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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, September 25, 2003

  I hope our readers have as much fun as we did in putting together our stories about the first 100 years of football in Mount Ayr, part of the celebration of homecoming this year.

As is shown in one of the charts with the story, the coverage in the newspaper of the early games of the football teams from the high school was often sparse.

We don't have copies of all the bound volumes in the early 1900s to check on football stories, but a quick look through the 1905 editions didn't bring much information -- except a short story on why football wasn't such a good sport.

"Congressman Charles B. Landis of Delphi, IN, in a recent item in relation to football says:

"I saw a game of football Saturday. Several hundred people who witnessed it said it was a sport. I guess I'm old-fashioned, for I have to confess that this sport does not appeal to me. Sport that necessitates the presence of physicians -- well, that is simply another evidence that the brutal instinct in man and woman will crop out. Early in the contest one of the captains was carried off the field insensible, and the game went on. This is sport. There was not a boy in the game who did not run to the risk of receiving an injury that would send him through life a hopeless cripple. Now, this may be sport, but does it pay to take chances? Should all alleged sport that necessitates taking such chances receive the sanction and encouragement of sane and sensible people? Possibly so. I desire to register my opinion, however, that dog fighting, cock fighting and bull fighting are Sabbath school games in comparison with modern football."

Well, at least his opinion was plainly said.

The first football game report I found was in the October 13, 1908 newspaper.

Slipped into the local items in the newspaper was this paragraph:

"The football game Saturday afternoon between the Grant City and Mount Ayr high school teams at Saville's Park resulted in a victory for the Grand City boys by a score of 20 to 0. The game was the first of the season for the Mount Ayr boys and Grant City had considerably the best of it in weight."

Short and not so sweet.

School coverage did not rank very high on the list of items to cover for the newspaper then, it appears, and sports did not even rate a headline. There are probably some who think that the sports coverage in the Mount Ayr Record-News takes up too much space and that we have gone to the other extreme. well we can't please everyone, whether editors in 1908 or 2003.

I read a clipping from a 1921 Villisca Review in Roy Marshall's Looking Back column in the Villisca Review recently that brought a chuckle.

Marshall wondered if any of us had seen a home town whistle job comparable to the one that took place with the Villisca football team traveled to Red Oak in the fall of 1921.

The story read:

"Some dissatisfaction is felt by members of the Villisca football team and by boosters for the team who saw the game in Red Oak last Friday afternoon, over the referee's decision in the last few minutes of play which gave the game to Red Oak by a score of 6 to 0.

"The difference of opinion arose over the play started by Carlson of Villisca with eight minutes before the end of the game when he kicked the ball in an attempt to get it out of Villisca's territory. The kick was blocked by Red Oak and bounced off the field, where after attempts to recover it, the ball was picked up by a spectator who thre it to a Red Oak player behind the goal line. The referee ruled that Red Oak had scored a touchdown, but Villisca boys claimed the ball should have been placed back on the field and play started again. Red Oak failed the kick after touchdown, but won the game by 6 to 0."

As Marshall wrote, "A punt is blocked, bounces out of bounds, a spectator picks the ball up, heaves it to a Red Oak player in the end zone, the official rules touchdown, and the paper says, 'Some dissatisfaction is felt . . .'"

Either the writer had a great feel for understatement, was writing tongue-in-cheek, or fans didn't get as worked up about questionable calls 80 years ago as they do today.

We hope you have fun remembering favorite moments from football days past and more present this week. After all, its Autumn in the Ayr and time to celebrate "Hometown Heroes."



100 Years of Raider Football At A Glance

KEY: * Conference or district champs    ^ State Playoffs

NOTE: Little or no information for the years of 1903 - 1921.

   Glen YEAROUS  1963
    Joe McNEILL
1923   2-5-1   C.H. COX  1964   8-1*   Joe McNEILL
   Ray GREENWAY  1965
   Joe McNEILL
   Ray GREENWAY  1966
   Joe McNEILL
   Ray GREENWAY  1967
   Joe McNEILL
   G.C. CHANDLER  1968
   Joe McNEILL
1928   1-4-3   Harry KNAPP  1969   6-3-1   Joe McNEILL
1929   4-4-2   Harry KNAPP  1970   3-6   Joe McNEILL
1930   10-1*   Harry KNAPP  1971   5-3-1   Joe McNEILL
1931   9-0*   Harry KNAPP  1972   1-8   Gary WIMMER
1932   4-1-3   Harry KNAPP  1973   4-5   Gary WIMMER
1933   6-1-2   Harry KNAPP  1974   3-6   Gary WIMER
1934   6-3-1   Harry KNAPP  1975   0-9    Ron SCOTT
1935   6-2-1   Harry KNAPP  1976   2-6   Ron SCOTT
1936   8-1*   Harry KNAPP  1977   4-4   Ron SCOTT
1937   6-2-1   Harry KNAPP  1978   1-8   Ron SCOTT
1938   8-0-1*   Harry KNAPP  1979   4-5   Dave STILL
1939   7-2   Harry KNAPP  1980   5-4   Dave STILL
1940   6-2   Harry KNAPP  1981   1-7   Dave STILL
   Carl FIREBAUGH  1982
   Dave STILL
1942   6-2     1983   7-2   Dave STILL
1943   6-0-2   Harry KNAPP  1984   7-1*^   Dave STILL
   John CHAMPLIN  1985
   Dave STILL
   John CHAMPLIN  1986
   Dave STILL
1946   8-0*    Walter KINCH  1987   5-4   Dave STILL
1947   5-2-1   Walter KINCH  1988   6-3   Dave STILL
1948   5-4*   Joe McNEILL  1989   5-4   Dave STILL
1949   9-0*   Joe McNEILL  1990   9-1*^   Dave STILL
1950   6-1-1   Joe McNEILL  1991   8-2*^   Dave STILL
1951   6-3   Joe McNEILL  1992   7-3*^   Dave STILL
1952   8-1*   Joe McNEILL  1993   5-4   Dave STILL
1953   3-5   Maury GEIST  1994   7-2   Dave STILL
1954   3-5?   Maury GEIST  1995   5-4   Dave STILL
1955   4-4?   Joe McNEILL  1996   9-1*^   Dave STILL
1956   4-4   Joe McNEILL  1997   4-5   Dave STILL
1957   3-5   Joe McNEILL  1998   3-6   Randy ATHAY
1958   4-4   Joe McNEILL  1999   8-1   Randy ATHAY
1959   6-2   Joe McNEILL  2000   6-3   Randy ATHY
1960   6-2   Joe McNEILL  2001   6-3   SHOWALTER/LAMBERT
1961   9-0*   Joe McNEILL  2002   6-3   SHOWALTER/LAMBERT
1962   7-2?   Joe McNEILL         

  Record: 422-242-30 (that could be documented)

Undefeated seasons: 12
(1909, 1931, 1938, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1949, 1961, 1963, 1984, 1990, 1996)

Conference/district championships: 17
(1930, 1931, 1936, 1938, 1944, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1984, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996)

State Playoffs: 5
(1984, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996)

Most Points Scored in Season:
     2002: 295 points
     1962: 291 points
     1965: 284 points

Fewest Points Allowed in Season:
     1961: 13 points (7 shutouts)
     1932: 14 points (5 shutouts)
     1931: 18 points (7 shutouts)

Winningest Coaches:
     Joe McNEILL   139 wins
     Dave STILL   109 wins
     Harry KNAPP   79 wins


Some top Raider players over the years

Mount Ayr Community Raider co-coach Dewlyn SHOWALTER has developed a list of some of the top players for the Raiders through the years.

"Listing the top players and award winners has been difficult, and I'm sure we have left people out, because in many cases we don't have any written records of that sort of thing," SHOWALTER said. "This should at least give people a taste of some of the best players over the years.'

1922 -- Melvin TORRENCE, running back

1930 -- John KITZELMAN, quarterback

1931 -- John McFARLAND, back, played at Simpson College four years

1939 -- Lyle NEWMAN, back

1944 -- Bob ROE, quarterback

1949 -- Jack BRABY, back

1952 -- Gene MILLER, running back

1956 -- Chuck BRABY, back

1961 -- Bill WARIN, all-state lineman

1962 -- Ron JOHNSON, end

1963 -- Eugene RICKER, running back, played at Southeast Missouri State University

1963 -- Rick DEFENBAUGH, running back

1963 -- Dave STILL, quarterback

1965 -- Duane MILLER, running back, 1969 Drake University most valuable player, drafted by New York Giants
NOTE: MILLER was 6th pick in 1970 first round NFL draft picks. ~

1969 -- Ed DEFENBAUGH, running back, gained 1,300 yards

1981 -- Mike COMBS, leading single-season passer, 972 yards

1983 -- Joe FELL, fullback

1983 -- Kyle GRINDSTAFF, defensive lineman

1984 -- Clint RIGGS, first team all-state lineman, played at Iowa State University

1984 -- Kenny DAVENPORT, offensive lineman, linebacker

1984 -- Brian WIMER, leading single season rusher 19th 1,331 yards

1987 -- Randy WEEHLER, running back, 2,258 career yards, single game rushing record of 288 yards

1988 -- Dennis UTT, quarterback, career passing leader with 1,611 yards

1988 -- Le MARTIN, defensive lineman

1989 -- Chad HUNT, first team all-state defensive back

1989 -- Kevin STEWART, running back, linebacker, 1,635 career yards

1990 -- Clint WALTERS, first team academic all-state linebacker, played at Central College

1991 -- Russ HENSLEY, outstanding lineman, first team academic all-state

1991 -- Brad HARTMAN, offensive/defensive lineman

1991 -- Tory SHAY, running back, 2,450 career yards

1992 -- Josh SHIELDS, lineman

1994 -- Chip BRUNDAGE, offensive/defensive lineman, played at Simpson College

1996 -- Cass SHAY, back, career rushing leader with 3,061 yards

1999 -- Jeremy BURMEISTER, running back, receiver

2000 -- Wiley MAIN, wide receiver, defensive back

2002 -- Jesse MASON, first team all-state kicker, playing at Simpson College

2002 -- Chance GREENMAN, running back, linebacker, playing at Wartburg College

2002 -- Nathan WEEDA, quarterback, defensive back, playing at Dana College

~ 1957 Ayrian


Mount Ayr H.S. Football Teams

Mount Ayr High School Football Team of 1902, courtesy of Mike Avitt

Submission by Mount Ayr Depot Museum

1906-07 Season

BACK ROW, L-R: Harrison NORRIS (FB), Leslie PORTER, (LHB), Arlo MOORE (substitute), Charlie REGER, (QB), Paul SPURRIER (RHB), manager Professor PIERCE

FRONT ROW, L-R: Earle NEWTON (LE), William REGER (LT), Norborne CROWELL (LG), Grant HAYES (Center), Luther BONHAM (RG), Stanton TENNANT (RF), John STROBER (RE)

1906 Season
Won 5 out of 7 games played

1907 Season
Won 4 out of 6 games played

Courtesy of Mount Ayr Depot Museum
Submission by Mike Avitt


~ ~ ~ ~

1922 Mount Ayr High School football squad
Courtesy of Depot Museum and Mike Avitt

~ ~ ~ ~

Submission by Jeffrey G. Klein

~ ~ ~ ~

1941-42 Mount Ayr High School football squad
Courtesy of Depot Museum and Mike Avitt

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, May 20, 2014

by Mike Avitt

The 1946 Mount Ayr High School football squad

I recently received a package of Mount Ayr High School programs from Ann (Spurrier) McCarter. I copied many of the items and returned the package. This week's photo was among the items sent by Mrs. McCarter.

The picture is unidentified but I had the feeling I knew the date. Most of the programs were dated 1946 to 1950, and the coach in the photo was not Joe McNeill. That meant it was Walter Kinch and Walter was only here two years. Now, I was hoping this was the 1946 team because it was undefeated. So I got into the 1946 Record-News newspapers and went through the football season of 1946 hoping to find our photo printed with names of the players. Nothing. But I kept reading because that's what I do and there, on December 5th, a full month after the season ended, was this week's photo with everyone identified.

Front row, left to right: Clair Eason, Jack Braby, Don Bethards, Jim Skinner, Vern Hacker, Jim Monaghan, and Charles Saville. Second row: Ray Prentis, Howard Bryan, Robert Toland, Bill Pratt, Ed Knight, Harold Frost, and Laurance Bishop. Third row: manager Cliff Teale, Allen Richards, Stan Smith, Coach Walter Kinch, Jim Braby, Ivan Dolecheck and Gerold Willey. Back row: Don Euritt, Dick Lindstrom, John Ruckman, Melvin Ingram, Jim Eason, Loren Campbell, and Charles Richards.

Now, let's look at the season. This was not the usual 45 to nothing, power-house Raider team. This was the low-scoring squad built on defense.

The opening game of the season was played at Grant City on September 13 and we won by 7 points, which was about our average margin of victory for the season. Jim Braby ran back a punt for a touchdown and Allen Richards rushed for two more. The final score was 19-12.

Next up was Lenox on their field on September 20. Jim Braby caught a touchdown pass thrown by Gerold Willey and the game ended 7-0.

Opening night in Mount Ayr was played on September 27 against Bedford. Ivan Dolecheck ran for two touchdowns and Gerold Willey threw a touchdown pass to Allen Richards for an 18-12 victory.

Game four was against Lamoni and was played there on October 4. Jim Braby rushed for three touchdowns and Dolecheck also scored a touchdown on the ground for the final score of 26-0. This was the easiest game of the season for the Raiders.

The next game would be the most difficult season. Osceola came to Mount Ayr on October 11 and they came to play. The halftime score was 0-0, but Osceola got things moving in the third period with 27-yard run for a touchdown. The extra point conversion failed and our opponents led 6-0. With six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Raiders had first-and-ten at their own 25-yard line. Five first downs and 66 years later, Mount Ayr stood on the 9 yard line. The first three downs brough the ball to the one yard line. Fourth and one; two minutes left in the game. Big Jim Brady got the ball and plunged over the goal line for a 6-6 tie score. Allen Richards converted the extra point for the lead. The Raiders kicked off and Osceola fumbled on their first series of downs as time ran out for the losers.

Game six was another close one as Mount Ayr beat Clarinda on October 18 at Mount Ayr. Allen Richards scored on a 50-yard run in the third quarter for the only touchdown of the game. Ivan Dolecheck scored the extra point and a 7-0 win for the Raiders.

October 25 at Corydon was a defensive contest on both sides. Dolecheck rushed for the lone touchdown of the game. The Raider squad held Corydon to five first downs and 90 total yards for a 6-0 victory.

November first was an open date so Mount Ayr played its eighth and final game of the year at Leon on November 8. Two touchdowns by Braby and one by Stan Smith gave the Raiders more than they needed as they whipped up on the Cardinals 20-6. The win gave Mount Ayr an undefeated season and the Blue Grass Conference crown. Coach Walter Kinch was in his first year as head football coach at Mount Ayr. He would leave Mount Ayr after one more year.

A banquet was held December 5, 1946 to honor Coach Kinch and the football Raiders. The banquet was sponsored by the Mount Ayr Business Men's Club.

Selected to the Blue Grass Conference all-conference first team were Jim Braby, Ivan Dolecheck, Harold Frost and Ed Knight. The second team included Allen Richards and Bill Pratt.

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, June 05, 2014

by Mike Avitt

In the history article previous to this one, I outlined the 1946-47 Raider football undefeated season. Before the article appeared, I told Laurance Bishop about the article and especially the game between Mount Ayr and Osceola, which the Raiders won by one point. Laurance, who was a member of that 1946 team, told me Osceola's only loss that season was to Mount Ayr.

I couldn't stop thinking about that so on a recent trip to Des Moines I stopped at the Osceola Public Library and aske to see their high school yearbook collection (if they had one). They had a full collection, and I jumped right ino the 1946-47 yearbook.

Mr. Bishop was correct. Osceola's lone loss that year was to Mount Ayr by one point. So, not only did the Raiders enjoy an undefeated season in the fall of 1946, we also crushed Osceola's hopes of having an undefeated season. How awesome is that? And by the smallest margin possible.

OK, this week's photo was scanned fromt he 1960 Ayrian and shows some of the team lined up on the the football field. The field, at that time, was east of the old school building, and I'll have to ask my readers if the house in the background (upper left) later became the bus barn. Norma (Rice) Mercer donated the 1950 Aryian to the Mount Ayr Depot Museum and we thank her for her contribution.

The Raiders gained another undefeated season in the fall of 1949 while Joe McNEILL was in his second year as head coach. This made three undefeated football teams in a six-year span with three different head coaches. This season, unlike 1946 when the scores got closer as the schedule moved along, saw the scores widen as the season progressed.

We barely beat Clarinda on their field, 6-0, in the season opener but easily handled Lenox at Mount Ayr by the score of 27-7.

On September 23, at Bedford, the Bulldogs put up a good fight causing the game to be close. The Raiders prevailed 20-12 with Dean Stuck, Jack Braby and Skip Eason scoring touchdowns on the ground. These three would be the top "go to" guys for the rest of the season.

The Raiders snuck by Lamoni, at Lamoni, 22-14 on September 30. Dean Stuck had the game-winning touchdown.

The fifth game of the season was played at Osceola and we beat them 14-6. Dean Stuck had a 70-yard run for a TD.

Homecoming was held on the Mount Ayr gridiron October 14, and we demolished Grant City 29-0. Skip Eason had two rushing touchdowns, but the dagger was Dean Stuck's 97-yard run for six points.

Mount Ayr tore Corydon apart in the next game, 47-7, at Mount Ayr.

Seymour came to town October 27 and failed to take advantage of Mount Ayr's mistakes. The Raiders lost three fumbles and threw three interceptions but still won by the safe margin of 13-0.

The boys were fired up for the last game of the season played at Leon on Wednesday, November 2. The usual suspects, Braby, Stuck and Eason, all sored as the Raiders took down the Cardinals, 26-7. Stuck's TD was a 51-yard gallop.

A banquet was held in the Mount Ayr High School gymnasium on November 16 to honor the team and coach Joe McNeill. The food was prepared by the Band Mothers' Club. This would not be Joe McNeill's last banquet.

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, March 27, 2014

by Mike Avitt

The Mount Ayr High School Alumni Banquet is coming up May 24, and we'll be honoring the class of 1964 for their 50th reunion. I'll honor the class now by highlighting the 1963 football season.

The table was set for this special season in 1961 when the Raiders went undefeated for the first time since 1949. The next year saw many juniors rack up playing while the football squad posted a 7-2 record. The Raiders scored a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the final game of the season. This trend would continue into the 1963 season.

On September 13, 1963, the first game of the year, the Raiders scored on the first play from scrimmage and destroyed the Leon Cardinals 55-0 on the Mount Ayr field. Leon collected 80 total yards while the Raiders amassed 345.

Game two was played on September 20 at Villisca, and Mount Ayr scored on the first play from scrimmage. Rick DEFENBAUGH scored four touchdowns, and Ed PINE and Rick FARRELL led a strong defensive effort. The Raiders humbled the Blue Jays 54-0.

The next game was against Greenfield at Mount Ayr. Again, the Raiders scored on the first play from scrimmage. Joe BROWN and Jim WORTHINGTON led a tight defense, holding the Tigers scoreless. Mount Ayr won easily 26-0.

Game four saw the Raiders travelling (sic) to Lorimor October 4. The Raiders scored on the first play from scrimmage for the fifth time in a row going back to last year's final game. The East Union Eagles fought back, advancing to the Raider three-yard line, but Mount Ayr's solid defense forced a fumble and the Eagles failed to score at all. The Raiders rolled up 33 points (the newspaper said 33, the Ayrian said 32).

October 11 was Homecoming and the Raiders faced the Bedford Bulldogs, Dale HERRINGTON wrote in the Record-News that this game had the largest attendance in Mount Ayr football history. While Marie EURITT was crowned Homecoming Queen, the Raiders defense handed Bedford another zero. Final score, Mount Ayr 19, Bedford 0.

The sixth game of the year was played October 18 at Lenox. Eugene RICKER returned a punt for a touchdown and two touchdowns were scored by the defense, one by Ed PINE and the other by Rick DEFENBAUGH. The Mount Ayr Raiders pounded Lenox for a 26-0 victory.

Game seven was at Mount Ayr against a strong Griswold team on October 25. Griswold was the first team to score against Mount Ayr, and they did it twice. Finally, Jon THOMPSON fell on a fumble, setting up the winning touchdown and Mount Ayr saved their undefeated season with a 19-12 win.

The next game was at Clearfield on November 1, and again the Raiders were scored on twice. In the second half, Roger TRULLINGER blocked an Oriole punt, setting up the game-winning touchdown. Mount Ayr won 27-12.

The Tall Corn Conference title already belonged to Mount Ayr, but there was one game left in the season and that was against the Creston Panthers on November 8.

The game was played at Mount Ayr, and it would be a low-scoring affair. In the second quarter, Rich DEFENBAUGH caught a long pass from Dave STILL and raced for the touchdown. Joe BROWN made good on the point - after try and that proved to be the winning point as the Raiders slipped by the Panthers 13-6. Alvin SICKELS, Dale STEPHENS, and Joe BROWN had strong defensive efforts for the winners. Mount Ayr finished the season 9-0.

The Des Moines Register awarded coach Joe McNEILL their Prep Coach of the Year title for 1963.

For the season, the Raiders scored 271 points, while giving up 30. In 1931,the Mount Ayr football team collected 257 points and allowed only six. Both seasons have been called the best ever. Maybe . . . we haven't had our best season yet. Go Raiders!


Oldest living Raider, Floy Drake,
played football in 1925 season

by H. Alan Smith

He was 16 years old and a senior at Mount Ayr high school.

This was his first year on the blue-jerseyed squad, for while he stood 5' 11" or so, he had only just reached 145 pounds, big enough that he thought he could play.

The pre-season story didn't mention him, and there weren't enough good football pants to go around so he was first given a pair where the elastic around the knees was long gone. "They just about covered my knees," he said.

Soon a bigger player, Millard BLAKE, who had just moved into the district decided football wasn't for him, however, and DRAKE got a better pair of pants to wear.

And it didn't take long in practice before Floy DRAKE was the starting right guard for the Raider football team for the full season.

Now 78 years later when Mount Ayr Community high school is celebrating 100 years of football, DRAKE is the oldest surviving Raider player.

DRAKE, now 94 and a resident of Clearview Home in Mount Ayr, still has clear memories of that football season. he also is the official "paper boy" for the Mount Ayr Record-News, taking the newspaper around to residents who subscribe when it is delivered in a bundle to the nursing home on Wednesday afternoons.

He will be honored in several events during the week along with other football players from the Raider past.

Football then was played in much more primitive conditions than today, DRAKE remembers.

He will be honored in several events during the "There were no bleachers to sit on," he noted. "People just came and stood along the sidelines to see the action." And of course there weren't any lighted stadiums.

The numbers of people coming to see the games were smaller, especially on road games, he noted. He said 30 or 40 people for road games was considered good in a time when even the players were transported to games in private cars over dirt roads.

Raymond GREENWAY was the athletic coach for the team -- in a day when the single athletic coach coached football, basketball and track for the boys. There wasn't such a thing as a coaching staff.

Coach GREENWAY was "coaxed away by Clarinda" the next year and then died a few years later, DRAKE remembers.

Equipment wasn't like that used today either. Football had begun again at the high school in 1922 after a few years without a team, and most of the equipment was picked up where it could be found.

The team had six new helmets in 1925, going to the two ends and four backs. Everyone else had old ones if they could find one to fit. "But we were better off with helmets than some other places," DRAKE remembers.

For warmups the team members bought they own sweatshirts with their names on the back. DRAKE remembers they cost the players $1.10 each.

Instead of coming up with platoons of players for offensive, defensive, or special teams, players played the whole game going both ways. If a substitution was made, the player could not return to the game that quarter.

"I never saw a play from the bench all season," DRAKE says.

"We didn't have too many substitutes so that we hardly had a full second team to practice against sometimes," DRAKE remembers.

There weren't a group of girl cheerleaders helping root the team on either. Part way through the season, however, Glen SHIELDS, Henry MULLIGAN and Joe ROBINSON began dressing alike and leading cheers. "But there weren't any big crowds to lead in cheers either," he said.

Offenses weren't too complex either. "I think we had about four plays," DRAKE said. "We would run plays off tacke and around the ends with pulling guards. We had a pass play and a formation for punting with a spread line and that was about it."

"Dale DOWNING was our quarterback and we had a good right end in Raymond JOHNSON," DRAKE noted. "He had good hands and was fast."

Instead of place kicking, were the ball is placed on the ground and then kicked for extra points and field goals, balls were drop kicked for these in DRAKE'S football days.

The team wasn't nearly as big as players today, either. The biggest player on the team weighed 165 pounds then.

Instead of a corps of officials on the field, one official did all the game running and penalty calling.

While there were many differences in football 78 years ago, the game was much the same in many ways too.

And that high school football season is indelibly part of DRAKE'S memory.

The team went 5-3-1 that season, back in the days when games didn't go into overtime to determine the winners in close games.

"Our first game, we went to Greenfield back when Mike AUGENSTINE was coaching there," he said. "It wasn't long before he moved up to coach at East high school in Des Moines."

It was the worst loss of the season for the Raider squad, which fell 41-0. The game was played September 26 in a season that ran through Thanksgiving.

The second game of the season was against Clearfield and the team used a pass interception return and a scoring pass to take a 12-6 win over Clearfield on a rainy field.

The third game of the season was against Humeston on a very cold day. A pass interception for a touchdown was the only scoring in a 6-0 win for the Raiders.

The team played Lenox next, with the Raiders winning 25-0 with one of only two extra point kicks scoring for the year. A couple of running touchdowns and a couple of passing touchdowns were scored in that game.

The team went to Lamoni for its next game, which was played in an ocean of mud and water. On a hillside field, he remembers. Lamoni scored a touchdown and a safety to win the game 8-0.

"The car I was riding in to the game had a flat tire, and I had to pile into another car that was coming along to get to the game," DRAKE said.

Conditions weren't any better in a game in Mount Ayr in early November when Osceola came to play. Games usually began at 3 p.m., but because of muddy roads, the Osceola team didn't arrive to play until about 4:30 p.m. "Highway 169 wasn't even graveled then," DRAKE noted.

"They were a big team, bigger than us, but we played them tough in about as hard a game as we had all season," DRAKE said. "It got so dark that we couldn't see very well, and the cars that were there lined up along the sidelines and turned their lights on to try and help us see."

The Raiders recovered a fumble at the Osceola 10 yard line and scored on a quarterback sneak to take a 6-0 victory in the game.

When the Raiders played Bedford on November 13, it was the first favorable weather of the season.

The Mount Ayr squad ended up winning the game 19-9, with Bedford kicking the only field goal kicked against the team in the season.

The next game was with Leon, and members of the Mount Ayr band went to that game. There was a controversy when a Leon player made an unpopular comment when the Mount Ayr quarterback was hurt. Leon went on to win the game 7-0.

The final game of the season came on Thanksgiving Day when the team traveled to Garden Grove.

"A ditch ran through the field on one side, the ground was frozen and there was some snow on the ground," DRAKE remembers.

The teams battled back and forth, with a goal line stand keeping Garden Grove from scoring late in the game.

The game ended in an 0-0 tie.

As the Mount Ayr Record-News reported, "The game ended soon after the umpire crawled through the hedge and recovered the ball after a missed field goal kick by Garden Grove."

Fond memories of football from the oldest living Raider football player.


McFarland part of first undefeated squad

by H. Alan Smith

For John McFARLAND , there were many football high points, from playing for the first undefeated football team in Mount Ayr history to being one of the first players to go on to play four years of college football.

McFARLAND was actually listed on the football roster for five years, beginning as an eighth graders in 1927 - two years after Floy DRAKE graduated.

He played in the first years of the Harry KNAPP coaching era, a 13-year period in which KNAPP became what is now the third winningest coach in Mount Ayr history.

In McFARLAND'S time in high school, the team went 9-1 in his junior year and then were undefeated his senior year in 1931 -- the first of what have been a total of 12 undefeated seasons over the past 100 years.

For much of McFARLAND'S career he played end until quarterback Arvil AUSTIN broke his leg in practice his junior year and he was moved to the backfield.

His senior year he played quarterback for the team, and earned all southwest-Iowa honors as a junior and honorable mention honors his senior year.

Eugene MOSIER is another player still alive from that 1931 undefeated team and both hope to be able to ride in the parade Saturday.

Now 91, McFARLAND has many memories of his football career.

"When I was a freshman and sophomore, he had a lot of ties," McFARLAND remembers. In fact, his freshman year the team went 1-4-3, which they improved to 4-4-3 his sophomore year.

"My junior year, we went 10-1 with our only loss coming at the hands of Osceola," McFARLAND remembered.

That led up to the senior season.

His senior season, the team put together a 9-0 run. They downed Afton 46-0 in the opener, handled Clearfield 26-6, got past Greenfield 27-0, downed Bedford 6-0 and rolled past Lamoni 33-0.

That brought the Raiders to a rematch with Osceola, the team that had spoiled their season the year earlier.

Coach KNAPP'S father died and he went back to Redfield for the funeral so superintendent W. F. JOHNSON filled in as coach for the game.

Really captain Ray PAYNE was in charge of the team. But in a day when substitutions were few and far between anyway, there wasn't a lot of strategy in terms of moving players in and out from the sideline.

In the Osceola game the previous year, which the Raiders lost 19-0 after quarterback Arvil AUSTIN had gotten his leg broken the previous week, and this year the Raiders were out for some revenge.

PAYNE kept the first team in for the whole game as the Raiders scored more and more points. The final outcome was a 54-0 victory for the Raiders.

The rest of the season included a 20-6 win over Lenox, a 39-0 victory over Leon, a 2-0 squeaker past Corydon and a 6-0 win over Albany, MO.

"Football was altogether different back then," McFARLAND noted. "You played both ways and you didn't substitute as much when you couldn't go back in until the next quarter if you came out," he said.

There were no school buses. Coaches lined up cars from the community to get players to the game. And just like a few years earlier, equipment wasn't the best.

"We had helmets most of the time, but we played people who never wore helmets," McFARLAND said. Of course, the helmets worn there were not nearly as protective as the ones today.

By the early 1930s there were 30 to 40 players out for the team and "pretty good" crowds came to the games, still standing along the sidelines or sitting in cars to watch the games on the make-shift fields.

Offenses still weren't very diverse. "We had an off tackle play, a play around the end, a reserve and a few passes," he remembers.

There wasn't a good drop kicker when he played, so the team went for two points instead of trying to kick extra-points.

"After I got out of school we had some drop kickers come along, but we didn't have one when I played," he said.

Other members of the team McFARLAND'S senior year were left guard Lawrence WILSON, left tackle Howard BUCK, left end Allen ALLYN, left end Floyd FERBER, left halfback Linda MORRIS, quarterback John McFARLAND, center Ray PAYNE, right guard Forest RUSK, right tackle Donald ILLTIS, right end Elmo ROE, right halfback Howard THOMPSON and fullback Eugene MOISER. All but WILSON, FERBER, RUSK, ILLTIS and THOMPSON were seniors that year.

"We just didn't have the size of player they do today," McFARLAND says. "No one on our squad came close to the weighing 200 pounds." Howard BUCK, who went on to wrestle at Iowa State University, weighing in at 180 pounds or so as the largest player on the field.

When the Raiders were on defense, they had a six-man front and Roy PAYNE was sort of a rover backer. "He would line up where the thought the play would be going and he often was in the right place for a tackle or to block a punt."

McFARLAND'S football career didn't end with that championship season for Mount Ayr high school.

He, Elmo ROE and Ray PAYNE went on to Simpson College in Indianola in 1932, though McFARLAND was the only one who played four years for Simpson>

McFARLAND had success in college ball, playing for four years like he had in Mount Ayr. In 1933 Simpson won the Iowa conference title. "I still have a little silver football medal I was given for that," he said.

While at Simpson he played half-back most of the time, but did some quarterbacking as well.

One of his biggest memories of his college career was in a game with Iowa State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Iowa.

The coach called a play, sending in a substitute, and McFARLAND moved out as a wing back.

He was sent down field on a pass, which he caught for a 40-yard touchdown which won the game. He even kicked the extra point afterward. (He kicked in college but never had in high school.)

He remembers that the 1933 Simpson team was written up with a big spread in one of the Des Moines daily papers by sports writer Jack NORTH.

He wrote that Notre Dame had its Four Horsemen backfield while Simpson College had its pony backfield.

McFARLAND weighed between 145 and 150 during his career and two of the other backs in the championship backfield were under 150 pounds as well. Only the fullback topped the scales at 170 pounds or so.

After graduating from Simpson, McFARLAND went on to teach and coach for five years before he joined the Navy in 1942. One of his teams there had an undefeated season as well.

When he came back from the war in 1946, he changed careers, leaving football behind. He went into the implement dealer business with his father-in-law and brother-in-law, Keith and Bob FISHER, a business he was in until 1981.


Chet Roed remembers Raider coaching years

by H. Alan Smith

While there have been many football coaches over the 100 years of Raider football, there have been three coaches who have served for 55 years of that period.

Harry KNAPP had a long string of years from 1928 through 1943, Joe McNEILL coached the Raiders for 22 years between 1948 and 1982 and Dave STILL had a 19-year run from 1979 to 1997.

The oldest coach still living from the rich Raider coaching tradition is Chet ROED, who served as an assistant coach for Joe McNEILL and Gary WIMMER for 17 years from 1959 to 1974.

"It's kind of spooky to think of myself as the oldest living Raider coach," ROED said in an interview this past week in the wood shop at his home in Mount Ayr where he has projects underway all the time.

ROED came to Mount Ayr in the fall of 1958 after having taught and coached at Bagley.

"When I coached at Bagley I had 21 kids out for football one year and we always had a few hurt," ROED said. "I remember one game we played with 13 kids."

When he came to Mount Ayr he felt he was probably hired as much for his willingness to coach track as his football coaching.

"Back in those days new teachers visited each of the school board members as part of the interview process," he said.

"Milt HENDERSON was on the school board, as well as people like Royce DAVIS and John McFARLAND," ROED remembers. "Milt was always a supporter of the track program and he was pleased when I said I would coach track."

ROED was hired as an industrial arts teacher, assistant football coach and track coach.

After 45 years ROED is still a Mount Ayr resident and pleased that he made the decision to teach and coach in the district here.

"When superintendent C. Arthur HANSEN moved on from Mount Ayr to be the superintendent at Fort Madison he wanted me to fill a spot on the faculty over there," ROED said. "I went over for an interview but we ultimately decided to stay here in Mount Ayr."

ROED'S wife Anne was the school nurse for many years as well.

As part of the coaching staff for Joe McNEILL, ROED had charge of the freshmen and sophomore program. He "did what I could" along the sidelines on varsity game night and also did some scouting as well.

"I had a good working relationship with Joe," ROED said. "He would always listen to my suggestions though he didn't always decide that was what he wanted to do."

ROED came in to replace a coach who had come in with a play book an inch thick, expecting players to learn all of them.

The Raiders have gone from the Bluegrass conference to the Tall Corn conference and finally the Pride of Iowa conference over the years ROED has been in the community, with different rivalries developing with the changes.

"In the early 1960s Bedford was one of our good rivals," he said. "We knew the coaches well and they had some good ball clubs. The whole town would pack up and travel to some of these games and it made for a good atmosphere."

Only five years of the 17 years ROED was an assistant coach the Raiders did not have a winning season and they were unbeaten two times and conference champions four years during that time.

One of the athletes who came through the program during ROED'S years was Dave STILL, who eventually came back and was head coach for the Raiders for 19 years and presided over the five trips to state playoffs the teams have made over the years.

"Dave was one of those people that you knew even in high school that they were destined to become a teacher and coach," ROED said. "It was a pleasure to watch him play and then to see him come back and be such a successful coach. He's part of the rich tradition of Raider football."

"We had a lot of good players come through the team over the years, and its really good to see that so many of them have also become very successful citizens," ROED noted.

He enjoyed following the football careers of many of the players who went on to college as well.

"Sometimes you would be sitting at a game where you had a player on each team so you just pulled for your kids and not so much for one team or another," ROED said.

After 17 years of assisting Joe McNEILL and Gary WIMMER, ROED decided to retire from football coaching after the 1974 season. He taught for 32 years in industrial arts and decided that it was time to retire from that too.

"I think I quit coaching and quit teaching at just the right time," he said. "I hadn't burned out of either and they still interested me, but I thought it was just the right time."

ROED said he was looking forward to seeing all the players planning to return for the celebration of 100 years of Raider football this homecoming.

"I may not remember everyone's name because they have changed in appearance much more than I have since I saw them last, but it will be good to see renewed acquaintances," he said.

Photographs courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2012; updated June of 2014

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