Tucker and DeMeyer get nominationsReaders add to list of area’s all-time greatest football players
The 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.
Before we get going, the Boyle family hopes you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you also remembered what Thanksgiving is all about: family, friends, food, faith, taking a break from busy schedules, eating too much and being thankful for what you have.
Now back to sports: we have more nominees for our all-time football list. Tom Cannon submits for our consideration a name I have been waiting for — Dave Tucker.
Tucker was an outstanding offensive end who handled the kicking and punting responsibilities on the 1952 Cathedral team.
“He was the best punter and kicker I ever saw play high school football,” Cannon said. “He also had a great pair of hands and caught every pass he could get to. I’m sure he could have played college football, but he had knee problems and chose to play collegiate basketball for the Minnesota Gophers.”
Tucker was All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in 1956 and 1957 for the maroon and gold.
Bob Picard throws a few more names into the mix from Superior Central.
“I’m a little surprised that none of my graduating class, 1959, from Central has been mentioned. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t the 1958 team get inducted into the Superior Sports Hall of Fame for going undefeated for two consecutive years and winning the state championship in 1958? There were several players worthy of mention such as Don Kruger, Gene Johnson, all-state Don Van Bibber and all-state and all-American Karl Kunz.”
Joe Reasbeck nominates another I have waited for, current Superior High School football coach Bob DeMeyer.
“How many guys have come out of Superior and played pro football at any level?” Reasbeck asked. “Despite having played at small college UWS, Bob went to a combine and had one of the highest QB scores in the country.”
As a result, DeMeyer played professionally in Europe, one season in Italy and one in Sweden. After two years, he came back to the U.S. and beat out nine Division I quarterbacks for a spot in the UFL, a pro league launched in Asia where he played with the Taipei, Taiwan team before the league folded.
Once again he came back to the U.S. and beat out several D-1 quarterbacks to earn a spot with the Las Vegas Sting in the Arena League. After DeMeyer returned to Superior and took off four years from playing, Arena Football came to Duluth in the form of the Lumberjacks. Despite four years of inactivity, DeMeyer tried out and became the starting quarterback for two years.
“All told, five plus professional seasons in four countries on three continents — pretty impressive,” Reasbeck said.
Mark Sickler was also mentioned by Reasbeck.
“Mark also played a season of pro football in Europe,” Reasbeck said. “He played at UWS and was all-conference despite playing with one arm, as his other shoulder was badly in need of surgical repair.”
Reasbeck also noted that the 1986 Spartan team had at least seven players that played collegiately.
“Eric Dunning played at Mankato State; Darren Davidson, Dean Hoff and Dave Garlie all played for UW-River Falls;, Neil Mattson, DeMeyer and Sickler all played at UWS; and Joe Putz was offered a scholarship at Bemidji State, but I don’t think he took it,” Reasbeck said.
Yes, football fans, our area has had a lot of great players. All of these names have been put into the Lance and Billy computers and the lights are blinking and smoke is billowing from the inner workings. There are a lot of names to consider as the “list to end all lists” will be revealed shortly: The All-Time Greatest Area Football Players is being compiled as we speak.
My sweats are a little tight, but don’t you just love leftovers?
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