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Sports Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

Looking back at TAHS football in 1961

Grier School opened Monday of the week following the Eagles’ football opener against Bellwood-Antis in 1961. There were 195 girls, largest enrollment in the history of the school. One of the highlights was the arrival of B. D. Merrill, daughter of famed Hollywood actress Betty Davis and renowned film and stage actor Gary Merrill. Her exact arrival was kept secret to avoid unsought publicity. The 14-year old Merrill had enrolled during the summer of 1961.
The student body was made up of girls from 28 states, including Hawaii and from six foreign countries- Thailand, Japan, Canada, Bermudas, Peru and Venezuela.
Hurricane Carla slammed into Corpus Christi, Texas with winds of up to 173 miles per hour, pushing tides that flooded the Texas-Louisiana Gulf coast rising toward 25-foot levels.
Damage was extensive, buildings and piers were toppled and fell into the boiling sea. However, thanks to the record exodus of more than 300,000 residents Carla directly caused no casualties.
At Black Brothers Rambler on 10th Street and Logan Avenue, there was a “Big Savings Clean-up” on Wagons” in ‘61’s year-end Trade Parade to Rambler-America’s lowest prices-as low as $40.36 per month. At Dachenbach and Harris’ Market at 1125 PA Avenue Wednesday morning prices included evaporated milk eight tall cans for $1.00, Betty Crocker Ginger Cake Mix was four boxes for 98 cents. Good quality fresh ground beef was 39 cents a pound. Clover Farm FancyPack Fruit cocktail was four number 303 cans for $1.00. If you were buying or building you could acquire a mortgage loan- “made with the least possible trouble and expense” with liberal terms at Central Building and Loan Association at 970 PA Avenue. Or if you were ready to take your first step to college, or if your little girl was going up the steps to school for the first time, the latest dividends on savings were 3.5 percent per year at Improvement Savings and Loan Association at 10 West 11th Street.
The United Automobile Workers (UAW) struck against General Motors, pulling 310,000 workers off the job. The largest strike in automobile history, marathon bargaining sessions failed to produce agreement on a new contract. Agreement had been reached on money terms, but the sticking point were so-called non-economic issues involving working conditions and production standards. The walkout shut down 129 plants, just as the 1962 models were beginning production.
Current contracts at Ford and Chrysler were due to tun out later in the week, but the union planned to keep its members working at these two companies, without a contract, if necessary.
The state announced it was receiving bids on a major construction project on 2.4 miles of Rt. 350 between Tyrone and Water Street.
It would eliminate a dangerous section of highway, provide for a new bridge over the Little Juniata River at Shoenberger, Huntingdon County, an archbridge over Sinking Run and the elimination of a traffic-slowing railroad underpass leading out of Tyrone in the direction of Water Street.
It was to be financed jointly by federal and state funds on a 50/50 basis.
The magnitude of the project was reflected by the necessity of 955,618 cubic yards of Class I excavation, most of it through solid limestone, and also involved a cut with benched slope to guard against future slides. Relocation on Rt. 350 also required new locations for a one-quarter mile of the terminal of the Sinking Valley highway at its intersection with Rt. 350.
Tickets for the Tyrone High School football games were on sale at the Squire Shop at 1058 PA Avenue. Reserved seat tickets for adults were $6.00 for the entire season and $1.25 per game, while general admission was $5.00 for the season and $1.00 per game. Students in grades seven-12 could buy season tickets for $2.00 or 50 cents per game.
Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were continuing their battle with the Babe. Maris needed to hit four home runs in the Yankees final 10 ballgames, while Mantle needed to hit seven to pass Ruth.
On Sept. 22, 1961, a blocked punt resulted in the only touchdown for Lewistown at the Panthers Mitchell Field. The only trouble was that Tyrone could only put one score on the board as well. Lewistown was successful with the extra point try, while the Eagles dropped a close 7-6 decision when Tom Miller’s PAT pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
Tyrone’s vaunted rushing game, which ran all over Bellwood-Antis and Moshannon Valley in the Eagles’ first two games, was held to just three first downs, while Lewistown which also had trouble moving the ball, nevertheless had 10 first downs.
Only minutes after the opening kickoff, Tyrone after one first down, with Miller getting the needed yard on an fourth-and-one call, had to punt. Substitute running back Earl Fink picked up the blocked punt and rambled 25 yards untouched for the only Lewistown score of the game and Mike Hogue split the uprights with his PAT kick for a 7-0 lead. A Tyrone player had a shot at making the recovery, but the ball slithered away allowing Fink to pick it up. That advantage would last until the fourth quarter.
Lewistown controlled the game in the second and third quarters, although the Tyrone defense made sure there was no further score. At the very end of the first half, the Panthers drove to the Tyrone-14 with 20 ticks remaining on the clock. Miller intercepted a Lewistown pass a foot deep into the end zone and ran the pick out to the T-14 to end the most serious threat the Lewistown offense was able to provide.
Tyrone had a golden opportunity in the third quarter after the Tyrone “D” threw the Panther punter for a 17-yard loss and the Eagles took over at the L-32. Miller raced for 16 yards to the L-15, but a penalty set the Eagles back and Tyrone ended up punting the ball.
Miller gave the Tyrone fans a ray of hope when midway through the fourth quarter, he turned the right side on a rollout, cut back over the middle, eluding four tacklers, driving over from 15 yards out for the six-pointer.
After the TD, Tyrone had one more good chance, when Gary Greene tackled the Lewistown punter after a bad snap from center, at the L-19. Miller lost three, then Cramer was held to no gain. On third down, Chet Wolford picked up five for a fourth-and-eight situation. On fourth down, Miller passed to Wolford in the left flat, but he was tackled immediately for a six-yard loss and Lewistown took over.
Wolford carried 18 times for 45 yards, while Miller had 36 yards on a dozen carries for the Eagles, who lost for the fifth straight year to Lewistown. Tyrone ended up with 101 yards rushing, to 98 for the Panthers, but had a minus 14 yards in passing to 29 yards for Lewistown.