Looking back on homecomings of years past

Reflections - By Evelyn Long - for the Morrow County Sentinel

Homecoming at Cardington-Lincoln High School will be celebrated October 2 and it will become the 69th consecutive homecoming observed since it began in 1947.

I like to look back (reflect) because what happened then got us to today. It was September, 1947, that football returned to the Cardington School schedule after an absence of 37 years. There was much celebration with the inauguration of 11 -man football. The earlier teams had played six man.

Cardington’s only school building in 1947, on Nichols Street which serves grades K-4 today, was home to grades 1-12, and the athletic field behind that building was the baseball field and the new football field, where for the first time, lighting was installed . New steel bleachers seating 1,000 people were installed and with the placing by the school’s athletic association of 400 seats previously purchased there was seating for 1,400 persons. New steel goal posts and a 30-foot steel flag pole were installed. The field was enclosed with canvas.

The 31 man team was coached by Dennis Bell, a U S Navy veteran, newly graduated from Defiance College where he played tackle. A dedication ceremony was held before the game – attended by 1,500 persons. A parade, which began at the town park was led by the Cardington High School Band, directed by Charles Jackson and members of the Athletic Boosters and the queen and her court. During the dedication ceremony, Kathryn Nybladh, a senior, was crowned the first CHS Homecoming queen. Her court members were Betty Bennett, Jeanne Benson Patricia Barton and Paula Riggs. Rev Charles Stroh, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, gave the dedication talk and the Johnsvile High School band played. Mayor Paul Richeson presented the flag and the massed bands played the National Anthem. Coach Bell was introduced

During half time members of the earlier six man teams were introduced.

Cheerleaders were Jack Wilhelm, Edna Harris, Reita Sherman, Audrey Barton and Miss Nybladh.

The team lost to Centerbug, 20-6. Centerburg went on to become undefeated.

Cardington’s lone score came when a lateral pass from Paul Bowman to Al Roach to Hank Newcomer was good for 30 yards and the touchdown The pass after the TD was incomplete. The game was announced by Hayes Gantz of Centerburg and Wilbur McAlister, of Cardington. Officials for the game were Hinklin, Bush and Simpson.

Kent Curl, a member of the team, who was a senior, remembers the team members suffered many injuries that year. Speaking from his home in Chula Vista, California, Curl the quarterback broke his jaw, another player separated his shoulder

A substitute took over for the balance of the season for the quarterback..

“We played single wing” said Curl, who played right half back and later right end.

Curl said he remembers Coach Bell asking team members in practice sessions to line up across from each other and then pummel that team mate to toughen them up but he and his partner decided to not be too tough on each other. Curl said football was so new to team members that two of them had never even seen a game played. The only game CHS won that year was a 13-6 win over Bellville. They lost their first game to Mt Gilead 32-7. Uniforms and helmets were not of the safety quality today, said Curl.

Those first team members were Donald Clark, William Kern, Dalton Jenkins, Wilbur Gregory, Eugene Coomer, Fred Williamson Richard Sherman, Carl Barry, Charles Bean, Harold Bean, Harold Clinger, Kenneth Beveridge, Paul Irons, Carl Stevens, James Richey, Glen Saunders, Dale Stephens, Gilbert Grady, Rollie Harris, Alton Roach, Henry Newcomer, Ray Robinson, Paul Bowman, Louis Levering, William Maxwell, Gene Louderback, Don Bowman, Leroy Bennett and Curl. Managers were Clyde Shaw and Wayne Miller.

Changes and improvements have come with each homecoming but that first homecoming was very special and set the precedent for today’s celebration.

105 years ago, December, 1910: Related to the above story, it was noted in a later edition, that although six man football had been abandoned at the school, it was played outside of the school when a high school team played the town team at Thanksgiving. The high school coach, Walter Lauffer, coached the high school team which defeated the town team 15-0 but the game was called in the third quarter because DeWitt Kirkpatrick, a member of the town team, was injured.

90 years ago, September, 1925: Two Morrow County Civil War veterans had died Jacob Rinehart, 91, of Edison had served three years as a member of the Grand Army of Mt Gilead. He was in active service 18 months. Christopher Sipe, a native of Westfield, died at the age of 81. He had joined the Army at age 17 and served from 1861 to 1866 as a member of Co. G -88th Division.

68 years ago, August, 1947: Pictured were four sets of twins in one family, all delivered by Dr.E.C. Sherman. The twins were Donald Hart and Dorothy Hart Joy; Ivan Hart and Ivah Hart Denton; Reatha Hart Burson and Ruth Hart Conant and Ronda and Sondra Denton. Dr. Sherman had delivered more than 2,000 babies during more than 52 years of practice and these eight twins set a record for the number of twins delivered by him in any one family.

Evelyn Long is a correspondent with the Morrow County Sentinel and can be reached at [email protected]



By Evelyn Long

for the Morrow County Sentinel