top of page

Cradle of tight ends

Venango County has produced three tight ends who have played Power 5 football in the last 50 years.

Lou Fogle
Nate Byham

Ben Koyack, Oil City, Notre Dame
NCAA all-time KO return leaders

Forrey Hall, an Oil City St. Joe graduate, at one time held the NCAA record for kickoff returns average, 38.2 yards for San Francisco (Bill Russell's school) in 1946. He still ranks ninth all-time. Hall later played for the 49ers.

Forrey Hall.jpg
Backyard Brawl rivals

The rivalry didn't stop after high school for these three early 21st century stars. Oil City's Adam Lehnortt and Ben Lynch went to West Virginia and Franklin's J.J. Horne went to Pitt. And all three had their moments, which resulted in free agent deals with NFL teams.

Lehnortt (6-4, 230, left), a linebacker, racked up 301 tackles, including 139 for the Mountaineers as a junior in 2003. His 30 tackles for loss ranked sixth on WVU's all-time list. He was named second team All-Big East before signing with the Chargers.

Both Lehnortt of Lynch were two-year starters for WVU.


Lynch (6-4, 280, center)  had his best season as a junior in 2003 when he registered 64 of his 123 career stops and 11.5 TFLs. Lynch later signed with the Redskins.

Horne (6-3, 230) shined with Will LB for Pitt as a redshirt senior in 2005 when he made 52 tackles and 4.5 TFLs. Horne, who started his career at strong safety, signed with the Cowboys.

The late George Harris lettered at Ole Miss from 1952-54 when the Rebels were 24-5-3 under coach John Vaught.

The 6-0, 194-pound end played on the Rebels Southeast Conference champions in 1954 and in two Sugar Bowls -- a 24-7 loss to George Tech in 1953 and a 21-0 loss to Navy in 1955.

Actually, Harris injured an ankle in the first quarter against Navy. He did return, but saw only limited action. 

His fumble recovery on the Maryland 13, in which he leaped over two Terrapins, set up a touchdown that sparked a 21-14 upset in 1952. He caught seven passes for 89 yards that season.

Harris had seven catches for 115 yards going into the 1954 regular season finale against Mississippi State. He stole a pitchout after the Bulldogs reached there Ole Miss 18 and returned the ball 22 yards to the 40, triggering a TD drive in the 14-0 victory that clinched the SEC title.

Franklin celebrated George Harris Night on March 10, 1955. There was a testimonial dinner at the Elks followed by a get-together at the Lions Club.

Harris died at age 78 in 2007.

Franklin's George Harris
starred at Ole Miss in '50s

Three more Division I athletes are featured elsewhere on this site.

bottom of page