The Big Game This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was a cold, blustery, wintery iFriday night in November, 1942. While the country was thinking war, there was still a football game to be played. The game was in the coal mining town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania as 35,000 people gathered in the stands for this intense rivalry: the Johnstown Trojans versus the Brownsville Tigers. It was played under the lights.

The Johnstown team was lead onto the field by a diminutive 5-foot-11-inch, 150-pound noseguard/center. He was the senior captain. None of the football teams had facemasks. He probably played one of his most inspiring games as a Trojan. He fired off the line, throwing his forearm into the opponent's nose which made it bleed. He caught a lot of shots himself; he lost his two front teeth and had a bloody nose, but he came out for just one or two plays after this happened. Then he went right back into the game with even more drive and enthusiasm than before. The opponent was about 6 foot 2 inches, two hundred and fifteen pounds, but he did not care. In the trenches he punished the opponents and ran them into the ground.

As the game was coming to a close with the Trojans beating the Tigers 14 to 13, there were ten seconds left and the Tigers had only one time-out. The Tigers were driving into field goal range. It was third and ten, the Tigers handed the ball off to their star running back right up the middle. The hundred and fifty pound noseguard threw his blocker aside, lowered his shoulder into the stomach of the man and stopped him for a loss of two yards. The Tigers called their last time-out of the game. The field goal unit came out.(They had already hit two field goals that day.) The snap was perfect, the kick was up.....and it was NO GOOD. It was short by the two yards they had lost on the last play.

The Trojans won in a nail-biter and this star center/noseguard got the MVP for the game.

This MVP just happens to be the "father" of the Woburn Pop Warner football league, which still carries the Johnstown nickname of the "Trojans," and he is also my grandfather. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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