THE YANKEE CONFERENCE

September 23, 1956

HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS:

Nationally, the Yankee Conference is of little note, but within the confines of its borders the competition is fierce. As one conference coach put it: "The teams are usually pretty well coached, pretty well balanced, the kids come from the same neck of the woods, and they fight real hard not to lose face." What the teams do against outside opposition doesn't seem to affect the hard play of the conference games.

These six state schools battle as hard for the traditional bean pot as any Rose Bowl contender for its place in the sun. And, without headlines, they play a good, rock-ribbed brand of ball in the best New England tradition.

Maine was the most underrated team in the conference last year. They lost a tough opening game to Champion Rhode Island, but they beat just about everyone else, and toward the end of the season might well have been the top outfit among the Yankees. But Maine plays in two different conferences, the Yankee in the early part of the fall and the Maine Conference (with Bowdoin, Colby and Bates) the latter. By the time they jelled into top form their Yankee season was past and the best they could carry off was a series of victories over their Maine Conference foes.

This year Maine is blessed with a big tough line operating in front of some good backs and is as sound as an Aroostook County potato.

Of the rest, Connecticut, with a good nucleus returning from last year and some outstanding freshmen coming up, is a logical contender. New Hampshire, with an experienced line and green backfield, carries the dark-horse tab. Rhode Island, having lost Coach Hal Kopp to Brigham Young and some key veterans from its first undefeated team, could again take the title, but it is doubtful. Only Massachusetts and Vermont seem out of the championship fight, yet they're both improved.

RHODE ISLAND
KINGSTON, R.I.

COLORS: Blue and white.

BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.

1955 RECORD: Won 6, lost 0, tied 2.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 17 of 24.

WATCH FOR: Paul Fitzgerald, G; Bob Novelli, T; Jack Leach, B; Dick Gourley, E.

THE DOPE: The Rams, Under Herb Maack, their new head coach, are a sound ball club, but they are scarcely likely to soar to the giddy heights of last year's undefeated season. One of the bulwarks of New England is the Rhode Island defensive line, which is fast, aggressive and tough. With Captain Paul Fitzgerald at the key middle guard post, and Bob Novelli and Dick Gourley lending their experience at tackle and end respectively, the Rams will be just as hard to move as they were in 1955. The prospects are for a lot of low-scoring games with the Rams winning most of them.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept 22—Northeastern (13-13)
Sept 29—at Maine (7-0)
Oct. 6—at New Hampshire (13-13)
Oct. 13—Vermont (16-0)
Oct. 20—Massachusetts (39-15)
Oct. 27—at Brown (19-7)
Nov. 3—at Springfield (20-7)
Nov. 17—Connecticut (25-0)

MAINE
ORONO, MAINE

COLORS: Pale blue and white.

BASIC OFFENSE: Wing T.

1955 RECORD: Won 5, lost 1, tied 1.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 16 of 25.

WATCH FOR: Thurlow Cooper, E; William Tarazewich, T; Peter Kosty, B; Raymond Hostetter, B; John Edgar, B.

THE DOPE: The Black Bears of Maine are primed to relieve Rhode Island of the Yankee Conference title. Coach Harold Westerman has a strong veteran squad returning, headed by Captain Thurlow Cooper, an outstanding end. Moreover, he will be welcoming another crop of promising sophomores, at least two of whom are earmarked for starting positions. As practice started, quarterback—the sine qua non of Westerman's attack—lacked promising candidates, but Westerman solved the shortage by calling on the services of Pete Kosty, last year's regular center, an excellent passer. That left a vacancy at center, so Westerman may have to do some more juggling before he is through. Another problem is fullback, since the Maine version of the T calls for a bruising attack inside the tackles. With football talent as rich as it is on Rudy Vallee's old campus, no one around New England is crying too many tears over Coach Westerman's problems.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 29—Rhode Island (0-7)
Oct. 6—at Vermont (34-0)
Oct. 13—New Hampshire (6-6)
Oct. 20—at Connecticut (13-0)
Oct. 27—Bates (15-13)
Nov. 3—Colby (53-0)
Nov. 10—at Bowdoin (54-8)

CONNECTICUT
STORRS, CONN.

COLORS: Blue and white.

BASIC OFFENSE: Unbalanced T.

1955 RECORD: Won 4, lost 4.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 13 of 22.

WATCH FOR: Lenny King, B; Norm Gerber, T; Lou Mooradian, G.

THE DOPE: The UConns are the preseason dark horse in the Yankee Conference on the basis of a powerful running attack, led by Halfback Lenny King, a strong defensive line and an outstanding group of sophomores coming from what has been termed "the East's strongest freshman team." Coach Bob Ingalls is a little worried about his linebacking but is otherwise looking forward to a good year if the sophomores come through as expected. The most likely to succeed are Paul Scagnelli, a center, Bill Walner, a guard, and Fullback Moe Coury. But the man Coach Ingalls likes to talk about the most is King. Last year he was the team's leading scorer, a breakaway threat at all times, and it was he who racked up the only touchdown in the UConns' 6-0 upset of Holy Cross. Best of all, from Ingalls' point of view, King is just a junior. Connecticut will be in the thick of the fight for the conference crown this season and probably for some years to come.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—Springfield (no game)
Sept. 29—at Yale (0-14)
Oct. 6—Rutgers (no game)
Oct. 13—at Massachusetts (18-13)
Oct. 20—Maine (0-13)
Oct. 27—Delaware (14-26)
Nov. 3—at New Hampshire (20-7)
Nov. 10—Northeastern (no game)
Nov. 17—at Rhode Island (0-25)

NEW HAMPSHIRE
DURHAM, N.H.

COLORS: Blue and white.

BASIC OFFENSE: T.

1955 RECORD: Won 2, lost 4, tied 2.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 11 of 21.

WATCH FOR: Ted Wright, B; Bill Gregorios, G; Alton Amidon, T; Norm Leclerc, C; Bob Trouville, B.

THE DOPE: The Blue Wildcats will have about the best first string in the Yankee Conference; however, with almost no reserves, Coach Clarence (Chief) Boston keeps wondering: "Is this enough?" The answer, of course, lies in the breaks—whether the team can survive without serious injury. On the cheerful side is Ted Wright, a shifty halfback who was All-Conference and will be bidding for Little All-America this season, and sophomore Quarterback Bob Trouville, "the answer to our passing problems." But here, too, luck is critical. "To pass we've got to get better weather breaks than last year," Boston explains. "Then we planned an attack based on a bunch of scatbacks. It came up mud seven Saturdays in a row!" All in all, Chief Boston tends toward the gloomy outlook: "On some campuses there's an air of optimism and on others an air of pessimism. Here we've got an air of confusion."

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 29—at Dartmouth (no game)
Oct. 6—Rhode Island (13-13)
Oct. 13—at Maine (6-6)
Oct. 20—Delaware (18-20)
Oct. 27—at Brandeis (14-20)
Nov. 3—Connecticut (7-20)
Nov. 10—Springfield (0-18)
Nov. 17—at Massachusetts (21-7)

MASSACHUSETTS
AMHERST, MASS.

COLORS: Maroon and white.

BASIC OFFENSE: T.

1955 RECORD: Won 4, lost 4.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 13 of 18.

WATCH FOR: Dick Wright, B; Dave Ingram, E; Charlie Mellen, B; Jim Dolan, G; Bill Allen, C.

THE DOPE: The Redmen, under Coach Charlie O'Rourke, Boston College's great halfback of 1940, are not serious Yankee Conference contenders this year, but they have the kind of explosive offense that is liable to upset anyone on their schedule when it clicks properly. Quarterback Tom Whalen, a three-year letterman, directs a veteran backfield that combines speed, power and adequate passing. At halfback are Dick Wright and Charlie Mellen, both dangerous around the ends, while Fullback Roger Barous is the kind of big, strong runner who can pick up good yardage through the center of the line. Massachusetts' first-string line has Center Bill Allen and Jim Dolan at guard to give it stability in the middle, particularly on offense. And then there is Dave Ingram, a really gifted player, holding up one end. Elsewhere the Redmen are in trouble, particularly when the other team has the ball. Coach O'Rourke puts it very succinctly: "Offensively we should be one of the strongest elevens, but the success of the season hinges on our defensive play." In other words, Massachusetts has a number of gloomy Saturdays ahead.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—at American Int. (27-13)
Sept. 29—at Boston U., N (no game)
Oct. 13—Connecticut (13-18)
Oct. 20—at Rhode Island (15-39)
Oct. 27—Northeastern (33-13)
Nov. 3—at Vermont (54-15)
Nov. 10—Brandeis (17-6)
Nov. 17—New Hampshire (7-21)

VERMONT
BURLINGTON, VT.

COLORS: Green and gold.

BASIC OFFENSE: Wing T.

1955 RECORD: Won 3, lost 3, tied 1.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 16 of 28.

WATCH FOR: Leroy Williams, G; Paul Harasimowics, T; John Galascione, B; Tom Tierney, B.

THE DOPE: The Catamounts are the popular choice for the Yankee Conference basement again this year. Coach Ed Donnelly, with more problems than even a football coach might reasonably expect, can only hope that some of his Saturdays will be brightened with exciting runs by Halfbacks John Galascione and Tom Tierney. Yet even that is questionable, since he's never really seen either one of them function as a running back. Tierney was a quarterback last year, and Galascione an end. So their potential is strictly a matter for conjecture until the action starts. Marty Johnson, the regular fullback, was injured most of last season but he seems to be ready now. If he is he will help a lot, perhaps making it possible to shift Tierney back to quarterback, where without him the team will lack a seasoned passer. Vermont has some spotty strength in the line with Tackle Paul Harasimowics, Guard Leroy Williams and Phil Chalifaux, a sophomore center who is counted on for help. Williams especially can be rough. The Catamounts will not be seriously outclassed in any of their seven games this year, but their chances of improving on last year's mediocre record are not very bright.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 29—at Union (33-6)
Oct. 6—Maine (0-34)
Oct. 13—at Rhode Island (0-16)
Oct. 20—at Rochester (21-12)
Oct. 27—at Norwich (20-20)
Nov. 3—Massachusetts (15-54)
Nov. 10—Middlebury (6-0)

TWO PHOTOSHAROLD WESTERMAN AT MAINE AND HERB MAACK IN HIS FIRST YEAR AT RHODE ISLAND'S HELM ARE TOPNOTCH YANKEE CONFERENCE COACHES PHOTOTHURLOW COOPER, CAPTAIN AT MAINE PHOTOLENNY KING, STAR CONNECTICUT HALFBACK PHOTOTED WRIGHT, HALFBACK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE PHOTOEND DAVE INGRAM STARS AT MASSACHUSETTS PHOTOLEROY WILLIAMS, VERMONT'S RUGGED GUARD

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)