From the Files of

Jim McCartnery

"CHS Football & Track in 1950 & 1951 Seasons."

Coaldale Wins 26-0

Shubeck and Welsh Lead Tigers To 19th Victory Over Lansford

(Lansford Evening Record, Friday after Thanksgiving 1950)

Six thousand fans shivered through a chill, though light, snowfall yesterday afternoon at Lansford as they watched the Coaldale Tigers win easily over the Lansford Panthers 26 to 0 in the 29th renewal of their traditional Thanksgiving Day classic.

The game rang down the curtain on the 1950 season for both squads, the Coaldale eleven chalking up nine victories against one tie and one defeat. For Lansford, the defeat was the seventh this season, against two victories. The annual game was played on a field covered with a light blanket of snow, which intensified as the game progressed and brought about a number of fumbles by both squads.

Eddie Shubeck, Coaldale fullback, scored all of Coaldale’s four touchdowns by plunging through the Lansford line. He boosted his point total to 74, to beat out Mike Ebert, of Lehighton, for scoring laurels in the Panther Valley and Carbon County area.

George Welsh climaxed a brilliant football career by directing the Coaldale offensive with all the finesse of a professional “T” quarterback. Despite the slippery ball, he managed to complete 9 out of 19 aerials for 96 yards.

Outstanding on the Lansford eleven was Bobby Holmes, captain and veteran end. Holmes’ defensive work held back the Tiger tide on numerous occasions, as Coaldale tried to sweep around his side of the line.

The scrappy Karpa brothers of Coaldale brought cheers from the crowd as they took daring chances in returning punts. Marvie Evans, Lou Dignazio and Ziggy Kosciolek carried the burden of Lansford’s offensive work. The Coaldale line was a stone wall in the contest, yielding a net gain from scrimmage of only 14 yards in the contest.

In a popular gesture, Coach Al Klotz of Lansford selected Roy Heffelfinger, star fullback who was injured this season, as his homorary captain, with Holmes as playing captain. Shubeck and Welsh acted as Coaldale co-captains, won the toss and elected to receive.

Ziggy Karpa returned the kick-off to Coaldale’s 36, and when Lansford held, John Posta punted to the Panthers 34. Steve Vitek’s return punt was returned by Ziggy Karpa to Coaldale’s 40, from which point Coaldale began its first touchdown drive. Shubeck made four, then Welsh hit Bob Zebian, outstanding Tiger pass receiver, on Lansford’s 45. Fading to pass again, Welsh elected to run and got to the 32.

On the play, Lansford was penalized 15 yards for roughness, moving the ball down to the 17. Welsh crossed up the Panthers by handing off to Novitzky, who heaved an aerial to Zebian. The lanky end made a fine catch to give Coaldale a first down on the four. Shubeck crashed over from the three. Johnny Hatchko’s place-kick failed to convert, and Coaldale led 6-0.

Keep on Rolling

After an exchange of punts, Coaldale launched its second scoring drive from the Lansford 45. Welsh passed to Zebian who lateraled to Shubeck, the husky fullback, driving down to the 20. Novitsky made five, and Shubeck drove through the line to Lansford’s six as the quarter ended.

On the first play of the second period, Shubeck hit the line for six yards and a touchdown. Hatchko’s placekick put Coaldale ahead 13 to 0. After receiving the kickoff, Lansford took to the air in an effort to get back in the game, but Bernie Karpa intercepted Evans’ pass and returned to the Lansford 44.

Big Steve Butcher gave Lansford possession again by recovering Shubeck’s fumble on the Lansford 42, Then Bob Orledge, Coaldale center, recovered Ziggy Kosciolek’s fumble to give Coaldale possession on the Lansford 43. Bernie Karpa and Shubeck drove deep into Lansford territory.

Holmes Thrills Fans

When Shubeck fumbled down on the Lansford two, Bobby Holmes electrified the fans by grabbing the loose pigskin and setting sail for the far-off goal stripe.

He broke loose from several Coaldale tacklers and started down the sideline, his long legs like pistons, with only George Welsh between him and a touchdown. But out on the 35-yard line, Welsh threw a body block on Holmes just as the big end was pulling away, to drive him out of bounds. It was the last threat of the first half.

Midway through the third period, the fiercely-charging Coaldale line set up the third touchdown. Evans had faded to pass, when he was smothered by three or four linemen. The ball got away from him on the Lansford 29, and was bobbled and bounced by several players as it rolled toward the Lansford goal line. Evan Richards, Coaldale tackle, final pounced on the oval down on Lansford’s seven. Ziggy Karpa got to the four, and Shubeck plunged the remaining distance for the score. Hatchko’s placekick put Coaldale ahead 20-0.

Intercepts Pass

After Dignazio returned Hatchko’s kickoff to the Lansford 28, Evans tried a pass on the first play, but Jake Novitsky intercepted and returned to the Lansford 35. On fourth down with three to go, Welsh passed to Zebian who latereled to Shubeck, the fullback pounding down to Lansford’s two-yard line. On the next play, Shubeck scored through the line. Hatchko’s placekick failed, as Coaldale took a 26-0 lead which was to be the final score. The Panthers tried gamely to come back, but the lead was too great. Coach Andy Kalen of Coaldale put George McCartney, his end, in a new role, as the rugged speedster took several end-around plays for sizeable gains.

A rather dull final period saw Welsh pick up more than 20 yards on a quarterback sneak in a Coaldale march which settled on the Lansford 20, as the Panthers stiffened in a gallant stand. As Coaldale got another drive underway late in the game, Lou Dignazio halted the threat by intercepting Welsh’s pass on the Lansford 19. A few minutes before the game ended, tempers ruffled a bit and one boy from each squad was sent to the sidelines by the officials. The rhubarb was short-lived, however, and at the game’s end, the Lansford players in a sportsmanlike gesture congratulated the Coaldale team for its fine game.


Pupils of the Coaldale public schools will enjoy a long holiday over this weekend as a result of their 26-0 victory over Lansford yesterday.

Nesquers Snap Coaldale Streak 6 to 0

(Evening Record, Lansford, PA, Monday, October 23, 1950)

Nesquers score in first period and cling to lead by great defense

Playing inspired ball from the opening kickoff, the Nesquehoning High School Maroons achieved a feat that no other team has been able to duplicate since early in 1948 – they defeated the Coaldale Tigers, doing it by a score of 6 to 0 before some 4,500 fans at Nesquehoning Saturday afternoon.

In staging the biggest upset of the season, the Nesquers accomplished several important deeds: They knocked Coaldale from the leadership of the southern division, Eastern Conference; they handed Coach Andy Kalen his first defeat since he took over the reins at Coaldale in September, 1949; they stopped Coaldale’s unbeaten streak at 23 – one of the longest on record among scholastic teams in the state.

The Nesquers scored on a weird pass play in the first period, then gallantly held back the Tigers for the remainder of the game. And the Nesquehoning and Coaldale fans both agreed that George Welsh’s receivers let the star Coaldale quarterback down badly, muffing several scoring opportunities.

Each Nesquehoning boy played a fine game, under the able leadership of their rugged fullback and captain, Teddy Drigan. The triumph was one of the greatest in Coach Tony Mezza’s career.

The Old Off-Side Play

The game was full of surprises and thrills. Nesquehoning pulled its first of very smart plays early in the first period, following several exchanges. With fourth down coming up and a yard to go for a first at midfield, they lined up for a running play. Then the entire line pulled out, yanking Coaldale’s line offside to give the Maroons a five-yard penalty gain and a first down.

The play was one of a number of fine plays executed during Nesquehoning’s first period touchdown march from its own 26. Ted Drigan ripped off several substantial gains through the line, Johnny Feddock and Bobby Coombe contributing a lot of yardage around the ends.

But the Tiger line held when the ball advanced to scoring territory. It was fourth down and 14 on the Coaldale 20 when the strangest play of the game—the play that won the contest—was executed.

Feddock faded back to pass. He was being rushed, and spotted his right end, Bob Foster, on about the five-yard line. So he rifled a pass in Foster’s direction, but the lanky end was unable to catch it. He did make a desperate leap high in the air, and managed to tip the ball enough to cause it to sail crazily toward the goal line. A startled Nesquehoning quarterback, Joe Damiano, saw the pigskin sailing his way. He dove for the ball and caught it in the end zone. It was a touchdown, the only touchdown of the game. Damiano’s try for conversion was blocked. Nesquehoning led 6 to 0, and the score was to remain unchanged.

Drive 56 Yards

Coaldale came right back with a 56-yard drive that just missed a score. Eddie Shubeck ably carried the ball. George Welsh hit Ziggy Karpa with a long pass. And Welsh himself carried the ball for 12 yards to put the ball in scoring position.

Coaldale had a fourth down with four to go on Nesquehoning’s seven when the TD pass failed. Welsh sailed an aerial to George McCartney but the end was unable to make the difficult catch. The Nesquers pulled out of danger, whereupon Coaldale came right back to threaten again.

They marched from Nesquehoning’s 40 down to the 12 before a scoring threat. Welsh pitched a strike to McCartney, who took it on the dead run. Although he was only two or three steps from the goal line, he elected to lateral the ball to a teammate, as one Nesquehoning man was between him and the goal line. The lateral was wild, and when it finally stopped tumbling around, Nesquehoing was camped on the ball on its own 19.

Knock At Door Again

After Drigan kicked out of danger, Coaldale came on for a third time to knock on the door. Starting from the Nesquehoning 35, they moved swiftly down to the Nesquehoning two yard line on line plays.

Unable to gain through the line, Welsh hit Ronnie Richards with a perfect pass, only to see the young halfback drop the ball in the end zone. On the next pass play, Welsh was rushed by a determined Nesquehoning line, and had to hurry his toss. Bob Walls grabbed the pigskin in his own end zone, and set sail for the faraway Coaldale goal line. No one was in his way, and he had plenty of blockers. But just as he got to his own 35, he tripped and fell over one of his own blockers.

Before Nesquehoning could try a play from scrimmage, the half ended.

The Nesquers staged a ground-attack drive from their own 35 to Coaldale’s 35 after taking the kickoff, only to lose possession when Ziggy Karpa recovered Coombe’s fumble.

Nesquers Threaten

After an exchange of punts, it was Nesquehoning’s turn to threaten late in the third period. The entire forward wall rushed in on Posta as he attempted to punt for Coaldale, and the Nesquers had a first and ten on the Tiger 34. Seizing the opportunity, they struck swiftly. Drigan’s jump pass to Foster was good to the 20. Coombe made 6, and Drigan moved the ball to Coaldale’s 8. Then the husky fullback plowed down to the five as the quarter ended.

A line smash by Drigan gave Nesquehoning another yard, and Coombe added two more. But the Coaldale line was like a stone wall. It didn’t budge. On the last attempt to score, Coombe was thrown for a loss back to the five.

From this dangerous position, Welsh stole a page out of professional football’s book. He saw the Nesquehoning defense bunched in close, so he faded back into his own end zone and threw a pass to Bob Zebian who got to the 20. Another pass to Zebian advanced to the 35. Then another unusual play turned the tide in Nesquehoning’s favor.

Grab Bobbled Ball

Nesquehoning’s line was rushing Welsh now. They knew if they could keep that rifle arm off balance, they would win. Just as the quarterback was getting off a pass, he was hit, and the ball shot straight up in the air. Gene Skerchock was alert for Nesquehoning, and grabbed the loose ball before it hit the ground. So Nesquehoning had a first down on Coaldale’s 25.

They got to the 15 before they were held for downs. Just then the four-minute signal was given, and Nesquehoning settled down to play a safe, cautious game. They held Welsh in check as the Coaldale back again took to the air in desperation. Neither team approached scoring territory and when the whistle blew to end the game, Nesquehoning had possession on its own 35.

As the official tossed the ball into the air, the stands erupted with Nesquehoning fans and musicians. Weary gridiron gladiators were mauled and kissed. The band and fans were throwing hats, batons and sundry items into the air. In the dressing room, it was wide grins and congratulations, as Coach Tony Mezza and his gallant youngsters, who pulled two big upsets in as many weeks, accepted the fitting praise of their supporters.

Valley Boys Qualify for State Finals.
Shown are the Panther Valley athletes who won first places in Saturday's (circa 1951) District Eleven meet at Pottsville. As a result, they automatically qualified to compete in the Class B finals at Penn State College this Saturday. In the front row, left to right: Bobby Thomas, Summit Hill, half-mile and mile winner; Eddie Cochran, Summit Hill, javelin; and, Joe Radocha, Lansford, shot put and high jump. Back row, left to right: Johnny Stefanich, Summit Hill, 200-yard low hurdles; George McCartney, Coaldale, 440; Pete Shears, Lansford, broad jump; and, Johnny Eickoff, Summit Hill, pole vault. Missing from the photo is Lauriano Paulo, of Coaldale, who tied Joe Radocha for honors in the high jump. Both boys cleared 5 feet, 8 inches. (McCall Publications Photo)

Coaldale High's Mile Relay Artists.
These five spiked-shoe artists, who comprise this year's one-mile relay team, carried Coaldale High School's hopes into today's (April 30, 1949) Penn Relays at Philadelphia. Left to right: Ted Lithgow, Joe Kerak, Bill (Honeyboy) Evans, George McCartney and Lauriano Paulo. With the exception of Lithgow, who made the trip as an alternate, the entire team will be back in harness again next season.

Annual All- Sports Banquet

The coaches, main speaker, toastmaster and team captains of Coaldale athletic teams are shown at the annual all-sports banquet of the school held last night (circa 1951) in the First Congregational Church, Coaldale. Pictured, front row, left to right, are: George McCartney, track captain and varsity football end; Jim Tatum, head grid coach at the University of Maryland, main speaker; George Welsh, football and basketball captain and one of the top quarterbacks in Coaldale history; and, Ben Mitchell, president of the school board. Second row, same order, are: Wilbur Berger, assistant football and track coach and principal of the high school; Andy Kalen, head football coach and basketball coach; Randolph B. Harvey, supervising principal and toastmaster; and, Ted Lithgow, Sr., head track coach and assistant basketball mentor. (Evening Courier Photo)