HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL—A THANKSGIVING DAY TRADITION
PART I
 
1946 Turkey Day GamePerusing the Turkey Day football programs available in the Shanaman Sports Museum archives reveals  colorful descriptions of those early games and a constant evolution of the Lincoln and Stadium High nicknames. The first Thanksgiving Day football game was held in 1923. Lincoln, then known as the “Railhewers”, faced the Stadium “Toreadors.” Stadium won 14-7.
 
The game featured two players who would go on to more notable achievements. Lincoln’s Jimmy Mosolf went on to play parts of four seasons of Major League Baseball: 1929-31 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and 1933 with the Chicago Cubs. He also played parts of eight seasons in the minor leagues, most notable with the Kansas City Blues from 1932-34.
 
Playing right tackle for Stadium was junior Herman Brix who went on to play for the Huskies in the 1926 Rose Bowl Game against Alabama. Herman went on to earn a silver medal in the shot put in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games, played Tarzan in the ‘30s and enjoyed a successful film career as Bruce Bennett.
 
A 40-yard place kick by Rick Johnson won the 1924 game for the Lincoln “Axewielders” 3-0.
In fog so thick that spectators could not see the field, the “Stadions” won the '25 game, 13-3. Stadium was again victorious in the '26 game, 20-0 over the “Lynx” grid men.
 
Lincoln's “Kak" Wasmund ran the entire length of the field in the closing seconds of play the following year to bring victory to the Southenders by a score of 14-7. The Northenders took the '28 city championship by outscoring the Presidents 13-0. The 1929 game attracted the largest crowd in the history of the event up to that time, 10,000, to see an injury-ridden Lincoln team beat the Bengals, 13-7.
1938 Stadium-Lincoln Thanksgiving Day game - Photo by Harry Hintz
Stadium failed to make a conversion for an extra paint in the closing minutes of the '30 game. The Abes gained the city crown for that year by a margin of one point, 7-6. The Lynx gridders of '31, who had already captured the state championship, defeated the BengaIs 32-6.
 
A long pass in the closing minutes of the game the next year ended in another Abes victory, this time the tally was 12-6, and a tough fight for both teams in '33 ended in a scoreless lie.
 
John Heinrick's Stadium High proteges dominated the next seven Turkey Day games, allowing only 145 points from 1934-1940. This winning streak was broken in 1941 when the Railmen of Lincoln held the Tigers to a scoreless tie. In the 1935 Turkey Tilt, Stadium was led by halfback Carl Opolsky and Coach Vincent Keyes’ Abes were engineered by the running of fullback Jess Brooks, a multi-sport sensation at Lincoln and the College of Puget Sound before he earned a spot in the starting lineup for the famed Kansas City Monarchs baseball team of the Negro Leagues.  
1938 Stadium-Lincoln Thanksgiving Day game - Photo by Harry Hintz
In '42 the gridders of Coach Eddie Schwarz made a comeback by defeating Stadium 13-0. Twelve thousand fans were attracted to the Thanksgiving battle the following year in which both teams failed to score.
 
The Lincoln gridders of '44 captured Cross-State and City crowns by defeating Stadium in the Turkey Day gigantic, 7-0. The mythical state champions were led by Bob McGuire, Len Kalapus, Dean Mellor, Al Malanca and Dick Weathermon. On the other side of the ball, key Tigers included Bill McGovern, Bill Kowalski, Tom Baker, Dick Brown, Orv Harrelson, Jim Crews, Steve Mondau, Stan Langlow and Earl Birnel.
Over the years a host of athletes got to experience the traditional Thanksgiving Day battle. Ask any of them about the game and, in most cases, they’ll readily share fond memories of a long-lost tradition that spanned 50 seasons. (See Part II for recollections from seven players over the years)
 
 
 
 
THANKSGIVING DAY FOOTBALL GAME RESULTS
1923-1972 (50 years)
Lincoln-24 wins           Stadium-19 wins          Wilson & Mt. Tahoma-3 wins              Bellarmine-1 win
 
1923—Stadium 14, Lincoln 7                1924—Lincoln 3, Stadium 0                  1925—Stadium 13, Lincoln 3
1926—Stadium 20, Lincoln 0                1927—Lincoln 14, Stadium 7                1928—Stadium 13, Lincoln 0
1929—Lincoln 13, Stadium 7                1930—Lincoln 7, Stadium 6                  1931—Lincoln 32, Stadium 6
1932—Lincoln 12, Stadium 6                1933—Lincoln 0, Stadium 0                  1934—Stadium 13, Lincoln 8
1935—Stadium 6, Lincoln 0                  1936—Stadium 6, Lincoln 0                  1937—Stadium 34, Lincoln 3
1938—Stadium 3, Lincoln 0                  1939—Stadium 21, Lincoln 6                1940—Stadium 6, Lincoln 0
1941—Lincoln 0, Stadium 0                  1942—Lincoln 13, Stadium 0                1943—Lincoln 0, Stadium 0
1944---Lincoln 7, Stadium 0                  1945—Stadium 7, Lincoln 6                  1946—Stadium 21, Lincoln 6
1947—Lincoln 12, Stadium 0                1948—Lincoln 13, Stadium 7                1949—Lincoln 14, Stadium 0
1950—Lincoln 0, Stadium 0                  1951—Lincoln 6, Stadium 6                  1952—Lincoln 7, Stadium 6
1953—Lincoln 13, Stadium 6                1954—Stadium 13, Lincoln 7                1955—Lincoln 19, Stadium 0
1956—Stadium 6, Lincoln 0                  1957—Lincoln 13, Stadium 0                1958—Wilson 4, Lincoln 0
1959—Stadium 19, Lincoln 7                1960—Lincoln 35, Wilson 26                1961—Lincoln 14, Wilson 0
1962—Lincoln 14, Wilson 7                  1963—Lincoln 21, Stadium 0                1964—Stadium 14, Lincoln 13
1965—Stadium 25, Lincoln 7                1966—Mt. Tahoma 33, Lincoln 12         1967—Stadium 6, Mt. Tahoma 0
1968—Wilson 7, Stadium 6                   1969—Mt. Tahoma 14, Lincoln 0          1970—Mt.Tahoma 27, Bellarmine 6
1971—Wilson 8, Bellarmine 0               1972—Bellarmine 8, Mt. Tahoma 0
 
 
 
1946:  Lincoln-Don Maitland, Sam Baker, Bill Greco and Bob Carlson
Stadium-Garry Hersey and Harry Nygard
 
1951: Lincoln: Earl Hyder, Merle Hagbo and Les Kleinsasser
Stadium: Gordy Hersey. Bob Ehrenheim and Pat Dillon
         
1952:  Lincoln: Jim Jones, Luther Carr and Bill Ochs
Stadium: Mike Cranston, Bob Lashley, Dick Nyssen and Marv Shain
         
1954:  Lincoln: Luther Carr, Duane Lowell, Jack Walters and Joe Williams
Stadium: Arley Kangas, Mike Cranston, Len Manke and Jim Skaggs.
         
1956:  Lincoln:  Jerry Cecchi, Jim Jones, Doug McClary, Herm Magnuson and Jerry Williams
Stadium: Dave Kerrone and Wayne Pavlic
 
1957:  Lincoln: Jim Jones, Jerry Ramsey, Doug McClary, Marlowe Roesser and Jerry Williams
Stadium: Dave Kerrone, Ed Menotti
 
1958:  Lincoln: Jim McCuen and Ron Tingstad
Wilson: Terry Parker and Wayne Pavlic
         
1962:  Lincoln: Don Moore, Dave Williams and Mark Wojahn
Wilson: Dean Cherbas, Butch Dunlap, Bill Parker and Dick Zatkovich
         
1964:  Lincoln: Ron Baines
Stadium: Phelon Cole
 
1967:  Mt. Tahoma: Rod Bolek, Don Falk, Bobby Moore, Stan Pietras, Tim Samlaska and Terry Warren
Stadium: Bill Messing., Joe Newman, Van Owens, Jeff Race and Jim Tyner
 
1968:  Stadium: Rob Benedetti, Tom Hayward, Van Owens and Jeff Race
Wilson: Tony Apostle, Mike Lobberegt, Skip Nagrodski, John Swanes and John Whitacre
 
1969:  Lincoln: Ken Baines, Chuck Bingham, Terry Keister, Larry Lien, Tim McDonough and
Charles Weatherby
Mt. Tahoma: Marc Guild, Carlos Warren and Hank Whitehead
 
Coaches: Harry Bird, Ed Fallon, John Heinrick, Vincent Keyes, Bob Levinson, Norm Mayer, Phil Sarboe, Eddie Schwartz and Joe Stortini.
 
 
 
By Marc Blau (with thanks to the editing pencils of Doug McArthur and Gary Brooks and to the players and coaches who were kind enough to share their personal stories for this special feature, to Ilona Perry and the Northwest Room of the Tacoma Public Library for assisting with access to newspaper accounts of the games and to the Shanaman Sports Museum archives).
 
Sponsors