High schools re-enact football movie

High schools re-enact football movie

Published Sep. 15, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

It took almost three decades, but the "Ampipe Bulldogs" football team finally evened the score — even without Tom Cruise on the field.

Two western Pennsylvania high school football teams re-enacted on Friday night the game in "All the Right Moves" that was filmed in Johnstown in 1983. There was even a second-half downpour and a fumbled snap, just like in the movie, the (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat reported.

But this time Ampipe won by three points rather than losing by two. Johnstown High School, playing as Ampipe, prevailed over Westmont Hilltop, playing the rival Walnut Heights, 20-17 before about 4,500 fans who crammed into Trojan Stadium for a commemoration of the filming.

Johnstown's players wore gold Ampipe uniforms with black numbers rather than their traditional Columbia blue and black, while Westmont sported white jerseys with red numbers.


"It was big stepping in here, especially since Tom Cruise was in this film," Johnstown junior quarterback Deion Moore said. "We felt it was our duty since Ampipe lost last time. We wanted to come through and get this win."

The 20th Century Fox movie starred Cruise, Lea Thompson and Craig T. Nelson featured dozens of local football players, coaches, cheerleaders, band members and students, and more than 10,000 Johnstown residents filled Point Stadium nearly 30 years ago during filming of the big game.

"We got one back for coach Nickerson," Johnstown coach Tony Penna Jr. said, referring to Nelson's character, coach Vern Nickerson.

As fans filled the stadium, the movie soundtrack played and a Johnstown staffer walked the sideline with Piper, a white and brown bulldog, recognizing the movie team's mascot bulldog that appears in a pep rally prior to the big game.

As game-time neared, a recorded message from "All the Right Moves" producer Steven Deutsch played. He spoke about the city's contributions to the production and praised the coaches and athletes who trained for the film. He joked that he hoped the weather would be better than it was for the original April 1983 filming, during which the Johnstown Fire Department used hoses to create an artificial downpour.

"It's a great feeling for all of us that we created a film and experience 30 years ago that you're remembering so fondly," Deutsch said.

Thompson, who played Cruise's girlfriend, Lisa, recorded a video greeting that was posted online Friday and shown during the Johnstown pep rally. She also Tweeted a photograph of her and Cruise from the movie set.

Nelson, who is working on his NBC series "Parenthood," sent a statement that was read prior to the game. Cruise's representatives said the actor was working and unavailable. Proceeds from commemorative T-shirt sales raised money for two scholarships, one for a player from each team.

"This was so huge you don't want to take the exuberance out of the kids,"?Penna said. "We really didn't try to fight that stuff.?It ended up becoming a lot bigger than even we thought. You just had to embrace it. The community was excited. The school was excited, and they're kids."