'Critter' weighs in on area's all-time best football playersThe following is another “Have Fun or Get Out of the Way” column by award-winning Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.
Now that Superior and Northwestern High Schools have completed its football seasons, we need to continue our listing of some of the all-time great football players from our area.
Our all-time list will be published in the very near future. More nominees have been sent and require the attention of the Lance and Billy Literary Society: Polling Division. Our great readers have done an incredible job giving their choices.
The only regret we have is there have been very few who played in the “old days.”
There has to be someone from the 1952 undefeated Cathedral team that allowed no points, doesn’t there?
Jeff “Critter” Crisp, a 1966 graduate of Superior Senior High School, has submitted a list from the Superior Central High School classes of 1963, 64 and 65. He also has given us a list from the first season of SSHS, now Superior High School. His contributions are impressive and are a must inclusion within our list.
Before his list, a few words on what I remember about Crisp. He is one of the most outstanding three-sport athletes in the history of SSHS, from any era. He was a great football player and outstanding guard on some great basketball teams. However, his best sport was baseball. It has been rumored that from Little League through high school and Legion ball he won 54 games in a row.
I never faced him but saw him pitch often. He could throw the ball hard, had great control and possessed a major league curve. He was dominant.
Back to football. From the Central class of 1962, a team that was 6-1-1 with three shutouts, there were many greats, including: Ross Amundson, QB; Tim Crowley, HB; Bob Buchanan, T; Tony Cox, E; Morley Smith, E; Eddie Paquette, HB; Bobby Olson, DT; Chuck Steen (pound for pound was the hardest hitter he ever saw), HB; Jerry Engelking, G; Jim Jensen, FB; Dave Olson, G; and Bill Pence, T.
The 1963 Vikings were 6-2 with two shutouts. Don Hartlund was at quarterback along with Ed Paquette, HB; Bob Whitney, HB; Hank Greenberg, QB; Sheldon Goldberg, G; Jim Wester, G; Doug Sutherland, G; Frank Cirilli, C; Bob Olson, FB-DT; Pat Walsh, E; Chuck Mahaffey, E; Tom Buchanan, T; Pence, T.
Central’s last season, 1964-65, may have fielded the greatest Viking team of all-time.
With a record of 9-0, two shutouts and outscoring their opponents 350-53, the names on this team should bring back a lot of memories: Hartlund; Eddie and Packy Paquette, HB’s; Bob Olson, FB; HB Bill (Hank) Greenberg; linemen Pence, Paul Freer, Jim Wester, Sheldon Goldberg, Frank Howenstine and Buchanan; kicker Sutherland; and ends Pat Walsh and Chuck Mahaffey were all outstanding athletes.
Had SSHS opened a year earlier, can you imagine the great team they could have had as Central and East combined? Perhaps a “what could have been” article is necessary. What a team that would have been.
The 1965-66 Spartans fielded an awesome football team. I can only imagine the excitement and size of the crowds at Memorial Stadium as the new Spartans took the field.
They finished 5-2, ranked No. 2 in the state at season’s end and in their five wins, outscored their opponents 178-0.
Their two losses came at the hands of Minnesota teams ranked No. 1 when Superior was its opponent. The Spartans lost to Robbinsdale 41-19 at home and lost at Edina 6-0 in their last game.
Listen to this group of players: FB Bob Olson (high school all-American and Notre Dame captain/all-American); HB/SE/QB Mike Regenfuss (starred in basketball at Minnesota); G Sutherland (13 year NFL career and one of top 50 Minnesota Vikings of all-time); G Dave Byrka; HB Packy Paquette; tackles Buchanan and Todd Larson; TE George Koskovich; SE Nick Kreel; HB/LB Paul Walsh; center Perry Benson, and DE Harry Madsen.
What names, what memories are conjured up with memorable nights spent at the stadium.
The players who played for Central, East, Superior Senior High School, Cathedral and UWS should have a book written about their exploits.
That hallowed turf has seen a lot of greatness.
A few pieces of housekeeping are in order. Ole Haugsrud belongs in the football hall of fame. That’s a no-brainer. If I, Lance Boyle, ever win the lottery, I will do two things. I will contribute enough money to build a world-class retractable roof football stadium and complex in Superior with all the amenities for youth through college football.
You heard me correctly.
I will also give UWS whatever it takes to start up the football program again. College football adds so much to campus life, serves to increase the enrollment with players and new students, would galvanize the community and contribute mightily to the economy.
Most importantly, I would require that ball park hamburgers and bratwurst from Superior Meats be barbecued. The food would be free to attract more fans.
If I win the lottery, I should have enough money to accomplish these things. I better start buying some tickets.
Wish me well.
So long, for now.
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