Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Sunday, October 21, 2001
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P.J. Villani At a site that held a conflict of brother against brother more than 130 years ago, P.J. Villani and Tom Villani faced off against each other yesterday at Gettysburg.

This wasn’t the Civil War; it was a Centennial Conference football game. P.J. is a senior starting middle linebacker for Muhlenberg, and Tom is a sophomore starting offensive guard for Gettysburg. This time, the (Cardinal Red and) Grey defeated the (Orange and) Blue, 41-0.

P.J. says that he and Tom have been talking all season about this game. He said that during their most recent call he told Tom he “was going to kill him.”

According to both brothers, their relationship is very close. The first comment from each was that playing against each other is “weird.” It was the second straight week of “weirdness” for P.J., who played against a former high school teammate in the Johns Hopkins win last week. “You just have to try to approach it like it was any other game, I guess,” said the older brother.

The Villanis’ on-field rivalry began last year, when both were reserves. Both got in at the end of the game, also a 41-0 Mule win, and, according to P.J., Tom completely disregarded his blocking assignment on the final play to go after him. “He hit me, but he didn’t knock me over, although he tells people he did,” says P.J.

This year, they spent much more time on the field together. P.J. says that they didn’t say much to each other until the fourth quarter, “and then I started talking some smack.”

After the game, they went out to dinner for a congratulatory/consolation dinner and P.J. stayed over with Tom. As for their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Villani say that their comments for each son were the same. From Mom, “Don’t hurt each other,” and from Dad, “Play your hearts out.”

P.J. has played his heart out since taking over as the Mules’ middle linebacker when Doug Folger, the team’s co-captain and leading tackler, suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the Western Maryland game.

“I never wanted anything to happen to Doug, but I always thought that I was good enough to play and that I was going to get my shot anyway,” said P.J. “So I stepped in and tried to do the best I can.”

Villani made a career-high 11 tackles in that game and is looking forward to finishing his career as a starter after spending most of the last four years as a reserve and special-teams player. “I feel like I can be more assertive and vocal now that I’m playing,” he noted. “It’s hard to do that when you’re not playing.”

Villani, a business major who will seek a job in the stock market, wants Muhlenberg to win its final three games and wants to make the 28 tackles he needs to get 100 for his career. And he won’t even have to go through his younger brother anymore to get there.

Skarpetowski Named Player of the Week

Jon-Paul Skarpetowski Senior linebacker Jon-Paul Skarpetowski of the Muhlenberg football team has been named co-defensive player of the week by the Centennial Conference.

Skarpetowski led a Mule defense that allowed only 151 total yards and nine first downs in a 41-0 shutout of Gettysburg by recording 12 tackles, including three solo tackles for loss. He also broke up two passes, one on fourth down, and ran 3 yards for a first down on a fake punt.

Skarpetowski leads Muhlenberg with 50 tackles this season.

Elsewhere in the CC ...
Skarpetowski shared his honor with senior defensive tackle Josh Galemore of Western Maryland, who also led his team to a shutout. Galemore had 10 tackles in a 54-0 whitewash of Franklin & Marshall that clinched a share of the Green Terror’s fifth consecutive CC championship.

The co-offensive players of the week were Western Maryland receiver Teron Powell, who caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns, and Ursinus running back Shearrod Duncan. The nation’s leading rusher picked up 254 yards on the ground while also catching three passes for 89 yards in the Bears’ 53-14 non-conference win against Wooster.

In another non-league game, Dickinson defeated Kean, 17-7.

Western Maryland has a 5-0 record in the CC with one game remaining, on Nov. 10 against Johns Hopkins. Muhlenberg, 4-1, closes out CC play this Saturday with a home game against Ursinus (2-2). Hopkins needs to win this week at Dickinson and next week against Franklin & Marshall to keep its title hopes alive.

For more on Centennial Conference football, go to the CC Web site at

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Last updated October 21, 2001