Cardinals’ 1962 State Champs To Be Recognized


(Con Marshall)

One of Chadron High School’s all-time outstanding football teams will be recognized between the first and second quarters of Friday night’s homecoming contest with Alliance at Cardinal Field. The game will kick off at 7 o’clock.

Sixty years ago, the 1962 Cardinals went 11-0 and were recognized by all the media as the Class B state champions.  That team was the fourth coached by the late Gordon (Fuzz) Watts that finished the season undefeated.  The other teams which did not lose a game were in 1954, 1956 and 1960.

The Cardinals played an expanded schedule in ’62 because they won the West Rangeland (Chadron, Crawford, Gordon and Rushville), and squeezed in a playoff game with East Rangeland winner O’Neill between the final regular season games with Sidney and Alliance.  That gave them three games in 12 days. 

Watts said the ’62 team had the most depth and was his best.  He also had some compelling evidence to support his contention that the Cardinals were as good as any in the state that year. Chadron defeated Gering 7-0 in the season-opener, while North Platte, which was accorded the Class A title, beat the Bulldogs by a 20-14 score later in the season.

The 60-year celebration will not be without sadness, because one of the team’s standouts, fullback-linebacker Larry Gold, passed away last week at his home in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Gold was an all-state selection in both 1962 and 1963.

The other starters and top alternates on the ’62 team were quarterback Tom Saults, halfbacks Denny Bach and John McDowell, with lots of assistance from Denny Blundell, along with ends Terry Doyle and John Heiser and interior linemen Guy Fish, Leonard Jones, Chuck Lecher, Lorny Reeves, Lance Scherbarth and Larry Wineteer.

Since several team members still live in and around Chadron, at least half a dozen of them are expected to be in attendance Friday night.

McDowell, who has organized the reunion, notes that numerous others who were on the team besides Gold have passed away.  They include Reeves, Jim Ahlvers, George Blome, Kenny Chicoine, Danny Hudson (died in Vietnam), Don Milligan and John Sims.

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