A Historic Championship Season

One "Dandy" of a Season

The Story of the 1970 State Football Championship

By James G. Blase '75

According to the school, the Ed Hawk Award was established by members of the SLUH Class of 1971 in memory of their classmate whose life was taken after his junior year at SLUH. The fact that he was elected as an officer of the student council for his senior year is an indication of his standing among his classmates. Through their efforts, an annual award was established to recognize the senior who: “through his love and dedication to St. Louis University High School, and through his example of working and giving, was most able to influence his class toward success by cooperation and unity.”   

Ed passed away on the eve of the start of varsity football practice for the 1970 season.  Though not a member of the football team, without a doubt Ed, through his example of working and giving, was the single individual most able to influence his class towards success on the football field, through their endless cooperation and unity.  This is the story of that extraordinary team, and that inspiring fall at SLUH.

It is perhaps fitting that the onset of Covid forced the suspension of any significant celebration of the 50th anniversary of one of the most unforgettable stories in SLUH sports history, the story of the 1970 state football championship season.  Afterall, the adversity which this team and class of SLUH students faced and overcame during the summer and fall of 1970, marks one of the most remarkable achievements in the school's long and storied history.

I was an eighth grader at the time, and yet I remember the final several games of that season just as I remember the final several games of Notre Dame's 1977 national championship season, which also occurred the year before I enrolled at Notre Dame Law School.  [All I can say is, thank goodness for both SLUH and Notre Dame, that my parents didn't decide to have me a year earlier!]  

SLUH's 27 returning letterman included ends Jim Twombly, Mike Wiese, Errol Patterson, Tom O'Shaughnessy, and Kevin Kiplinger, tackles Fred Daues, Al Fahrenhorst, Tim Kellett and Tim Fleming, guards Tom Milford, Kevin O'Toole, Bill Caputo and Tom Moore, centers Joe Castellano, Pat Bannister and Vic Jost, backs Bill Ziegler, Tony Zmaila, Tim Leahy, John Kurusz, Mike Ruggeri, Tom Schoeck, Jim Dacey and Bob Thibaut, and quarterbacks Doug McDonald, Dan Calacci and Gregg Hannibal.  Due to injuries, junior Jim Dohr also would be called upon to make significant contributions during the season, as would sophomore placekicker extraordinaire, Tim Gibbons.  Other underclassmen on the team included:  Bill Drury, Mark Hogrebe, Mike Cherre, Mike Koenen, Mark Herbers, Tony Behr, Mike Amad, Steve Ohmer, Tom Wamser, Mark Clark, Tom Underhill, Dave Ortman, Joe Hirsch, Don Behan, Ed Cadieux, Jerry Rombach, Rich Federer, Dana Prosperi, Jack Licata, Steve Crane, Steve Hinderberger and Tom Mehan.  

But the fall of 1970 at SLUH was about so much more than these 50 plus players. It was also about their dedicated and skilled coaches, Paul Martel and Ebbie Dunn, and, perhaps most significantly, it was about the entire senior class of students, including, most especially, Ed Hawk.  

Student Council Secretary, Wayne Herriford, organized a 30-mile "Walk for Development" on October 11, as a fund-raiser and awareness-raiser to benefit local food banks and other charities devoted to addressing hunger.  The walk started and ended at SLUH.  More than 2,000 participated.[1]

Also during the fall of 1970, the Student Council inaugurated the "Senior Project."  Due largely to Wayne Herriford's sense of social justice, and supported by Jesuit advocates Dave Wayne, Rich Bailey, Ed O'Brien, Jack Warner, Tom Jost and Tom Cummings, the Class of 1971 pushed through this radical three-week investment in service during an extended break between the first and second semesters of senior year.[2]     

No doubt the Class of 1971 had a firm grasp on what being "men for others" was truly all about.  And so did the coaches of the football team.  "You know, coaches don't get rich," Paul Martel once said.  "Our wealth comes from having a part in so many lives.  We're touched by it.  I wouldn't have traded it for all the gold in Fort Knox."[3]

Before the start of the season head coach Paul Martel felt he had the makings for another top team.  "We're set defensively" he said.  "but we graduated our entire offensive starting unit.  The big thing lies in our quarterbacking.  If we can find a kid who can throw the ball . . ."[4] According to Jerry Stack of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Martel already has someone to run with the ball, halfback Bill Ziegler, who Martel believes will be one of the top backs in the area.  Martel also believes he may have the best set of defensive ends around in Jim Twombly and Mike Wiese.  Other top performers at St. Louis are linemen Joe Castellano, Tom Milford, Al Fahrenhorst, Fred Daues, Tim Kellett and Errol Patterson, and backs Mike Ruggeri, Tom Schoeck and Bob Thibaut."[5]

In addition to its Bi-State Conference games, SLUH had its typical murderous non-conference schedule to contend with, which included the large school state champions from the previous season McCluer, as well as defending Public High League champion Cleveland, defending Suburban North champion Riverview, Columbia Hickman and Cahokia.  

Saturday, September 12, vs Cleveland (at O'Fallon Tech)

Last year Cleveland, 9-1 and Public High League champion, lost only its opening game  --  34-8, to SLUH.  Commented Cleveland head coach Ray Cliffe prior to the game:  "We know St. Louis is going to be one of the best teams in the area.  They won the Bi-State Conference last year and they're favored to do it again."[6]  According to Tom Barnidge of the Post-Dispatch:  "Cliffe pointed to the versatility of the Junior Billiken attack as his primary concern.  He was worried also about his coaching rival.  'This Paul Martel is one guy you've really gotta be ready for,' he said."[7]

According to Fred Daues, prior to the Cleveland game "we had dedicated the season to Ed Hawk.  We had made a contract with each other, to a fallen friend."[8]  Fred Daues and his teammates were more than ready to fulfill that contract in their opening game against Public High League power Cleveland.  

According to Dave Dorr of the Post-Dispatch:  "It's not often that you see the type of polished, impressive show in a season-opening prep football game that St. Louis University High unveiled yesterday.  The Junior Billikens clouted Cleveland, 21-0, at O'Fallon Tech in a matchup of two of the area's high schools grid giants last season.  . . .  A sideline spectator yesterday called St. Louis U. High's defense the old-fashioned, crunching variety.  The kind that hurts.  It was that and more."[9]

Dave Dorr continued:  "The Junior Bills corralled Cleveland's standout running back, Johnny Rivituso, and the rest of his backfield mates.  Rivituso, who scored 12 touchdowns last season, managed but 14 yards rushing in the first half yesterday when the Junior Bills held the Dutchmen to a total of minus two yards on the ground.  The orange-jerseyed Dutch fared only a little better in the second half, picking up a net 10 yards.  Total rushing for the game:  eight yards. It's been a while since any team has stopped the potent Dutchmen cold like that.  . . .  Cleveland quarterback Charles Granda can tell you about the aggressive Junior Bill defenders.  He spent a good share of the game on the seat of his pants.  Granda lost a total of 40 yards when he was kept on the run on attempted passes by strong Junior Bill rushers led by Mike Wiese, Jim Twombly, Kevin O'Toole, Fred Daues and Bill Ziegler."[10]

SLUH put two touchdowns on the scoreboard in the second quarter.  The first came on the third play of the period when quarterback Doug McDonald connected with Tim Leahy on a 12-yard strike.  Leahy drifted into the flat, took the pass from McDonald on the five, and hustled into the end zone just inside the out-of-bounds flag.[11]

Coach Martel used another quarterback, Dan Calacci, for the next touchdown.  Calacci lofted a pass that Wiese made a fingertip catch of over the head of Rivituso for a 35-yard gain to the one.  On the next play Bob Thibaut plunged over for the score.[12]

The Junior Bills got their final touchdown early in the fourth period.  A 15-yard penalty for holding had set the team back to the 31.  McDonald then sent Tom Schoeck out for a short pass that Schoeck took over his shoulder and scooted down the sideline.  He was tackled by Cleveland's Tim McCraw at the one, but squirmed free and twisted in to score.[13]

"Our defense has looked good in practice," said Coach Martel, "but you can't really tell much there until you play a game.  . . .  Our kids react well and as long as they can cover their responsibilities we could have a heckuva year with this defense of ours.  I'll admit it.  I'm really pleased, I mean really."[14]

Just as the varsity squad as a team no doubt did their fallen classmate, Ed Hawk, extremely proud this first game of the 1970 season, individually SLUH end Mike Wiese also honored his older brother who had been killed in the Vietnam War earlier in the year.  Mike was selected "Lineman of the Week" by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  According to Jerry Stack:  "Wiese disguises himself as a mild-mannered offensive end, one who doesn't do much besides blocking his man or catching a pass.  Saturday he caught a 35-yard pass that set up one of St. Louis U. High's touchdowns in a 21-0 victory over Cleveland.  But the real damage he did was on defense where he led the rush that threw the Cleveland quarterback for losses totaling 40 yards.  Three times he was the culprit."[15]

"So how big is our behemoth lineman? his coach Paul Martel asked.  "Now this will fool you," responded Coach Martel to his own question.  "He's only 6 feet and 172 pounds, but he'll play with any of 'em.  He's a dandy."[16]  [Now I know why, years later on an occasion when I was in Coach Martel's office during my senior season, when I also happened to play both offensive and defensive end, and coincidentally at exactly 6 feet and 172 pounds (if you count the seven pounds of weights I had tucked under my gym shorts at the official weigh-in for the season), Coach Martel said that I "reminded him of Mike Wiese."  He wasn't talking about the "he'll play with any of 'em" and "he's a dandy" parts; he was talking about my height and weight!]

Coach Martel did not stop there in praising the bespectacled senior to Jerry Stack of the Post-Dispatch.  "He just played an outstanding ball game. We will be expecting him to do this all the time."[17]   

Friday, September 18, vs McCluer (at Ferguson Junior High)                             

McCluer, the Missouri class 4A champ and No. 2 team in the Post-Dispatch prep poll last year, yet in rebuilding mode this season, was SLUH's next opponent.  If there was ever an occasion to utilize the cliché "be careful not to read your own press clippings," this may just been that occasion.  McCluer toppled the Junior Bills, 14-6, with two fourth-quarter scores.  As chronicled by the Post-Dispatch's Jerry Stack, "though it dominated play throughout, McCluer was thwarted by fumbles and trailed the Junior Bills, 6-0, when Doug McDonald hit Errol Patterson for a 40-yard scoring play early in the final quarter, giving SLUH a 6-0 lead.  The kick failed."[18]

"McCluer quarterback Steve Pisarkiewicz went McDonald 27 yards better as he threw to Wally Feutz for a 67-yard scoring play.  Pisarkiewicz, who completed 10 of 20 passes for 279 yards, then kicked the go-ahead point for a 7-6 Comet lead.  A 35-yard pass play from Pisarkiewicz to Steve Barth accounted for the other Comet touchdown."[19]

As a result of its victory over SLUH, and no doubt based on the reputation it had built over the previous two seasons, McCluer immediately rose to the number 1 position in the Missouri Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association's weekly high school football poll, after playing only one game.  CBC was second.  SLUH was not ranked in the Top 10.[20]

Saturday, September 26, vs Assumption (East St. Louis, Il)

SLUH bounced back the next week by blanking East St. Louis Assumption, 29-0, to begin Bi-State Conference play.  It was a windy day and the game was played on a muddy field.  Bill Ziegler rushed for 98 yards on 12 carries, and had two touchdowns.  Bob Thibaut also scored on a 52-yard run around right end.    

Friday, October 2, vs Hickman (Columbia, MO)

SLUH jumped to a 9-0 halftime lead and outscored the Kewpies 16-13 in the last half to take the win, 25-13.  SLUH completed only one pass for the night, a 60-yard touchdown toss from Doug McDonald to Tim Leahy in the first quarter.  The headline in the Post-Dispatch the next morning read:  "Junior Bills Stun Hickman."[21]  The article continued:  "Coach Martel and the St. Louis U. High Junior Bills traveled halfway across Missouri to tackle the third-ranked team in the state last night and returned with a smile.  Not to mention a Kewpie doll.  . . .  The Jr. Bills rolled up 199 yards rushing to Hickman's 92, cashed in on Hickman errors and used the placekicking of Tim Gibbon to take a 25-6 lead at one point in the fourth quarter."[22]

Friday, October 9, vs Cahokia (Cahokia, Il)

SLUH's next shut out was against Cahokia, 30-0, with 394 yards of total offense to just 48 for the Comanches.  Errol Patterson intercepted two Cahokia passes, and also caught two touchdown passes, one each from Doug McDonald and Dan Calacci.[23]

Sunday, October 18, vs DeSmet (at O'Fallon Tech)

Bill Ziegler scored two long touchdowns, on a 70-yard run from scrimmage and the other a 55-yard return of a pass interception, as the Junior Bills remained unbeaten in Bi-State Conference play with a 27-7 romp over DeSmet.  SLUH, now 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the league, also received TDs from Tom Milford on a 41-yard interception return and from Errol Patterson on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Dan Calacci.  It was Patterson's fifth touchdown reception of the season.[24] 

Sunday, October 25, vs Augustinian (O'Fallon Tech)

The headline in the Post-Dispatch on Monday, October 26, read:  "Jr. Bills Bombard Augustinian."  The article continued:  "St. Louis U. High's steamroller grounded out 412 yard yesterday as the Junior Bills ran over Augustinian, 50-0, in a Bi-State Conference Game.  The Junior Bills, fourth-ranked in the Post-Dispatch's large-school poll, are 3-1 in the Bi-State and 6-1 overall."[25]

Saturday, October 31, vs Althoff (Belleville, Il)

Escaping with their fifth shutout of the season, 6-0 vs Althoff, Paul Martel's comments following the first game of the season were beginning to ring true:  "Our kids react well and as long as they can cover their responsibilities we could have a heckuva year with this defense of ours.  I'll admit it.  I'm really pleased, I mean really."[26]

In a late Saturday game, SLUH remained unbeaten in Bi-State Conference play and raised its overall mark to 7-1.  The Jr. Bills twice stopped Althoff inside the 10-yard line,[27] and scored the only touchdown of the game on a Dan Calacci to Tom O'Shaughnessy 14-yard pass with about three minutes remaining in the first quarter. 

Friday, November 6, vs CBC (Busch Stadium II)

The headline in the Post-Dispatch before the homecoming game read:  "Junior Bills Favored, So Signs Point to CBC."  "This can be bad omen," said SLUH coach Paul Martel.  "Normally, the favored team never wins.  . . .  When we get together, you have to throw everything out the window."[28]  Jerry Stack of the Post-Dispatch then zeroed in on the key statistics leading into the game:  "The Cadets, with six shutout victories, have allowed an average of 2.5 points a game--lowest in the area.  The Junior Bills, with five shutouts, are seventh in the area in defense, having yielded an average of 4.3 points a game."[29]

"Whoever plays the best defense should win," Martel said.  "Both teams are going to have to fight one another on offense.  No one is going to run over anybody.  Certainly, we're not going to chew 'em up and spit 'em out.  I think their best bet is a passing game.  Whenever they're in trouble, they go to [Bob] Sheahan."[30]  "The Junior Bills are not without stars of their own," Jerry Stack continued.  "There's Al Fahrenhorst (6-0, 199) and Tom Schoeck (6-1, 166).  'These guys merit attention,' said Martel.  'Just look at what we've done against the running game.  And there's Fred Daues (6-3, 215) and Joe Castellano (5-11, 183), too.'  Perhaps the key players for St. Louis are two-way end Mike Wiese (6-1, 170) and linebacker-halfback Bill Ziegler (6-0, 184). 'We think the world of them,' said Martel."[31]

After one of the most exciting high school football games of the regular season, the headline in the Post-Dispatch read: "'What's-His-Name' is Junior Bills' Hero."  Jerry Stack continued:  "Tim Gibbons, alias Dave Ortmann, alias No. 23, is the forgotten man of the St. Louis U. High football roster.  No.  Make that the unknown man."

"Gibbons is the man who kicked the deciding point for the Junior Bills in last night's 14-13 victory over Christian Brothers at Busch Stadium.  But many of the 18,351 persons at the game didn't know that.  Sure, they knew that it was Tim Leahy who pulled in a Dan Calacci pass at the CBC 20-yard line and raced to the end zone.  The play covered 49 yards and put the Jr. Bills in front, 6-0, early in the second quarter.  The extra point made the score 7-0."

"The fans knew that it was CBC's Bob Sheahan who took the second-half kickoff at his own 9-yard line and raced down the right sideline for the touchdown that enabled the Cadets to tie the score, 7-7.  And they knew, too, that it was Jim Dohr, a reserve junior end, who hauled in a Calacci pass at midfield and outran the CBC defender to the end zone, completing an 80-yard pass play that tied the score, 13-13, with 4:24 left in the game."

"But for all they knew, it was Dave Ortmann, No. 23, the soccer-style kicker, who had kicked the extra point that won the game.  But it was Tim Gibbons, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound sophomore, who kicked the extra points for St. Louis.  Some of the fans were simply misled by the fact that Gibbons was wearing No. 23 and the program listed No. 23 as belonging to Ortmann." Gibbons, a star quarterback on the SLUH sophomore team, was called up to the varsity for kicking duties and wore a spare No. 23 jersey, and was not listed in the program.

Jerry Stack continued:  "After the game, Paul Martel, the St. Louis coach, was in tears.  'Ever see a grown man cry?' he asked through his tears.  'I don't know.  I guess you can express happiness in many ways.  But I can't recall crying after a game before.'  While Martel lost his poise in St. Louis' headquarters afterwards, neither he nor his team lost any poise during the game."

"The Jr. Bills made only two first downs the second half after moving the ball with ease the first two quarters against CBC.  ('CBC's weight advantage was starting to take its toll,' said Martel.)  But St. Louis kept plugging away.  Altogether, St. Louis gained 122 yards rushing and 208 passing.  The bulk of those totals came in the first half.  CBC gained 156 yards rushing and 45 passing."

"Most of the game Calacci received good protection as he completed 10 of 19 passes for 208 yards.  But when he dropped back to pass on second-and-10 from his own 20-yard line, the protection wasn't there.  Four menacing Cadets were just about to put their hands on Calacci when the senior quarterback threw the ball to Dohr.  A perfect pass, a perfect catch.  'A matter of inches,' said Martel with a sigh.  'Give credit to Dohr for getting the ball and to Calacci for hanging in there in the clutch.'  And, of course, give credit to Gibbons.  'He didn't make the program,' said Martel.  'We just bring him up for kicking.  But he's a dandy.  He's got a fine future in front of him.'"[32]

Friday, November 13, vs Riverview Gardens (Riverview, Mo)

Prior to the last game of the regular season vs Riverview Gardens, Gary Mueller of the Post-Dispatch wrote the following about SLUH's chances to make what was then a four-team state playoffs for the 4A title:  "DISTRICT THREE--St. Louis U. High (8-1), Ladue (6-1), Vianney (9-0), and Mehlville (7-1) all have a mathematical chance.  St. Louis U. High would have the inside track if it would beat Riverview Gardens (7-1) tomorrow night."[33]  "Inside track," but Gary Mueller was not guaranteeing SLUH anything if they won.  One cannot blame him for not wanting to explain all of the mathematical possibilities to his readers; after all, he had already graduated from high school!  

As it would turn out, it was a smart move by Gary Mueller not to guarantee SLUH the District 3 championship if they defeated Riverview Gardens.  Sure enough, the title of the article after the game read:  "Junior Billikens Win Game, But Riverview Gains Playoffs."  Of course, Riverview Gardens was not in the same district as SLUH, but you're beginning to get the point.

Once again, it was up to Jerry Stack of the Post-Dispatch to render some clarity to the situation, after the game:  "Paul Martel was talking about the complexity of the Missouri playoff ratings and the possibilities of his St. Louis U. High Junior Billikens gaining a playoff berth.  'It's like playing cards,' he said, referring to all the variables.  Last night, Martel played out his hand and won, 15-7 at Riverview Gardens.  The victory gives the Jr. Bills no worse than a 14.60 playoff rating in District Three if Class 4A  --  but no assurance of a playoff berth."

"Riverview, despite the loss, clinched the playoff berth in District Four of Class 4A  . . .  Martel and his Jr. Bills must now wait until three other hands are dealt before they can start preparing for a rematch with Riverview next Saturday in the semifinal game of Class 4A.  Ladue (6-1) is the only team that can top St. Louis' playoff rating.  But for Ladue to represent District Three it must beat Parkway Central (5-3) and hope that Cleveland (5-4) loses or ties against Southwest (7-2) and Augustinian (4-5) loses or ties against Althoff (2-5-1).  Any other combination would send SLUH to the playoffs."

"So which team will Martel go to see today as he crosses his fingers?  Will he see Augustinian, Cleveland or Ladue?  'I'm gong to root for Lindbergh and watch my son play,' he said.  'I haven't seen him play all year.  Besides, I don't have to scout Riverview.'"[34]

Jerry Stack of the Post-Dispatch continued:  "Should St. Louis (9-1) play Riverview (7-2) next week, Martel gladly will settle for a replay of last night's battle.  'Wasn't it something?' he said.  'If we play again it should be a helluva spectator's game.'  Riverview coach Gerald Nordman agreed.  'I thought it was a good spectator's game, especially when it was 7-7.'  That was when Kevin Arnold crashed across the goal line from one yard away and Mike Walters kicked the extra point with 7 minutes 31 seconds left in the second quarter.  St. Louis had scored first when Dan Calacci rolled out on a 47-yard touchdown run with 1:29 left in the opening quarter.  Tim Gibbons kicked the extra point."

"'How'd they get that second touchdown?' Nordman asked afterward.  Of course, Nordman knew it was Bill Ziegler who capped an 80-yard drive with a two-yard scoring plunge with 10:50 to go in the game.  . . .  It was the only drive that either team could muster all night.  Ziegler was the chief culprit.  He picked up 52 of the 80 yards (15 other yards were walked off on one of only two penalties called during the game) and Ziegler carried the ball on 10 of 13 plays in the march."

"'It was almost a must that Ziegler score the touchdown,' Martel said.  'He was the one who punched it out.  And you have to remember that it takes a lot of sap out of you when you're playing both ways.'  But after Ziegler scored, Gibbons' kick was a bit wide to the right."

"On the ensuing kickoff, the Jr. Bills added two points on a safety.  Joe Nolfo bobbled the kickoff at the 10-yard line and before he knew what had happened, St. Louis' Jack Licata tackled him in the end zone," making the final score 15-7.

"'It was just one of those games,' Nordman said.  'They deserved to win.  I hope we can profit by our mistakes if we play them again, but I don't know what we would do differently.'"

"Which team would Nordman rather play?  St. Louis or Ladue?  'It doesn't make any difference to me,' he said.  'But I'm sure the kids would like to have another shot at St. Louis.  Isn't it something, though, that you gotta lose to get into the playoffs?  Hey, maybe we can lose next week and go to the state final.'"[35]

The next day SLUH got the boost it needed when Ladue, the only team remaining with a chance of beating out the Junior Bills, was beaten by Parkway Central, 21-0.[36]

Saturday, November 21, vs Riverview Gardens (Francis Field)

Tom Barnidge of the Post-Dispatch set the stage for SLUH's rematch with Riverview Gardens:  "When Riverview and St. Louis U. High meet again at 1:30 tomorrow at Washington University's Francis Field in a semifinal game of the Missouri Class 4A playoffs, Riverview coach Gerald Nordman is expecting the Junior Bills to do some passing . . ..  'You can bet they're going to do something different,' Nordman said.  'I look for them to throw.  They were successful passing earlier in the season.  But we'll be prepared for anything.'"

"Against Riverview, Bill Ziegler, with 88 yard in 19 carries, and Tom Schoeck were the mainstays on offense.  Riverview's leading rusher was Kevin Arnold, who carried the ball 20 times and gained 78 yards."

"During the season, Riverview (7-2) has been a grind-it-out team, using Arnold and a cloud of dust.  St. Louis U. High (9-1) has been inconsistent at times on offense.  The Junior Bills have used the big play and sound defense to win their games.  'That was one of our problems against St. Louis,' said Nordman.  'We didn't get the big play.'"[37]                  '

Tom Barnidge also had the honor of describing the game itself:  "Sophomore Tim Gibbons, whose 40-yard field goal in the third quarter boosted St. Louis University High to a 10-7 victory over Riverview Gardens yesterday in a Missouri 4A semifinal game at Francis Field, received a loud roar of appreciation from Junior Billiken fans.  One of the Junior Bill chants, which is a rhythmic chant of school colors 'blue . . . white . . . blue . . . white,' was changed to 'sophomore . . . Gibbons . . . sophomore . . . Gibbons."

"But the fans knew that Gibbons' clutch boot was only one of many things they had to be thankful for yesterday.  There was a demoralizing first half, which saw Junior Bill quarterback Dan Calacci fumble twice at the Riverview 10-yard line, but which had not destroyed the Junior Bills' spirit.  There was a clipping penalty, which followed a 44-yard first quarter dash by Riverview's Gary Brewer, stalling what could have been the Rams' second touchdown drive."

"Most important, in the eyes of Junior Bill coach Paul Martel, they could be thankful that Riverview attempted and fell short in a fourth down-and-inches situation from its 35 late in the third period.  'That was the big break of the game,' Martel said.  Six plays later, after the Bills had penetrated to the Riverview 24, Gibbons unloaded the game-deciding boot."

"It was fullback Kevin Arnold who was stopped short on the crucial fourth-down play, and halfback Brewer who had pestered the Bills in the Riverview-dominated first half.  Riverview outgained the Bills, 86 yards to 31 on the ground in the first two periods.  The Rams held a 160-85 advantage in total offense."

"When the Bills, who failed to make a first down until midway through the second quarter, did mount a drive, they met frustration.  Calacci completed passes of 16, 10, 11 and 18 yards within two minutes, and his five-yard dash took the Bills within six yards of six points.  But his fumble ended the drive, and Riverview led at halftime, 7-0."

"'You've got to give Calacci credit,' Martel said after the game.  'He came back in the second half and did a good job running the offense.  It would have been easy for him to get down on himself.'  Calacci chose halfback Bill Ziegler as his primary weapon in the turnabout second half.  Ziegler, who had been held to 21 yards rushing in the first 34 minutes, picked up 43 yards in 11 carries in the second half.  That was enough ground offense to keep Riverview guessing.  Calacci went to the air for a 16-yard strike to Errol Patterson for a touchdown in the third quarter that helped tie the game.  And that score, Martel speculated, was what forced Riverview to try the fourth-down rushing play moments later."

"Martel had mixed emotions about the advantages of the back-to-back collisions.  'We got to feel them out in the first game.  We knew what their personnel could do, but it was a psychological disadvantage to have to try and beat the same team again."[38]

Saturday, November 28, vs Kansas City Center (Columbia, Mo)

Once again, Gary Mueller of the Post-Dispatch had the privilege of previewing the Class 4A Missouri State Championship, and later of describing the game itself.  

"St. Louis U. High's strong point undoubtedly is its defense, particularly against rushing.  The Junior Bills have yielded only 71.7 yards a game rushing.  But you guessed it.  Kansas City Center's big strength is its running attack, led by Rolland Fuchs and Ronnie Umphenour.  . . .All right, what about each team's second-strongest point?  For SLUH it probably is its passing attack, which has accounted for 1203 yards and 14 touchdowns in 11 games.  You guessed it again.  Center ranks its defensive secondary as its second-strongest point.  The Yellowjackets have allowed an average of only 68.1 yards a game in the air and have intercepted 24 passes.  Fuchs leads the team with six interceptions."

"Each team was concerned through most of the season because several players were going both ways and were getting worn down by the end of game.  SLUH, for instance, has outscored its opponents 131-14, in the first half, but holds only a 102-47 edge in the second half.  But that tired feeling shouldn't be a factor tomorrow, because SLUH will have at least four players going both ways and Center will have five.  . . .  St. Louis U. High's two-way starters are Errol Patterson at offensive end and defensive safety, Al Fahrenhorst at offensive end and defensive tackle, Bill Ziegler at offensive halfback and linebacker, and Tom Schoeck at fullback and linebacker.  End Mike Wiese and tackle Tim Kellett also are expected to see some double duty."

"'This is a scrappy team we have,' warned St. Louis U. High coach Paul Martel.  'We're not consistent enough to drive 80 yards and run it down the other team's throat, but we're winning.'"[39]

This is how Gary Mueller described the game itself:

"St. Louis University High's defensive pride was dented for 435 yards here today, but the Junior Bills turned two explosive kickoff returns into a 28-19 victory over Kansas City Center in the Missouri Class 4A high school championship game.  St. Louis U. High, which had relied on its defense most of the season, got the lift it needed when Errol Patterson retuned a kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown after Center's first TD, and Bill Ziegler went 85 yards for a score after Center's next touchdown.  When Center scored a third time, the Yellowjackets tried an onside kick, but SLUH recovered the ball at midfield."

"St. Louis U. High's defense did come up with a dramatic performance just before the end of the first half in what may have been the game's turning point.  Center, trailing 14-7, had a third-and-goal at the three when Ron Umphenour appeared headed for a touchdown over left tackle, but linebacker Tom Schoeck, with an assist from Tim Kellett, managed to trip up Umphenour at the one.  On fourth down, Umphenour again tried left tackle, but he was met head-on for no gain by Schoeck and Kevin O'Toole.  'I guess they thought I was the weak link in our defense,' said the 166-pound Schoeck.  'But they found out the hard way.'"

"Center, operating out of the Wishbone T, concentrated its power plays off tackle to the left, apparently trying to avoid the 183-pound Ziegler, the outstanding linebacker on the other side.  So Ziegler instead became an offensive star, scoring touchdowns of 80 yards and one yard in addition to his kickoff return.  'I scored on a 70-yard option play against DeSmet,' said Ziegler, 'but other than that, all my touchdowns have been on short power plays.  I wasn't sure whether I could go 80 yards.  I guess you have to credit the blocking.  We were just up because it was such a big game.'  Ziegler finished the day with 150 yards on the ground, 25 yards on pass receptions, 85 yards on his kickoff return, and 11 yards on a pass interception return, for a total production of 271 yards."

"Ted Beckett, Center's 6-foot-1, 179-pound flanker, rivaled Ziegler for offensive honors.  Beckett scored twice on end-arounds and added Center's third TD on a 58-yard pass reception.  Beckett picked up 60 yards rushing and 163 yards on five pass receptions."

"Center's passing game apparently caught St. Louis U. High by surprise.  But for good reason, because Center quarterback Dan Fellhour had completed only 22 of 78 pass attempts in regular-season play.  'We knew we had to expect their power offense out of wishbone,' said SLUH coach Paul Martel, 'but we didn't expect them to start throwing that soon.  They must have seen us last week against Riverview when we had some problems in pass coverage early in the game.  Today we spent most of the first half trying to get organized in the secondary.  Then when we finally adjusted, they came at us with that end around.'"

"Martel, who all year long has claimed his team did not have great speed, was not totally surprised at the two TDs on kickoff returns.  'Center was downfield in a hurry on its kick coverage,' Martel said, 'but our people reacted well and got a lot of good angles for their blocks.  It was just a question of the back hitting the hole at the right time.'"[40]  

* * *

Three and one-half months after its first summer practice and the death of their beloved classmate and Student Council Vice-President, Ed Hawk, the SLUH Class of 1971 had made good on the contract they had made with each other, to a fallen friend.  Now it was time to honor each of their classmates and all of their SLUH teachers and coaches, with the rest of their lives.  In the words of their head coach, Paul Martel, which he had included in his 1970 playbook:  Football teaches us to win.  Not just winning a game but more important, winning the great battle over ourselves.  It is not to win at all cost, but winning because we played the game by the rules, because we met our opponent fairly. and defeated him at his best.  Other important values which are intrinsic to the game of football include:  learning the meaning of and developing an appreciation for discipline, sacrifice, courage, work, determination and teamwork; for being able to get up and come back after being knocked down; for fighting to the end when others quit and are forgotten, for having given so much that you cannot give anymore--but you do; and for having the confidence and "heart," so that when the occasion calls for doing the impossible, you will do it.

The 1970 SLUH football team did just as their coach had asked. It was one "dandy" of a season!


About the Author

Jim Blase is a member of the SLUH Class of 1975.  He played football for Coach Martel and Coach Dunn. His two sons also attended SLUH and played football for the Jr. Bills. Jim previously produced the video All the Way to State, the story of the 1991 SLUH state finalist football team, which is  celebrating its 30th anniversary this fall. Jim is currently an estate planning attorney in St. Louis County.

 

Footnotes

[1] J. Castellano, Bull in the Ring: Football and Faith (2017), p. 157.

[2] Id. at p. 160.

[3] Id. at p. 241.

[4] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (September 6, 1979), p. 78.

[5] Ibid.

[6] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (September 11, 1970), p. 36.

[7] Ibid.

[8] J. Castellano, Bull in the Ring (2017), p. 228.

[9] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (September 13, 1970), p. 100.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (September 17, 1970), p. 73.

[16] Ibid.

[17]Ibid.

[18] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (September 19, 1970), p. 6.

[19] Ibid.

[20] The Daily Journal, Flat River, Missouri (September 24, 1970), p. 9.

[21] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (October 3, 1970), p. 6.

[22] Ibid.

[23] J. Castellano, supra at p. 151.

[24] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (October 19, 1970), p. 33.

[25] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (October 26, 1970), p. 35.

[26] Ibid.

[27] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 2, 1970), p. 36.

[28] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 6, 1970), p. 32.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 12, 1970), p. 33.

[34] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 14, 1970), p. 6.

[35] Ibid.

[36] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 15, 1970), p. 106.

[37]St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 20, 1970), p. 34. 

[38] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 22, 1970), p. 104.

[39] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 27, 1970), p. 22.

[40] St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 29, 1970), p. 83.




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