Tornadoes Time Warp | Dover’s First 10 Games
Heading into the 1931 football season, you could forgive the Dover faithful if they’d been conditioned not to expect too much from their local eleven.
Aside from a few bright spots, such as the undefeated 1926 squad, half of the team’s seasons since 1920 had been losing efforts. Other seasons, such as the 1930 slate, had been deadlocked slogs, with the team standing by season’s end at 4-4-2, or 3-5-3, or, memorably, a 1-5-4 1929 season that, if all tie games had gone in Dover’s favor, would still have ended in a draw.
1931 Crimsons seniors had endured the 1-5-4 and 4-4-2 efforts of 1929 and 1930, respectively. And with a nearly identical slate of foes lined up, in almost exactly the same order as 1930, and a rookie coach in school alum Herman “Bup” Rearick, one wonders about their mindset heading into the fall.
Or was there more to this team than casual observers might note?
Rearick, for one, had been quarterback on that 1926 squad, running in 7 TDs, throwing for 1 TD and booting 11 PATs for Dover’s first legitimate undefeated team (1- and 2- and 3-game seasons notwithstanding). He was also captain of the 1927 state championship basketball team. He’d earned his teaching stripes at Wittenberg College and had come home to inspire the next generation of Dover athletes.
He was gifted with a squad long on experience and talent.
Trevor Rees, center and team captain, was a two-way dynamo, anchoring the team’s offensive and defensive lines. He had a knack for forcing and recovering fumbles from the opposing squad, and was capable as well of picking off foes’ passes and sprinting for the goal line.
Don Foutz, halfback, began his playing days with Dover as a sprightly, 145-pound punter. As sophomore, Foutz sent balls skyrocketing 70, 65, 60 yards to pin opponents deep. He averaged a record 43 yards a punt in his junior season (more than 60 years later, the mark still stood). But his breakout game arguably came in the 9th contest of 1929, in which he sprinted for 3 scores. In 1930, he saw increasing work gaining ground yardage, notching 4 rushing TDs and perfecting a pass play with receiver Jim Smith that earned the pair another 4 TDs, including the game-winner against rival New Phila.
Frank “Doc” Kelker saw his breakout game come as a wee freshman. In the sixth game of 1930, the starting end hauled in a pass from sophomore quarterback Don Godfrey and sprinted 45 yards for the score. His playing time was expected to increase in 1931, as his muscular, 170-pound frame worked in contrast to the now 160-pound Foutz’s lightning dashes.
The crew was bolstered by junior Godfrey’s quarterbacking, Fred “Spider” Kelker’s opportunistic running, new passing target Tom Mason, senior mainstays Espenschied, Archinal and Horn, and super-subs Souers, Gano, Wible and Zuchegno, among others.
What they ended up achieving was a clear cut above the 1930 storyline. And a season that would set the stage for a legendary three-year record.
Dover Crimsons: 1930 vs. 1931 Comparsion
Game 1 — Carrollton
1930: 0-0 TIE
1931: 40-0 DOVER VICTORY
A new offensive ferocity is on display as six Dover gridders score TDs or PATs and Rearick sends in dozens of substitutes.
Game 2 — Coshocton
1930: 0-19 LOSS
1931: 13-6 DOVER VICTORY
Game 3 — Wooster
1930: 0-13 LOSS
1931: 0-25 LOSS
A humbling setback for the upstart Crimsons in their first away game of 1931.
Game 4 — Orrville
1930: 13-12 DOVER VICTORY
1931: 22-0 DOVER VICTORY
Dover returns to form with 4 players contributing TDs and PATs and an opportunistic defense forcing errors.
Game 5 — Akron North
1930: 0-0 TIE
1931: 37-7 DOVER VICTORY
Four offensive players score TDs; Trevor Rees returns an INT for a score; Spider Kelker scores on a kickoff return.
THE BONUS GAME — Millersburg
The only difference between schedules in 1930 and ’31. Dover beats a squad that up until now had not lost a game and not allowed a point by pitching the first of four straight shutouts. In this stretch at the heart of the 1930 schedule, the defense locked down opponents, keeping them from even sniffing the goal line and in the Millersburg contest, notching a safety. Don Foutz would score the only TD.
Game 6/7 — Uhrichsville
1930: 20-0 DOVER VICTORY
1931: 13-0 DOVER VICTORY
Another defensive lock-down. Foutz again scores the only TDs and rushes for a school-record 209 yards.
Game 7/8 — Ravenna
1930: 7-13 LOSS
1931: 20-0 DOVER VICTORY
Foutz has help in this one: 3 Dover players score, including a Foutz TD run and 2 Godfrey passing TDs.
Game 8/9 — Massillon
1930: 0-46 LOSS
1931: 6-0 DOVER VICTORY
The defense keeps its head during several Massillon lucky breaks, and Foutz scores the only TD.
Game 9/10 — Newcomerstown
1930: 19-0 DOVER VICTORY
1931: 27-6 DOVER VICTORY
Foutz welcomes offensive company as he and 3 other players score TDs and Godfrey runs in 3 PATs.
Game 10/11 — New Philadelphia
1930: 13-7 DOVER VICTORY
A tight 1930 season ended on the highest of notes as Foutz outgained the entire opposing side with 110 yards and scored a rushing TD to help tie the game, then flung the winning TD in the fourth quarter.
Would the 1931 squad be able to put a definitive stamp on a season for the ages? Stay tuned to the Time Warp.
Coming Tomorrow — A look at the 1931 New Philadelphia Quakers.
ABOUT THE “TIME WARP”
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.