Tornadoes Time Warp #6

Don Foutz's punting -- incredibly -- was the headline performance of Dover's 1931 standoff against (previously) unbeaten Millersburg. All day long, the Crimsons' senior punter pinned the Holmes County 11 deep in their own territory, leading to Foutz's own scamper for a touchdown (he also kicked the point-after) and a safety, to bring Dover the triumph, 9-0.

– 1931 Dover Football – Game 6

Touchdown, Safety Give Dover Triumph By Score Of 9 To 0

Game coverage from the Times-Reporter:

By Hal Jenkins

All but the meager handful who thought Dover had a chance against Millersburg, here Saturday, probably consider the 9 to 0 victory by the Crimsons an upset.

It wasn’t.

When one strong team meets another the one playing the best football usually wins. Genuine upsets are a rarity. They occur only when one team decisively outplays the other and loses on a fluke.

Dover’s victory was no fluke, but those timid local fans who expected humiliating defeat and the so-called plungers who wagered on two and three touchdown margins may alibi their action by considering the win under that classification.

When the majority favors one contestant and the favorite loses they call it an upset. But you may put it down as poppycock.

[[[Read the full game STORIES — in the Times-Reporter AND Cleveland Plain Dealer by clicking the small pictures below!]]]


When: Saturday, Oct. 24, 1931

Where: Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds, Dover

Result: Dover 9, Millersburg 0. Dover improves to 5-1 on the season.

Notable: Heading into the game, Millersburg had amassed a fearsome record — and reputation. Their 5-0 season mark was built on an offense that rolled up 216 points in that span — an average of 43.2 per game — and a defense that had allowed no scoring from opponents.

Also notable: Dover’s 1931 schedule was virtually identical, in its roster of opponents, to the season before, with one exception: Millersburg. And this is where the historical record of my grandfather’s scrapbook does not provide further clarity. Was this a special game? Dover, throughout its history, usually scheduled 10 regular season dates. Why this extra opponent mid-season? And why such a staunch foe?

Previous game: Dover smothered Akron North at home, 37-7.

Next game: Oct. 31 at Uhrichsville


Keys to the game – Defense, for one. Dover allowed Millersburg to pile up yardage in its own territory. (One reason why the losers had 145 rushing yards to Dover’s 127, and 8 first downs to 5 for Dover.) But once Millersburg crossed midfield, the Crimsons’ effort was stifling. The visitors never crossed Dover’s 30-yard line.

Punting, for another. Don Foutz consistently booted kicks high and deep into enemy territory, whereas Millersburg floundered. An early punt blocked by the Crimsons led to Foutz’s first quarter rushing touchdown. A late Foutz punt downed by Dover on the Millersburg 1 led to the game-icing safety.

The Crimsons also continued to receive kudos for their stellar line play. As Jenkins put it, the line was “invincible in the second half. No individual in fairness merits the rank of star. Every lad played 14-K, Class A, No. One Football of the first water!”

In-game sequence – After the opening kickoff, which Millersburg received, Foutz was given credit (somehow) for forcing the opposing team’s punter to try and kick out of trouble from beneath the goal posts. Dover blocked the kick, and Frank “Doc” Kelker recovered on the Millersburg 5 yard line. Dover drew a five-yard offside penalty, then earned a first down on Millersburg pass interference.

“Then Foutz swung wide around Millersburg’s left end. He was hit as he crossed the goal and the ball bounced from his arms but he covered it for the touchdown. He then place-kicked squarely between the uprights for the seventh point.”

Top performers – Jenkins’ nod to stellar team play aside, Don Foutz distinguished himself with the game’s lone touchdown and extra point, by scampering for 84 yards on 14 carries to best Millersburg’s leading back’s 63 yards on 13 tries, and crippled Millersburg field position with towering, pinpoint punting.

Don Foutz’s line –

1 touchdown rushing (6 points)

1 extra point kicked

7 points total

84 yards on 14 rushes.

Memorable punting(!).

Quotable –

“Foutz’s brilliant punting, with a wet ball on a soggy field, was perhaps the best individual performance of the day. Far and high he booted and never did he give the safety man a chance to return it. He either kicked over the heads of the secondary defense or placed the ball out of bounds at strategic points.”


Each week, this series runs in tandem with the 2010 Dover (Ohio) Tornadoes football schedule to share historic game-by-game summaries of Dover’s 1931 season, in which Colt Foutz’s grandfather, Don Foutz, played a starring role. Game stories and photos are excerpted from Don Foutz’s football scrapbook, with thanks to Fred Foutz. How did Dover do this week (in 2010)? Get the latest Dover Tornadoes news from the Sports section of The Times-Reporter.

Why not give a little love to the punter every now and then? In the case of Dover's toughest test of 1931 thus far, Don Foutz definitely won the day. But his running would prove pivotal in the season's stretch run. Tune in every 2010 Dover Tornadoes game day for news of their counterparts 79 years ago!

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