used his right arm and both feet to help West Catholic High win a state football championship, Anthony Reid proved to be a masterful gum-flapper.
Back in the summer, we're talking, after Reid had already enrolled at West in the aftermath of North Catholic's shuttering, but had yet to convince any fellow Falcons to join him.
"I kept telling them, 'Follow me. I'm gonna take you somewhere,' " Reid said.
By them, the 6-1, 185-pound senior quarterback was referring to senior defensive back David Sherman, junior guard Mike Makor and sophomore tailback David Williams.
"They kept saying they weren't sure," Reid said. "Kept saying they didn't know if they'd like West. Didn't know if they'd get on the field. I kept pushing.
"Back then, when I was talking about 'somewhere,' I was just referring to a Catholic League championship. But then we won the city and did our conquering through the state playoffs and then, hey, there was only one more game to go. Pretty cool. 'Somewhere' wound up being the state title!"
Long after he passed for two scores and ran for one, and hugged everyone within three zip codes immediately after the Burrs' 50-14 swamping of South Fayette was complete, and helped change the final line of the famous sports chant from "I believe that we will win" to "I believe that we have won," and held up a giant Hershey bar as coach Brian Fluck spoke to the team, and posed for group shots with players and cheerleaders in Hersheypark Stadium's south end zone, Reid made his comments near the restraining fence in front of West's stands, with admirers still calling out praise and congratulations.
A short time earlier, outside West's locker room, Makor had made note of Reid's recruiting skills.
Makor said his original plan was to transfer to Roman Catholic or Haverford School. But Reid kept yapping to Mike and the Davids about how West would be best and one day, well, Mike decided to attend an offseason session and see for himself.
"I loved it," he said. "I saw the hard work and the drive, and how hungry everyone was. They had that motivation."
Makor signed up, and then he did more than block.
Friday, West held a pep rally. The far-and-away highlight was a video, assembled/produced/everythinged by Makor, that was displayed on a big screen at the back of the stage. It showed plays from every game. Featured music and lots of special effects. Included the cheerleaders.
All students were inside the auditorium. They roared upon watching some of the plays. Even exploded out of their seats. Truly a Makor-able moment.
"Miss DeMasi [Mary, cheerleader coach, pep-rally organizer] heard about my video skills and asked me to do it," said Makor, whose brother, Bob, played basketball at North and is now a freshman at Widener. "She knew I do highlight tapes for the guys.
"It was going to be for the season. I worked on it for weeks and weeks. How long? Maybe 48 total hours. But then she asked if I could have it ready for the pep rally. I was happy to do it. It was pretty cool [to see the reaction]. A lot of guys said they were ready to play right then."
Already, Makor is working on a title-game video. And there's much to show.
The Burrs exploded for 533 yards of offense and, truthfully, the pedal wasn't pushed too hard after the first touchdown of the second half made it 42-14.
Reid went 3-for-7 for 124 yards and scores of 75 and 25 yards to Jaelen Strong-Rankin; his own TD was a 7-yarder. The shared-time tailbacks - Williams (14-182, two), Brandon Hollomon (14-113, one) and Joshua Mathis (8-61, one) - combined for 356 yards and four TDs behind the blocking of center Dom DiGalbo, guards Makor and T-J Waters, tackles Rodney Linder and Eric Wyant, tight end Jim Lynch and fullback Dion Givens.
If you don't know Givens' name, join the club. Until midway through the season, the 5-11 190-pound senior was a backup defensive end and special-teamer. An injury created a fullback opening and Fluck asked Givens one day at practice, "Are you able to hit?" Givens said yes and, presto, became the fullback.
His career total shows one carry for 1 yard. He got his chance midway through the fourth quarter.
"I was nervous," Givens said. "I didn't want to fumble" - he did bobble briefly - "and let down my coaches.
"I never cared about carries. I was just happy to be a part of it. To help us move the ball."
Like so many others, Givens all too well remembers what happened in 2008. That squad crushed the city record for points in a season (with 775), but fell to Wilmington, 35-34, in a double-OT state final.
"That was painful," Givens said. "This is a great honor. We weren't able to have the feeling in '08, but now we do."
Said Fluck: "I really took that loss to heart these last 2 years. I didn't have them prepared. Allowed too much overconfidence. It turned into a dogfight that we couldn't win."
Not this time. Anyone thinking West might lose was barking up the wrong tree.
"This was wonderful," said Reid, who is hearing from Central Connecticut, Norfolk, Stevenson and Wagner. "Obviously, we all wished we could have stayed together at North. We didn't want our school to close. But then we came here and look what happened. Just four of us, but we were important.
"I was getting lots of e-mails and Facebook notes from my coaches at North. They were wishing me good luck. Telling me to stay strong and bring it home, not just for me and my team but for everyone who supports it.
"And look what we did. Went out with a bang."
Linebacker Kevin Burns led West with 13 tackles, including nine solos and four on kick coverage. End Jim Lynch had eight, with three behind the line for 21 yards . . . Final career totals: 3,264 rushing for Brandon Hollomon; 1,561 receiving for Quran Kent . . . Hollomon and his brother, Rob (class of '09, now at Kent State), combined for 6,423 . . . West's 50 points are the most in 23 years of AA finals. Jeannette had 49 in '07 . . . West scored twice in the final 1 minute, 7 seconds of the first half on Hollomon's 16-yard run and Anthony Reid's 25-yard pass to Jaelen Strong-Rankin.