Thole: Red and Black gridders shine in 1926 homecoming

 

Former Ponies track and cross country runner Tom Simonet ’72 recently sent me a Gazette football article on the homecoming game of 1926.

This Norman Rockwell painting, made famous after appearing on the Nov. 21, 1925 issue of “The Saturday Evening Post,” reflects an era of football during which the Red and Black “were content to run ends and smash the line” while turning in a 15-0 homecoming victory over St. Paul Humboldt.

This Norman Rockwell painting, made famous after appearing on the Nov. 21, 1925 issue of “The Saturday Evening Post,” reflects an era of football during which the Red and Black “were content to run ends and smash the line” while turning in a 15-0 homecoming victory over St. Paul Humboldt.

The headline ran “Ponies take Humboldt into camp, 15 to 0” and the subhead read “Slippery field hampers locals who play without Hefty; Dunder’s men have easy work downing visitors in Homecoming feature”.

I am assuming that it’s Elmer Hefty and coach Vic Dunder they made reference to in those headlines. Hefty is still in the Stillwater record book for the longest punt return of 90 yards set that same year vs. St. Paul Mechanic Arts. Dunder coached the good guys from 1926-29, compiling a 17-10 record.

They only used last names in the story, although they do refer to Hefty by his apparent nickname of “DoDo”. You’ll still recognize the names of the some of the families.

The opening paragraph was interesting, as well as unusual:

 

“Stillwater High School’s homecoming celebration was brought to a fitting close Thursday afternoon when the Red and Black gridders battled long-time foes Humboldt High School of St. Paul into submission before the largest assemblage of fans in the history of local football. The outcome was as expected, although the score did not reach the total that was prophesied.”

 

Local fans must have expected a more lop-sided game because the daily Gazette made excuses for the 15-0 winning score. First of all, the field was slippery and everyone in town and the Gazette writer felt that the local machine required sound footing for their flashy running game.

Another major factor was that “DoDo” Hefty, the star field general and ball carrier, was out of the lineup. He took sick that morning and the doctors forbade him to play. Hefty must have been a franchise player because the Gazette lamented his possible loss for the season with St. Cloud and Watertown still on the schedule.

As it turned out, the locals finished 5-4 that season.

The brilliant Abby Arsenault scored both touchdowns this day in weather that wasn’t fit for man nor beast. Dunder’s men quickly demonstrated that they were the superior outfit. Don’t forget that Bell and Newman did their fair shares as Benson and Simonet, along with Conati and Salmoiraghi in the trenches.

Here was the local starting lineup that day: Conati and Salmoiraghi (ends), Benson and Williams (tackles), Glashan and Simonet (guards), Kolliner (center), Seaman (QB), Newman (RH), Bell (FB) and Arsenault — captain (LH). Substitutions were Douglas for Conati and Rohey for Douglas.

There you have it, sports fans, an abbreviated account of how, according to the 1926 Gazette, “the locals did not resort to any trick, but were content to run ends and smash the line.”

A winning formula indeed.

 

Today’s Sports Trivia

In what year was the first American pro hockey game televised? For extra credit, name the arena and state. If you get this right, you are a true hockey puck.

 

In the huddle

Junior guard Carlie Wagner (50 points) of New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva and Braham’s Rebekah Dahlman (33 points) put on a devastating show during the girls’ Class AA state championship game at the Target Center on March 6. Wagner was worth the price of admission all by herself when she led her team (32-1) to a 60-59 victory over defending champion Braham (32-1). Wagner, with a supporting cast that only contributed 10 points — with eight of those coming from her eighth-grade twin sisters. The elder Wagner broke records set by Janet Karvonen several sunsets ago. Dahlman, meanwhile, finished her prep career with a state-record 5,060 points in her career…. All-State Kylie Wittl, plus juniors Sidnee Ronsberg and Lillyan Pan took home the lions share of honors for the SAHS gymnastics team (8-1) at its awards night banquet at the Lowell Inn on March 3. Ronsberg was voted MVP and also recognized on the all-section and honorable mention all-state teams. She will return as captain next year and joined by junior Thalia Anderson and sophomore Natalie Jantschek. Wittl, an all-state performer who has the third-best all-around score in Ponies’ history with a 37.825 effort, trails only Caroline Hilpisch ’06 (38.825) and Alyssa Fedor ’08 (38.25) on Stillwater’s all-time list in the event. Pan was an all-conference, all-section and honorable mention all-state performer. Other HM all-state gymnasts are Jantschek, Sami Matschi, freshman Alex Holmberg and seventh-grader Lauren Thole. Matschi and Jantschek were all-section and eighth-grader Annie Seiler was the most improved…. Did you know that hall of famer Oscar Robertson was a sophomore on the Crispus Attucks team that lost to tiny Milan High in the 1954 Indiana state semifinals? The movie “Hoosiers” was loosely based on Milan’s state title run. I thought that actor Gene Hackman made a convincing basketball coach…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia Question: The first telecast of an American hockey game was transmitted over station WZXBS in New York City in 1940. The viewing audience watched the New York Rangers lock horns with the Montreal

Weighing in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces and a cannon for an arm, Boze Jace Jordan recently joined the family of former Ponies all-conference quarterback Jason Jordan and his wife, Ashley.

Weighing in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces and a cannon for an arm, Boze Jace Jordan recently joined the family of former Ponies all-conference quarterback Jason Jordan and his wife, Ashley.

Canadiens at Madison Square Garden…. It’s a boy born on March 4 to former Ponies all-conference QB Jason Jordan ’99 and his lovely wife Ashley. The future Ponies quarterback is Boze Jase Jordan (7 pounds, 2 ounces and 20 inches in height). During his Ponies career, the elder Jordan led the good guys to 23 wins in 29 starts while completing 173 passes for 3,232 yards and 32 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he quarterbacked the Ponies (12-1) in 1996, which is the last year they made it to the Metrodome. Jason played collegiately at North Dakota State. Speaking of the two-time defending FCS national champion Bison, they have two open dates on their 2013 schedule after East Carolina and Montana State pulled out…. I wonder what the date will be for the first Ponies baseball game…. Together we build character, courage and loyalty…. finis

 

Today’s rumination #611

The most expensive vehicle to operate by the mile is a shopping cart.

• • • •

George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Thursdays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: georgethole@gmail.com

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