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Phil Colella

Football ∙ Rochester

 

 

 

 

Phil Colella’s problem as a college football player was what to do for an encore. The first time he carried the ball as a Notre Dame freshman in 1945 he sprinted 76 yards for the touchdown that helped the Irish upset a strong Illinois team, 7-0. The thrilling feat was so unique that it made Ripley’s famous “Believe It or Not” cartoon feature in newspapers all over the United States. In three years at Rochester High School (1941-1943), Phil piled up 352 points for a Beaver County football career scoring record. Following his graduation in 1944, Phil entered the Navy and eventually went to Notre Dame. His career for the Irish lasted only one year because Coach Hugh Devore left after the war and Phil followed him to St Bonaventure College at Olean (NY), where Phil starred for three seasons, making Little All America and playing in two Blue-Gray games. Phil then had a brief fling at pro football with the old New York Bulldogs. He later served as backfield coach at Benedictine High School in Richmond, Virginia, and at Ambridge High School (1966-1969). Phil was a teacher at Moon Area High School after his gridiron career.