East Liverpool Historical Society

This article originally appeared in the 9th Annual Tri-State Pottery Festival Souvenir Booklet, June 10, 11, 12, 1976

Sports Notes

by Dave Burcham

Review Sports Editor

Outstanding sports accomplishments by local teams and athletes have left their mark on East Liverpool and the tri-state over the years.

And so as our community joins with all others in celebrating the nation's bicentennial, we'd like to briefly reflect on the contribution that sports has made in our area.

With the assistance of former Evening Review sports editors Robert Shaffer and Robert Duffy, and present sports editor Dave Burcham we have compiled a list of many of the most memorable sports happenings during the past 30 years.

We realize that it's impossible to mention each and every sporting event, but we hope to bring back many pleasant memories with many of the following highlights.

East Liverpool High School's outstanding football team of 1945 posted an 8-0-2 record and featured such outstanding performers as Henry Pack, Alonzo Spencer, Chuck Means, Dick O'Hanlon, Bulldog Jackson, Rudy Trbovich, Bob Ward and Bob McGraw.

The basketball accomplishments of the 1946 and 1947 Potter teams were astounding as the 1946 aggregation advanced to the state semifinals before bowing to Akron North by 43-39, while the 1947 squad - felled by the flu -- dropped a 47-29 decision to Middletown in the state championship game. Outstanding players of that era were Walt Ashbaugh, Jerry Hyder, Al Bailey, Frank Chan, Bill Cunningham, Bulldog Jackson and Chuck Means.

Columbiana High School, coached by John Cabas, won the Class A state basketball championship in 1947. Cabas later moved on to Salem High School and finished his coaching career in 1970 with more than 4000 victories.

Walt Ashbaugh became the first East Liverpool athlete to place in the Olympics, taking third in the hop, step and jump in the 1946 games.

The annual Tri-State basketball tournament, a great attraction, was inaugurated in the 1940's under the direction of the late Mayor Earl Greenawalt.

In football, East Liverpool and Wellsville discontinued their annual Thanksgiving Day games . . . Leetonia defeated Newell in the Pottery Bowl ... the City Baseball League flourished in the early 40's, but later expired . . . Little League, Pony League and Colt League baseball were introduced in the area.

Great achievements continued through the 1950's as Don Chadwick became the first East Liverpool High School wrestler to win a state title in 1952.

The great Bevo Francis led Wellsville basketball to new heights and later set a national record that still stands with 113 points in a single game at Rio Grande College.

Thoroughbred racing began at Waterford Park on May 19, 1951. Since its initial year, Waterford has expended from a schedule of 62 racing days to the only track in America which offers year-round programs, Waterford hosts the $50,000 West Virginia Derby each August.

Other accomplishments in 1952 saw Wells High School of Newell won the West Virginia Class B basketball championship and East Liverpool High School finish third in the state in football with a9-0-1 record. Four players from that team were named All Ohio.

Again in 1955 East Liverpool was rated third in the final football poll with a perfect 10-0 record, the school's only unblemished mark in its history. Bob Gibson was the head coach.

The 1958 Potter basketball team pulled a shocking upset of No. 1 ranked Steubenville Big Red in the finals of the sectional tournament at the Memorial Auditorium. Bernie Allen, who would later play baseball in the major leagues, played a key role in the victory.

The Potter football team of 1959[-60] got into the upset act with a 14-13 decision over top-ranked Warren Harding as the great Paul Warfield was held to 13 yards rushing by the inspired East Liverpool defense.

In 1961 Ken Cunningham was named Ohio's Player of the Year in basketball after being named all state football as a quarterback in the fall of the previous year. Cunningham went on to play at the University of Cincinnati and was recently named head coach at the University of Akron.

Carl Hoppel of Beaver Local High School astounded the state when he claimed astate wrestling title as a freshman. He was a champion as a sophomore and senior, too.

Beaver Local shocked East Liverpool by 14-12 in the first game played between the schools in 1962.

Midland's powerful basketball team of 1965, regarded by many as the finest high school team ever, completed a perfect 28-0 season with a lopsided victory over Steelton-Highspire in the state championship game. Norm Van Lier andSimmie Hill went on to play professional basketball.

East Liverpool football teams had 37-10 record in five years under Bob McNea and 56-10 in basketball under Clint McDonnell.

Jim Musuraca of East Liverpool was a two-year regular at linebacker for Notre Dame, earning All America honorable mention as a senior.

East Liverpool's Little League All Stars captured the state championship in 1970, defeating Warren in the finals.

Basketball at Midland under coach Ed Olkowski and at Wellsville under former Potter star Bob Dawson began to flourish. Midland won state titles in 1971,1973,1974 and 1976, finishing second in 1975.

Wellsville has a compiled record of 160 wins and 30 losses in nine seasons under Dawson. The Tigers were beaten in the state semifinals by eventual champion Dayton Roth.

Beaver Local track star Bob Bentz set the alltime Ohio two mile record with a clocking of 8:58.4 in All American scholastic meet in Baton Rouge, La. Later at the University of Tennessee, Bentz helped the Volunteers capture the NCAA cross country title.

Beaver Local's 1972 football team finished a perfect 10-0 record, gaining the No. 4 place in the ratings, East Liverpool's 1975 football squad compiled a 9-1 record, reaching the No. 3 spot in the poll and challenging for a state playoff berth. Two players were named All Ohio, later coach Don Charlton was named to take over at Warren Western Reserve.

Lou Holtz, who played football at East Liverpool High School in 1954, was named head coach of the NFL New York Jets after leading North Carolina State University to four straight bowl appearances and a 33-12 record.

Through 1975, we've had many memorable events in sports . . .we'll have many more . . .

Continue to The Boys of Fall


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