By Kristen Seidler
For Penguin fans who remember the National Championship Football teams of the 90’s, it’s deja vu! There are some familiar names on this year”s Penguins roster, reminiscent of those times. Three standout players on YSU’s current roster, Chris Sammarone, Beau Brungard, and Colten McFadden all descend from Penguin Football Royalty.
Chris Sammarone, a Sophomore linebacker, was a red-shirted Freshman. Chris came to the Penguins as a Canfield High School standout, helping the Cardinals to nine straight wins and an appearance in the Division III Regional finals. Chris’s Father, Chris Sammarone, anchored the offensive line during his three seasons at YSU from 1992 to 1995, helping the Penguins to two National Titles. In his final year, he earned First-Team All-American Donors, awarded by the Associated Press, The Sports Network, and The Football Gazette. Chris was inducted into the YSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. In addition, Chris’s Grandfather, Chuck Sammarone, had an outstanding YSU career, both academically, and on the gridiron. Chuck played from 1961-1964 for the late Dike Beede as a standout lineman. In 1964, he won the Harry Rhoemer Award for Outstanding Achievement in Academics and Athletics. He was inducted into the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.
Beau Brungard is a Freshman quarterback on this year’s Penguin roster. Brungard, a 2021 graduate of Springfield Local High School, led the Tigers to a 37-4 record in his four seasons, and two appearances in the Division VI State Championship game. He completed the 2021 season as the Division VI Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Beau’s Father, Mark Brungard, was a YSU standout quarterback from 1991-1995. Mark was the only quarterback in school history to guide the team to two National Championships (1993 and 1994) In addition, he started the final 41 games of his career, and played in a total of 49 games. He had a 56.6% pass completion and 38 touchdowns. He was inducted into the YSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.
Colten McFadden is currently a senior place-kicker on YSU’s roster after playing for Kent State’s team in 2017 and 2018. McFadden has performed extremely well for the Penguins, showing strong accuracy throughout the 2021 season, completing 8 to 9 field goals, and 29 of 30 PAT attempts. The lone field goal miss was a 56-yard try. He was a 2021 Honorable Mention All Mahoning Valley Football Conference selection. Colton’s Father, Paul McFadden, established multiple kicking records at YSU (1980-1983). He finished his college career with 240 points, ranking third most as a kicker. Among his many achievements included kicking field goals of 52, 53, and 54 yards. He also kicked 78 successful PAT. He was inducted into The YSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. After his stellar career at YSU, he was drafted into the NFL by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year. He went on to have an outstanding career with the NY Giants and the Atlanta Falcons, including making appearances in the Pro Bowl.
If genes for athletic ability (specifically football) play any role, the Penguins may be on their way to an outstanding grid-iron season!