March 1969                     Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson scored nearly 1,300 points in his career at Farrell High School, placing him in the top five in history.  In the WPIAL championship victory against previously undefeated Penn Hills, Dave Johnson, Farrell's best defender was called upon by McCluskey to shut down the opposing teamís top scorer,  George Karl.  Johnson led the Steelers with 27 points, and his man-for-man defense limited Karl to 14. Karl later starred at the University of North Carolina and the ABA and NBA, in which he has also excelled as a coach.
Dave Johnson later started at point guard for three years for the Cincinnati Bearcats, teaming with Lloyd Batts and Derrick Dickey. Johnson died in 2001 from complications after a liver transplant.


One of the many memorable games involving Coach Ed McCluskey's Steelers was the Western Regional Championship in at the University of Pittsburgh's Fitzgerald Fieldhouse. Farrell was 25-1, and led by all-stater Dave Johnson, faced Pittsburgh Fifth Avenue's Archers. The Steelers won a tough physical battle, 59-51, a game in which Johnson scored 23 points and Fifth Avenue sensation Dwight Clay finished with 15. Clay would go on to a stellar high school career and starred at Notre Dame. Clay will be etched prominently in NCAA history books - it was his corner jumper that ended UCLA's 88-game winning streak in 1974 in South Bend:
Beyond the great play on the floor, it was unforgettable because of what happened near the end of the game that spilled outside of the fieldhouse. A large contingent of fans from other Pittsburgh City League high schools showed up to heckle Fifth Avenue and it intensified down the stretch. after the game.

 You could see the crowd drawing closer to the floor. McCluskey, sensing major trouble, pulled his starters and sent them to the locker room with under a minute left, and sent reserves to the floor to finish the game.  Fans stormed the court after the game, creating a full-scale riot. It got so bad that alternate PIAA official for the game, Ed Plank, was stabbed near the scorer's table. As the fighting spilled outside, Pittsburgh police on horseback, as well as others with police dogs and night sticks, did the best they could to control the angry mob. The night resulted in numerous arrests and a story in the next day's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The photo above shows Farrell's Gary Stinson battling Clay (11) for a rebound.

(Photos and game story credit: Jim Raykie, Sharon Herald)