Jun. 21—Alex Auston, Wilson
Auston was one of the most punishing running backs in program history, setting several records in helping the Bulldogs win Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 1 titles in his final three seasons.
After rushing for 1,563 yards as senior in 1997 and a program-record 3,272 yards in his career he was named Offensive Back of the Year in Berks and Section 1 and the Outstanding Back in Section 1.
He set a program record with 10 interceptions in a season and was named to the Big 33 team as a defensive back.
Auston was named to the Reading Eagle’s 1990s Team of the Decade and was inducted into Wilson Hall of Fame in 2011.
The 6-1, 195-pounder retains the program record for rushing yards in a game after going for 331 at McCaskey in 1997.
He set program records with 31 touchdowns in a season and 56 in a career, 190 points in a season and 344 in a career and with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (all since topped).
Auston scored five touchdowns in a game against Manheim Township in 1997.
He went on to play at Michigan State for one season and at Southern Illinois-Carbondale for two seasons.
He has served in the U.S. Army for the past 19 years.
Kerry Collins, Wilson
Before he passed Penn State to a Rose Bowl victory or quarterbacked the New York Giants to the Super Bowl, Collins led the Bulldogs to their only appearance in a PIAA championship game as a senior in 1989.
Collins set at least eight Wilson passing records and became the first in Berks to pass for over 2,000 yards in a season during an era when 1,000 yards was a big deal.
Collins was named the first-team quarterback on the Reading Eagle’s prestigious All-Century Team, which was selected in 1999. He earned All-State honors and was selected for the Big 33 Game after leading the Bulldogs to a 14-1 record.
He was also a standout baseball and basketball player. He was an All-Berks pitcher and as a junior helped the Bulldogs reach the PIAA Class AAA final.
Collins was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 after passing for 5,304 yards and 39 TDs at Penn State from 1991-94 and setting single-season records for completions, yards and passing efficiency.
He was a first-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 1995 and went on to play for six NFL teams. He led the Giants to Super Bowl XXXV and ended his pro career with over 40,000 passing yards and 208 TDs.
“When a kid has talent and leadership qualities combined, you’ve got yourself a real good quarterback,” said John Yocum, his quarterbacks coach at Wilson. “You could tell the first time you saw Kerry moving that he had big-time abilities.”
Chris Mayer, Central Catholic
Mayer was an All-Berks and all-league lineman and considered one of the key cogs on the Cardinals’ greatest team in 1983. He had 11 sacks and 77 tackles in 13 games.
“He was the heart of our defense,” Central Catholic coach John Stopper said.
He was 6-2, 215 pounds, played on the offensive line and at defensive end, and possessed the speed to run a leg on Central Catholic’s 400 relay team.
“He was a terror,” recalled teammate David Gilmore, who followed Mayer’s blocking in becoming Berks’ all-time rushing leader.
The Cardinals set a program record by going 12-1 and became the first Berks team to win a District 3 championship; they beat Littlestown 22-21 in double overtime.
“Chris played with a tenacity,” Gilmore said. “He played with a mean demeanor, and held every one of his teammates accountable. He was the glue of that team.”
The Cards set a program record for scoring, with 409 points in 13 games, and set the program record with 10 straight victories.
Mayer went on to a career in law enforcement. He was a corrections officer for Berks County Prison, a patrolman and later a criminal investigator for the Reading Police Department.
Rick Scalese, West Reading/Daniel Boone
Scalese was a halfback and defensive back at West Reading and later was a head coach of the Cowboys, as well as with Daniel Boone. He was a four-sport athlete who collected 10 varsity letters. He played basketball with Ron Krick and was a point guard on the Cowboys’ first state championship team as a senior in 1959.
He was a quarterback and halfback for the Cowboys who went on to play halfback and defensive back at Kutztown University, where he earned all-league honors as a senior.
Scalese taught biology at West Reading, Pottstown and Daniel Boone for 37 years before retiring in 2000.
He considers coaching in the first Berks senior all-star game in 1971 at Albright against Wilson’s John Gurski and Gov. Mifflin’s Ray Linn, who coached the West squad, among his fondest coaching memories. He coached on the East staff with Exeter’s Don Thomas and Central Catholic’s Vince Shemanski.
He was an assistant coach at West Reading before being named head coach in 1964; he coached the Cowboys for their final four seasons from 1964-67.
He later coached at Daniel Boone for eight seasons from 1970-77.
Matt Scornavacchi, Gov. Mifflin
The Berks sprint champ used his 4.4 speed to excel as a defensive back, wide receiver and kick returner for the Mustangs and went to star at the U.S. Naval Academy.
He was an All-Berks pick at defensive back as a senior in 1991, when he made 30 tackles and covered plenty of ground in the secondary.
He averaged 25.2 yards on his 19 receptions as a senior and scored nine touchdowns, one on an 83-yard kickoff return. He set a single-game program record with 191 receiving yards vs. Lebanon.
Scornavacchi was a three-year starting wide receiver for the Midshipmen, making 57 receptions for 1,093 yards and scoring five TDs. He averaged 20.1 yards a catch as a junior; his 19.2 yards-per-catch average was a program record.
Since graduation from the Naval Academy in 1996 and later from the Naval Fighter Weapons School, Scornavacchi has served the Navy in several capacities over the past 25 years and earned numerous combat and service awards and commendations. His duties have included flight officer, radar intercept officer, weapons systems officer and tactics instructor. His current duty is as Supreme Allied Commander Transformation National Liaison Representative Interface Officer.
Jake Slemmer, Wilson
At 6-2, 195 pounds, Slemmer never was the biggest or fastest guy on the field, but he understood the game and had a nose for the football, helping the Bulldogs win consecutive District 3-AAAA championships in 1989 and 1990.
He was a first-team linebacker on the Reading Eagle’s prestigious All-Century Team, selected in 1999.
As a senior in 1990, he earned All-State honors and was named Berks Linebacker of the Year after setting a program record with 120 tackles. He finished with 216 career tackles, second-highest in program history at the time.
“The thing that separated Jake was that he just played with a level of intensity that amazed me every Friday night,” said his head coach and father, Gerry Slemmer. “He was an immense overachiever.”
Slemmer started at offensive guard as a sophomore and at linebacker as a junior and senior and led the Bulldogs to a 33-6 record. The Bulldogs set a program record with 14 wins and reached the PIAA Class AAAA championship game in 1989.
Slemmer now resides in Reno, Nev., where he is studying jiu-jitsu and working toward a brown belt.
Ross Tucker, Wyomissing
Tucker was an All-Berks offensive tackle as a senior in 1996, was named to the I-C Hall of Fame in 2001 and went on to a standout career at Princeton before playing in the NFL.
Tucker was a four-year starter, two-time Academic All-American and an All-Ivy League football player at Princeton, graduating in 2001. He was named to Princeton’s 150th Anniversary Team in 2019.
He played seven years in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots. Known for his intelligence, toughness and versatility, Tucker played all five offensive line positions in the pros.
Playing at 6-4, 250 pounds at Wyomissing, Tucker was a two-way all-league lineman who led the Spartans to a share of the Inter-County League title in 1996.
He was the leading scorer on the basketball team and once scored 33 points in a triple-overtime loss to Holy Name.
Since leaving the NFL Tucker, has carved out a successful career in the media. He is a game analyst for CBS, Westwood One and the Philadelphia Eagles (for preseason games), and the host and owner of the Ross Tucker Media Podcast Network. He frequently pinch hits as host on the nationally broadcast Dan Patrick Show and is often a guest on national television and radio football shows.
Tucker co-founded and is CEO of GoBigRecruiting.com, which aids student-athletes seeking college scholarships.