East Liverpool Historical Society

By 1906 the East Liverpool High School maintained both a football and a track team for its students.

The History of the name Potters is taken from the Editor's Copy of as yet, unpublished book by Frank Dawson Picking Elderberries "It Was The Best of Times" A Small Town Story by Frank C. Dawson. That which follows under comes from The following comes from "Together Again" East Liverpool High School All-School Reunion. July 4, 1992.

By 1917, Jere Simms had changed the name of his paper to the The Morning Tribune. It was here, while serving as editor and publisher, that the publication was the first to refer to East Liverpool High School Athlete teams as the "Potters". Originally referred to simply as "High," The Tribune started calling them the "Pots" in 1908 and finally against Cambridge in Game Four on October 20, 1917, they became the "Potters".

Years of research have not produced another athletic team in the United States bearing the "Potter" nickname; however, East Liverpool's sister City, Stoke-on-Trent in England has assigned the name to their professional soccer team and teams at Crooksville (Ohio) High School are known as the "Ceramics." If the schools would ever compete, a glib reporter once contrived the imagined headline: "POTTERS SMASH THE CERAMICS!"

With the opening of the new high school, girls basketball was started in 1915-16. Arthur Mensforth was first coach, and in the first game ever defeated Chester, 41-14

Three former Potter opponents eventually achieved Pro Football immortality. Lou "the Toe" Groza, (Martins Ferry), Len Dawson (Alliance)and Paul Warfield (Warren) tested East Liverpool's mettle - and were defeated.

Earl Bruce, who succeeded Woody Hayes as coach at Ohio State was head coach of the Salem Quakers when they played here and beat East Liverpool in 1959.

Speaking of Woody Hayes, he brought his New Philadelphia HS football team to Patterson Field in the 1940s.

Robert Mackall "60" He was the starting Quarterback for three seasons at ELHS, capping his career in what many consider to be the school's greatest football victory against Warren Harding in 1959.

He is one of the few individuals to have received both football's Bill Booth Award and the Hi-Y Award for basketball while competing for the Blue and White. He was inducted into the ELHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987. He attended Northwestern University on a football scholarship.

Frank Dawson write in his book "We are the Potters,"As a final tribute, Mackall became the first Potter football player to take part in the Canton-based North-South game since Ernie Bell and Eddie Oliver played in 1953.

The coach of the North team in 1959 was Massillon's Leo Strong. His quarterback with the Tigers, Joe Sparma, a member of the North team, obviously got the partial call over Mackall to start the game, with the Potter representive relegated to defense.

The quarterback situation for the South team was even more cut and dried, for the coach was Pete Ankney who could not resist starting his own nephew, Moe, as the signal-caller. Years later Mackall loved to relate how he came across his Ohio High School All-Star game program and discovered that the South quarterback who was relegated to defense through nepotism was future NFL great Roger Staubaugh.

Sparma became a fine major league baseball pitcher, and Ankney played at Bowling Green, later serving as head coach at BGSU,then was a coach and defensive specialist in the NFL.

Staubaugh played himself into a Dallas Cowboy legend, and Mackall was eminently successful in everything he did.

Sports Notes


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