action:article | category:SPORTS | adString:SPORTS | zoneID:40

Home » Sports

August 16. 2013 11:15PM

Legendary football matchup

Historic events at Gill Stadium included one very snowy Turkey Day


 


The "Snow Bowl" at Gill Stadium in 1971. (George Naum/Union Leader File)

This is the eighth in a series of articles from the Gill Stadium Centennial Committee leading up to the ballpark's 100-year anniversary celebration on Sept. 8.


THE SPECTATORS at the 1971 Thanksgiving Day football game at Gill Stadium should not have been surprised.

The Union Leader's Wednesday edition forecast a 40 percent probability of snow for Wednesday night. For Thursday, it was "snow likely, with highs 30 to 35." Then on Thursday morning, the front page said "The Weather: Snow, Cold".

Anyone who took the time that morning to turn to Page 2 would have read: "A heavy snow watch is in effect for today, with an expected accumulation of six inches by afternoon. Highs will be in the low to mid 30s."

And then a Sports page headline: "Weather Factor in Grid Battles." C.J. McCarthy began his article with, "Depending on which 'dependable' weatherman you listen to, the forecast for five high school football games varies from a 'light dusting snow' to 'a heavy downfall of from five to eight inches'."

It is apparent that the weather was not important for this annual football classic between the season's two best teams in the city.

And when the two best teams in the city are also the two best teams in the state, the fans will show up.

Manchester Memorial and Trinity took the field to determine the Division I state champion. And Gill Stadium was ready to welcome them.

Then-Trinity coach Dick Powers said advance ticket sales hit 5,000 on Wednesday, with the sales outlet planning to continue selling until 8 p.m. and to re-open at 8 a.m. on Thursday. In addition, the Parks and Recreation crews had been working hard to prepare the turf for the teams.

Would Trinity, as the home team, be expected to wear white jerseys?

In a 1995 Union Leader article, sports writer John Habib said: "I'm still convinced that Memorial had the edge that day wearing their old navy blue jerseys, which allowed (Memorial quarterback Tom) Kathan to spot his receivers."

The cold, windy, snowy game started with more than 7,000 fans in attendance.

Memorial elected to kick. Trinity quarterback Mike Gleason was intercepted on the first play, and Memorial had the ball at the Pioneers' 46, but a stalled drive prompted Kathan to punt to the 2-yard line.

Memorial's Tom Quinn then recovered a Trinity fumble on the 12. After a scoring play was called offside, Kathan sent three receivers down the left side and hit Larry Bournival on the right side of the end zone for a 6-0 lead. Dave Croasdale's extra point attempt was blocked.

The very next play was an 83-yard kickoff return by Trinity's Jim Barden, tying the score. Gary Chartrand's kick failed to cross the uprights.

Here's what followed: an onside kick, a Memorial drive that ended in a fumble recovered by Trinity's Chuck Murray, a Trinity punt, a Memorial drive that ended in a Dave Cote interception, a Trinity punt, and finally a Kathan pass to Gene Brown for a TD. Memorial's two-point pass attempt failed and at halftime, it was 12-6.

Four snow plows, 40 minutes, and 4 inches of snow cleared from the turf later, the second half began, albeit with half the spectators.

Weather conditions had worsened and the teams exchanged interceptions, punts, stalled drives and fumbles.

At one point, a possible first down loomed but the chains could not be used because yard lines were not visible.

On the day, Trinity achieved only one first down. And Memorial held on to win by that 12-6 score.


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Jason Saltmarsh: Runners should never have to pay for their race photos

Ex-official pleads guilty to embezzling thousands from Pembroke football nonprofit

Former New Hampshire goalie DeSmith tells his side of arrest, dismissal from team

NH hockey team moving to Maine could be worth at least $1 million in economic activity say city officials

New owners of Claremont plan to put speedway back on track

Speedway in Claremont bought for nearly $519,000

Lebanon marathoner qualifies for US Olympic Trials

Matt Bonner talks about the end of the run, making the simple play, and playing until he's 40

Ex-UNH goalie agrees to diversion,receive counseling, avoids jail

Wildcats will face Chattanooga in prime time

New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies teaches supporters how to believe

Helmetless Football? Its the new practice at UNH

CASEY DeSMITH

DeSmith officially dismissed from New Hampshire team, but can return to class as of Dec. 20

San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15), of Concord, N.H., shoots the ball against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the second half at TD Garden.

Rapper Lil B gives shoutout to…Matt Bonner?

Manchester Central's Tyler Stratton watches his shot get by Spaulding High School (Rochester) goalie Derek Scott during a shootout at the 2012 Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic hosted at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.

VFW downsizing threatens Spaulding hockey due to loss of venue for Bingo fundraisers

Eagles notes: Kelly committed to current job

5 face riot charges in beating incident at football game

Ayotte rips top sports league commissioners for snubbing hearing on domestic violence

Manchester Monarchs sign Josh Gratton to AHL contract

Can football without helmets lead to fewer concussions?

Trial date set for former UNH hockey coach accused of assaulting player

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!