Giving the 'ultimate' gift

Reading Eagle: Harold Hoch | Jeff Onopa of Cumru Township received a kidney transplant from his Gov. Mifflin high school friend and football teammate Jamie Kegerise, who currently lives in Wilmington, Delaware. In line with their friendship, Onopa received a lunch pail from Kegerise lettered "Human Organ for Transplant" prior to the operation. Kidney Transplant_Jeff Onopa Photo by Harold Hoch 3/6/17

Were it not for football, who knows if Jeff Onopa and Jamie Kegerise would have crossed paths.

And had they not crossed paths, who knows if Jeff Onopa still would be alive.

They met as seventh graders in 1968 on the field at Gov. Mifflin Junior High, but they bonded in high school, where they played shoulder to shoulder for the Mustangs. Onopa was the strong side offensive tackle, Kegerise the tight end.

They continued to play in tandem at Millersville, where they also were roommates, but it was at Mifflin that the most vivid memories were made.

One above all others.

Sept. 22, 1973, their senior season, on the road against Shikellamy. The Mustangs trailed 7-0 with five seconds to play and the ball on the Braves 32.

Kegerise caught the heave-and-hope pass in the back of the end zone, and the successful two-point conversion gave Mifflin an unlikely victory, the story of which has been relived and retold countless times.

Fast-forward 43 years and the scenario was similar.

Time was running out, this time for Onopa, and Kegerise stepped up again and came to the rescue. Continue reading
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