NEW CASTLE —
Despite his small stature — 5-foot-6, 155 as a college freshman — Perrotta was hard to bring down.
“If we were still playing, I’d be still trying to tackle him and probably couldn’t,” Tommelleo said. “Bob was such a deceptive runner. He was difficult to find let alone catch. That was one of the challenges of playing against Bobby.”
Perrotta popped right back up no matter how hard he was hit, which endeared him to his teammates.
“He was resilient,” Tommelleo said. “He’d get hit, but he’d get right up and be ready for the next play.”
Those big hits were few and far between.
“Bobby had great vision,” Tommelleo said. “Because of his size, he could disappear behind the line and you didn’t know where he was going to come out. He knew where to find a hole and he knew how to get through that hole. He was always moving forward. He was such a cunning runner. His quickness and vision made him an outstanding runner.”
Like any good running back, Perrotta was quick to credit his offensive line of Chester Kirkwood, Nick Hammond, Bill Runyon, Andy Tommelleo, Clyde Tommelleo and fullback Joe Frengel.
“With the line we had, I could lay down and get five yards,” Perrotta said. “We had a great offensive line. With them blocking for you, you were going to get five or six yards a carry.”
The fifth-grade teacher at George Washington Intermediate School had no intention of furthering his academic and athletic careers until a family friend interceded.
“I wasn’t planning on going to college,” he said. “Andy Tommelleo’s brother Tom was playing at Geneva asked me to come down for a visit. A couple of us went down. We ate well and he took us to a party. We thought this is pretty good, so we went there.”
By the time he stepped off the field for the final time in 1981, Perrotta held the school records for career rushing, single-season rushing, single-game rushing, points scored, career touchdowns and punt return yards.
He remains fifth all-time in scoring and sixth in all-purpose yards.
“I was able to just step in and I was blessed to start there for four years,” Perrotta said. “We ran a lot of sprint draw and a lot of option. We had a good line and great coaches. It just made it easy for me.”
Perrotta eventually made his way back to the diamond for the Golden Tornadoes.
“I didn’t play baseball my freshman and sophomore years, because I didn’t know you could do both,” he said. “Carmen Nocera got me to play. I wish I could have played it longer. It was so much easier. You didn’t get beat up as much even though I was a catcher.”