Coaldale 13, Tamaqua 6 – 1942

Coaldale 13, Tamaqua 6 – 1942

(by Curt Williams, Valley Gazette, October 1991)

The Tigers from Coaldale visited the home of the Blue Raiders on Friday, October 9, 1942, for a little game of football.

For most of the evening the Tigers were having the best of it and were leading 13 to nothing in the last quarter. Finally, the Tams got up enough steam to keep a drive going. In the waning moments of the game they pushed the ball over the goal line when Billy Abromitis scored on a short plunge.

That made the score 13 to 6 and the point thereafter was missed. With less than a minute to play in the game, Don Becker kicked off and the ball sailed down the field over the heads of the anxious receivers and bounced over the goal line and into the endzone area.

In 1942 that "free" ball was still in play and barreling down the field came Nick Forte, Tamaqua's center. Just as he was about to pounce on the loose ball a young spectator stepped into the endzone, picked up the ball and threw it up the field just a wee bit.

That kid deprived Forte from jumping on the ball and scoring a touchdown. After some discussion the officials ruled that the move by the spectator was interference, and, since Tamaqua was responsible for policing the field and controlling the crowd, the play was lost.

The ball was placed on the 20-yard line of Coaldale where the striped guys declared it first and ten for the Tigers. There were only 40 seconds left in the game and, after taking a penalty for delay of game, the Orange and Black went home winners.

Who's to say what would have happened if Forte could have possessed the ball in the end zone and scored. That would have made it 13 to 12. And just maybe Abromitis could have kicked the point successfully and the game would have at least ended in a tie. When you were playing against arch-rival Coaldale, kissing your sister was better than a loss. And just maybe on the ensuing kickoff after that TD there might have been a fumble, and just maybe, maybe!

Scoring for the Coaldale team that night were Dally and Vandak, who both did it with long runs, while the point-after was kicked by Dally. Just another of the sports stories the area is noted for, long forgotten, that made life in the Valley so interesting.