Posts Tagged With: 1931 season

1931 Dover Crimsons Replica Jersey — A Christmas Story

1931 Dover Crimsons Halfback Don Foutz

Colt’s grandfather, Don Foutz, set records as starting halfback for Dover in 1931 that would stand for more than six decades.


Recreating Grandpa Foutz’s Football Jersey

It was the doldrums of summer, 2014, and I found myself in a bit of a doldrums myself.

My company of 6 years, VivaKi, had just navigated a series of reorganizations, and on a fateful August morning I learned my task for the following two months: dismantling the 45-person Creative team I’d built since 2008 and saying farewell to my dozen-strong Paid Search team as well.

Oh yeah, and to VivaKi, too.

In the midst of that final transitional slog, I was determined to draw inspiration from whatever sources I could whip up. Among the sparks: throwing myself into a daily workout regimen, mining new business connections in Sioux Falls, soaking in all that summer — and pending severance — could offer, and, in a short list I’d made of dream projects I might get to before the new job kicked off, exploring the creation of a replica jersey to honor my grandfather, Don Foutz.

Grandpa had been a source of fascination for me for nearly my entire life. We lost him far too young, in 1980, at 66. My dad was 28 then. Having benefited form his patient and loving example for nearly 39 years now, I couldn’t imagine having that light cut short as a young man and new father. And having only vague memories of Grandpa Foutz, since I was only 4 years old when he passed away, I found myself seeking to know him, and his family origins, as I grew into a young man with a family of my own.

This blog is filled with the fruits of those efforts. We know about the Foutz (then Pfouts) family’s origins in Wuerttemberg, and patriarch Michael Pfoutz making the journey to America in 1787. We’ve traced our origins through Maryland, and then Harrison County, Ohio from 1810 to 1901, and then on to Dover, which has been home base for our family for four generations.

Getting to know grandpa has meant getting to know more about an essential tradition in my hometown. High school football has formed the core of autumn Fridays since Dover’s squad first suited up in the 1890s. And though I opted for cross country, marching band and track during my years at Dover High, I counted a brother, two uncles, my dad and, of course, grandpa, as familial connections to the gridiron, and have carried my diehard fandom for the Browns and Buckeyes as my own path has wound through Pennsylvania, Illinois and on to South Dakota.

That Dover’s traditions were my own made discovering grandpa’s exploits as star halfback for some of Dover’s first great teams all the more awesome. This blog has recorded those discoveries. Three brief examples: Pictures to commemorate Don Foutz’s 100th birthday, when for a time, I didn’t have any in my possession. A series in 2010 that recounted every game of the 1931 season, culminating in grandpa’s record 220 rushing yards against arch rival New Philadelphia, a mark that stood for 64 years. And, most recently, an examination of the principal players in the 1929 rivalry game, during which grandpa threw a game-losing (for Dover) interception to distant cousin Earl Foutz — though they never knew they were related.

For Christmas, 2011, I collected my blogs and scanned each page of grandpa’s football scrapbook, bound it up and presented the book to my father and three brothers. After moving far from home to Sioux Falls in 2012, I blew up some of the glorious game shots from 1931 of grandpa in action, framed them, and hung that history in our family room, site of many a Saturday spent sweating out Ohio State drives.

This has been my way of hanging on to family history and a sport that runs through our genes. That history makes the game far more enjoyable to me than if I was just following the box scores — a quaint term, there — of today with no memory of the storied past. You could say I’m a bit of an obsessive — opting for a hacked 2008 version of Madden for PC, even as breathtaking updates for game consoles receive annual release, so I can play the 1950 Browns, even the old Buckeyes, in uniforms and stadiums rendered in all their bootleg glory. And when it comes to showing my team colors, I’m more likely to opt for a Woody Hayes cap, or a commemorative 2002 OSU Championship T-shirt (not to mention a 1960 basketball championship tee), or a classic wool 1915 Augustana College cap (nod to my wife’s alma mater) than swathing myself in today’s polyester and mesh bandage material with the names of “stars” unlikely to stick around or attain any weight to their names.

When it comes to celebrating my love of football, and saluting my hometown and family that developed that love, I could think of no better — no cooler — way to embody that history than somehow recreating my grandpa’s 1931 Dover Crimsons jersey. And sharing that celebration with my family. But how?


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Ebbets Field Flannels for the Win


Like a lot of kids, my admiration of sports uniforms — the designs, the colors, the functional cut — probably grew exponentially with the tens of thousands of football, baseball and basketball cards I collected. As a budding writer and history buff, the stats and bio snippets on the backs were equally engrossing.

Even as my bookshelves grew heavy with sports tomes and their giddy tales and even giddier glimpses at the past, nothing quite captivated me with its blend of stories, images and, as a knockout bonus, “gettable” apparel the way a certain catalog did in 1990.

That summer, my dad’s Sports Illustrated profiled a new company in Seattle that produced “vintage authentic” baseball jerseys from the old, old days. Ebbets Field Flannels took their name from founder Jerry Cohen’s hometown Brooklyn Dodgers, and paired a nose for research with a dogged commitment to authenticity to track down the old mills, the actual fabrics and the handmade processes that went into the flannel works of art of a bygone era.

That these replica jerseys and caps could be bought and worn ranked second in my fascination with the Ebbets catalog itself. I’d signed up virtually the moment I read the last word in the SI piece, and though the prices were out of reach for my 14-year-old self, I savored every page of the catalog when it arrived in the mail, poring over the old names, stadiums, leagues obscure and renowned, and pages and pages of unique, colorful apparel with history.

With a growing family and the usual list of expenses, I didn’t indulge in my Ebbets obsession beyond grabbing a Portland Lucky Beavers T-shirt in college, and snapping up that Woody’s Cap — a partnership with Homage — after moving to Sioux Falls. But this summer I took advantage of a rare $100 jersey sale and chose another team close to home, the Cleveland Buckeyes, 1945 champions of the Negro League. I was jubilant as a damn kid when the package arrived a couple days later. The outstanding, handmade quality and attention to historic detail made this instantly the favorite item in my closet.

So I had my eyes on Ebbets again when the company brought back a favorite I’d remembered from my teenage days devouring the catalog. Their hand-knit wool football jerseys set me dreaming about heading back to 1931 to produce a replica Dover Crimsons jersey.

But grandpa’s garb presented a unique challenge. “Friction strip” jerseys from the 1920s and ’30s are among the most sought after by collectors, with rare unearthed finds from teams of distinction selling for tens of thousands of dollars at auction, and examples of well-preserved uniforms from practically unknown teams still fetching hundreds and thousands.

There’s a reason why no one makes the jersey today. The canvas “friction strips” sewn into the chest and arms had long ago outlived their usefulness, dating back to when runners were only down by contact, and when the refs’ whistles blew, and the rough fabric helped players hold onto the ball. Despite the often gorgeous geometric designs in the era’s uniforms, all that material — yarn, wool, felt and hand-sewn canvas fabric — makes it an impractical, and expensive, jersey to produce.

If anyone could do it right, I figured it would be Ebbets. But their custom flannel page, itself an inspiration for jersey buffs dreaming up the perfect apparel, advertised only baseball duds. But with the release of football and hockey wear, I decided to take a chance.

I emailed them in early October, after first gut-checking my dream project with my brothers, who, to their credit, were all-in from the beginning. I got a quick, and respectful, response. But a “no” answer all the same. Or rather, a not yet. Ebbets was gearing up to roll out more football jerseys in the coming months, but had tied up their unique, era-authentic knitting machines through the early spring. Christmas was not going to be an option.

But then, a lightning bolt. A second email hit my inbox from Jerry Cohen — founder of Ebbets. Jerry offered to oversee the project if we could get a minimum wholesale order together and promised to do his best to hit our Christmas deadline. Wow!


Tracking Down a Family Gem

The dream project was now gaining footing. Instead of presenting only my dad with a replica of grandpa’s 1931 jersey, we quickly recruited cousins Whitney and Lauren, Justin and Ketter, to produce jerseys for uncles Bob and Don, and a few for ourselves as well. I had a feeling my 14-year-old self might even be impressed.

Even though we had to move quickly to get the work going for Christmas, the obsessive in me wanted to be sure to get the details right. And true to form, Ebbets wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Although I could supply dozens of pictures from all angles from my grandpa’s scrapbook and other historic accounts, and countless examples of Dover’s traditional crimson and gray, could we really be sure of the colors? A phone chat with Jerry revealed our contradictory opinions — through his long experience interpreting old black and white shots, he believed the main jersey fabric was probably gray, and the friction strips some shade of red, but thought the shoulder and cuff materials were likely darker, maybe even black. Knowing our rival New Philadelphia’s hated red and black shades, and the length of that rivalry stretching to 1896, I doubted it… but how could we be sure?

The question I needed to answer: had anyone seen a jersey from 1931 before? And what were its colors? I turned to some trusted hometown sources, and ended up being surprised beyond my wildest estimation.

At first, I came up empty. Denny Rubright, author of several books about Dover Crimsons/Tornadoes football history, thought he had once seen color pictures of legendary Doc Kelker, a 1931 teammate of grandpa, in uniform, but thought they may have been colorized after the fact. My old classmate Matt Lautzenheiser, historian and author of two books on Dover history, including on the Dover-Phila rivalry — and, coincidentally, the player who first broke grandpa’s 64-year-old single-game rushing record, in 1995 — had captured the stories from players on both sides, but details like uniform colors were lost to memory.

Newspaper accounts from that season mentioned the uniform only once, in the several-story followup to the big game against Phila. Apparently, that Thanksgiving day Dover had donned, for the first time, a special all-white getup, from painted leather helmet down to pants and shoes. This uniform wasn’t in evidence at all in any of the pictures from grandpa’s 1929-31 seasons — though it probably is the uniform depicted in coverage of Kelker’s great undefeated teams of 1932 and 1933, which makes sense, given that the uniform likely debuted in the 1931 finale.

I even checked in with classmate, now principal, Karie McIlvaine McDade, whose own family history in Dover is rich, in the hopes somehow, somewhere, a uniform had been on display or at least seen. No dice.

Finally, I followed up on a rumor I’d heard a few years back, that someone in town had closeted away a jersey from that 1931 season. Like most folks back home, the connections were deep with former superintendent Emmet Riley. He’s been a Mason for 75 years, like my late grandfather Dr. Robert Earl Ley Jr. and ancestors before him. He was superintendent while three Foutz uncles, one Ley uncle and four Ley aunts were at Dover High School. And, following a career that included stints coaching Strasburg basketball, he substitute-taught for my mom, Janet Ley, in Garaway and Dover city schools.

It was a delight talking to the 97-year-old Riley from his retirement home in Dover. And, to his recollection, the jersey had been tried and true red and gray, certainly not black. He remembered “having a jersey like that once,” and said he would try to track it down. I thought, well, good enough. That was likely the closest I’d get. Though, like Matt Lautzenheiser, as an author I’d come to view the fuzziness of memory — learned firsthand as a newspaper journalist and while researching my book on 60 years of the Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps — with a jaundiced eye.

I decided to pursue one more angle. I phoned the Dover Public Library to ask for some research legwork on any possible mention in the newspapers of 1929-31 of Dover’s uniform manufacture or colors. My next call would have been to the Reeves Home & Museum to see if they — longshot — might have a uniform in their holdings or on display. But I was lucky enough to chat with director Jim Gill.

Gill, in another (now common) coincidence, had been a roommate at Ohio State of my classmate Nate Aames, whom I’d just reconnected with at our 20th high school reunion in September. Gill knew Emmet’s son, Eric Riley, quite well, and volunteered to check with Eric to see if rumors of his father having a 1931 Dover jersey were true. Barring that, Gill would put the library’s research team to the task of scouring old papers.

They never got the chance.

To my indescribable awe, Gill phoned me back within a day or so and let me know that, yes, Eric thought he had come across an old Dover jersey while packing up his parents’ home. And in fact, he remembered intending to give that jersey to the Foutz family after conversations years ago. Why was that? Because the jersey was thought to be the actual jersey my grandpa Don Foutz wore in the 1930-31 seasons.

After some emails back and forth verifying the look of the jersey, and a couple phone calls comparing hometown bonafides — turns out, Eric had graduated with my Uncle Bob, and knew my uncle Don and dad, Fred, for years and years — Jim sent a goosebump-inducing picture of the jersey. There it was — grandpa’s #6 on the back and Emmet’s memory vindicated — though the friction strips had faded to pink, the jersey was undoubtedly the historic red and gray, through and through. Eric agreed to mail me the jersey in order that a new plan might take shape — to surprise my dad with his father’s actual gameworn jersey when we gathered in Nashville for Thanksgiving, with the replica to follow for Christmas.


History You Can Hold — Smiles, Memories, Tears

Ebbets, by now, had started knitting the jersey. Jerry indulged a couple questions from me, and set me to the enlightening task of measuring the jersey for their reference. (I wasn’t about to send it to Seattle, even though that made sense, with the big reveal scheduled for Thanksgiving.) I grew to admire even more the everyday craftsmanship back then.

I haven’t yet discovered who made the jersey — and part of me wants to imagine mothers cutting and sewing each friction strip to a stock long-sleeved sweater of the day — but the geometry, the dimensions, the design: Dad has called it a “superman suit,” and I agree, our imaginations fired, no doubt, by images of the old “Crimson Flash,” as grandpa was called that magical 1931 season, darting around end and bulling in for a touchdown.

We all decided to wait until all sons – Colt, Dan, Jake and Sam – were present after the Thanksgiving meal to sit Dad down and lay the whole ton of bricks on him. We honestly didn’t know how he’d respond. Puzzlement. Joy. Tears. I wrapped it up in tissue paper and sealed it in a designer clothes box, and rehearsed my spiel.

It had been such a story to this point, I didn’t have to do more than just note what we’d all done to make this quirky dream a reality. A bit of odd timing: the Dover football Twitter page, on Thanksgiving day, posted a throwback tweet on the 1931 Dover-Phila game with a pic from my grandpa’s scrapbook. I chuckled and traded quips with them, looking forward to sharing this whole story after it had played out.

I don’t know if Dad expected to open up a replica jersey, a placeholder coupon, or what. But his face changed, unhinged really, when he put his hands on grandpa’s actual jersey and held it up for examination. “He was kind of a little dude back then, wasn’t he?” Dad asked, gauging the long-sleeved medium or large grandpa’s then-superman frame would carry today. Tears came then. And smiles. And hugs.

Christmas was almost an anticlimax. But there were still goosebump shivers ahead. The Friday before Christmas, a call came through from Seattle. Ebbets!

They were confirming shipping addresses and I couldn’t help asking, “is it done? Can I see pictures?”

Jerry emailed his account of “one of the most challenging sewing projects we have ever undertaken”:

Because the original jersey is a different size than these, we had to make some compromises in the placement of the friction strips between the photos you sent, your measurements, and the actual dimensions on the jerseys. This is so that when it was finished it lined up proportionally as close to the original as possible. It all had to work together like a puzzle. The top “V” had to come down a little lower than in the picture so that the strips below it and to the sides could line up proportionally. If we had brought the “V” up higher, the vertical strips below and the ones on the sides would not have had the proper relative dimensions.

To our misty eyes, and to our hearts and bodies as we donned the jerseys the first time, the work was a masterpiece, and one we can all be proud of. The family spent Christmas trading selfies with each other. And I don’t know about my brothers and uncles and cousins, but I now have a new favorite in my closet. And feel closer than ever to my grandfather every time I put the “superman” Dover Crimsons suit on.

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Tornadoes Time Warp – Life After 1931

1931 Dover Crimsons football team

The 1931 Dover squad was the finest the high school had assembled to that point. In Coach Hermann Rearick's rookie season, the gridders amassed a record of 10-1, defeated staunch foes Millersburg, Massillon and New Phila, sent two starters to the all-conference and All-Ohio first team, and boasted the area's high scorer in halfback Don Foutz.

1931 Dover Football | What Happened Next?

Like all the chapters and epochs of a life, major and minor, every football season eventually sees its end.

It’s been a joy for me, some 79 years after the fact, to record and in the historical sense, relive the struggles and triumphs of a magical Dover football season.

Week by week, as I posted the game exploits of my grandpa, Don Foutz, and his 1931 teammates, the games, as well as the lives behind the names in the boxscores, became real to me.  There’s something to delayed gratification, I guess. The pacing in fitting a long-ago story with the calendar you’re living through today, that achieves a certain mystical synchronicity, the effect of long-gone souls coming alive for a time before your eyes, and matching you breath for breath.

All that aside, there are still stories to tell you. My goal was to relate them in tandem with the 2010 Tornadoes season. Another bit of happy circumstance is that even as I endeavor to keep the 1931 team alive and rambling before us, the 2010 squad plays on, against Sheridan Saturday night in Round 2 of the Ohio high school football playoffs.

May their story continue as I wrap up this saga of the 1931 Dover Crimsons.

The Team

Imagine, for a moment, that Dover football had only existed since 1980. That’s actually a useful point of reference for understanding the 1931 team and its relation to previous Crimsons seasons. Dover football began in 1896, and didn’t achieve anything like regularity until the early 1900s.

You could argue that until 1931, Dover had only enjoyed one truly remarkable run. The 1926 squad, quarterbacked by eventual 1931 coach Hermann Rearick, was first to finish undefeated, racking up 7 wins, salvaging ties against Wellsville and arch-rival New Phila, and losing none.

For Dover, then, 1931 stood in bold, 32-point font. Think of all that had been accomplished, and for the first time: 10 wins. Victories over previously-unbeaten and unscored-upon Millersburg. First win since 1908 against Massillon. A second-straight victory over New Phila. Fewest points allowed in a season, with 50. Six defensive shutouts. School single-game records for rushing yards and PATs. Most safeties recorded in a season, with 3. A #5 state ranking.

1931 Dover Crimsons football conference record1931 Dover Crimsons outstanding players1931 Dover Crimsons All-Conference Selections1931 Dover Daily Reporter football selections

And yet, for all Dover had accomplished in this dream 1931 season, it was just the curtain-raiser on a three-year run of dominance.

The 1932 and ’33 squads, led by the brilliant rushing of Frank “Doc” Kelker, would not lose a single game. That’s two straight seasons of 10-0 ball, three straight 10-win autumns. The feat has remained unequaled in the nearly 80 years since.

Into 1934, Dover would notch 29 straight victories. They would so thoroughly defeat Paul Brown’s Massillon Tigers the upstart coach — and eventual legend — refused to schedule Dover, even as his own squad went on to six straight state titles, and a few seasons of recognition as the nation’s best.

As for Dover’s 11, they would notch four straight victories against the crosstown Quakers. And, contrary to what was written in the Times-Reporter this week, Doc Kelker, as senior on the 1933 squad, and any graduating 1934 senior who saw action as a freshman in 1930, would belong to a class that won 34 games in four years.

This year’s Tornadoes, according to the T-R, have won 31 through their first round victory over Steubenville, placing them at the pinnacle, I am guessing, for three-year Dover football records. May they win many more. My point? The early 1930s Dover teams, beginning with their 1931 romp through the schedule, set a standard that arguably has gone unequaled in the all the decades since.

Later in that decade, the Crimsons would earn their lasting nickname when, after an 87-0 rout of Uhrichsville, a newspaper article referred to the “Crimson Tornado of the gridiron” (thanks to Denny Rubright’s Dover football history books for this info and much more), and in 1937 they would build their iconic red-brick stadium just off of Crater Avenue.

1931 Dover coach Herman "Bup" Rearick
Coach Herman Rearick would receive dual inductions into Ohio’s coaching Hall of Fame for his leadership of football and basketball squads at Dover and Canton McKinley.

The Coach

At the helm of the 1931 Dover Crimsons and their brilliant successors was a 22-year-old coach. What’s that saying: “you can’t go home again?” Well, Herman Rearick, in his first job since graduating from Wittenberg College, did just that. And brilliantly.

Rearick had been the boy wonder who only five years prior had quarterbacked the Crimsons to an undefeated 1926 season. As encore, he led the 1926-27 basketball team to Dover’s first state championship. Oh yeah, and he was something of a baseball player, too, winning 11 games and losing just 1 as shortstop on the Dover nine.

After their glorious football autumn, Bup relied on many of the same athletic cast to post an 8-14 basketball season and 12-3 record in baseball. The following year, Rearick’s 1932 football squad went 10-0 and allowed just two touchdowns all fall. In basketball, for the 1932-33 squad the total tally was 16 wins, 4 losses and Dover’s second state championship.

Rearick remained coach at Dover through 1938, recording another 10-0 season in 1933 and posting just one losing football autumn, and leading his cagers to runner-up status in the 1936-37 state basketball final.

Rearick was hired by Canton McKinley in fall 1938, and there his excellence played out for a new legion of high school fans. He won state championships in football in 1942 and ’44, and ended his football coaching career with an all-time winning percentage of 85%.

In basketball, his Bulldogs squads became regulars in the state tournament, making the Sweet 16 eight times between 1940 and 1961, finishing 2nd in 1940, ’43 and ’46, and reaching the semifinals in 1945 and ’54. He won 77% of his games as basketball coach, earning him induction into the Ohio High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

He was inducted into the Ohio football coaches’ hall of fame in 1971, and also boasts enshrinement at Wittenberg, Canton McKinley, Dover and the national collegiate football Hall of Fame at Rutgers University.

1931 Dover Crimsons center Trevor Rees

Trevor Rees, Center, Crimsons. He anchored the powerful Crimsons offense, and broke Akron North's spirit on defense by scoring on a 30-yard interception return.

The Players

The 1931 Dover Crimsons squad boasted talent enough to spare for the school’s undefeated 1932 and ’33 rosters. But let’s start with the departing seniors, shall we?

Center Trevor Rees and halfback Don Foutz were named to the first team of every season-ending honors squad that mattered: the Dover Daily Reporter All-County Squad, the Northeastern Ohio Big Ten League all-conference team, and that highest of high school heights, All-Ohio.

Rees was recognized by the Daily Reporter as “one of the greatest linemen in Dover high history.” His “inspiring leadership” lifted his teammates to stellar effort, and his wily play on both offense and defense kept opponents on their heels. A newspaper headline later that year broadcast, to no one’s surprise, “Trev Rees Receives State Football Call”. He continued his career at Ohio State, where he made All-American in 1936. He coached at the high school level at Cleveland’s Shaw High School, where he was 32-10-1, and was on the coaching staff at Ohio State in the early 1940s under Paul Brown. Beginning in 1946, Rees was athletic director and head football coach at Kent State University for 18 years, notching a 92-63-5 record. He was named to Dover’s athletic Hall of Fame in the inaugural 2010 class.

As a Dover halfback and punter, Foutz was known for his booming kicks — he averaged over 43 yards a punt for his three-year career — and his breathtaking open-field speed. He was equally adept at plunging through the holes Rees opened in the line, and in 1931 he posted two school-record marks for rushing in a single game, with 209 against Uhrichsville and 220 against New Philadelphia. These records would stand for more than 60 years. He was recruited by Ohio State a remarkable four years after his graduation. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll trace Don Foutz’s post-high-school life on the gridiron and off, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of his death, Nov. 14, 1980.

Among underclassmen on the 1931 Dover Crimsons, twins Don and Dale Godfrey would also go on to ply their trade at The Ohio State University.

Don quarterbacked the 1930-1932 squads, taking over more and more of the passing duties from the versatile Don Foutz in his junior season. In leading the 10-0 1932 squad, senior Don Godfrey threw for 9 touchdowns (cementing an all-star combination with end Doc Kelker), ran for 4 and also took 8 PATs over the line. He went on to play for Ohio State.

Dale played tackle and was captain of the 1932 team. He was all-conference all-star, and played alongside his brother in college as a Buckeye.

Frank “Doc” Kelker is universally recognized as the greatest athlete to ever come out of Dover High School. He earned 11 varsity letters. Went 30-1 in his his sophomore, junior and senior seasons in football. Was a member of the 1933 state championship basketball team. Helped the baseball squad to a 23-4 record his junior and senior seasons. Set a school record — that still stands — in the 100-yard dash, running it in 9.9 seconds, as a freshman.

Kelker continued his multi-sport stardom at Western Reserve College in Cleveland, where he was named All-American and in 1962 was chosen for the 25th Anniversary team — for all of college football. He went on to coach at Cleveland Central High School before devoting himself to the YMCA, for whom he eventually oversaw all of Cleveland’s urban YMCA branches. In addition, as an African-American player in an era where even the Big Ten fielded only all-white squads in basketball, and in which he faced taunts from fans and outright assault from opposing players, Kelker held himself to a higher standard, and lived an exemplary life. He was inducted in Dover’s inaugural athletic hall of fame class.

COMING TOMORROW: A look at the life of 1931 star Don Foutz after his high school playing days ended.


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.

1931 Dover Crimsons Don and Dale Godfrey

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Dover Vs. Phila 1931 – The Big Game

1931 Dover Crimsons Starters

Tornadoes Time Warp | 5,000 See Dover Win Grid Classic

Game coverage from the Times-Reporter:

By Hal Jenkins

The Crimsons struck with full power yesterday to score the most decisive victory in history over New Philadelphia.

Backs who knifed through holes opened by a great line and skirted ends behind an army of interference swept Dover to a 27-6 triumph.

Close to 5,000 saw the magnificent exhibition of sheer power; watched what was to have been a close conflict turn into a rout of the Quakers.

For 17 years Dover fans had waited for yesterday. And few you will find who’ll not say that this Crimsons team of 1931 — the first coached by Herman Rearick — is one of the greatest aggregations in local football history.

[[[Read the full game story by clicking the small pictures below!]]]

1931 Dover-Phila Game Story 11931 Dover-Phila Game Story 2


When: Thanksgiving Day — Thursday, Nov. 26, 1931

Where: Fairgrounds, Dover, Ohio

Result: Dover 27, New Philadelphia 6. Dover finishes the season a record 10-1; Phila falls to 4-6 (after starting 3-0).

Notable: The game marked the most points Dover had ever scored against their rival (previous high was 18) in 25 total contests, and the biggest margin of victory for the Crimsons at 21 points.

Also Notable: Dover rolled up 402 yards — a record 220 of them gained on the ground by Foutz (a school rushing mark that would stand for 64 years) to a mere 71 total yards by the Quakers.

Notable as well: The bleachers were filled almost an hour before the 2:30 start time.  For a game played so late in the year, the weather was clear and cold, the field muddy. Dover’s uniform was white shirts, white pants, white headgear — black numbers.

Make note of this, too: As noted earlier in 1931 game coverage, this was the first Dover-Phila contest to feature a play-by-play via public address system. But the screaming of the faithful — as well as the cannon some young Crimsons fans brought with them — rendered the effort mostly useless. By game time the crowd had been whipped into a frenzy by a week’s worth of anticipation — light standards in downtown Dover bedecked in crimson and gray; a steak-and-potato dinner served at noon for the team, courtesy of the Lion’s Club; the high school band spelling out “Dover” during pre-game and tossing confetti from the formation. Fifteen police patrolled the field, but the only note of an unruly fan being tossed came when one “funster” tossed a fish from the Dover side.

[[[Read more notes and game color by clicking on the pictures below!!!]]]

1931 Dover-Phila Notes 11931 Dover-Phila Notes 2


Keys to the game – Dover dominated every phase of the game, and only allowed a touchdown in the closing quarter.

The Crimsons notched 23 first downs to the Quakers’ 6.

As noted above, Dover netted almost 600% more yards from scrimmage than their hapless rival.

New Phila found momentum early on from its passing attack — playing off a strategy that began to work in the fourth quarter of the 1930 game before the Quakers ran out of time. But even this strategy faltered. In all, the Quakers were just 6 of 12 passing for 82 yards with one of those attempts intercepted by the Crimsons.

Meanwhile, Dover simply ran the ball down New Phila’s throats. Foutz’s record 220 yards were accompanied by 2 touchdowns. Zuchegno gained 78; Fred Kelker 55; Don Godfrey 32; Frank Kelker 11; and Mason 6.

On defense, Dover blocked a field goal to end Phila’s best chance of scoring, on the opening drive. In the second half, the Crimsons caught Phila behind the line of scrimmage in their own end zone and scored a safety.

In all, it was the usual spirited, manic play characteristic of the rivalry game. Kicks missed. Penalties called back touchdowns. Fumbles occurred within striking distance of the goal. Rushers were stopped short of extra-point yardage. The final score might have been even more for Dover, or Phila could have put themselves closer.

But the dominance of the Crimsons proved it: on this day, Dover would not be denied.

[[[Read play-by-play accounts of the game by clicking on the pictures below.]]]

1931 Dover-Phila Play-by-Play 11931 Dover-Phila Play-by-Play 2

In-game sequence – Even in a game that Dover thoroughly dominated on the scoreboard, the tension was high as fumbles, penalties and dramatic plays swung the momentum. In this fourth-quarter sequence, with the score Dover 13, New Phila 0, the Crimsons began by forcing Phila to punt. Taking over at its own 30, Dover sent Foutz straight through center for 2; then Zuchegno for 3, then Foutz for 4. Foutz then sent a 30-yard punt to the Quakers 29. Dover regained possession on a clipping penalty, and Foutz promptly raced around end for 9 yards. The drive continued:

“After gaining 4 more yards, Foutz crashed through center for 17 yards carrying the ball across the goal line, but was called back when the referee ruled that Dover was holding on the play. Retaliating, Foutz gained 10. Kuhn recovered Foutz’s fumble on the New Phila 24. Byrd lost 5 yards on the 2 plays. Zurcher punted (for Phila) 10 yards out of bounds on his own 28.

Godfrey gained 2 around left end. Foutz gained 2. Foutz again repeated his rush thru center and ran 28 yards for a touchdown.”

Top performers – Touchdowns went to Foutz (2), Zuchegno and Fred Kelker. The defense scored a safety in the fourth quarter, and only allowed the Quakers to score on the next to last possession of the game.

Don Foutz’s (final) line –

2 touchdowns rushing (12 points)

1 extra point kicked (1 PAT missed, 1 FG missed)

13 points total

220 yards rushing

6 punts for 180 yards (30 yds. avg.)

Quotable –

“Foutz, playing his last game, captained the backfield and Trevor Rees, the great center, was line captain. These two were the inspiration of the team. For their last game they turned in brilliant individual performances. And their mates were never far behind.”

NEXT WEEK: What happened to the 1931 Crimsons after their magical 10-1 season was ended? Stay tuned as Colt profiles the team’s stars and what they did next.


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.

1931 Dover Crimsons HB Don Foutz

Crimsons halfback Don Foutz capped a great high school football career in dramatic fashion by piling up a school-record 220 yards in the 1931 rivalry game against New Philadelphia. The yardage total would stand at the top for Dover gridders until 1995.

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Dover vs. Phila 1931 – A Good Luck Telegram

Don Foutz: 1931 Dover halfback and punter

In his high school career, Don Foutz provided the crucial points in six Dover victories. But he had to wonder, on the eve of the 1931 grudge match with New Phila, whether he could again rise to the heroics that carried Dover to victory the previous season.

Tornadoes Time Warp | Foutz Prepares for Phila

Today, and for the last several decades, the annual Dover-Phila game has been the pinnacle of a week-long buildup of student body dress-up days, pep rallies, parades, bonfires and general community merriment run amok.

Even if you knew nothing of the game, and could care less about the outcome, it would be hard not to get caught up in the sweep of emotions attending the biggest contest of the season, and for the vast majority of the players about to take the field, the biggest contest of their playing careers up to that point.

My grandfather, Don Foutz, was well-acquainted with crucial games in his four years of Dover football.

Don Foutz’s game-winners, 1929-31:

1. 1930 vs. Orrville – ran for late TD in 13-12 victory

2. 1930 vs. Phila — ran for TD, threw for 4th-quarter TD in 13-7 victory

3. 1931 vs. Coshocton — ran for late TD, kicked point-after in 13-6 victory

4. 1931 vs. Millersburg — ran for game’s only TD, kicked point-after in 9-0 victory

5. 1931 vs. Uhrichsville — ran for 2 TDs and school-record 209 yards, kicked PAT in 13-0 victory

6. 1931 vs. Massillon — ran for game’s only TD in 6-0 victory

Dover’s 1930 win over rival New Phila came after the Quakers had shut out the Crimsons 7-0 in 1929. Foutz, a sophomore in that contest, booted a 60-yard punt in a losing effort. The finale of his junior season saw him outgain the entire opposing side with 110 yards, score the game-tying touchdown, and still almost see it go for naught. Only his 35-yard heave and receiver Jim Smith’s 12-yard scamper after the catch into the end zone saved the day for the Crimsons.

And now a telegram. At 4:14 the afternoon before Thanksgiving, 1931. From the “Ress” brothers, whose identities are lost to history (or at least not known to me). However well-intentioned, it gave Don Foutz a lot to ponder on the eve of the biggest — and final — game of his high school days.

The telegram reads:


How would Foutz rise to the occasion? How could he hope to top his heroics of 1930? Only by recording the greatest single-game rushing performance in school history.

Coming Tomorrow – The Big Game.


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.

1931 Thanksgiving Telegram Dover-Phila game

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Dover vs. Phila 1931 – Your Game Program

Dover New Phila 1931 Game Program

1931 Dover-New Phila Game Program

Tornadoes Time Warp | 1931 Dover-Phila Preview

The first page of the 1931 Dover-Phila game program trumpets the arrival of the 20th annual Thanksgiving Day contest.

One has to assume the combined editorial staffs of the Crimson and Gray and The Delphian had done their research. And so, counting backward brings us to the first Dover-Phila game, played on Thanksgiving, 1897.

But there were 5 earlier-season matches between the rivals played as well. And as a rule, few had gone particularly well for Dover.

First 6 games:

In the early years of the rivalry, according to the 1931 game program, Dover squared off against New Phila just six times between 1897 and the first of two matchups in 1914 between the schools. It may have been well for Dover to cry off at that point, when the series stood with Dover in favor 2-1-3 even though Phila had notched a 23-21 advantage in total scoring. Because the next two decades would mostly be a downer.

Middle 9 games:

From the Thanksgiving games of 1914 through 1921 the Quakers amassed an 8-1 record over the hapless Crimsons. Phila rolled up 240 points to just 14 scored by Dover, which found itself on the wrong end of 27-0, 39-0, 42-0, 61-0 and 47-0 blowouts, broken only by its 7-0 triumph in 1916.

In 1917 alone, the Quakers scored 108 unanswered points (in two games).

1919 featured the only forfeit of the series, when Dover coach Albert “Dutch” Senhauser pulled his squad from the field in protest of a controversial call. Phila, leading the game 7-0 at the time, earned a 1-0 official win. (According to A Century of Excitement: Dover Football 1896-1996, by Denny Rubright. Yes, I finally got my hands on the resources I lost.)

Last 9 games:

From 1922 through 1930, though New Phila still outscored its rival 118-56 (mainly attributable to a 64-0 win in 1924), Dover eked out a 3-4-2 record. Though they had suffered the record margin of defeat in 1924, the Crimsons had also pulled some heady upsets and a crafty tie to preserve their undefeated 7-0-2 record in 1926.

If Dover could pull out a repeat of 1930’s late-game heroics, it could pull even for the decade of 1922-1931 at 4-4-2.

Of course, that would still put the Crimsons behind 7-13-5 in the overall series, coming off a point deficit of 381-91. But hey, they had the next 80 years to make up that ground. Of course, the yearbook accounting below didn’t record at least two other early games found by Rubright, both Dover losses, including a 54-0 blowout.

But not to worry, Crimson Tornadoes fans — they’d finally pull even in 2007.

Dover-Phila football series to 1930

In other matters germane to previewing the game, the yearbook staffers introduced both bands, and the alma maters and fight songs as they were sung, circa 1931. And dutifully reported the rosters of both squads. Click on the thumbnails below to catch up on all that’s fit to print about Dover vs. Phila, 1931.

Tomorrow: A pre-game telegram puts the pressure on Don Foutz.

1931 Dover Band & Fight Song1931 New Phila Band & Fight Song1931 Dover football team1931 New Phila football team


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.

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