Don's football days
Central High School, Maryland College, Maryland ACC
|1929 Central High School Football Team - click on image for larger view - Don is 6th from right in middle row.|
The 1929 sportlight: In football, the season started off disastrously. Our first opponent was Tech, champion of the previous year. The "Blue and White" team, under Captain Brandt, commenced well, with the men playing together, and showing a good spirit. Nevertheless, the breaks were against them, and although Central played its best, Tech won the game . . . the rest of the high school competitions were a series of victories. , , ,The Post-season game against Devitt was a disappointment . . . (see full quote)
|1930 Central High School Yearbook|
At Maryland, Don played football but not track or basketball. In the fall of 1930, Don played on the Freshman football team. They played five games, winning their first two and losing the last three, held scoreless. Don is listed as 6' tall, 160 pounds, age 18 (but only 5'10" the next year!). Don joined Sigma Nu fraternity this year, where about a third of the varsity football players were "brothers."
While the 1930 Varsity team had a good season, winning the majority of its games (7/12), and four of six Southern Conference games, it was the 1931 team, Coach Byrd's "Twentieth Season Special" that was touted as going down in the record books as one of the "greatest gridiron aggregations ever to represent the University of Maryland." What a thrill it must have been for Don to be one of only eight 1930 freshman players, out of 29, to be chosen to join this illustrious squad. Coach Curley Byrd welcomed Don to the team.
The 1931 team was decimated at the end of the year -- half of the team were seniors, and the talent loss was just too much to overcome in the 1932 season:
Maryland's Varsity football team, in the throes of rebuilding, lost six of its eleven games during the 1932 campaign. In the games it lost except to Virginia by one point, Maryland simply was up against much better and more experienced material. . . Curley Byrd never could find a line combination that came near matching the forwards of his major rivals. This was especially true of the ends. Not one of the seven men used on the wings at various times during the campaign was a high-class performer. Willis Benner, a Junior, was the leader of the bunch, but even he did not play regularly. . . Maryland played really bad football only in the Navy game and in the first half of the finale with Western Maryland. . .(see full quote and newspaper articles)
|1934 Maryland University Yearbook|
Maryland's football team won only three of its ten games during the 1933 campaign. . . Two of Maryland's victories were scored in its last three contests. Hopkins was beaten on November 18 in Baltimore, 27 to 7, but the highlight of the campaign came a week later when Washington and Lee was handed a rude jolt on Homecoming Day with the count being 33 to 13. It probably was the biggest upset scored during the season in the South Atlantic section. That day, the old Liners would have been tough for any team in the South or East, and they showed their mettle by coming back and running rough shod over the Generals after they had two touchdowns scored on them early in the game. . . Maryland made a thrilling play against Duke that went down in the football record books as the greatest feat of its kind accomplished during the 1933 season. . . Another notable occurrence was the withdrawal from active coaching by H. C. (Curley) Byrd after twenty-one years of success. . . (see full quote and newspaper articles)
|1934 Maryland A. C. - semi-pro team - click on image for larger view. Don third from left in back row|
After professional football came to Washington, DC in 1937, Don became a spectator rather than a participant. But he loved to attend games -- daughter Donna remembers going to a fabulous Redskins football game (in the 1960s where the Redskins came from behind with two touchdowns in the last four minutes) as well as a Maryland University basketball game with the Harlem Globetrotters at halftime. And a memorable game was watching the Redskins on December 8, 1941 when general after general was called out of the stands on Pearl Harbor Day -- it was clear that something important was going on in the War. Particularly in '60s and '70s, Don spent every Sunday watching his favorite teams on tv. He retained his membership in the University M Club all his life.