Stecker’s memorable run for the lone TD – Army 6 – Navy 0
compiled from Pittsburgh Press, Dec 13, 1930 by grimmr22
Important Note – in the last 150-lb Lightweight printed program I have (1991)…a “J Metzger” was listed as the Captain of the team; and the correct team captain, Bradley J. Johnson, was not.
J.H. Metzger was in fact a Captain, but apparently serving as an assistant!
If one looks closely at the photo roster on the 1957 page, as shown below; they can see where the mistake was made.
The online 2012 Sprint Football guide shows that this problem was “caught” after the 2011 guide, thus the benefits of online scrutiny!
Nevertheless, It is sad to think that the “first captain of the 150-lb, Lightweights, Football team” was not correctly identified and recognized all those many years in official publications.
Dear reader, today we have a guest Gray Matter, written by Brian McEnany ’62, describing what approximated R Day for a member of the Class of 1862.
To whom it may concern,
I am a proud member of ’57 and was the roomie for four years on Wally Summers, referred to as the Company Commander of L-1 at the time of our Graduation P-rade in the following material extracted from your site. (Note: There was also a long-lived myth that Wally kept our company in line at the time the wave of chaos arrived on our right flank by saying he’d run anyone thru with his saber who broke ranks.
“The Class of 1957 was referred to as the Black Class and were not allowed to return to the Grounds of West Point for a number of years. I was told as a Plebe that the ’57 Company Commander of L-1 ordered his Classmates to remain in formation when the other companies broke and ran across the Plain. I do not know if it was fear or respect that held L-1 ranks, I do know that I was Proud to be a L-1 Plebe summer of 1958 (Attitudes change as one adjusts to Academy Life).”
In the interest of correcting the record and providing full disclosure, I’m providing the following comments:
1.The comment that our Class was not allowed to return to the Grounds of West Point is erroneous. Sounds like one of those cadet folklore myths. I, in fact, personally returned twice within the month of graduation to have some major dental work completed which had begun shortly before Graduation.
2. L-1 was one of four companies, along with I-1, L-2, and M-2) which maintained their formation during that parade. To help give you a fuller understanding of the events of that parade and subsequent fallout, please see the attached article. I prepared this article at the request of our Class Scribe, Max Kovel, to provide a definitive review of the P-rade “that will live in USMA infamy” for our 50th Reunion Yearbook. Material for the article was garnered from many ’57 Classmates, other Class members, Tac Officers, and archival research. (BTW – it was rewarding to read that whoever provided the material in the article on your site indicated that he was Proud to be a L-1 Plebe summer of 1958)
Hope you enjoy the attached.
Regards, Nick Monaco ’57
Ben Schemmer ’54 with Goat and Al Rupp ’55 borrowed Billy XII for a couple of days. Al, a cheerleader, is walking behind and left of Ben Schemmer. Ben, AL and Scotty Wetzel ’54 were the three cadets who went to Annapolis to steal the goat and bring it to West Point. Ben and Al went in a convertible, driven by an enlisted member of the Band, because they thought the goat’s horns would be too large for a sedan. Unknown to them Scotty Wetzel went alone and met Joseph U Weaver a University of Maryland student, and the two groups accidentally met one another after midnight near the goat pen.
27 has to be a Starman he is already on his way back to the Ball
General MacArthur stepped up to him and looked him in the eyes. “You like to throw the long bomb but 3 short completions have a higher probably of getting a first down.” As an Army All American he was to lead the Nation in passing efficience that year. Notes of the Board for Selection to the Army Sports Hall of Fame
Vann to Hollender
DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE the thunder continued. Worth Lutz, Duke’s quarterback said after the Game, “The savage cheering of Go!GO!GO! from the West Point stands placed our team in a nervous fright of tension and jitters.” In the Locker room it soon became apparent that the men who had played the entire game were going to need help. Sweat from the Indian Summer heat and players’ prolonged physical exertion had so saturated their T-Shirts worn underneath their pads that the shirts were stuck to their skin. Scissors had to be used to cut and peel the Triple A shirt off. “A Return to Glory”
There was jubilation, yet there was a somber feeling in the room. He ordered the door secured and as he turned to speak his eyes were misty. “I have never coached a team that give me more than you did. I never have coached a team that has given me as much satisfaction. Considering all the conditions since 1951, you have done more for football at West Point than any other team in the history of the Academy.” Leaders give the credit to those who Give (Peter Vann)
150’s The Early Years
As Plebes each Team played both the Goats and Engineers to a standstill. Although they did not score the points, it was the line standing calf to calf, ankle to ankle out weighted 50 to 75 pounds that won the games. Their coach called them a line of tight butts. As Upper Classmen, members of these two teams contributed to the domination of the league over the next four years, losing only one, but never to Navy.
The offensive huddle and play routine was meticulous and disciplined in every detail, requiring the Army center to be the first to break the huddle. As the center trotted up over the ball, the rest of the team would pause then jog to the line. Not so in the 2d half or against any other team that year. The center was so energized by the Coach’s blistering halftime remarks that he bolted from the huddle and raced to the ball. His 10 teammates followed his lead, storming to the line of scrimmage; a team of fired up football players. The Corps responded and a new method of calling up the twelfth man was born. “A Return to Glory”
Cloyd Boyer, minor league pitching coach for NY Yankees at tryout said to him as he prepared for departure to Vietnam, ” Your fast ball is good enough to pitch in majors, but your curveball needs 3 years of concentrated work, Besides we don’t know whether you will return from Vietnam with all of your appendages intact”
Red Smith, Duke’s All American breaks free heading for the TD
Bob has him,down at the 7. Army held for 4 downs taking over inches from the goal line. It was the season of Army’s “Return to Glory”
At 17 there are things locked in your mind forever. When his Assistant Football Coach returned from a Touchdown Club meeting to tell him he had just watched film of the greatest runner in the nation take the ball on the first snap for an 81 yard touchdown against Notre Dame; he did not realize that as a Yearling two years later he would stand on the same field as a teammate of that running back. He would go on to earn The Most Valuable Player Award his Firstie Year.
He took the handoff; going off tackle for 93 yards and the TD. Years later Colonel Blaik would say that his run against Navy was the Greatest Thrill he had in all the years of coaching.
Col Blaik said good fellows are a dime a dozen, but an aggressive leader is priceless. General MacArthur said it would take 10 years. At that time the pessimistic mood at West Point was pervasive both on and off the Team. Coach Blaik had picked him. Faced with an insurmountable challenge he drove his teammates to excellence. His leadership transformed the team and gave it the confidence and capability that the sum totals of its individual athletic skills just could not achieve. He use tell his team mates “the Army Team had about 2400 members and we (the players) were only the Saturday afternoon representatives”. Editors note – with all that Team achieved due to his leadership on the field, he was wrong. When the Army Team steps onto the field it represents the nearly 44,000 living graduates, no, the Army Team represents every member of the Long Gray Line.
Ambassador Hoffman’s Letter to the Army Hall of Fame Board http://www.aberjonapress.com/catalog/artg/
With the foul, 3 for Army
He had never stepped on a mat. Coach Alitz taught him how to earn 3 Army A’s
He took himself out of the game. The trainer wrapped his arm. He went back in making tackle after tackle with his broken arm.
Nearly every afternoon for 4 years he either prepared for or competed. He was an All American in both Football and Wrestling. (Notes for Army Hall of Fame Board)
As a player, coach and officer representative he gave 26 years to the 150s. (Notes for Army Hall of Fame Board)
Coach Tipton wanted to cut him because he could not make weight over four years. His Plebe Coach said no; that player would never let the 150’s down. For 3 years, he was the starting fullback. In his last game against Navy at Annapolis, his former Plebe Coach watched him run out onto the field in front of thousands of screaming Navy fans. He consistently slashed through the front 7 and into the Navy secondary that afternoon. There was no more screaming.
If you wonder what it takes to be selected Defensive Player of the week, just ask someone who played against Pittsburg. When he and George closed on Mike Ditka, they stopped him in his tracts. As Mike jogged back to the Pittsburg huddle, George and Al helped him to his feet. Spitting out the remains of 5 teeth, all he could say was “Well at least we stopped him”.
In the age of specialty, do you ever wonder who could do it all — one who could return kickoffs and punts; run the option, passing rather than add more yards to his legacy; roll out into the flat, or go long; then never come out of the game as his ability to read and make bone crushing tackles stymied offenses; who the Sonner’s Bud Wilkinson referred to as one of the toughest. Yet in reality, with all his great runs, including 983 Yearling Year, all he ever was; is just a guy who was and is loved by his teammates.
Off to a Good Start
In the old news clipping, they had taken one look at him as the teams warmed up. The Sonner Coach turned to an Assistant and said well we do not need to concern ourselves with him. Because of the dislocated shoulder, Ed Pillings (AAA Trainer) had taped his upper arm to his chest. Thus he was able to only move his arm
from the elbow down. Although the exact number of catches is not remembered nor the number of yards he had returning kickoffs, he played the entire game; both sides of the ball against Oklahoma. What he does remember about the game is Bud Wilkinson coming into the locker room after the game to pat the Army Team on the back; something never seen before or since.
When he picked up his shirt and sock roll, Roy Cooper handed him an orange and white jersey with number 32 on it. As a Plebe
he was not eligible to play varsity ball so he was surprised to be told to report to the A Squad. He was going to be Jim Brown of Syracuse. On his first play from scrimmage, behind B Squad blocking he took the handoff and ripped off 8 yards. Returning to the huddle, he was feeling good, until Colonel Blaik uttered those words dreaded by every Army B Squad Player– Run it again. This time he barely took the handoff when he was smashed to the ground by Dick Stephenson. Years later as an All American and member of the NCAA Hall of Fame he would still remember that hit.
The Houston heat was oppressive, more like Beast Barracks than a late fall afternoon. As the game progressed more and more of it was played in Army’s end of the field. With the score tied and a minute to play, Army blocked the field goal attempt. Now, with less than a minute, Army was 76 yards from a score. There was no television coverage but there was a feed directly into Academy. As the pass was launched, the Army halfback could be seen alone, arms
outstretched, running under it. Suddenly the feed went black. The uproar from Thayer Hall could be heard across the river. There were some who did not believe. When the score was announced, it was 14 -7 Army over Rice. It was a Great Team. http://www.coachwyatt.com/blaik9.html
With 2 out and 2 on base he faced a Navy Legend. He struck Roger Staubach out, earning his second A with Star. He would go on to win a third with Star.
Leading 14 to zero it was 4th Down, on their own 38. The play had been sent in. They were operating out of the Texas Wishbone and he saw that the middle was clogged with defenders. He checked off to a slant pass to his wide open split end. Ten men momentarily stiffened, for if the play failed, each knew they would all be in for punishing comments. Number 51 snapped the ball, as he raised up to pass Coach Tipton nearly swallowed his cigar; but then was to never say a word as Donnie took the pass for 61 yards to the 1 yard line. The Army defense led by numbers 83 & 67 dominated the field. Number 40 piled up yards resulting in a 41 to 0 score. Glynn Mallory a 150 player, Class of 61 enjoyed the humor when Mrs. Tipton ordered Crab Cakes that evening in Annapolis.
One of Alitz’s Horses
There are coaches who can put you in for 15 minutes; give you a fresh man every 3; yell at you to hold your head up as you suck in
huge gulps of foul air steaming from under your rubber jacket; then, come over to you as you slouch, dejected against the wall, put an arm around you, ask about academics; and make you just want to give more. Our Coach was one.
The day he was to start his first game, Col Blaik put an arm around his shoulder and said “Son I want you to go in there, lift your legs up, hold your head high and run like a Stallion.” As an All American that is the way he ran for 3 years. (Pointer 5, 59-60)
Early one morning he was seen walking across Lusk Reservoir; on the train ride back from Notre Dame there was only a can of sardines and a crust of bread, he fed the whole train; yet he was mortal. In an exchange with a teammate after the Directive came down telling the football team not to walk across the Plain as their cleats were tearing up the grass, he corrected a teammate starting to cross and was told, “It is the shortest distance to the Gym”. His response was, “Then take your cleats off if you going to walk on the grass”, his teammate used the side walk. We called him St. Peter.
For the good of the team he took a step back from the position where he had earned All American Honors. It became his team. http://www.coachwyatt.com/blaik7.html
With both Stu and Al out of the game he finally got his chance in the last few seconds; with his scoop shot he beat Navy, earning his A with Star.
He cut to 167 twice. It hurt to see him give so much for his team. (A teammate who cut 30)
Limited to a Few
It was the 2d game, he took the punt, cut inside and went into the dirt. He was out for Penn State. When he returned he was taped thigh to ankle, locking the knee making it impossible to cut. His power runs up the middle still made the difference. He was an All American his Yearling and Cow Years. To us he was an All American all three. He played 6 games, both offense and defense with the torn cartilage.
It was at Wisconsin. As they started to lock up, his opponent gave him a vicious head butt. Everything went red; the flash of pain, the realization of what had been done, and the flow. The ref led him to the side and asked Coach Alitz if he could continue the match. Alitz popped one of his infamous capsules and stuck it under his nose. As the ref mopped up the mat, Coach Alitz packed both nostrils and asked him what he wanted to do. “Stop the flow and let me at him.” He came back out, charged with adrenalin; grabbed his opponent and lifted him high into the air. As he adjusted his arm for the nelson, he was cautioned by the ref “set him down”. He eased his opponent to the mat and the pin. Now it should be noted that he had invited a young Lady, now his wife to the match. Perhaps, just perhaps, not all of the physical prowess he displayed that night was meant to intimidate his opponent.
He played safety with aggressiveness, but at only 157 his team mates called him The Urchin. Against the Sonners he set an Academy record completing 21 passes for 297 yards. Bud Wilkinson the Oklahoma Coach referred to him as one of the finest players he had ever seen. http://www.coachwyatt.com/blaik9.html Coach Wilkinson’s game notes.
“If were not for Al, I would never have won my Gold Medal” Doug Blubaugh, Asst. Wrestling Coach and Olympic Gold Medalist. Comment Spring of 2006.
Unknown to him, his medical file stated unfit for commissioning due to the ruined knee he sustained Cow Year. In the last game, of his last year, in a snow storm with the team struggling, he was sent in to quarterback the 2d half. 150s won. Because he gave, his medical file was reviewed and he was allowed to serve.
One a Lacrosse All American Both Football All Americans
He was within a pound or two of 147 when the decision was made. He took off his rubber jacket and got a drink of water. Instead he took the 177 pound class ensuring Army 1st place in the Tournament. Coach Alitz’s expectations of us was never too great.
He only wanted 3 things, 30 years in the Marine Corps; to win the Medal of Honor; to own a bar at the gate to a Marine base. He earned the Medal of Honor. He never earned an A but he was my teammate.
In the winter of 60-61, I asked Fry, (Lawrence Fryermuth) AAA trainer, which Army Athlete Al compared to. Immediately he said Glenn Davis. He went on to say that in physical ability they were equal, but Al had the superior physique.
She coached for only a year.
As one of only four, he has attended every Army Home Football game since 1952. He is an Army All American.
He practiced and practiced. After 4 years of practice he finally broke into the top ten, but with all the practice he had never qualified. He had never earned Class Numerals, nor a Monogram. Finally in the last match of Firstie Year he placed fifth — earning his Army A. He was an Army Rifleman.
They were badly mauled in the first half. Just prior to the start of the 2d half they were told. Steve will quarterback. You will have to figure out how you are going to protect him since he will play with his separated shoulder in a sling. On the first offensive play he took the snap and went untouched for the score. The rout was on.
He was recruited to play quarterback, was told that his arm was good, but he was slow afoot. He adjusted. From his pitching mound he dominated Army Baseball for 3 years; and in the end earning a Gold Medal in the Pan American Games.
He was on the field the entire game and may have averaged 20 tackles a game. College Football Hall of Fame member and All American Bob Anderson credits his own success in running the football to lining up behind this Knute Rockne Award winner and All American lineman.By Dave Phillips ’62 based on Pointer 5 (59-60)
Teresa Agnes Soblesk – at her induction into the Army Sports Hall of Fame