| Nesquehoning High School's
first football team was fielded in the Fall of 1923. Coached by John
Dietrich, it comprised such athletes as Bill Griffith, Harold Welsh,
Bill McGeehan, Tom Ronemus, Dominic Greco, Bill Eckert, George Roscoe,
Bob Taney, Francie McGorry, Mike Guida, Vic Skakandy, Winfield Morgan,
James Treweek, Leroy Bock, Vince York and Bill James. Eckert served as
the team's captain. The team lost six games, tied one and scored only 12
points all season.
Earl Smull was the principal and faculty
manager at that time.
Dietrich, a Reading product, coached only one
year. "Windy" Smith took over the reins in 1924 and held the
post until 1927. Hen Bouck, who starred with the famous Coaldale Big
Greens, handled the job in 1928, then Jake Wolfersberger stepped in and
held command for four seasons. Wolfersberger produced three Carbon-Schuylkill
League champions-1929, 1930 and 1931.
The players who comprised the first
title-winning team were Alvin Williams, John Malatak, Mike Hudicka,
Stephen Pancoe, James Tout, Gabriel Wasas, Steve Kusko, George Greco,
Pete Charnak, John Grainger, John Mashishock, Bill Bincarowsky, John
Hotsko, Johnny Kusko, Joe Macaluso, John Runtack, John Quashnock, Bob
Brooks, John Shimshick, Lou Beneck, Tom Mulligan, Harry Griffith,
Herbert Large, Nick Brunda, John Kuzma, James Kishbaugh, Mike Marcin and
Hudicka furthered his education at East
Stroudsburg and was named a first-string tackle on the All-State team in
his senior year. Kusko won All-America mention at Temple and later
played with the Philadelphia Eagles. Ferko also saw service with the
Tony Mezza, who started as a blocker for the
great Clark Hinkle at Bucknell University arrived on the scene in 1932.
Mezza's 1932 edition tied Summit Hill for the Carbon-Schuylkill League
title and his 1933 team won the crown. The 1933 eleven holds the scoring
record, having racked up a total of 242 points, ten more than the great
1947 club which "blew" the Southern Division title by losing
to Hazle Township.
The 1946 boys had the distinction of winning
the Southern Division crown. However, they were defeated by Scranton
Tech, Northern Division titleholder, in the playoff for the Eastern
Conference banner at Scranton. The 1945 team finished runner-up to
One of the first Nesquehoning players to gain
statewide recognition was Bobby Lazorchick, who received honorable
mention as a center on the 1942 All-State team. In 1945, Metro Yurchak
was honored as an end on the All-State second team. His teammates, Mike
Kurash and Bobby Drigan, received honorable mention.
Vic Mikovich, speedy backfield star, made the
All-State team in 1946. Lou Higgins and Billy Feddock received honorable
mention that year. The next season, 1947, Higgins was honored with a
spot on the first team. Mike Feddock and George Macinko gained honorable
mention. Gene Watto, a guard, made the 1948 All-State second team.
Yurchak went on to Lock Haven Teachers College,
Mikovich and Drigan to Penn, the Feddock boys to Temple, Higgins to
Duke, Watto to Fordham and Macinko to Idaho.
Higgins established the scoring record for the
school, chalking up 119 points in 1947.
In 1957 Coach Mezza finished his 25th year of
coaching at Nesquehoning High School as the Warriors defeated their arch
rival Lansford 53 to 6. Eddie Kocha broke the Panther Valley scoring
record by scoring four touchdowns to raise his seasonal total to 140
points. He also broke the school scoring record set by All-State Lou
Higgins in 1947.
The worst defeat suffered by a Nesquehoning
team came during the 1928 season when Tamaqua posted a 75-0 decision.
Nesquehoning's most overwhelming triumph, 72-0, was registered at the
expense of Freeland in 1933.
As we glance over this
revered record, we find one name is outstanding - Anthony J. Mezza. For twenty-nine years Mr. Mezza was the astute head football
coach of Nesquehoning High School. This highly-respected coach came to
Nesquehoning from Bucknell University, where he had received statewide
acclaim and recognition in New York State during his high school career
at Rome Free Academy, Rome, New York, where he was a 4-letter man in
athletics and was named to the All-State football team for three
straight years. Mr. Mezza also gained New York All-State recognition in
throwing the shot put. An advocate of the single-wing formation, Mr.
Mezza's teams have an impressive record of victories. He knew football
rules and regulations down to the smallest detail. When he argued a
point with an official, he knew what he was talking about. He believed
in long, rugged practice session to whip his boys into shape, and as a
result his team injuries were remarkably few. Mr. Mezza was strict and
precise in his guidance and demanded obedience from all. His precise and
well-drilled teams looked good even in defeat. He never coached a team
that quit or relaxed on the field. He encouraged a fierce, competitive
spirit; above all, his boys respected and admired him. We will always
remember those hard-fought, exciting games. No one will ever forget his
famous and always popular "offside play," when his entire line
shifted before the ball was passed to draw his opponents offsides to
gain that much needed five yards. The crowds loved this, but many
opposing players down the years will remember how frustrated they felt
as five yard penalty was paced off against them. To win a hard-fought
victory against a Mezza coached team was considered an achievement. Mr.
Mezza also coached the highly rated Nesquehoning Hurricanes, a
semi-professional team of 1946-47-48, which won 32 games against a
single loss. When Coach Mezza's name is mentioned it revives many memories - a memory of
those famous half-time pep talks - a memory of Mr. Mezza, resplendent in
a well-tailored suit and startling cravat, elegant from his broad
shoulders right down to his well-shined shoes striding out on the field
to fight for his players.
The last 3 years (1962,1963,1964) of Football
at Nesquehoning were coached by Edward Wojciechowski.
Click on pictures to enlarge.
One of Nesquehoning's best teams.
| The 1946-47 Southern Division
champions of the Eastern Football Conference was Nesquehoning High. The
title team is pictured above with head coach Tony Mezza. The Nesquers
won the division with an 8-0-1 record but lost the title to Northern
Division champion Scranton Tech by a 13-7 score. The team won fame for
winning the Southern Division title with only three veterans, what they lacked in experience, the
Maroon and Gold squad of Nesquehoning High replaced with grit and
Tony Mezza built a strong and winning team. The team went through
conference competition undefeated, six of their opponents went
scoreless, scoring 205 points to 44 for the opponents, piled up more
than 2,000 yards from scrimmage, made 117 first downs and completed
almost half of the total passes thrown. Nesquehoning was unbeaten in 17
straight Eastern Conference contests. The team scored 362 points while
holding the opposition to 58. In their string of 17 straight, the
Nesquers blanked 12 of its rivals. Two players on this team went on to
be honored as two of Pennsylvania’s best, when Vic Mikovich and Lou
Higgins were named to the All-State Scholastic Grid. Gene Watto made
All-State second team and Billy Feddock, Mike Feddock and George Macinko
gained honorable mention. First row: Charlie Dankanich, Frank
Porvaznik, Joe Ouly, Richard Bubon, Joe Kurash, Nelson Tonkin, Marty
Kovich, Ray Choley and Frank Krajcir. Second row: Lou Higgins, Frank
Troiana, Andy Sweetak, Mike Feddock, George Macinko, Jim McCann, Leo
Drosdak, Vic Mikovich, Gene Shelhimer and Pete Spinella. Third row: Gene
Watto, Bill Feddock, Ed Kusko, John Artuso, Ted Epton, Joe Span, Bob
Pathroff, Joe Canzoneri, John Kulick, Eddy Koval, Joe Malyniak and Coach
September 28, 1946 Nesquehoning vs. Easton
October 5, 1946 Nesquehoning vs. St. Clair
| Nesquehoning's stunning 39-12
victory over St. Clair moved the Mezzamen into third position in the
Southern Division of the Eastern Scholastic football conference, and
Nesquehoning supporters will be out in mass Saturday when their heroes
stack up against Tom Raymer's Coaldale Tigers.
October 12, 1946 Nesquehoning vs. Coaldale
| Nesquehoning is Winner, 13-7,
Over Coaldale. The Maroons of Nesquehoning High yesterday afternoon
barely edged the Coaldale Tigers, 13-7, in their gridiron game played
before 3,500 spectators in Nesquehoning High's stadium. The game was one
of the most evenly contested Panther Valley-Carbon County Scholastic
football contests played this season.
Highlight of the contest was an 88-yard
touchdown run by flashy Vic Mikovich, Nesquer halfback, after taking the
opening kickoff. Not an opponent was able to get his hands on the shifty
ball carrier as he scooted down the right side of the field to score.
Fullback Lou Higgins kicked the extra point.
An intercepted lateral pass caught by Nesquer's
alert quarterback, Joe Canzoneri, late in the first quarter started the
victors on their second touchdown march. Intercepting the pass on
Coaldale's 30 yard line. Canzoneri was downed on the 24 yard stripe. A
series of line bucks plus a five yard penalty, placed the Nesquers on
the one yard stripe. Lou Higgins plunged over for the score early in the
second period. His attempted placekick was blocked.
Pushing the Nesquers deep into their own
territory, the Tigers took over after an exchange of punts late in the
second period on Nesquehoning's 27 yard line. With Bill Hook, Joe Zenko
and Vince Santolini carrying the mail, the Tigers worked the ball to the
13 yard line where Santolini went off tackle on a reverse to score
standing up. Bob Praskac's placekick was good to make the score
Coaldale's hard running backs Geno Poli, Vince
Santolini, Bill Hook and Bob Barry played heads-up ball for the losers
while Bill Feddock, Mikovich, Higgins and Joe Canzoneri of the
Nesquehoning squad provided some expert ball handling.
Yesterday's defeat for the Coaldale lads was
their first of the season. The Tigers held first place in the Southern
Division of Eastern Scholastic Football Conference with Nesquehoning
holding second spot prior to yesterday. The win by Nesquehoning will
have a definite bearing of Conference standings.
October 18, 1946 Nesquehoning vs. Tamaqua
NESQUERS DEFEAT TAMS, 37-0
| Scoring in every period,
Coach Tony Mezza's Nesquehoning High eleven evolved a decisive 37-0
victory over Tamaqua's Blue Raiders.
The Nesquers had 19 first downs to Tamaqua's 5,
gaining 239 yards through scrimmage.
Coach Ken Millen's team was never in the game
after Bill Feddock had plunged for the first Nesquehoning score
following a sustained 61pyard drive on the opening kickoff.
Intercepting Tamaqua passes and proving
resourceful in all departments, the Mezzamen completely outclassed the
Vic Mikovich, Nesquehoning's outstanding
backfield star, had a sensational 80-yard romp in the last period on an
intercepted pass from McLaughlin.
October 26, 1946 Nesquehoning vs. Mt. Carmel
| Nesquehoning beats Mt. Carmel,
34-0. Mikovich scores three times as mates win 6th. Vic Mikovich, the
Black Hills Express, had the throttle wide open again Saturday as his
Nesquehoning High School grid mates overpowered a game but outmanned and
outclassed the Mt. Carmel eleven, 34-0, in an Eastern Conference
engagement before some 2,500 spectators on the Nesquehoning turf.
The 155 pound speed merchant with the crazy
legs and hula hips scored three of his team's touchdowns, caught a pass
for an extra point, and did just about everything one man could possibly
do on a gridiron in one afternoon. His blinding speed and quicksilver
elusiveness made the Mt. Carmel boys look utterly helpless.
The victory was Nesquehoning's sixth straight
in conference competition and it gave them undisputed possession of
first place in the Southern Division.
Mikovich, rated one of the sweetest halfbacks
in this neck of the woods, was all over the place on Saturday. He scored
his touchdowns on 9, 14, and 28 yard sprints and amassed a total of 156
yards on eleven attempts. The Township boys couldn't hold him and when
he left the field with some ten minutes remaining in the final quarter
everyone in the stadium rose and accorded him a thunderous
The Maroons, as usual, wasted no time getting
started. For the fifth time this season, they grabbed the opening
kickoff and marched down the field to score. this time they went
72 yards in ten plays, Mike Feddock climaxing the drive with a plunge
from the 4 yard line.
Lou Higgins, the Maroons' injured fullback who
was used only in a placekicking role on Saturday, came in to boot the
extra point and the Nesquer kids were off to a 7-0 start before most of
the customers were relaxed in their seats.
The visitors received a break near the close of
the opening quarter when Billy Feddock fumbled on the Nesquehoning 18,
but the Maroon front wall braced and checked the Townshippers' drive on
the 4. Then the Nesquers turned around and marched 96 yards to record
their second score.
Mikovich tore off 54 yards on a nifty sprint. Billy Feddock hit Jim
McCann with a pass and the latter flipped a lateral to Mike Feddock, who
went all the way to the Township 9. Mikovich crashed over from there to
make it 13-0. Higgins missed the extra point.
Shortly before the half expired, the Maroons
were knocking again, going all the way to the 18 on a 64 yard march.
However, time ran out before they could shove it over.
Mikovich tallied the Maroons' third touchdown
early in the third quarter, going over from the 14 yard line after his
mates drove 64 yards in 10 running plays. Billy Feddock passed to
Mikovich for the extra point and the score stood at 20-0.
Early in the fourth period, the Nesquers staged
another long drive, going 66 yards to put it across. Mikovich grabbed a
reverse on the Mt. Carmel 28, broke away with a sudden burst of speed
and didn't stop running until he was over the last stripe. Johnny Kulick
kicked the extra point. Coach Mezza blanketed Mikovich at this point
with the Nesquers out front, 27-0.
The visitors, stopped on the ground by the
aggressive front wall of the Maroons, took to the air lanes in the last
ten minutes of the game, but to no avail. Francy Krajcir, Hauto boy,
pulled one of the passes out of the atmosphere and brought it back to
the Mt. Carmel 36. In six plays, the Maroons had another touchdown,
Johnny Kulick bucking his way over from the one. Higgins placekicked the
extra point to make it 34-0 and that's how it ended. The Nesquehoning
reserves finished the game.
Statistically and otherwise, the Maroons had it
all over the Mt. Carmel gridders. They rolled up 18 first downs to Mt.
Carmel's 3 and got 374 yards from scrimmage to the visitors 38.
The Nesquehoning front line, from end to end,
played another magnificent game with Mikovich, the two Feddock boys and
Canzoneri carrying on nobly in the backfield.
NESQUEHONING FANS BOOST MIKOVICH FOR
| The football fans of
Nesquehoning are boosting Vic Mikovich for All-State honors this season.
And you can't blame them.
Mikovich is the star halfback on the high
school team and he's the big reason why the Maroons are currently
enjoying the runner-up spot in the race for honors in the Southern Division
of the Eastern Conference.
Labeled the "Black Hills Express"
because of his blinding speed and quicksilver elusiveness, Mikovich is a
carbon copy of Army's Glenn Davis and like the ghost from the banks of
the Hudson, he's a real terror on the chalk-ribbed turf.
In eight games this season, the 155-pound speed
merchant has racked up a total of twelve touch downs. He has carried the
ball 91 times for a total gain of 1050 yards-an average of 11 yards per
try. No team has yet devised a method to stop him.
In the game against Coaldale three weeks ago,
he grabbed the opening kickoff and galloped 88 yards through the entire
team to score. Against Tamaqua he intercepted a pass and sprinted 80
yards for a touchdown. The following Saturday, against Mt. Carmel, he
tallied three of his team's touchdowns and last week he hit the football
jackpot with four touchdowns against Summit Hill.
In addition to being a crack football player,
Mikovich, a senior, is a basketball hotshot and is rated one of the
top-ranking men in his class. He plans to enter college next year, but
at the moment he's more interested in driving his mates to the coveted
Eastern Conference title.
And Nesquehoning fans feel confident the 17
year-old kid with the crazy legs will do it.
November 2, 1946 Nesquehoning vs. Summit Hill
| Nesquehoning High School, on
Saturday served notice on Lansford High of what it can expect in the way
of scoring power in their all important conference meeting by inundating
a scrappy but outclassed Summit Hill team 51-0 in Nesquehoning High
Vic Mikovich, leading regional candidate for
all-Pennsylvania half back honors, scored four touchdowns as the
Nesquers tallied in every period.
November 9, 1946 Nesquehoning vs. Lansford
| Lansford, Nesquehoning in
Scoreless Tie Before 7,000 Fans. Record shattering crowd watched the
rival schoolboy teams fight it out in the "battle of the
century". The football stalwarts of Lansford and
Nesquehoning clashed Saturday in the 24th renewal of their series, but
when the echoes of the titanic battle had faded and the deeds of that
gray November afternoon had been written into the record books neither
team had much reason to rejoice. The game ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Upwards of 7,000 chilled spectators -
representing the largest crowd that ever witnessed a struggle between
these two teams - jammed every corner of the Lansford stadium to watch
the bitterly-contested issue.
Steals the Show. No athletic event would be
complete without the personal appearance of "FROGGY" ZABA, and
the roar that went up from the stands right before the teams took the
field was meant for on one else but the bearded specimen from
Nesquehoning...."FROGGY" came togged out in a white fur-lined
job and someone in the back tow remarked he looked like a fugitive from
Admiral Byrd's expedition.
Several bids for scores were made by both
squads but formidable defensives and good kicking by Lansford's Paul
Vitek and Nesquehoning's Low Higgins were instrumental in averting
Taking the opening kickoff on their own 26, the
Nesquers drove to Lansford's 47 where they were forced to kick to the
Panthers nine. With Bobby Marouchoc and Vitek driving hard, Lansford
then marched 71 yards to Nesquehoning's 20-yard line where two passes
and two line smashes failed as the Maroon defense bolstered.
The Panthers again started into Nesquehoning
territory, taking a Maroon kick on the midfield stripe in the same
period. Alert Low Higgins stymied Lansford's hopes two plays later when
he intercepted a Panther pass on his own 32 returning to the Maroon 46.
Vic Mikovich, Nesquer halfback, skirted end for six yards to place the
Nesquers on Lansford's 48. on the next play, Julius Wolfe, Panther back,
intercepted a Nesquehoning pass on Lansford's 40 as the first
Neither team was able to make much headway in
the second period. With less than a minute remaining in the half, Lou
Higgins pounced on a Lansford fumble on the Panthers 39. Marouchoc
intercepted Higgins' pass on the 20 on the next play as the half
No threats in third. Both teams fought back and
forth in the midfield area during the third period with neither squad
getting past the 50 yard stripe. The Nesquers provided their most
serious scoring threat of the game early in the fourth period driving 51
yards from their own 31 to Lansford's 18 yard line with Bill Feddock and
Lou Higgins carrying. Lansford's quick kick after taking the ball over
on downs forced the Nesquers back to their own 26.
The Panthers line, holding strong forced the
Nesquers to kick with Vitek returning to the Maroons 37. Vitek and
Marouchoc alternating, drove to the Nesquehoning 28 where the Maroons
took over on downs.
Following the exchange of kicks, Nesquehoning
took over on their own 14. The game ended two plays later with the
Maroons on their own 19. Paul Vitek and Bob Marouchoc carried the mail
for Lansford during most of the game with Bill Feddock and Lou Higgins
toting for the Maroons. The Panther defense bottled up fleet
footed Vic Mikovich, who took over most of the blocking chores in the
November 16, 1946 Nesquehoning vs.
6,000 FANS SEE NESQUEHONING STRIKE
BACK IN FINAL PERIOD TO DEFEAT SHENANDOAH CLUB, 7-6
Feddock Goes Over From Five-Yard
Line; Mikovich Catches Pass For Point
| Nesquehoning High School's
chances of capturing the championship of the Southern Division in the
Eastern Conference zoomed skyward last night as the gritty Maroon
footballers, playing their hearts out to the finish, jolted highly
touted Shenandoah, 7-6, in a bristling engagement on the Shenandoah
Upwards of 6,000 shivering
spectators-representing one of the largest crowds in many seasons-saw
Nesquehoning boys, outweighed from ten to twenty pounds per man, strike
back with a touchdown and an extra point in the final period and thereby
bring down the curtain on one of the most successful seasons in the
history of the school.
It was the Maroons' eighth conference triumph
and it marked the first time that a Nesquehoning team defeated a
Shenandoah eleven in the five-year series between the rival clubs. The
victory was sure to boost the Nesquers to the top of the class in the
Southern Division scramble, though the official standings will not be
available until Monday.
Nesquers Steal Show. The Nesquers, powered by
dynamic Lou Higgins and Billy Feddock, hard-running backfield stars, and
inspired by a rock-ribbed forward wall that played the full forty-eight
minutes without a letdown, carried the fight all the way and there was
no doubt as to which was the better team on the field.
It was Feddock, a shifty 150-pound
junior, who scampered across with the tying six-pointer in the final
quarter and it was little Vic Mikovich, speedy right halfback, who
snagged the pass for the extra point that decided the issue in favor of
the Maroon clad warriors.
Feddock's touchdown came in the early minutes
of the final session, culminating an advance of 30 yards. He scored from
the five yard line after taking a lateral from Mikovich.
The Blue Devils, outcharged, outfought and
thoroughly out classed, scored their touchdown on a blocked kick early
in the third period. Big Bill Burns, 190 pound left guard and
co-captain of the team, rushed in with two other
teammates to block Higgins' punt as the latter attempted to get it away
in his own territory.
Burns, the first to break through, scooped up
the ball after the block and galloped 32 yards to score. He went into
the end zone standing up with two of his own men charging in behind
Burns' attempted placekick for the conversion
was short and to the left of the uprights-and that spelled the
difference in the final outcome.
Both teams missed scoring chances earlier in
The Blue Devils got their first opportunity
before the battle was a minute old in the first period when Billy
Feddock, playing safety for the Maroons, fumbled a kick and Shenandoah
recovered on the Nesquehoning 30-yard stripe. In something
like six plays the Shens advanced the ball to the Nesquers' 6 yard line,
but the Maroon wall gallantly rose to the occasion and repulsed the
march without yielding another inch.
Inspired by that stubborn goal line stand, the
Maroons turned right around and marched 90 yards straight down the field
only to lose possession when they hit the Shenandoah 4. The Blue Devils'
line dug in and took over on downs shortly after the second period
Maliniak Recovers. Joe Maliniak, a quiet,
hard working 182-pound junior tackle who was easily one of the
outstanding performers on the Maroon line last night, pounced on an
enemy fumble late in the second period to put the Maroons in scoring
position, but time ran out before they could do any damage. Maliniak's
recovery took place on the Shenandoah 33 and the Maroons desperately
took to the air in an effort to score.
Higgins came close to doing it when he flipped
a bull's-eye shot to big George Macinko, but the latter, running at top
speed inside the five-yard line, let the ball slip through his anxious
fingers. The half ended with the Nesquers trying to connect from the
The Maroons registered a total of five first
downs and gained 87 yards rushing in the first two periods. Shenandoah
recorded three first downs and covered 52 yards on the ground.
Shenandoah's touchdown at the outset of the
third period stunned the vast throng because it came without
Higgins was standing back in punt formation on
his own 35 when the three blue shirted figures broke through the Maroon
line. Burns, leading the charge, hurled his beefy frame through the air,
quickly recovered his balance, scooped up the loose pigskin and was off
for touchdown land before the Nesquehoning boys knew what happened.
Higgins was in no position to take up chase and Burns went over the
final stripe with no one but two of his buddies for company. But if
Nesquehoning fans thought the boys in Maroon were going to allow that
bit of hard luck dampen their spirits, they were badly mistaken. Because
less than a minute later they were back in the thick of things.
Joe Does It Again. Maliniak, a real Johnny on
the spot last night, recovered a Shenandoah fumble on the Blue Devils'
15 and that bit of alertness opened the gates for the Maroons. The
Shenandoah boys found themselves with their backs to the wall from that
point on, and they couldn't strike back.
They did succeed in stalling the Maroons on the
half-foot mark after Maliniak recovered the fumble, but two minutes
later the Nesquehoning gridders struck for keeps.
After being repulsed on the goal line, the
Maroons got possession following Shenandoah's kick and with a
determination that couldn't be denied drove over from 30 yards
The third period closed with the Maroons in
charge on the Shenandoah 30. On the first play of the final session,
Higgins passed to Alex Utsick, substitute end, but it was knocked down.
Mikovich ripped off three yards to put the ball on the 27. A Higgins to
Mikovich to Feddock lateral play was good for fifteen yards and a first
down on the Shenandoah 12.
And then, with the Nesquehoning partisans
screaming themselves hoarse. Higgins took the ball from center, shot
into the right side of the line, stopped and flipped the ball to
Mikovich, who was running to his right, and the latter tossed it to
Feddock, who swept wide around the right side and slammed his way into
the end zone for a touchdown. The roar from the Nesquehoning side was
deafening as the referee's outstretched arms shot into the air to
signify that the Nesquers had tied the score.
Feddock's teammates surrounded him in the end
zone and hugged him with joy as the officials moved the ball out for the
And then came the payoff play.
Mikovich Snares It. Johnny Kulick, starting
quarterback, was rushed into the game to attempt the conversion, Higgins
was going to hold.
Then, while some 5,000 fans sucked in their
breath, it happened. Higgins, in a position to hold the ball for Kulick,
took the pass from center, straightened up to look over the field and
then promptly flipped a pass to Mikovich, who was running far to his
right in the end zone. Mikovich went high into the air to catch the ball
and he didn't let his mates down. He plucked the pigskin out of the
atmosphere with a beautiful running catch and that was it.
The remainder of the period was spent in
Shenandoah's territory and , with something like two minutes left to
play, the Maroons found themselves knocking again. However, time ran out
before they could ram over another score. The game ended with the
Nesquers in possession of the Blue Devils' 10-yard line.
Higgins and Feddock shared the offensive
spotlight for the Nesquers, both boys tearing off terrific yardage
during the fray. Higgins was a real powerhouse as he bulled through the
middle of the wall and Feddock made most of his gains circling the
Mikovich, the smallest ball toter on the field
last night, wasn't able to break loose on any of his long jaunts, but he
contributed several nice gains during the battle and he played an
outstanding defensive game. His tackling was hard and deadly and several
times he rocked the rugged Shenandoah backs on their heels with his
vicious efforts. Higgins and Feddock also came through with come nice
tackles behind the Maroon line.
Joe Canzoneri and Johnny Kulick shared the
quarterbacking and both contributed much to the success of the team's
The Nesquehoning front wall-from end to end-distinguished
itself again with Joe Maliniak, regular right tackle; Joe Span, scrappy
little left guard, and George Macinko, varsity right end, standing out
conspicuously throughout the entire struggle. The Nesquers used only two
Real evidence of the superiority of the Maroons
last night is indicated in the fact that they rolled up ten first downs
and a total of 201 yards on the ground, while the Blue Devils got only
five first downs and were held to 73 yards rushing. Both teams gained 27
yards through the air lanes.
Nesquehoning fans were on hand in large numbers
last night and the efforts of the high school band, the majorettes and
the cheerleaders did much toward bringing home the victory. Many fans
from other Valley towns also were spotted in the huge throng.
This was Nesquehoning's final game on the
regular season schedule and everybody in the community settled
back to await the week-end developments. There is a possibility
that last night's triumph meant the Southern Division title for the
Maroons but the official facts will not be known until Secretary Bob
Dawson, of Scranton, unscrambles the tangle over the week-end.
Eastern Conference Championship Game
December 7, 1946 Nesquehoning vs. Scranton Tech
Maroons Meet Defeat In Dying Minutes Of Final
Quarter; Fumbles Costly
| Nesquehoning High School's
dream of an Eastern Conference championship was rudely shattered
Saturday as a wide-awake Scranton Tech eleven, taking advantage of every
break, fought back in the final period to defeat the wearers of the
maroon, 13-6, in the playoff for the 1946 title.
Some 7,000 spectators sat in ideal weather in
Scranton's specious Athletic Park to watch the conference rivals fight
The Maroons, Southern Division standard
bearers, collapsed in defeat with less than three minutes to go in the
Capitalize On Breaks. The Scranton boys, who
carried the Northern Division banner into battle, capitalized on a
series of breaks to push across their first touchdown in the second
period and cashed in again before the curtain dropped in the final
session. Bill Weiss, a 134-pound package of grid dynamite, scored both
touchdowns for the Scranton team.
Nesquehoning first to tally, struck for its
touchdown shortly after the second quarter got underway. Halfback Billy
Feddock circling his right end on a buck lateral from the 3-yard line.
Feddock's touchdown sprint culminated a brilliant 84-yard drive down the
field. Low Higgins' pass to Jimmy McCann for the extra point fell
Seven Fumbles. The Nesquehoning gridders,
suffering badly from their three weeks' layoff, virtually handed the
victory and the title to the Scranton club. They fumbled no fewer than
seven times during the fray, most of them occurring in vital territory
and two, especially, when they couldn't afford it.
The Scrantonians cashed their first opportunity
about a minute before the first half ended.
Vic Mikovich fumbled as he tried to skirt his
left end and Weiss recovered on the Nesquehoning 16. On the very nest
play, the little left halfback with the big No. 28 on his jersey,
slipped through a big gap in the right side of his line and never
stopped chugging until he crossed the last stripe. Nobody laid a hand on
him. Vitcavage, the big reserve fullback, attempted to placekick the
extra point, but his try was wide and the score remained at 6-0.
Shortly before Weiss recovered Mikovich's
fumble to set the stage for the score, the Scranton boys had an
opportunity to tally when Higgins fumbled on the 19. However, the Maroon
front wall rose and stopped the charge on the 15.
Scranton's second touchdown came as a big blow
to the Nesquehoning boys and their followers.
There were less than three minutes left to play in
the last period. The score was tied at 6-6. The Maroons had the ball on
their own 20-yard stripe. It was second down, six to go for a
The Nesquehoning team spread out. Higgins
was back. The ball was passed to him. He juggled it momentarily, then,
before he realized what happened, a guy named McCutcheon sprang out of
the Scranton forward wall, grabbed hold of the loose pigskin and it was
Scranton's ball on the 9-yard line. Nesquehoning took a timeout and drew
a five-yard penalty, advancing the ball to the 4-yard stripe. As play
resumed, Weiss cracked off the right side of the Scranton line and went
over for a touchdown. Dalykas, regular left tackle, came out of the line
to attempt a placekick, but instead whipped a pass to halfback Ken
Rozelle, who caught it in the end zone. And that was it.
Edge In First Downs. Nesquehoning, powered by
Low Higgins, who was by far the best performer in the Maroon backfield,
had the edge in first downs, 9 to 6, and they featured a better passing
attack, completing 5 out of 14 for a net gain of 62 yards, but the
Scranton boys had the better of the argument on the ground.
With Weiss and Big Art Slowey, sophomore
fullback, doing most of the carrying, the winners piled up a total of
154 yards against 143 for the Maroons. The Nesquers recovered three
fumbles during the game, while the home club pounced on eight. Each club
had two passes intercepted.
Nesquehoning drew only two five-yard penalties
in the game. Scranton was penalized a total of 30 yards.
Higgins Leads Maroons. Higgins, the big
pile-driver from Hauto, stole the thunder for the Maroons, for it was
his consistent ground gaining that led to the touchdown in the second
quarter and kept his mates in the battle right down to the wire. Higgins
was substituted only once in the game, being taken out briefly in the
second period. Mike Feddock replaced him for one play. Coach Tony Mezza
used only two substitutes in the entire game.
Mikovich, speedy right halfback, several times
broke loose past the line of scrimmage and seemed headed for pay dirt,
but the alert Scranton secondary throttled his ambitions. Billy Feddock,
starting left half, came through with several appreciable gains, while
Joey Canzoneri, who filled the quarterback slot in the absence of Johnny
Kulick, who has been hospitalized for the past week,, played his usual
good game and was a key man in the Maroons' only touchdown of the
McCann, Span Star. Jimmy McCann, hard working
left end, and Joe Span, aggressive left guard, were the big figures on
the Maroon front wall. Both boys played the game to the hilt and both
were in on most of the tackles behind the big Scranton line. Big George
Macinko, right end, came through with another of his topnotch offensive
performances, snaring two passes that gave the Maroons a nice hike in
How It Happened. The Game In Detail.
Scranton won the toss and elected to receive.
Higgins kicked to Scranton's 15 and Slowey brought it out to the 25.
Rozelle, Weiss and Slowey failed to gain the required yardage in three
tries and Weiss had to kick. Higgins, down under the punt, attempted to
run the ball back but he fumbled and Nardelli, Scranton's alert right
end, recovered on the Nesquehoning 31 for the first break of the
Weiss powered his way to the 28. Slowey picked
up two yards through center. Rozelle lost one and Slowey got only three
on last down and the Nesquers took over on the 22.
Billy Feddock failed to gain on his first try
from scrimmage and Higgins quick-kicked to Scranton's 41. Slowey's pass
in the flat was grounded and Weiss, on the next play, picked up 4 yards
through the right side.
Nesquehoning got a break on the next play when
Slowey fumbled and Mikovich recovered on Scranton's 49.
Mikovich was hurled for a three-yard loss on
the first play. Higgins passed to Mikovich, but it was grounded.
Then he tried one to Macinko and it was knocked down. Higgins then
kicked, the ball rolling out of bounds on Scranton's 9-yard line.
With Weiss, Rozelle and Vitcavage doing the
toting, the Scranton boys picked up and drove all the way to Nesquehoning's
45-yard line before the Maroons stopped them. Feature of the drive was
Rozelle's 21 yard sprint around right end. But for Mikovich, who knocked
him out of bounds on the 50-yard line, Rozelle would have been off for
touchdown land. He was in the clear when Mikovich shoved him out. Just
before the first period expired, Weiss kicked to the Nesquehoning
15-yard line and from there the Maroons went all the way down.
Higgins, the big powerhouse started it by
faking a reverse to Mikovich and going for 13 yards to the 36 as the
second quarter got under way. Higgins again faked and picked up two
yards. Then he hit straight down the middle for nine yards and a first
down on the Nesquehoning 47.
Mikovich, aided nicely by Higgins'
bone-rattling block, swept off his left end and went all the way to the
Scranton 37 before Weiss, the safety man, hauled him down. Billy Feddock
went off right tackle to the 34. Higgins passed over the line to
Macinko, who hauled it in on a beautiful catch and went to the 22 for a
first down. Scranton, rocked on its heels by the hard plunging Maroon
backs, called time out in an effort to halt the drive.
But as play resumed, Higgins kept things moving
by smacking the middle for three yards. Billy Feddock was stopped as he
tried the right side, but on the next play Higgins hit Feddock with a
pass that was good for a first down on the nine-yard line.
Then, as the 2,000 Nesquehoning fans howled
with joy, Feddock crashed through tackle for four yards. Higgins hit the
same spot and went to the 3-yard line. And on the next play,
Higgins took the ball from center, whipped it over to Canzoneri,
who ran wide to his right, and the latter in turn flipped it across to
Feddock, who swept around the far side to tally. It was a well executed
scoring play and the spectators on the Nesquehoning side of the field
roared their approval.
Higgins, as related before, passed to McCann in
an attempt for the extra point, but the ball sailed deep into the end
zone and the score stood at 6-0.
Scranton received its second scoring
opportunity shortly after the Nesquers tallied their touchdown. Weiss,
forced to kick after three successive cracks at the line failed, booted
one to Mikovich on Nesquehoning's 19-yard line. Higgins, on the first
play from scrimmage, fumbled as he hit the center of the line and
Slowey, the big fullback, pounced on it to give Scranton possession on
Slowey hit the line twice and picked up only
four yards. His pass to Weiss was knocked down and Weiss' pass to
Nardelli in the end zone fell incomplete. Nesquehoning took over on the
15. But not for long.
Mikovich, scampering around left end on the
first play, fumbled the ball and Weiss made the recovery on the 16. And
before the echoes of the Scranton cheers had faded, Weiss took the fall
from center, smashed into the right side of the line and went 16 yards
into the end zone without anyone putting a hand on him. Mikovich,
standing back on the final stripe, had a chance to bring him down, but
the shifty little 134-pounder cleverly eluded him and went in with
plenty to spare. That made it 6-6.
Vitcavage's placekick attempt for the extra
point was wide and the figures remained the same.
That was all the scoring until the Scrantonians
pushed over their winning 6-pointer in the final period.
Scranton threatened to score early in the third
period when Billy Feddock fumbled the kickoff and Weiss recovered on the
Weiss went to the 23 on an off tackle smash.
Rozelle was dumped for a 7-yard loss on the next play, but Slowey made
it up by hitting Weiss with a pass good for a first down on the
Nesquehoning 13. Feddock made the tackle. Rozelle lost three yards on
the next one, Span breaking through to spill him.
Slowey picked up two yards thru the middle,
advancing the ball to the 14, but that's the farthest the Scranton boys
went, Slowey passed to Weiss on the next play and as the latter tried to
lateral the ball Canzoneri, the Nesquers' Johnny-on-the-spot
quarterback, intercepted and ran it down to the Nesquehoning 36 before
he was brought down.
The Nesquers then proceeded to march down to
the Scranton 41, where the home club rallied its defensive forces and
took over on downs. After that followed a midfield struggle with neither
side yielding an inch.
It wasn't until late in the third period that
the Maroons displayed signs of moving.
In possession at midfield, Higgins fed a
reverse to Billy Feddock and the latter hit around right end for five
yards. Canzoneri ripped off four yards through center. Higgins bucked
again and went all the way to the Scranton 35 for a first down. Mikovich
fumbled and recovered but the Maroons lost eight yards on the play.
Higgins' pass to McCann hit the ground.
On the next play, Higgins, faking a kick,
slipped the ball to Mikovich and the little speed merchant, traveling
with the throttle wide open, tore around the left side and went all the
way to the Scranton 29 before he was knocked out of bounds.
The Maroons still lacked a few yards for a
first down, however, and on the next play a Higgins-to-Canzoneri-to-Feddock pass failed to click and the Scranton
team took over.
The ball changed hands several times on pass
interceptions in the final period, but neither side made a serious
threat until the Nesquers fumbled so disastrously in the final moments.
Scranton had possession on the Nesquehoning
40-yard line when the officials flashed the five minute sign. Two line
thrusts and a pass failed then Weiss kicked to Nesquehoning's 16 yard
Higgins, running from scrimmage, brought it up
to the 20 and that's where the damage took place.
The next play was to be run from the spread
formation, Higgins in the tailback position. But as the ball was snapped
back Higgins allowed it to get away from him for a split second and in
that time McCutcheon, Scranton's fast charging right guard, smashed
through, wrapped his anxious hands around the oval and gave his mates
possession on the 9-yard stripe.
A Nesquehoning timeout resulted in a five yard
penalty, advancing the ball to the 4-yard line. And from there Weiss
cracked over for the touchdown that decided the championship of the
Rozelle caught the extra point pass lying down
in the end zone. And that was all there was to it.
Nesquehoning went into the air as the final
seconds ticked off, gut to no avail. And as the final whistle sounded
Scranton had possession on its own 43-yard mark.
Though defeated, Nesquehoning followers planned
to accord the Maroon grid warriors a big welcome in the community
tonight. A big bonfire will be lit and the students and townspeople will
parade thru the streets in a mass celebration.
October 23, 1947 Nesquehoning vs. Coaldale
December 11, 1947 All-State Lou Higgins
Compiled Enviable Record
Lou Higgins Named On All-State Grid
| Lou Higgins, the modest hard
working Nesquehoning High School football star who was named today on
the Associated Press All Pennsylvania Scholastic team as fullback, won
that recognition only after a brilliant scholastic career which will end
in June when the popular Hauto lad graduates. Seven colleges are
competing for the services of Coach Tony Mezza's chief pigskin lugger,
including the University of Pennsylvania, Lafayette, the University of
Pittsburgh, Cornell, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Other Nesquehoning boys who received honorable
mention in the AP selections were George Macinko, stellar end and ace
pass receiver and Mike Feddock, the aggressive half back.
Higgins won individual scoring honors this year
in the Panther Valley with a total of 17 touchdowns and as many extra
points for a total of 118. His versatility in the Nesquehoning backfield
was instrumental in the team's great success this season in compiling a
record of seven wins, one loss and one tie. In nine games the Maroon and
Gold team scored a total of 232 points, holding the opposition to 21
points. Nesquehoning's disaster came at the hands of Hazle Township in
an 8-6 upset and their stalemate was a 7-7 tie with Lansford,
traditional Panther Valley rival.
Pennsylvania's All-State Grid Team
September 25, 1948 Nesquehoning vs. Mt.
October 8, 1948 Nesquehoning vs. Hazle
November 6, 1948 Nesquehoning vs. Summit Hill
November 13, 1948 Nesquehoning vs. Lansford
September 13, 1951 Nesquehoning vs.
September 22, 1951 Nesquehoning vs.
September 29, 1951 Nesquehoning vs.
October 6, 1951 Nesquehoning vs.
West Mahanoy Township
October 13, 1951 Nesquehoning vs.
November 10, 1951 Nesquehoning vs.
November 1, 1952 Nesquehoning vs.
November 8, 1952 Nesquehoning vs.
Nesquehoning Athletic Banquet
November 17, 1952
December 3, 1952 Anthracite All