Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Sure, Eight Interceptions Is Impressive, But...

Prior to the REDBLACKS' game against BC this past weekend, I located and posted what I believe to be the first regular season contest between the two teams. It turned out to be one of the first-ever regular East vs. West contests following the formation of the CFL, so a bit more historic than I thought.

I wanted to find a similarly historic event between Ottawa and Montreal in light of the game between the two teams this coming Friday night. I was reminded that Ottawa once picked off eight pass attempts by Montreal in a single game so I tracked that down. 

I was initially confused. I had read that the game took place on October 12th, 1947, and that Ottawa won (as you'd expect, when intercepting eight passes) 22-03. Yet when I pulled up the October 13th, 1947, Ottawa Citizen, it made reference to a loss by Ottawa to Montreal, 07-01. What the hell?

There were actually two game summaries in that paper because there were two games played that weekend. Ottawa hosted Montreal on October 11th, a Saturday, then the two teams played again the next day in Montreal. There were no Sunday papers then so both game summaries were in the Monday paper and I just happened to land on the wrong one. Hence the mention of "yesterday's performance" in the partial article below. 

That would be Howie Turner referred to in the first paragraph. With the score 6-3 in Ottawa's favour, Turner picked off Montreal passer Tommy Cates and ran "nearly forty yards" for the TD to make the game 12-03 at halftime. Then....

There you go. Now about those frayed tempers...

A couple of notable Jakes there. Dunlap played with the Ottawa Trojans for one year and seven seasons with the Rough Riders (and time with the Argos and TiCats as well). He has been general manager of the team and also a part owner.

Gaudar doesn't have much history within the Ottawa region as such, though he was on the 1943 Ottawa Combines team, but he was league commissions from 1968 to 1984.

Those two teams had quite a few people that would go on to be very influential, but that day they were just getting their noses bloodied.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

1961: BC Lions 07 @ Ottawa Rough Riders 41

The CFL began playing an interlocking schedule in 1961 and the first East vs. West games included a visit to Lansdowne Park by the BC Lions on august 12th of that year. In light of today's REDBLACKS home opener against those very same Lions, this seemed like a good time to shine a light on this initial encounter. 

I enjoy the tone of article, 60 years later. Change is sometimes hard to accept and while I haven't read much about the events leading up to East vs West games, I get the sense that some were opposed to it and Ottawa's dominance in this game was just viewed by those people as proof that damn it, Western teams don't measure and playing only within your conference was just fine. 

(Disclaimer: I adopted that very same attitude about the imaginary prospect of playing XFL teams so I'm not judging 😉)

Sorry for the choppy cropping and such but the article layout was brutal to work with. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

So What Happened Before 1926?

Records of past high school champions tend to start from 1927. In December of 2019, I tried to figure out the structure of high school ball prior to that year. did they not play at all? Or were schools playing but only in exhibition contest?

There did appear to be a local champion in 1926, namely Ottawa College, but they clinched the championship when Glebe defeated Lisgar late in the season. Lisgar had been the only team left to challenge for first place in the circuit so Ottawa College won the championship due to the result of a game in which they did not participate. You can read more about that here.

So then, was there a champion prior to Ottawa College in 1926?  It would appear so and as is so often the case, I found it by fluke. 

I was adding some more information about the 1966 high school season, won by Nepean, their first and only one.

Or was it??? (As Rod Black would say)

Early in the newspaper game summary, this part stands out. 

Well, then, let's see what happened in 1925.

In looking for additional information/confirmation, I located a bunch of Nepean high school yearbooks in pdf format added to the Lost Ottawa Facebook page by one Martha Aksim in 2018. The 1926 edition was included, much to my pleasant surprise, and it features the 1925 team rather prominently. There are summaries of every game including the 12-01 victory over Glebe described above as well as the photograph below.

You'll note that it states Dominion Interscholastic champs.

The yearbook explains further. The newspaper article above explained that Nepean was expected to meet Renfrew shortly after defeating Glebe. Nepean did just that and defeated them 7-4 for the Ottawa Valley crown.

Cornwall was next on the schedule. We'll let the yearbook take it from here.

Hell of a run!

Having shared the 1925 team picture, and having the Nepean yearbooks at my fingertips right at the moment, let's take a second to display and honour the 1966 too, then.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

New Page: EOSSA Championship

We have expansion! More and more info is being added to the High School page so to make things a bit more manageable, a new page has been built specifically for the Eastern Ontario championship that existed between 1927 and 1946. This involved Ottawa-based schools playing teams from towns such as Kingston, Smiths Falls, Perth, and so on. The information already gathered is being moved and more is being added.

Ottawa U. first claimed the EOSSA championship for the area in the contest's second year. Glebe lost the first in 1927 but they would go on to win quite a few in the 30s.

Here's a summary of UOttawa's 1928 victory. I was not able to track down a similar recap of the game against Hamilton mentioned at the end of the first paragraph so it may not have actually taken place.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

1937: New Edinburgh Rough Riders Clinch JCFL Championship Against...No One.

For the most part, the smaller amateur local leagues that emerged between the 1920s and 1960s tended to lack real competitiveness. Often, one team was particularly dominant and pulled away from the pack in no time.

The 1937 Junior City Football League season was a relatively rare exception. It turned into two-horse race that unfortunately thudded out at the end. Check out the final standings. 

New Edinburgh beat St. Pat's in game two but an upset loss to Gladstone by New Edinburgh opened the door for St. Patrick's to sneak back into the race. And, as you would hope as a spectator, it all came to a head in the final weekend of the regular season!

First, St. Patrick's defeated Gladstone which put them in first place with their 13 points in the standings.

St. Patrick's then had to stand back and pray for a miracle in which Strathcona, they of the 17 points scored in eight games to that point, would upset the strong New Edinburgh club.

Strathcona didn't put up a fight at all. Literally. They refused to play. And with the game having been moved to St. Patrick's field, the team wishing for a miracle instead got to watch New Edinburgh score a touchdown unopposed and in doing so, even bump one of their players from the scoring title. Harsh!

The player bumped in that scoring race, by the way, was Johnny Quilty, son of Hall of Fame member Silver Quilty. 

The whole episode comes off like a bit of a dick move but New Edinburgh had defeated St. Patrick's twice during the regular season and tied with them once. St. Patrick's ended with a 6-2-1 record as a result.

It's hard to argue that New Edinburgh didn't deserve first place and wouldn't have secured it anyway by defeating toothless Strathcona, a team they'd clobbered twice already by a combined score of 33-00, with that much at stake.

But if you were a St. Patrick's man at the time, that still had to sting. 😬

Friday, August 13, 2021

1929 Rideau Team Sketches

I've come cross an article similar to this one for the 1940 Rough Riders but finding one for a junior team is quite an indicator of the popularity of "minor" football back in the day. 

It's too bad that the image quality goes to pot towards the bottom, and unfortunately there was a very inconveniently placed ad right in the middle of the whole thing. I did my best to crop and clean it up but the starting material was just not easy to work with.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The 1939 Gladstones: Your First Interprovincial Junior Football Champions

There's a new page above called (for the moment) "Rough Rider Seasons (1907 - 1925). Most of the teams featured here have their results, coaching history, awards, etc. all included on the same page but there is so much content with the Rough Riders that it has to be separated. Of course, I plan to include seasons prior 1907 and right up to the sad end in 1996 but that is the chunk of time that I have carved out as of this writing.

Needing a break from that, I went back to a Junior City League (1931+) page I'd started but had yet to complete. In building it, for most years, I'd started by finding and posting the announcement of which teams would be participating in the coming season. I had managed to do this from the period between 1931 and 1938 and had stopped there, so last night I decided forge ahead a little more and in doing so found what I believe to be a little-known accomplishment by a local club.

The city league only had three teams in 1939. Each would play the other two twice each. Gladstone, defending champs from 1938 and coached by former Rough Rider Arnie Morrison, sealed up the three-team division on October 21st with a game left to play. They would defeat an Air Force team the following weekend in an  exhibition game, win their final regular season the week after that, then wait to hear about playing a Quebec champion in an Eastern junior football playoff semi-final.

That champion would turn out to be Montreal's Westmount team. Westmount had defeated Gladstone in the 1938 playoffs in Montreal but Gladstone got the better of them this time around at Lansdowne. 

That led to an Eastern junior football championship contest against the Hamilton Italo-Canadians which Gladstone also won. I know very little about the HIC but it seems they'd won a Toronto/Hamilton junior league, similar to how Ottawa won their own city league. 

Here's our hero now.

Gladstone subsequently (almost immediately, in fact) received a challenged from a team from Sarnia, winners of the Ontario Rugby Football Union, but that match never came to pass. The Gladstone/Hamilton game took place on December 2nd so it was already late in the year to organize additional games, then the two organizations could not come to an agreement on who would cover certain expenses. Also, the Interprovincial Rugby Union already recognized only Gladstone as junior champions so Ottawa ultimately had nothing to gain from playing another game.

That IRFU recognition was a new accomplishment for a team from the area.  

So the Sooners were not the first Ottawa team to reach the top of the junior level. A true national championship may not have been feasible for Gladstone but Arnie Morrison's squad achieved the highest level of success of the time, better than all that preceded them locally.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

2002: Ottawa Renegades 26 @ Calgary Stampeders 12

Hey, have you heard? The consensus worst-team-in-the-league went to Edmonton and ran out with a win, much like Elks head coach Jaime Elizondo ran out on his former team in 2019.

The key play in Ottawa's victory was, of course, a 102-yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive back Abdul Kanneh. Following the play, one of the announcers (probably Glen Suitor, I can't recall for sure) made reference to a 109-yard interception return by Gerald Vaughn during his time with the Ottawa Renegades.

Sounds like a good reason to dig up that game summary. 

The photo above was taken by Colleen Kidd for the Calgary Herald. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Just Added: The 2005 Athletes In Action Senior Bowl

Finding results and summaries of past AIA Bowl games has been challenging. Some years you might stumble into an article about preparations for the game but not its actual outcome. One year in particular, the Citizen had a picture from the game but didn't provide a score in the caption or a connecting story.

The proverbial torch was being passed from one organizer to another in 2005 and as a result, the contest generated a little more local media attention that year. All that is explained by Mr. Martin Cleary below.

Monday, August 2, 2021

1934: Jr. Rough Riders 09, Strathconas 02

Ottawa's presence in the junior QRFU came to an end in 1929 but junior football did not disappear altogether, it just took a year off. A local six-team league was formed in 1931 called the City Junior Rugby Football League, or some variation thereof (media was inconsistent in its naming).  

A page was recently built and added to the banner above to record that league's progression. Progression might not be the right term, the league quickly shrank to operate with only three or four teams but it did last a while. I believed it might last all of three to five seasons but it carried on in some form until at least 1941. 

1934 got the bulk of the attention this afternoon (before I noticed I totally skipped over 1933). This was a three-team season, Jr. Rough Riders, Strathcona, and New Edinburgh, two of which would play a "curtain raiser" before the "senior" Rough Riders games. 

The game below was something of an exception, I believe. Strathcona had played on October 6th then played this one on October 8th. 

The junior Rough Riders won the league that year. The recap to their final game states that they would wait to find out whether they'd play a team from another league in some sort of regional playoff but aside from what appeared to be an exhibition game against Smiths Falls Collegiate, I have not located an actual playoff contest.