Nesquehoning inductees are Blazoskys, Sluck
The 26th Annual Carbon County Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and banquet will be held Sunday, May 26, at the Franklin Township Fire Company social hall.
The doors will open at 1 p.m., with the dinner to start at 2 o’clock, followed by individual inductions of 22 who attained athletic accomplishments.
This year’s inductees are:
Coaldale – Cindy Hassler, John “Ronnie” Drosdak and Jake Flyzik.
Jim Thorpe - Geoff Kelowitz, Chuck McGowan and David Mueller.
Palmerton – Jason Balliet, Frank Zelinsky and Manny Guedes.
Lehighton – Gregory Ebbert, George Ebbert, Tom Mullen and Bob Capasso.
Nesquehoning – William Sluck, Joseph Blazosky and Daniel Blazosky.
Lansford – Ron Swider, Cory Sheridan and Edmund Gargula.
Summit Hill – Nadia Gauronsky, Bruce Frassinelli and Eugene DeGiosio.
Carbon County - Blue Ridge TV-13 sports reporter Bob Capasso.
The following will be inducted representing Nesquehoning:
He was one of the most rugged and physically strong linemen of his era, having dominated offensive and defensive line play for the Panther Valley Panthers in the late 1960s. That tenacious style of play earned him a full four-year scholarship to attend Arizona State University, where legendary gridiron coach Frank Kush traveled across the country to secure his services.
At 6-1, 190 pounds, Joe Blazosky’s frame was bigger than most, but his relentlessness in pursuit of quarterbacks and running backs separated him from the others, enabling him to have a stellar two-year stint for Coach Frank DeFebo’s Panthers as a defensive and offensive tackle.
As a junior year, he quickly established himself as a top lineman. Playing against highly-regarded Pottsville, he had 15 tackles, a fumble recovery and a forced interception that even double-teaming opponents couldn’t contain.
He continued that style of play in the ‘68-69 campaign, where he lived up to his expectations with area scribes continually acknowledging his ferocious style of play. The Evening Record noted, “Blazosky, who was the Panthers’ best all-around lineman last season, took up where he left off in ’67. The 190-pounder is one of those players with a nose for the ball, and nearly always is near the action.”
For his outstanding play in a shutout (7-0) win against West Hazleton, Blazosky was named to the Pennsylvania Big 33 checklist.
In another article, a local sportswriter acclaimed, “Joe Blazosky took up where he left off last season. The raw-boned tackle was in on most of the tackles last night, blocked a punt, deflected a pass that led to an interception, and delivered a jolt that caused a Mount Carmel runner to fumble the ball. The rugged senior was PV’s best lineman last season.”
Blazosky’s talents caught the attention of Kush, who hotly pursued his services to play for the Sun Devils in the western state. That was after Blazosky was named to the All Eastern Conference Southern Division Second Team as a tackle, also winning the Maj. William Whitehead Memorial Trophy as the all-around “best” Panther football player. At the PV Sports Club annual dinner following the end of his senior year, Blazosky was named the recipient of the Thom McCann Shoe Award, which then was presented to the top player at Panther Valley High.
He remained at ASU for his freshman year before transferring to Wilkes College, Wilkes-Barre, to be closer to home. There, he played for the Colonels for one season, lettering and earning a Wilkes College Athletic Association Award, then enrolling at the Simmons School of Mortuary Science, Syracuse, N.Y.
Blazosky was a 10-time letter winner as a PV Panther. In addition to his on-the-field action for three years of varsity play, he wrestled for three years for HOF inductee Vince Spisak, when the program was in its infancy, and he also lettered four years on Panthers’ diamond squad, piloted by Spisak and another HOF inductee, Bobby Gelatko.
The 1969 PVHS graduate earned his mortuary science degree in 1975 and has been a licensed Pennsylvania funeral director for the past 44 years, owning and operating funeral homes in Nesquehoning and Lansford.
He helped mold young boys into football players through coaching at two levels, initially in the Panther Valley Knee Hi Football Association and later as an assistant coach in charge of linemen for the Northern Lehigh High School Bulldogs, then under Coach Rich Snell.
He is married to the former Carla Mikovich of Nesquehoning and is the father of Kristin, who is the current athletic director at Panther Valley and the wife of Fenton Black, Daniel, married to the former Megan Crampsie, who is involved in the family-operated funeral business with his father and who is part of the father-son duo being inducted into the Carbon County Hall of Fame today as Nesquehoning inductees, and Trajen Koerbler, and his wife, the former Tori Devlin. He and Carla have seven grandchildren, Millie and Leah Black, Danika and Merida Blazosky and Kayden, Kale and Kambry Koerbler.
He was a four-sport athlete at Panther Valley High School, earning 10 letters, but he really left his mark on the scholastic and collegiate gridirons because of his strength, size and speed.
At PV, he played varsity ball for four years, during which time the 7-5 Panthers won an Eastern Football Conference championship 1998, his sophomore season. Statistic-wise, his finest season came the following year, 1999, when as a junior he rushed for 1,056 yards on 193 carries (5.47 per carry), tallying 16 touchdowns, and catching 21 passes for 355 yards (16.9 yards per reception), including two more TDs. That season, he accounted for 1,411 yards and 110 points.
When he was a senior, Blazosky carried the pigskin 146 times for 755 yards and 5 TDs and caught 22 passes for 288 yards and four six-pointers, amassing 1,043 yards of offense.
His overall numbers as a Panther were outstanding, as he ranked among the top offensive performers in the school’s history, amassing 358 rushes for 1,935 yards (5.41 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns, and 46 receptions for 680 yards (14.78 yards per catch) and six TDs. In all, he tallied 27 six-pointers, booted 4 PATs and two field goals, and scored three two-point PATs for 178 career points. He ran for 100 yards or more in nine games during his career, with his best game being against Shenandoah, when he lugged the ball 29 carries for 228 yards and 3 TDs.
Collectively, the Nesquehoning native accounted for 2,615 yards of offense.
But on the defensive side of the ball, he was even more exceptional, as he consistently ranked on top in tackles and sacks from his linebacker positions. As productive as he was when he and his teammates had the ball, Blazosky, perhaps, was more dominant on defense, where his “nose for the ball” resulted in him being the team leader in defensive statistics.
Blazosky had an immediate impact on the playing field at Monmouth University in New Jersey, which granted him a football scholarship. There, he played in eight games as a freshman linebacker, compiling 31 tackles and being named Northeast Conference Defensive Rookie of the Week two times for his outstanding play in games against Towson and St. John’s.
As a sophomore, he started all 10 games at OLB, registering 39 tackles, including 16 solos, three blocked kicks and one forced fumble.
He followed that up with a great junior year in 2003, when he ranked fourth on the team in tackles with 66, and the Hawks went 10-2, winning the NEC championship.
In 2004 when Blazosky was a senior captain of the Hawks, the team went 10-1, winning the NEC title and the Division 1-AA Mid-Major National Championship. For his outstanding play that campaign, Dan was named the Hawks’ Defensive Most Valuable Player and was a Second Team All-Northeast Conference honoree.
Through his Monmouth career, 2001-2004, he played in 41 of 43 games, starting 38 of them, and he finished with 192 tackles, 102 solo tackles, 7 sacks, 90 assisted tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and a 11-yard fumble return for a TD. He also scored a two-point conversion.
Blazosky was a three-year varsity members of the Panthers’ cage teams, playing in 65 games and scoring 342 points for a 5.26 points per game average. He also played varsity baseball and track and field.
Blazosky received a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Monmouth in 2005 and then graduated from Northampton County Community College with an associate degree in funeral service education. He has been a licensed funeral director in Pennsylvania since 2006 and works with his father in the operation of the Blazosky and Sverchek-Blazosky funeral homes in Nesquehoning and Lansford, respectively, and is being inducted into the Carbon County Hall of Fame today as a father-son duo from Nesquehoning with his father Joseph. He is also the son of Donna Blazosky of Summit Hill.
He is married to the former Megan Crampsie of Summit Hill. The couple has two daughters, Danika and Marida.
William J. Sluck
Before he graduated in 1955 from the former Mauch Chunk Township Junior Senior High School, William J. Sluck enjoyed championship performances as a distance runner on the school’s track and field teams.
In fact, he proved to be unbeatable in the mile run at four different, highly-competitive levels – District 11, Southern Conference, Black Diamond League and the Carbon County Meet.
Sluck won the District 11 titles in the mile run in 1954-55 and represented the district in the 1954 PIAA State Cross Country Meet held at Pennsylvania State University.
In the Southern Division Meet held at Mount Carmel, and the Black Diamond Meet, he won both runs in 1954-55, and in the Carbon County Meet, he was a double winner in the half-mile and mile runs in 1955, before moving on to East Stroudsburg State College where he was a member of the Warriors’ track and field team.
Sluck also played varsity basketball in 1954-55 at Mauch Chunk Township, where he also served as a varsity manager for the football team. In 1953, he was a member of Nesquehoning’s last American Legion Baseball team.
Sluck graduated from ESSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1959 and received a master’s degree in 1966 from George Washington University. From 1970-75, he was a doctoral candidate at George Washington.
After a stint from 1960-61 as a high school teacher, he worked for the U.S. Capitol Police in Washington, D.C., from 1961-63, when he was assigned to the Office of the Vice President, Lyndon Johnson.
Then from 1963-65, he served in the U.S. Army, serving as a legal clerk in the Office of Staff Judge Advocate, Ft. Belvoir, VA, before his honorable discharge.
Later, 1965-70, he was a civilian employee for the Department of the Army, serving as a personnel management specialist in several different assignments.
He worked for the Federal Communications Commission from 1970 until retiring in 1996 with 35 years of service, including being the chief of the Executive Personnel and Development Branch, Office of the Executive Director, Washington, D.C.; and deputy chief, Licensing Division, Private Radio Bureau, and assistant chief of operations, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, both in Gettysburg.
William and his wife, the former Linda Lee Shavender, married in 1967, and are the parents of Teresa Elizabeth, Marya Margaret and Anne Helen. The couple resides in Gettysburg, where he has been involved in civic concerns. Since 1982, he has been a member of the Gettysburg Rotary Club, having served on its board of directors and chief of its Community Services Lane. In 2002, he was named Gettysburg Rotarian of the Year. Two years later, he was recognized as the United Way Senior Volunteer of its Across-the-Ages Mentoring Program.
Sluck is a longtime member of the American Legion, AARP and the Fraternal Order of Eagles and is a member of the U.S.S. Gettysburg Society, where he performs community service when guided missile cruiser carriers come to Gettysburg, and the U.S.S. Eisenhower Society (CVN-69-Aircraft Carrier).
His volunteer activities include being a crew chief for the Adopt-a-Highway program, fundraiser with the Gettysburg Volunteer Fire Department; Adams County Family outreach – Christmas Toys for Tots; the Breakfast with Santa program; and as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.
He has participated in the Across-the-Ages and Chamber of Commerce mentoring programs; as a World War II Memorial Dedication volunteer; volunteer with the Girl Scouts of America (painting camp buildings), the United Way (food pantry driver and funds distribution committee member), the Lincoln Square Beautification Project in his hometown, and the Rotary Club (fundraising, paste dinner, pancake breakfast).