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1935 was ‘first’ unbeaten season for Ironton


Members of the 1935 Ironton football team are: Hobe Royal, John Shafer, Clellan McAfee, Carl Rose, Richard Pleasant, Charles Herrell, Glen Barber, Stan Lynd and Garland Collins; second row left to right, John Hamilton, Charles Keyes, Carl Terry, Arno Keyes, George McAfee, Paul Grubb, Bob Henry, Irvin Stern, M. Tennant, Clyde Butler and Ambrose Livisay; back row left to right, Darrell Cales, Stanley Roseberry, Eagle, Paul Anderson, Bill Hunt, Ellis Payne, R. Payne, Robert Cannon, Harris, assistant coach Sereno Shafer and head coach Dick Gallagher.

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

In football, the greatest teams are usually those that go undefeated. And looking at the unbeaten teams for Ironton High School, the case for greatest could be made for a large number of teams.
Legendary head coach Bob Lutz was at the helm for 13 unbeaten regular seasons. In his early years, Ironton had a regular season unbeaten streak of 64 games as the Fighting Tigers went 61-0-3 not counting the postseason.
But the first team to go unbeaten for Ironton came in 1935 and featured two future NFL players including George “Lefty” McAfee who was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.
Technically, the 1935 team was not the first unbeaten team. However, it was the first team to play more than three games and finish unbeaten.
There was no Associated Press poll in 1935 and the playoff system didn’t begin until 1972. But many writers and news outlets considered Ironton to have one of the best if not the best team in the state of Ohio in an era when there were only two classifications.
Class B was for enrollments of 126 or fewer boys. Class A was everybody else.
The 1897 team beat the Marshall College freshmen twice, the 1901 team beat Ashland in its only game, the 1903 team was 1-0-1 with both games against Portsmouth, and the 1913 team was 3-0 as it outscored Gallipolis, Jackson and Portsmouth by a combined 164-0.
The 1935 team scored 264 points in nine games and allowed just 24 — four touchdowns in four different games. Obviously, the other five games were shutouts.
Ironton native Dick Gallagher coached at Pedro and used a talented player named Tommy Triplett to beat Ironton 8-0 in 1933.
With Ironton going 0-8-1 in that 1932 season and losing to Pedro, the board of education decided to hire Gallagher as their coach and he accepted the offer.
Triplett followed Gallagher to Ironton and the new coach guided Ironton to a 5-2-2 record in the 1933 season and 8-1-1 the following year to set up the spotless and dominating 1935 season.
“Once in his lifetime it is the privilege of every coach to have an undefeated and untied team,” said Gallagher. “When he has accomplished this, he is tops in his profession.
“It signifies that he has had every man on his toes for each and every game and holds the admiration and respect of his boys throughout the year.”
The right end for the 1935 team was comprised of: junior right end Bob Henry, senior right tackle Clellan McAfee, senior right guard Carl Rose, junior center Wes McAfee, junior left guard Richard Pleasant, senior left tackle Charles Herrell and sophomore Stan Lynd.
The backfield had senior George “Lefty” McAfee at quarterback, the right halfback was junior Hobe Royal, the fullback junior Garland Collins and the left halfback sophomore Glen Barber.
Although McAfee earned All-Ohio honors, Ironton was far from a one-man team.
McAfee — who ran about a 10.5 seconds in the 100-meter dash — was a very humble man who never talked about his exploits. In fact, you couldn’t find any memorabilia or awards lying around his home.
In an interview with The Ironton Tribune, McAfee did nothing but compliment his teammates and even declared that the diminutive halfback Hobe Royal “was better than me.”
Wes McAfee followed his brother to Duke and played a season with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL in 1941.
And while he didn’t continue his football career, Rose later became the sheriff of Lawrence County and backup lineman Arno Keyes — known as the guy who always chewed gum — opened up Buckeye Monument.
With six of the starters returning for the 1936 season, Ironton posted an 8-1-2 record.
Gallagher coached Ironton for seven seasons. He went on to coach at Williams & Mary for five seasons and later took the head coaching position at Santa Clara from 1950-52 before the school dropped football due to lack of funds.
He also was a scout and an assistant coach for the Cleveland Browns, an assistant for the Chicago Cardinals and a scout for the San Francisco 49ers before taking a job as the director of player personnel for the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League (now with the NFL) from 1960-66.
With the Browns, he was part of three AAFC Championships and then three more after the league disbanded and Cleveland joined the NFL. He was the second director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame from 1968-76. He played with the Ironton Tanks in 1930 before taking the head coaching job at Pedro the following year.

Ironton Unbeaten Regular Seasons
1897 Record: 2-0-0
No coach
Marshall College (A) 4 0
Marshall College (A) 14 6

1901 Record: 1-0-0
No Coach
Ashland (A) 21 0

1903 1-0-1
No Coach
Portsmouth (H) 10 0
Portsmouth (A) 5 5
Totals 15 5

1913 Record: 3-0-0
Coach: A.B. Cory
Gallipolis 72 0
Jackson 68 0
Portsmouth 24 0
Totals 164 0

1935 Record: 9-0-0
Coach: Dick Gallagher
Glouster (H) 40 0
Russell, Ky. (H) 47 6
Columbus East (H) 19 6
Jackson (H) 46 0
Wellston (H) 45 6
Dayton Steele (A) 20 6
Portsmouth (H) 21 0
Middleport (H) 13 0
Newark (H) 13 0
Totals 264 24

1973 Record: 11-1-0
Hunt. High, W.Va. (A) 35 20
Portsmouth (H) 23 6
Hunt. East, W.Va. (A) 20 0
Jackson (H) 28 14
Waverly (A) 50 8
Athens (H) 14 6
Meigs (A) 13 6
Logan (H) 22 0
Wellston (A) 27 6
Gallipolis (H) 14 7
State Semifinals
Cin. Reading (N) 7 0
State Championship
Cleve. Benedictine (N) 13 38
Totals 266 111

1978 Record: 9-0-0
Coach: Bob Lutz
Ashland, Ky. (H) 34 2
Portsmouth (A) 29 0
Wash. Court House (H) 46 26
Athens (A) 35 0
Meigs (H) 35 20
Logan (A) Strike
Wellston (H) 36 7
Gallipolis (A) 36 8
Jackson (A) 41 8
Waverly (H) 66 14
Totals 358 85

1979 Record: 10-0-1
Coach: Bob Lutz
Ashland, Ky. (A) 6 0
Portsmouth (H) 22 18
Wash. Court House (A) 13 13
Waverly (A) 22 8
Athens (A) 35 0
Logan (H) 42 6
Wellston (A) 41 15
Gallipolis (H) 42 20
Jackson (H) 7 0
State Semifinals
Hamilton Badin (N) 21 6
State Championship
Akron St. V-St. Mary’s (N) 7 6
Totals: 258 92

1980 Record: 9-1-1
Coach: Bob Lutz
Russell, Ky. (H) 33 13
Ashland, Ky. (H) 30 15
Portsmouth (A) 13 9
Jackson (A) 7 7
Waverly (H) 42 6
Athens (A) 41 14
Meigs (H) 29 7
Logan (A) 28 0
Wellston (H) 35 13
Gallipolis (A) 34 20
Playoffs
John Glenn (H) 7 20
Totals 299 124

1981 Record 10-0-0
Coach: Bob Lutz
Ashland, Ky. (A) 35 14
Russell, Ky. (A) 21 14
Portsmouth (H) 28 8
Gallipolis (H) 42 12
Jackson (H) 62 14
Waverly (A) 49 15
Athens (H) 49 20
Meigs (A) 40 0
Logan (H) 40 6
Wellston (A) 54 19
Totals 420 122

1982 Record: 12-1-0
Coach: Bob Lutz
Wheelersburg (H) 29 14
Cin. McNicholas (H) 49 24
Portsmouth (A) 40 0
Ashland (H) 29 13
Gallipolis (A) 15 13
Jackson (A) 28 0
Waverly (H) 50 13
Athens (A) 61 19
Meigs (H) 35 0
Logan (A) 42 30
Playoffs
McConnellsville Morgan (H) 35 8
State Semifinals
Urbana (N) 28 20
State Championship
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s (N) 14 21
Totals 455 175

1983 Record: 8-0-1
Coach: Bob Lutz
Wheelersburg (A) 28 14
Cin. McNicholas (A) 14 14
Portsmouth (H) 32 0
Logan (H) 14 7
Ashland, Ky. (A) 26 19
Gallipolis (H) 41 12
Jackson (H) 28 7
Waverly (A) 49 6
Athens (H) 40 6
Meigs (A) Strike
Totals 272 85

1986 Record: 10-1-0
Coach: Bob Lutz
Coshocton (A) 15 6
Russell, Ky. (A) 34 6
Portsmouth (A) 27 0
Boyd Co., Ky. (H) 20 6
Ashland, Ky. (H) 42 0
Huntington High, W.Va. (H) 48 14
Lancaster (A) 41 14
Greenup Co., Ky. (H) 26 14
Cin. CAPE (H) 21 14
Dayton Jefferson (A) 14 13
Playoffs
St. Clairsville (H) 14 29
Totals 302 116

1988 Record: 13-1-0
Coach: Bob Lutz
Russell, Ky. (A) 34 9
Ashland, Ky. (H) 23 8
Boyd Co., Ky. (H) 27 0
Jackson (A) 57 14
Hunt. High, W.Va. (H) 32 19
Portsmouth (A) 18 6
Greenup Co., Ky. (H) 43 6
Cin. CAPE (H) 30T 6 0
Miami Trace (A) 33 0
Toledo Libbey (H) 51 0
Playoffs
Portsmouth West (H) 30 0
Licking Valley (N) 39 10
State Semifinals
Urbana (N) 28 7
State Championship
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s (N) 12 14
Totals 433 93

1989 Record: 14-0-0
Coach: Bob Lutz
Portsmouth West (A) 20 7
Russell, Ky. (H) 21 13
Ashland, Ky. (A) 20 15
Boyd Co., Ky. (A) 32 0
Logan (A) 44 6
Hunt. High, W.Va. (A) 37 23
Portsmouth (H) 36 6
Greenup Co., Ky. (A) 35 7
Hunt. East, W.Va. (H) 45 0
Miami Trace (H) 51 10
Playoffs
Orrville (N) 28 0
St. Clairsville (N) 27 6
State Semifinals
Hamilton Badin (N) 14 13
State Championship
Campbell Memorial (N) 12 7
Totals 422 113

1992 Record: 13-1
Coach: Bob Lutz
Russell, Ky. (A) 36 0
Ashland, Ky. (H) 22 14
DuPont, W.Va. (A) 29 6
Huntington, W.Va. (H) 56 14
Portsmouth (A) 20 14
Greenup Co., Ky. (H) 42 0
Huntington East, W.Va. (A) 62 7
River Valley (H) 48 18
Portsmouth West (H) 64 0
Playoffs
Nelsonville-York (N) 14 0
Sheridan (N) 49 12
State Semifinals
Germantown Valley View (N) 23 0
State Championship
Mentor Lake Catholic (N) 7 31
Totals 472 116

1993 Record: 13-1
Coach: Bob Lutz
Archbishop Carroll, D.C. (H) 19 14
Ashland, Ky. (A) 42 14
Toledo Start (H) 43 8
Dayton Belmont (H) 56 0
Huntington, W.Va. (H) 31 0
Portsmouth (H) 41 12
Belfry, Ky. (A) 47 14
River Valley (H) 67 0
Cin. CAPE (H) 21 15
Cin. Mt. Healthy (A) 27 6
Playoffs
Fairland (N) 28 6
Vinton County (N) OT 27 21
State Semifinals
Grmntwn Valley View (N) 29 9
State Championship
Wauseon (N) 10 13
Totals 488 132

2001 Record: 11-1
Coach: Bob Lutz
Wheelersburg (H) 42 0
South Point (H) 60 0
Gallipolis (A) 27 7
Campbell Co., Ky. (H) 28 10
Ashland, Ky. (A) 45 7
Portsmouth (H) 16 15
Coal Grove (A) 49 0
Dayton Dunbar (H) 43 8
Belfry, Ky. (A) 27 17
Col. DeSales (A) 20 10
Playoffs
Portsmouth West (H) 41 12
Portsmouth (H) 27 35
Totals 425 121