The history of Piqua athletics: a journal


Fall, 1940

“During the 1930s, the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) did work and additions to many area high school fields, including Piqua’s. It added a brick field hours in 1935 and an outdoor concrete stadium in 1940, thus Roosevelt Park was renamed Roosevelt Stadium.”

“Refusing to follow the procedure of some schools in the section of boosting football admission fees after the creation of new bleachers, athletic officials of Piqua Central High announced today that prices this fall would remain identical to those of the past. In short, general admission for adults and school children at the gate will be 35 cents with no adult tickets sold in advance. School children buying tickets at school the day before or the day of the game can secure them for 25 cents. Under the present arrangement, there will be NO reserved seats. The principle behind this move is that Central High athletic bosses have consistently expressed their appreciation of the earnest support of fans year in and year out, and several times have refused to raise gate prices, though other schools have done so. It has been the policy of the local officials that fans have by their consistent patronage made it possible for improvements to be made in the athletic department and property and to raise the gate fees would be a slap in the face of those who have made football a financial success in every way. Then too, this writer would like to point out, with the new concrete bleachers seating 3,500 fans on the west side of the field, along with the old wooden bleachers found to be in good condition placed along the east side of the gridiron, approximately 5,000 seats are available. And it’s smart business to fill 5,000 seats at 25 and 35 cents each than to have that many only partially filled at 50 cents a piece. The seating arrangement is for all local fans to occupy the new concrete bleachers on the west side of the field thus throwing open 1,500 of the old wooden bleachers for visiting fans. While there have been queries relative to reserved seats for single games and also the possibility of season reserved seats, athletic department heads are planning to make the current season a test of the necessity of the season reserved seat plan.”

“Don’t make the mistake of saying ‘there’s nothing new about Central High football!’ For when once you check into the situation, you find that a great many things actually are NEW! Here are the innovations you’ll find about the Central High Indian football picture: The Tribe’s FIRST 1940 game is with the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans Home team of Xenia Friday night at Roosevelt Park. The appearance of the O.S. & S. Home eleven is the FIRST in local history. The game will be the FIRST to be played at Roosevelt Park since it has been completely revamped and the new concrete bleachers seating 3500 fans will be used for the FIRST time. And –the game will see the Central High gridders wearing for the FIRST time – royal blue jerseys with white numerals instead of the usual scarlet sweaters. The varsity also has NEW pants, sox, shoes, helmets and other equipment. Then too – the 1940 season is the FIRST in something more than a decade in which the Red and Blue gridders will play six home games. It should be added that this is the FIRST year that Clint ‘Lefty’ Gattshall, Wilder junior high mentor, is a member of the Indian grid coaching staff, assisting Head Coach G.P. Wertz and his aide Curley Walton. Last, and by no stretch of the imagination least, the current season is the FIRST in which the Indians will not have a permanent captain throughout the year. Coach Wertz will name an acting captain before each game and at the end of the season, the squad will elect an honorary captain. This is in line with the plan adopted by Central High athletic bosses at the end of the 1939 season. So you see fans – there are a lot of NEW angles to the Central High football picture this fall. An old but ever popular feature of the schoolboy grid contests here and away from home is the appearance of the Central High band under Phil Gates, playing and marching as only the Indians musicians can.”

“A scrappy, hard-hitting Xenia O.S.S.O. Cadet eleven handed a neat 20-0 trimming to the Central High Indians last night in the opening game of the season in the new stadium, winning pretty much as it pleased, to exercise the well-known ‘stadium jinx’ common to football clubs making their first appearance in their home stadiums. A crowd of 2,500 witnessed the game. However, the visitors didn’t need the aid of any jinxes to finish on the long end of the score last night. They were a superior aggregation in every department, showing plenty of power, deception , crisp blocking and superior charging to outplay the Indians. An injury-ridden Piqua Central eleven staged a gallant fight on the gridiron of Dayton Kiser Friday night but came out of the short end of a 14-0 score. Mental errors and misplays proved costly and are now looked upon as the turning point of the ball game, which found two more Indian gridders being added to .the injured list which at game time was already five. Playing on even terms during the first quarter the Wertzmen, despite the new faces in the lineup, appeared to be a much improved ball club until a fumble early in the second round handed the leather to Kiser on Piqua’s 49-yard line.”

“A well-trained, hard-hitting football team wearing the red and white jerseys of Harding High of Marion, captured a deserved 20-0 victory over the Piqua Central High Indians here last night and thereby avenged a 7-7 tie which the Tribe hung on the Prexies record a year ago at Marion. Rated as favorites, the upstaters found the crippled Redskins willing to battle all the way though the locals never seriously threatened and the Presidents held the upper hand throughout the game. The Central High Indians were on the warpath last night. And as a result the Green Wave of Greenville High was neatly scalped 24-0 by the Tribe to present Coach G.P. Wertz with his first grid victory of the 1940 season, the contest getting the Redskins off on the right foot in Miami Valley League football competition.”

“In a typical Piqua-Sidney schoolboy football game, the Central High Indians nosed out the invading Yellow Jackets here 6-0 before a crowd of approximately 4,500 fans last night, the winning marker coming on a 10 yard pass, Sword to Effinger, who ran 55 yards to score with three minutes to play in the fourth quarter. If the 1940 Central High football team can lay claim to no other glory, at least its members can always point with pride t the fact that they were on the squad that presented George P. Wertz, Redskin mentor with his 100th football triumph in the last 15 ½ seasons that he has directed Piqua grid outfits. For last night, the Indians decisioned the Vikings of Miamisburg in a MVL fray at Miamisburg, the score being 7-6. The record for the Indian mentor to date —- won 100; lost 32 and tied 16—from September 1925 through October 18, 1940, approximately 15 and a half seasons.”

“Outscored but not out-fought! That was the fate of the Central High Indians in suffering their first Miami Valley League defeat of the current season, dropping a decision to the highly touted Xenia Buccs by the odd score of 6-4, with the Indians scoring on two safeties. Roosevelt Park this year has the reputation for the unusual in football. Not only was last night’s Xenia-Piqua 6-4 score rate but Piqua’s points in a pair of safeties were the exception. It will be recalled that two weeks ago, the Indians blocked four punts while facing Sidney and the odd part of that was that two of them came on successive downs. The Central High Indians bounced back into the win column last night at Dayton by decisioning the well-rated Fairmont Dragons 7-6 for the Tribe’s fourth Miami Valley League victory in five starts this fall. The triumph also gives the Red and Blue an even break in eight games for the year. It was just that for Coach George P. Wertz of Piqua Central High School as his Indians edged Dayton Fairmont to present him with his most deserved birthday present Thursday, thanks to a touchdown by Big Jim McMaken after a brilliant 42 yard dash off right tackle.”

“Maybe the Central High Indians can swat the Sidney Yellow Jackets, stem the Greenville Green Wave, sink the Miamisburg Vikings, hogtie the Fairmont Dragons, and scare the daylights out of the Xenia Buccaneers but last night, they definitely could NOT ‘Hold that Tiger’. And hence, for the first time in seven years, the Lima South High Tigers won a football game from Piqua Central, the score being 13-0. The last time that the Bengals decisioned the Tribe was back in 1933 when the score was 13-12. Two 6-6 ties marked the action during the seven years.”

“Sparked by Bobby Effinger’s sensational 89-yard runback for a touchdown on the opening kick-off, the Central High Indians neatly scalped their arch-rivals, Troy High here Thursday afternoon 20-0. Only once did the invaders threaten and the Redskins staved off that drive on their own 3-yard stripe. After that it was all Piqua and how those Wertz-coached gridders battled from start to finish. Thursday’s win was Wertz’ 12th as against three losses and a tie in 16 years of competition with the County Seaters.”

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