The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 4, 2013

Lyons football and local athletics

Here is Lyons High School Football Team of 1937, with Lenny Dose in the back row.  The place is Root Park and, if you were at that spot today, you would see Lyons Middle School on the hill behind them. Lyons football is the stuff of legends! Their Hall of Fame Football Coach, John Crimmings, had a record of 63-13, with three of those losses to Savanna.  It's odd how a champion team can have trouble with just one opponent.

I used to tease Lenny Dose that, "No wonder you beat St. Mary's 17 years in a row, you had 13 men on the field!"  That year, Coach Mike Dardas had only 13 players, and they lost for the last time to St. Mary's team, which had Roy Glendenning as a star player. Roy later went to St. Ambrose and was a star there.  It seems nearly all of those early athletes were fine men. 

Dwayne Spooner wrote a book on the saga of Lyons football, but most stunning was his respect for opponents like St. Mary's…. "They had volunteer coaches like Glendenning, Mike Johansen, John Herrity, 'Chink' St. Clair, and many others.  They had to run down to south-side park and they didn't have a home field, but they produced a lot of good players."  He remembered them all, but specifically mentioned Gene and Nate Walton and Harold Judge.  His respect for his opponents was amazing!   Lyons always had two non-conference games, and they chose to play the toughest there were.  Lyons would often beat Cedar Rapids’ McKinley, Roosevelt, and the two other high schools. The even beat Davenport once.  Best of all, was the night they tied national power Loras, at Dubuque, in the early 1950's!   Another little-known star was John Russell, a tremendous high school and college player from Anamosa, who taught at Lyons Jr. High and could punt the ball a mile!

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