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Yorktown trophy back where it belongs

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After years of being elsewhere, a championship football trophy has returned to where it originated – in possession of the Yorktown High School football team.

Back in 1976, when David Gebhardt was Yorktown’s first-year head football coach, the Patriots won the Great Falls District title. When Gebhardt moved to Jamestown, N.C., years later, that trophy unintentionally was taken along.

The former coach, now age 90, was concerned and bothered by having possession of the trophy. He planned to someday return the silverware to Yorktown.

That occurred this summer when three of Gebhardt’s former players from that 1976 squad on Aug. 5 traveled to North Carolina to visit their former coach. Jack Shafran, Bill Scott and David Taylor made the trip.

“Coach Gebhardt made such an impact on our lives, we wanted to go see him,” Shafran said.

Shafran was given that 1976 football trophy by Gebhardt to return. On Aug. 12, he attended a Yorktown football practice and handed that trophy over to current head coach Bruce Hanson.

“He said he found that trophy in a box and didn’t even know he had it,” Shafran said. “He felt guilty and wanted it returned to Yorktown. He asked if we could take it back.”

Added Hanson: “I didn’t even know the trophy was gone, or remember that Yorktown had won the district that year. I was impressed they returned it and made a special visit to give it to me. I knew and coached with Gebhardt. He was a good coach and was Yorktown through and through.”

Shafran said he and Hanson had a nice talk about that 1976 season, particularly the game between Yorktown and Wakefield. Hanson was coaching football at Wakefield back then.

“He remembered what position I played, and that I was fast and give Yorktown fits in the game,” Shafran said.

In that 1976 season, Yorktown finished 6-4-1, falling in the first round of the playoffs. The Patriots defeated both Wakefield and Washington-Lee, as it then was known, that fall in regular-season contests.

Gebhardt was the head coach for four seasons. Gebhardt also was a the head track and field coach at Yorktown. Initially he was an assistant football coach, then took over the top job when Jesse Meeks retired in 1975.

Under his leadership, Taylor set Yorktown school records in the boys mile (4:19.1) and two-mile (9:14.3) races. Scott set a school mark in the shot put at (58-103/4). Shafran was on the school-record-setting 880-yard relay team. 

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