It takes a village to raise a child, so say some. Does it? Probably this is a matter for the more sociologically astute among us to debate. Whether it is, indeed, fact or fallacy, it will remain a topic rife with conjecture.

You might want to consider Conestoga football coach John Vogan as someone who leans toward the "pro' side on the subject. Vogan, who rang up his 100th career win last Saturday when the Pioneers defeated Lower Merion, 35-0, will cite chapter and verse when it comes to saying the milestone was something wholly different from being a one-man production.

En route to being doused by torrent from the Gatorade buckets by two of his players, Vogan quoted the indomitable Mr. Spock from the Star Trek saga The Wrath of Khan after the historic win: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of one.'

Vogan wanted his troops to know that no one individual was greater than the sum of the team. He alone was not responsible the many thrilling moments he, his players, and the fans have enjoyed during his 13 seasons.

"When you reach an achievement like this,' he said, "there's a recipe. You have great coaches, great kids who buy into what you're saying, and you have a great administration. The whole community is responsible for something like this.'

Ah, but there is an interesting dichotomy to this plot. As much as this was a "community' triumph, Vogan testifies to the two singular influences in not only his approach to football, but also life. One is Bill Paolantonio, the legendary Pennsylvania High School Football Hall of Fame coach who laid waste to the Ches-Mont League before Conestoga joined the Central League in the late 1960s. He was not only Vogan's high school coach, but also his mentor when he became the latest among "Pal's' successors in 2001.


"Growing up, I watched my brother and his friends playing for ' Pal,'' said Vogan. "He was all discipline. He had a belief. You had to do it his way. He said you have to truly believe in what you're doing. He demanded the best out of you every second. As mentors, I couldn't have asked for any better than ' Pal' and Gerry Gasser (former athletic director). When you're a young coach, you don't always think things through. They would help me in that regard.

"Pal would say ' Success has a price,' and that price is hard work, execution, and consistency. It's who blocks better, who tackles better. That's what he always impressed upon me. And, I don't think that's changed. With Pal, you worked on it until you got it right.'

While Pal handled the gridiron side, the personal touch was provided by Mary-ann, Momma Vogan. She was her son's biggest fan. Always there with her support. A word of encouragement. A calming influence after performances that would totally frustrate or deflate her son. She was "The Boss.'

"She was the major influence in my coaching and personal life,' said Vogan. "Thank The Lord, she would calm me down after games. She would have been the one to say, ' Don't be upset with the boys who dumped the water on you.''

Mary-ann would always have a memento waiting for him next to the sofa in his home after every 10th win: a pennant with that specific number, 10, 20, 30, etc. The last one he has represented the 70th win. He has kept them all, as living, loving memories of her.

"I had visions of maybe coming home and seeing a pennant for the 100th win,' he said. "When I came home, my sister, Mary, had sent balloons and a basket of food. The neighbors also did some very {nice] things to celebrate the occasion.'

In the afterlife, there are two people who are looking down upon and smiling at the thought of No. 100. They are part of the community. Of that, there is no debate whatsoever.