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From 1987 to 2022: Lakeland football breeding success

It's a high school football team 35 years in the making. Lakeland's success is in its DNA. Newswatch 16's Elizabeth Worthington shows us how.

SCOTT TOWNSHIP, Pa. — There were a lot of good genes in a game of catch that took place Friday outside of Lakeland High School: Five guys from the undefeated 1987 team, and five of their sons, playing for the currently undefeated 2022 team at the school in Scott Township.

For this group of dads, they're reliving the glory days every Friday night — this time from the stands.

"We had great coaches just like we have right now, great community support," recalled Steve Takach, father of current player Andrew Takach.

"We had a blast. Great group of guys, just a family," said Rick Matous, father of Mason Matous.

Some of their sons came to the idea of playing high school football on their own, following in their fathers' footsteps. Others, not so much.

"Oh, he had no choice," joked Tim Snyder, father of Kevin Snyder.

For quarterback Dominico Spataro, it was the footsteps of multiple members of his family.

"He has two older brothers who both played football, and the wife was a cheerleader on the '87 squad, so she pushed them all to play football," laughed Anthony Spataro.

The players on this team may have champion bloodlines, but they know they'll still have to earn each win just like their dads did.

Spataro believes his team owes its success so far, not necessarily to genetics, but to familiarity.

"We've been playing with each other for so long. We have such good chemistry, and just our bond together is insane. It just makes practice really fun. Everyone has a high energy," the younger Spataro said.

"This team is very special. This is my fourth year as the head coach here at Lakeland, and in my time here, this team has been the closest," said coach Dave Piwowarczyk.

And even once these young players leave their jerseys behind for the next team, wide receiver Kevin Snyder says they'll still have one more thing in common with the 1987 team.

"Once we're done playing, we're always going to be in touch."

As much as there's camaraderie among this group of dads and sons, there's also some healthy competition.

But who would win in a match-up between the 1987 team back then vs. the 2022 team now?

"Oh, you know what my answer's going to be," said Dave Naniewycz.

"We just talked about this too. I think it's the 2022 team," his son David said.

"I think '87 would kick their tails big time," said Steve Takach.

"I'm going to have to pick us," Dominico said.

His father said, "I'm always looking for the future."

While we can't travel back in time to witness that match-up, we'll see if they can at least match their dads' undefeated record. The Chiefs face off against Old Forge on Friday night, and their dads will be watching proudly in the stands.

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