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

Home » Sports

August 23. 2013 11:49PM

Memorial vs. Central, Year 1

When friends turned rivals


Here’s the 1959 Central High football team. Front row (class of 1960): Stan Kowaloski, Bruce Jelley, Ray Belaire, Tom Hopkins, co-captain Lloyd Wells, co-captain Boyd Jajesnica, Andy Dominick, Jr., Gus Giardi, Roy Whalen, Tom Gramatikas. Second row (class of 1961): Bill McKee, Butch Tremblay, Don Stone, Ron Girolomon, John Kapranopoulos, Teddy Ling, Bill Jajesnica, Roland Cantin, Marty Martineau, Mike Kobilarcsik, Ed Wynot. Third row: Walt Rozmus (‘62), Tony Hunkins (‘61), Conrad Gagne (‘61), Bob Bergeron (‘61), Dick Bergeron (‘61), Mo Landry (‘61), Hugh Rostad (‘61), John Olson (‘61), Danny O’Neil (‘62), Rodney Hudoba (‘62), James Psaledas (‘63). Fourth row: Dave Gladu (‘62), Jimmy Dickey (‘62), Cecil Jordan (‘62), Billy Scribner (‘63), Dave Purcell (‘63), Eddie Katz (‘63), Jay Rozmus (‘63), Chuck Hennessey (‘62), Jay Botop (‘62), Paul Martel (student manager). Fifth row: Assistant coach Nicholas Gabardina, head coach James King, assistant coach Walter Tafe. (COURTESY)

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

One year they were teammates, the next, opponents.

With the opening of Manchester Memorial High School in 1960, the student body was predominately populated by former Manchester High Central pupils, among them members of the 1959 Little Green football team.

On Sept. 23 of that year, those former Central players lined up against their ex-teammates at Athletic Field — later to be renamed Gill Stadium — for the first game between the Little Green and the newly formed squad known as the Crusaders.

It was fitting that the game would take place at the then-47-year-old stadium, for in addition to being the premier facility for outdoor athletics in Manchester, it was located on Valley Street, which served as the dividing line between the Memorial and what remained of the Central school districts.

By sheer quirk of addresses, the better running backs from the 1959 Central team remained with the Little Green while the superior linemen joined the Crusaders. Apparently more impressed by Central's skill than Memorial's size, the Union Leader's sports editor at the time, Joe Barnea, predicted the Little Green would win by two touchdowns.

The head coach of Memorial's fledgling program was Bob Jauron, father of Dick Jauron, who would go on to become an NFL player and coach. Though long-established, Central's program had a new head coach, as well, Bill Hall having joined the Little Green after working at Woodbury High School in Salem. Both coaches were Nashua natives.

Wally Rozmus, Memorial's starting quarterback that first season, recalls the team having to leave Memorial's not-yet-finished campus to practice, the area downhill from the school that now includes Lemire Field and Chabot/McDonough Stadium still being swampland.

In August and early September, the Crusaders worked out on a field belonging to old St. Anthony High School. But the acting commander at Grenier Air Force Base (now Manchester-Boston Regional Airport) had a son on the Memorial team, Paul Evans, and he invited the Crusaders to use the base's field and shower facilities. Team members piled into upperclassmen's cars — Danny O'Neil's 10-year-old Ford Fairlane was particularly popular — for rides to and from the base.

By the night of Sept. 23, the Crusaders were ready.

At Central, meanwhile, recalls Mike Kobilarcsik, a captain and two-way starter on the 1960 team, the Little Green had mixed emotions about playing against former teammates who remained close friends.

A reported 8,000 fans showed up to see the historic match-up, a turnout, Rozmus recalls, that initially had the Crusaders awestruck.

They got over it, with Rozmus directing Memorial's ground-based attack behind that big offensive line.

It was a Central fumble that got the Crusaders rolling, Memorial recovering at the Little Green 48-yard line in the second quarter. A 17-yard pass from Rozmus to Jim Psaledas, consecutive 8-yard grabs by Andy Kyriazis and Dave Gladu, and a Bob Walsh run to the 16 set up the game's first touchdown. Walsh did the honors on a 16-yard sweep around left end, then followed a push from his line into the end zone for the 2-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.

Central's quarterback, Bill McKee, responded immediately. McKee carries for 37 and 16 yards set up a Kobilarscik TD run, which put the Little Green in position to tie the game.

Kobilarscik attributes what happened next to teenage bravado. He could have run around the end for the conversion, he recalls, but instead he attempted to run over former teammate Ed "Big Daddy" Wynot. His attempt failed, and Memorial maintained an 8-6 lead.

In the second half, Central twice threatened to score, but on both occasions the Memorial line — led by the indomitable Wynot — held, and time ran out on the Little Green.

"Memorial won," Kobilarscik said while recently recounting the game, "and they deserved to."

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

Sudanese runner with NH ties hoping to crowdfund way to 2016 Olympics

Former Wildcat van Riemsdyk undergoes successful surgery

Monadnock Speedway driver captures first Granite State NASCAR title


Star goaltender DeSmith no longer on NH roster after assault charge

UNH squad practices without helmets, shoulder pads to reduce risk of head trauma

24 Hours Of LeMons: This Time We Went Fast, Briefly

NHRA president Tom Compton candid on series and its challenges

World's tallest pro basketball player is from Strafford, NH

NH-based hockey helmet maker Bauer to drop concussion protection claims

NH native's statistics help Padres win

UNH receives NFL funding for brain injury research

Olympic skier Krass helps Hanover High clinch soccer championship

'100: Head/Heart/Feet' film follows NH man in grueling world of ultra-running

Athletic director says no one injured in disturbance after Keene High football game

Fishers Cats extend agreement with Toronto Blue Jays through 2018

24 Hours of LeMons New England: The winners!

Kings use emergency-roster exemption before facing Penguins

NH man beat out 75,000 competitors to win $1M in fantasy football contest

Video: Exact moment NH man wins a million dollars on DraftKings

That 70s Line continues to work magic as L.A. Kings win sixth straight

N.H. Motor Speedway to become home of North East Motor Sports Museum

Keene pumpkin riot probe turns to technology inspired by Boston Marathon bombing

Riverside Speedway in Groveton on auction block Nov. 1


 New Hampshire Events Calendar


Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory