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1930 big year for Coal Grove

(Editor’s note: Coal Grove and Ironton meet Friday at Tanks Memorial Stadium for only the third meeting in history.

Friday, October 06, 2000

(Editor’s note: Coal Grove and Ironton meet Friday at Tanks Memorial Stadium for only the third meeting in history. Ironton won the first meeting 13-0 in 1930, then took the second encounter 38-16 in 1987. Longtime Coal Grove fan and retired Lawrence County educator Mike Nourse researched the Hornets 1930 season. Nourse and his wife, Gail, an instructor at the Collins Career Center, live in Coal Grove. Here his account:)

The seventh week of the 200 football season is fast approaching. This story is about a football team that played many years ago. 1930 to be exact. They are the Coal Grove Hornets. This was only the third team in Coal Grove High School history.

The Hornets fielded their first team in 1928. A total of 23 players under the direction of coach Evard Lee fashioned a record of 2-31. The first Hornet win was over Proctorville on Nov. 16, 1928. The score was 18-6.

Charlton Pierce was named head coach in 1929 with Brady Willis as his assistant. The new coach led a team of 31 players to a record of 9-1-1, winning the Hornets first Lawrence County Football League (LCFL) championship.

Pierce was again named coach of the Hornets in 1930. Which leads to this question: Were the 1930 Hornets the best football team to play at Coal Grove? Read on.

Coach Pierce greeted a large group of 37 hopefuls led by captain Paul Smith (I will complete the roster at the end of the story) and 12 seniors among the group. After the success of the 1929 team, expectations were high.

The LCFL was divided into two divisions in 1930. Coal Grove, the Blackfork Bobcats, Mason-Aid Green Wave, and Pedro Redmen were in the West Division.

The East Division consisted of the Chesapeake Panthers, Proctorville Raiders, South Point Pointers, and Windsor Dukes. At the conclusion of the regular season, a championship game would be played between the winners of the East and West divisions.

Proctorville went unbeaten in the East with one tie. Meanwhile, the Hornets roared to nine straight victories.

The scores were: 19-0 at Pedro; 13-0 at South Point; 19-7 at Blackfork, 49-2 Ironton B-team, 44-0 Mason-Aid, 20-0 Pedro, 26-6 Blackfork, 6-0 at St. Joe, and 42-0 at Mason-Aid.

The stage was now set for the LCFL championship game between Proctorville and Coal Grove on the Hornets field Nov. 28.

At the end of the first quarter, Coal Grove led 14-0. the score at halftime was 26-0.

When the game ended, the Hornets won going away, 43-0, for their 10th straight victory and second consecutive Lawrence County Football League championship.

However, the great Hornet team actually finished the season 10-1. Coal Grove had opened the season against Ironton on Sept. 20 at Tanks Stadium.

The setting for the game was a David vs. Goliath. The big city of Ironton vs. the small village of Coal Grove. Ironton, with football since 1902, playing Coal Grove with only its third team ever.

The first quarter ended 0-0 but the Tigers led 7-0 at the half. The score remained that way after three quarters and then Ironton put the game on ice with a score in the fourth quarter to win 13-0.

This was a very good Ironton football team (aren’t they all?). Ironton finished the season 7-2-0. A valiant Hornet team played their hearts out but had come up short.

Except for this one game, an undefeated season of 11-0 became 10-1. The two teams would not meet again for 56 years. They will meet for the third time in the season’s seventh game Friday, Oct. 6.

The 1930 LCFL champion Hornets had seven shutouts among their 10 wins. They scored 281 points, an average of 25.5 per game. They allowed 28 points, an average of 2.5 per game.

Amazingly, this is not the best season defensive average in Hornet history. the 1941 team allowed just 1.7 points per game while finishing 7-0.

The 1930 Hornets coach by Pierce consisted of:

Senior captain Paul Smith, Jim Ackinson, Ed Allen*, Garland Ballard, Carl Berger, Harry Bloomfield, George Bucklew, Bill Carey*, Bob Carey*, Clarence Carey, Earl Clay, Norman Dickess, John Gray*, Paul Hall, Charles Haney, Don Hankins, Clifford Hanshaw, Joe Hensley, Jim Higgins, John Hill, Art Holliday, Joe Holliday*, Bernard McKnight*, Paul McKnight, Wilbur McKnight*, Meridith Malone*, Morris Melvin, Red Moore, Oscar Norris, Roy Riley, Lewis Smith, Earl Stanley, Earl Taylor*, Roy Tordiff*, Walter Walker, Clifford Willis, and Ralph Willis*.

(*-Denotes senior member.)

So there you have the rest of the story. the 1930 Hornets were within one victory of possibly being considered Coal Grove’s best team ever.