Thursday, May 26, 2016

69. Preparing for a New Football Season in 1946

When Nancy and I were preparing for our sophomore year at Gettysburg High School in 1946, everyone was looking forward to the coming football season. After winning only one game during the two previous seasons, the coaches, the team and the fans appreciated new opportunities for a winning team. 

Pre-season drills began on August 19 at a Masonic Camp south of Gettysburg under new head coach, George Forney who returned the previous February to teach and coach after serving two years in the Navy during World War II.

At camp, the team was introduced to Coach Forney’s very unconventional version of the single wing formation. The single wing featured four linemen and three backs on one side of the center and was considered a brute force running formation described by some as “three yards and a cloud of dust.”  

Passing was rare in the Forties, and several coaches are credited with saying, “Three things can happen when you throw a pass and two of them are bad.” 

The 1946 football season was my first opportunity to play varsity football, and I hoped that my enthusiasm and determination would allow me to earn a place on the starting team. Incidentally, in 1946 team members played both offense and defense. The popular two platoon system we recognize in high school, college and professional football was used by very few teams at that time.

It would not be long before Gettysburg fans would learn if the 1946 high school team would produce some long overdue wins .  The first game was scheduled for September 13 at Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown. We’ll report on the results in a future post.

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