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  • Writer's pictureDoak Turner

Those Saturday Football Games at Crawford Field

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

A post in memories of St. Albans on FaceBook brought these memories:

Saturday afternoons in the 60's and 70's - I remember those Kim West, Malcom Calhoun, Gayle Johnson, Teddy King, Richard Arthur, Paul Hurst, Willie Najar (some of the names I remember for some reason) coached by the great Sam LeRose teams right through my class of 1977 games on Saturday afternoon at 2:00.

When I moved to St. Albans,  64 1st Avenue, a block from Crawford Field and also the practice field for the high school teams.

Game day - the majorettes dancing to "The Horse" in the 60's, the cheerleaders and the town all pulling for those kids we know to play their best and win the games.

My friend, Branchford, “Littleman” Arthur, who was the first time I had an African American friend, we would go to the high school practices after school. His big brother, Richard, “Ricky” Arthur was about 6’-4” which was big in those days was a defensive end. I remember those teams and one day sitting on a bench and talking to one of the players, Gayle Johnson, a running back. The fact Gayle took a couple minutes to talk to me (I was in the 3rd or 4th grade) made him one of my favorite players on the team.

Names like Malcom Calhoun, Kim West, Walt, Donnie and Tom Carr, Willie Najar, Reggie Robinson, Andre Cunningham and others stand out to those earliest memories. I am sure other players will come to your mind and my mid as we read and think about those days in the 60's and early 70's.

In high school, an 8 pack of Miller ponies would fit in tube socks and covered up with bell bottom jeans. We had so much fun in the stands cheering for our Red Dragons. Go across the street afterwards or to Burger Chef and to Roadside a little later! Thanks red Dragons for the great times! We went to watch our friends play on the field and had a great time in the stands. I sometimes went with Phil Duran to watch our good friend, David Lewis, Jeff Neal, Jeff Moss, Frank Burgess and other friends play for the Red Dragons those 5 Saturday afternoons each season.

Through the years, the hot dogs and hot chocolate at the concession stands, the programs with the lineups and sponsors. Those smells, the lines, the people selling the items, laughter in the lines, hearing people “coach” the team in the lines saying what they would do if they were the coach – happens every game!

Looking on top of the press box and seeing Charlie Burgess with his camera taping the games and his devotion to the school. Billy Eades was a manager when he was in high school and even years after he graduated he was there! Cody Byrd, who had his legs amputated and was a manger for years.

Seeing the coaches, Sam LeRose,  the assistants, and in high school, seeing those coaches I remember, Ed Carter, Stan Smith, Carl Garner still stand out to me. Coach Joe Cilennski and Coach Stump, who had played ball at NC State and played against WV in the Peach Bowl (he was a psychology teacher) game in Atlanta.

Walking over to the visitor’s side to see if you know any of those people.  Perhaps check out the girls on the other side too!

I am sure other memories will pop up – just great memories!

The SA community all coming together for the Red Dragons - yea!

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