CENTER TWP. – Come to a movie theater near you: The Story of the Rochester Rams 2022.
That’s right. The Rochester football team’s highlight film from last season will be shown on the big screen.
It will be presented on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cinemark Center Township Marketplace.
“This is so cool. I know the kids are going to love it,” said Mark Macuga, the man who produced the highlight film. “When I tested it (recently), oh my god. I was blown away and it’s pretty hard for me to get excited about something like that.
“I wasn’t sure if it would look or sound that good. But it is.”
Macuga, a native of New Brighton, works in the video business. He is Partner/Production Manager at Ryno Productions, a Center Township based multimedia communications company that produces video and HD projects for local, regional and national clients.
Among many other projects, Ryno has produced highlight films for a number of local high schools including New Brighton, Blackhawk, Center, Monaca and Ellwood City. Ryno also shoots videos for football games in North Allegheny showing highlights on his giant, state-of-the-art scoreboard/video board.
Rochester’s highlight film was directed and edited by Macuga.
“It was Mark Macuga Production,” he said with a chuckle.
Macuga put together Rochester’s highlight film because he has a grandson who plays for the Rams. That would be second running back/linebacker Antonio Laure.
In 2021, another of Macuga’s grandsons – Antonio’s older brother Sal – was a senior in a 9-3 team that lost 14-13 to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the WPIAL 1A semifinals.
Macuga hasn’t put together a full-fledged highlight film for the 2021 Rams. It was essentially a game-by-game video recap that was shown over dinner at Rochester’s annual team banquet.
Last season, Antonio Laure expected his grandfather to do the same for his team.
“Of course the younger grandson Antonio said, ‘You’re going to do it again, aren’t you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I think. I’ll do it for you,” Macuga said.
The 90-minute Story of the 2022 Rochester Rams documents one of the most rewarding seasons of Eugene Matsook’s 23-year coaching career.
No, the Rams haven’t won a championship like some of Matsook’s greatest teams of the past (he’s led the Rams to four WPIAL titles and two state championships).
Last season Rochester finished fourth in the Big Seven Conference and was 3-3 in section play and 7-5 overall. It qualified for the playoffs at number 14.
In the first round of the playoffs, Rochester stunned Greensburg Central Catholic, No. 3, 36-15.
In the quarterfinals, it beat Fort Cherry 30-14, No. 6 seed
In the semifinals, however, the Rams’ season came to an end when they lost to 10th seed Union in an 18-16 thriller played at Freedom’s Jimbo Covert Field.
“Considering all the injuries we had, going into the playoffs 14th and doing what we did to get to the semis and lose in the semis by just two points, it was just a wonderful season ‘ Matsook said. “You don’t always have to win a championship to have a great year.
“When you have a season like this, when you face the odds and adversity and show resilience, that’s kind of neat.”
Rochester’s 2022 season was such an inspirational story that Macuga decided to make the highlight film something special. In addition to game highlights, there are interviews with Matsook and six players: tight end/linebacker Ryan Clark, wide receiver/defensive back Jerome “Duke” Mullins, quarterback/defensive back Parker Lyons, two-way linemen Dylan Yunt and Mark Shaffer, and center/linebacker Adam Schurr.
At first, Macuga expected his highlight film to be shown again in 2022 at the annual team banquet. But one night over a family dinner, he recalled that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cinemark Center Township Marketplace allowed the public to rent out a theater for private screenings.
He passed the idea past his grandson Antonio, who in turn asked his teammates for their opinion.
Two days later, Antonio Macuga called and said, “Dad, my teammates really want to do this. They want to show that in the Cinemark.”
With the blessing of Matsook and Rochester athletic director Brad Verrico, Macuga arranged for the highlight film to be screened at the Center Township Cinemark.
It costs $875 to rent one of the theaters for one night.
The cost of renting the theater is already covered.
Admission is $10 per person. The theater seats 224 people.
As of last week, 161 tickets have been sold. There is a good chance that the performance will be sold out.
Once the theater rent is paid, any additional money will be given to the Rochester Quarterback Club.
Tickets are available at Rochester High School and the Rochester Public Library. Tickets are not sold at the box office.
“I didn’t see the highlight film,” Matsook said. “Mark wants it to be a surprise. I can’t wait to see it. I’m sure it will be fine.”