Ramblers Defeat Wrestler Gridders

Tacoma News-Tribune – October 12, 1953
By Ed Honeywell

By reason of their advantage in youth, speed, better organization and more recent acquaintanceship with the game of football, 1953 version, the Seattle Ramblers prevailed over the Wrestlers in Sunday’s “Muscle Bowl” game at Lincoln Bowl.

The Ramblers’ 20-6 triumph represented anything but a rout, however, and the contest was a rousing success in that 7,256 paying customers made a net contribution to the coffers of the Associated Boys’ Clubs of the Tacoma area which may run as high as $5,000.

The ranks of the Wrestlers were padded slightly by the addition of a half-dozen former collegians, including a couple of players “loaned” by the Ramblers, but there were no complaints on that score from the customers in view of numerous magnificent performances on the part of several of the bonafide bonecrushers.

Outstanding man on the field and easily the most durable was the Wrestlers’ Luther Lindsey, claimant to the world’s Negro heavyweight championship.

Lindsey, operating as a linebacker, ranged far and wide and authored countless crunching tackles – he was the No. 1 “stop” man on the premises, defying all efforts on the part of the Ramblers to ease him out of the path of the ballcarriers.

Also outstanding for the Wrestlers were Jose (Pepper) Gomez, the former Los Angeles City College star, and Tacoma’s Frank Stojack, the longtime gridiron stalwart (Lincoln High, Washington State College, pro Brooklyn Dodgers) who combines city council duties with a wrestling career which has gained him the world’s lightheavyweight and Pacific Coast junior heavyweight titles.

Even Bronko Nagurski, the Minnesota All-American of two decades ago and longtime star with the Chicago Bears of the National Football League, made a more lengthy appearance than he had bargained for. The Bronko had promised to make only a token visit to the gridiron action but, catching the spirit of the occasion and in response to considerable clamor from the stands, he went into the game twice for approximately a dozen plays.

There were a number of others among the professional matmen who, despite advancing years, acquitted themselves quite acceptably – fellows like Ivan Kameroff, the Masked Marvel, Dr. John Gallagher, The Ram, Abe Yourist and Glen Detton, to mention a few of the more prominent bonecrusher.

As their sole reward, the Wrestlers – certainly not crassly commercial when an opportunity to “help the kids” presented itself – received a dinner at Steve’s Restaurant.

The sympathies of the crowd plainlylay with the Wrestlers, but the adherents of the matmen had precious little to cheer about until the closing seconds, when Mel Light, the former College of Puget Sound speedster, who was among the “borrowed” players, scampered 10 yards around left to cap a 68-yard touchdown drive.

The Ramblers, held at bay through the first quarter, drove 46 yards to their initial touchdown late in the second stanza, with Larry Lowry skirting right end for 14 yards to reach pay dirt. Gary Amberg placekicked the conversion to make the count 7-0.

Also blanked during the third peirod, although having gained a scoring opportunity in the closing minute of the stanza on Jerry Thornton’s 31-yard punt return to the Wrestlers’ 17-yard-line, the Ramblers pushed across two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Jack Guyot, the former Pacific Lutheran College star, went four yards around left end for the TD which gave the Ramblers a 14-0 edge, Amberg again converting, and Lowry breezed around right end for 14 yards and the Seattle team’s final score.

The Ramblers piled up a 10-5 advantage in first downs and had a heavy margin in net rushing yardage, 163 to 11. Most of the Seattle team’s gains in that department were recorded on sweeps, with the Wrestlers simply lacking the speed to stop the wide plays.

The Wrestlers, who emerged with a 43-32 lead in passing yardage, suffered rushing losses of 52 yards, largely as the result of the trapping of their passers, to account for the unimpressive total in gains on the ground.

Other than the routine bumps and bruises which were inevitable in a contest which saw hard blocking and tackling over the entire distance, the only injuries were suffered by Lindsey, who received a broken little finger on his right hand, and by Kameroff, who may have received a split muscle in his right arm.

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