Norwalk Reflector: Conversation with coach goes south in a hurry
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Conversation with coach goes south in a hurry

By Don Hohler • Mar 13, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Over the years I have always tried to stay on the right side of coaches, especially those who I had to deal with on a weekly basis. That kind of thinking has served me well for well into my sixth decade of writing. I can remember just twice in the thousands of post-game interviews I did when the conversation “went south” in a hurry. And on both occasions I rightly knew the coach was looking for an excuse for a loss. Hard to believe, one of them was Norwalk football coach Sam Nan in 1959.

And this is how it came about:

After a rocky 0-3 start, Norwalk got its first win at the expense of Galion, 24-12. Nan shook up his lineup a bit and it worked, using Dave Culver and Chuck Russakov at the ends, Ronnie Craven and Jim Smith at the tackles, Dick Castle and Chuck Rogers at the guards and Tom Smith at center.

He continued to use the versatile Alex Koslow at quarterback as a replacement for veteran Ronnie Allan, who was still injured. Steve Schillig, Mark Fowler and John Levers worked behind Koslow.

Willard was at Whitney Field following Galion and Allan was back from that injury and it was like flipping on a switch for Norwalk. Willard brought in a good team but Norwalk was solid in winning its second straight, 22-14. The Truckers scored all of their points in the first half, the first on a run by Schillig and then two in the second period on passes from Allan to Culver and then Allan to Fowler.

My story read “It did not take the Truckers long to show their newly crowned Homecoming Queen and her court their new offense.” FYI, the queen was Barbara Saladin and her court included Linda McLaughlin, Linda Hart and Sharon Burras.

Willard quarterback Art Noftz kept the game close with his passing and running. His play was complimented with the playing of ends Fazio, Stanfield and Klingelsmith, tackles Baughman and Danhoff, guards Feichtner and Juno, center Heisler and backs Jump, Noftz, Owens and Williams.

Then came the trip to Upper and the snafu with Coach Nan.

I had done what I thought was a positive pre-write before the Upper game, one that carried the quotes from the coach that he believed his team was firing on all cylinders. Plus the fact that Upper was in the midst of one of the longest losing streaks in the state.

However, when Upper took advantage of Norwalk mistakes and seemingly its inability to tackle anyone in the first quarter, it helped them stare at an early 18-0 deficit. Needless to say, the happy times were over.

Coming off the field at the end of the game (I generally worked the game from the sidelines), I approached Sam for a quote. He lit into me as if I drew up the game plan. As I remember, his quote was “Hohler, you lost us this game.” He went on to say that the pre-write had his team believing all they had to do was show up. Well, I never had much use for Sam after that. We communicated after that only on “a must basis.”

Oh, the final score of that game was 26-8.

Truck Meets Show Window

The picture on the front page said it all. A pick-up driven by 15-year-old Bill Minor crashed through the front window of H.D. Rogers Chevrolet Agency. Minor, better known as W.A. in later life, was moving the vehicle at the Gulf Station in front of the dealership in order to let another person out of a parking space. The 13-foot plate glass window somehow got in the way.

Community Chest Drive

What a difference a year (s) make.

In 1959 the goal was $17,600. This year is was $390,000.

Back in 1959, individual streets and near proximity to those streets, had captains who in turn had workers. The list of both is far too long to run. Here are the captains and the areas they commanded: East Main — Mrs. C.H. Ruffing. Benedict — Mrs. Mel Shipley. Christie and Stoutenburg — Mrs. Norman Wilhelm, Norwood and Maple vicinity — Mrs. Paul Carpenter. Newton and State — Mrs. Walter Naylor, Marian Drive — North Pleasant — Mrs. Robert White.

Two Starters Lost

New London lost its starting right-halfback in the first period of its game against Huron. Jack Murr will be out for at least two weeks after dislocating his shoulder. Don Jerry’s Cats face independent foe Fredericktown this week.

Meanwhile, the St. Paul junior high team may have gotten a 14-6 win last week but lost their first-string fullback, Denny Hackathorn to a fractured ankle. Hackathorn had two-thirds of the yards and one of the touchdowns in the St. Paul win.

Statistics Column

Under “Births” Art Reitzel, 25 Homewood, and his wife had a son; Clarence Signs, 51 Corwin, and his wife, had a daughter; James Brutsche, R.D. 1 and his wife had a daughter; as did Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Brooks, R.D. 3, also a daughter.

A marriage license was issued to Webb Hester, letter carrier, and Evelyn Quinn, at home, both of Norwalk.

Gas Prices Drop

The Standard Oil Company of Ohio announced the reduction of 1-cent per gallon the prices of both regular and ethel. Regular will now be 31.9 cents and ethel (high test) 35.9.

Norwalk in the movies

“The Norwalk Story” played last night at Schine’s Theatre. The colored film depicted life in Norwalk at a factory, at a school, at a church and at play. Also included were scenes at the Huron County Fair and of the Sesquicentennial Parade and accompanying events.

The movie will be showed again tomorrow.

Kiwanis 40 years old

The Norwalk Kiwanis Club will celebrate its 40th anniversary tonight at 6:45 pm. with a dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Four charter members, Rev. Charles Gross, Fred Laible, John Orebaugh and James Williams, have been invited to attend.

Many state officers and dignitaries will be in attendance.

The dinner committee appointed by John Wickert have everything in order. Those members are Harold Veitch, W.D. Conway, Lewis McLaughlin, William Wilkinson, Vincent Hipp, Louis G. Frey, Charles O. Naley and Herm Schaafsma.

Nelson city league MVP

Fast-Pitch League president Harold Finch was the master of ceremonies last night at the Elks Club where league honors were bestowed on a number of players including star hurler Walt Nelson, who received an all-time record 137 MVP votes. Jack Wilde won the honor last year, amassing 89 votes.

Gordon Schaechterle received 109 votes for second this year. On down, it was Herm Roth (65), John Schaffer (64), Skip Stellricht (52), Chuck Sweet (45), Paul Pelham (33), Jim Witter (31), Dale Scheid (19), Bob Schaffer (8), Fred Palmer and Irish Forney (7) and John Schaechterle (6).

Also honored was the batting champion, Skip Stelrecht, Stroh’s Beer, .385.; Most runs, Herm Roth, Bellevue, and John Schaechterle, Brooker Bros., 19 each; Most hits-Schaechterle, 26; Most home runs, Joe Andrews, Brooker Bros. 4, Most RBIs, Paul Missler, Bellevue, 17, Most at-bats, Jim Witter, Brooker Bros. 86.

Finch, after personally thanking the umpire crew of Austin Shadle, Hank Cooper, Grant Walls, Tony Aiello, John Borgia and Paul Shelley, presented the tournament championship trophy to Stroh’s Beer Manager Sam Becastro and the league championship trophy to Brooker Bros. Manager Lee Tyson.

Lodi dumps Roughriders

Western Reserve dropped its third straight game, this one to hosting Lodi, 38-6.

It was 32-0 at the half.

Ronnie Nicholas passed to Dave Eungard for 19 yards for Western Reserve’s only score.

The Riders are now 4-3 while Lodi moved to 6-0 on the campaign.

Election results

The headline read “The Republican dynasty in Norwalk City Council is no more.”

B. Harry Parke was one who got surprised. So did William Saladin, the latter put into the spectator seats by upstart Clarence Schaffer. Richard Blackburn defeated Fred Waugh while Robert Fritz defeated Charles Alt, a Republican who was seeking his third term in the Third Ward.

Russell Cunningham, Richard Becker and G. Ira Liedorff were three GOP members who survived.

Democrat Charles Amato was the leading vote-getter for councilman-at-large. The other two seated were Becker and Democrat T.F. Farrell.

Area-wise, Clayton Lord lost to James Tyler in the Monroeville mayoral race. Other winners in Monroeville included Christine Needham for Clerk, Roman Simon for Treasurer, and council Harry Sheldon, Clarence Miller, Harry Mesnard, Vince Schaffer, Leon Preston and Donald Morrow.

In New London, Preston Golding won handily over D.M. Weekley in the mayor’s race.

Chris Kafka used write-in ballots to win the Mayoral race in Milan while John Burke won the Wakeman mayor’s race and Gale Bachelder for the office of Clerk-Treasurer. T.K. Perry won the mayor’s job in North Fairfield, Madge Earl the Clerk post, and Dorothy Jones, treasurer.

School issues passed in Norwalk and Willard 

But, for the fourth time, Western Reserve voters voted “No” on a $678,000 bond issue for a new school. South Central voters said the same thing on a $680,000. bond issue for a new facility. Bellevue voters also disliked the idea of a new high school.

Don Hohler is a longtime Reflector sportswriter.

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