This is the 1923 Dixon high school football machine, which numbered many now prominent Dixonites. In the back row are Harold "Tuffy" Jones (with crutches), halfback; Assistant Coach, John W. Weiss; Coach Arthur C. Bowers and Manager Clifford Gumm. Secon row: George O'Malley, Roderick Ware, the late Gordon McNicel, halfbakc; Ferris Rynearson, quarterback; Hugh Smith, Glenn Philip, halfback; Harry Weinman and Walter Krug. Third row: Winston "Wink" McReynolds, end; Marion Reese, Tackle; George Aschenbrenner, guard; Captain Don Rosecrans, center; the late Joe Keyser, guard; Gus Boni, tackle, and John Lahey, end. Bottom row: Harold Coss, end; Bill Johnson, Lyle "Bud" Prescott, Dana Messer, George Morris, fullback; Ken Thome, Neil Reagan.
DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH '23 GRIDDERS By Bob Fallstrom
How many fans remember the 1923 Dixon high school football season? Of course it was 'way before this writers time. However the subject was brought up the other evening at a banquet for 1946 Duke fros-soph gridders and sounded so appealing we decided to carry through and obtain a "peek into memory" story.
John "red" Vaile provided the above picture. John Lahey some nifty material and the 1924 Dixonian yearbook other background data. Piece em all together and a colorful yarn is the result. So come with us, if you will, for a swing into yesteryear.
"It was the first season the present field was used." Lahey recalls. "South high players had to dress at the school and then trudge across town and the old Glaena avenue bridge ini order to reach the field. And North high players also dressed at school, although they didn't have as far to walk as we did. The field was new and still somewhat in the making, what with numerous weeds, etc., surrounding it. Thats where we practicd and played our home games. A
As for personelll, such players as "tuffy" Jones, Capt. Don Rosecrans, Ferris Ryneason, George Morris, George O'Malley "Wink" McReynolds, Gus Bondi, the late Gordon McNicol, George Aschenbrenner, the late Joe Keyser, Neil Reagan and Lahey, graced the squad. Several new prominent Dixonites were included, Lyle "Bud" Prescot, a member in state representave-elect. Another, Neil Reagan, is now in Hollywood with its famed brother, "Dutch" , O'Malley is a high-ranking naval officer.
A.C. Bowers, present athletic director at DHS was the teams coach. John Weiss, now a faculty member at the University of Illinois, assisted. Clifford Gumm acted as manager. Here' s how the Dixoman yesterbook for 1924 recapitulates the season (note the dated journalism:
The turnout of men for the 1923 season on the gridiron was the largest that ever greeted a Dixon high school coach. Fourty-fourmen were out for practice making four complete teams. The first conflict, on the home ground, with Prophetstown, ended 44-0 in our favor and a number got their tryouts. Rock Falls played us on our own field the following week end got the worst of a 9-0 score. Our men were in much better shape by this time. The third match was not so easy for us. The game was played with Mendota, in a sea of mud at Mendota and although Dixon worked within scoring distance several times, she mailed to score by either a humble or intercepted pass. Results were 0-0.
The battle with Sterling on her own field the next Saturday brought us defeat. 23-13. The gave was well played and a thriller from start to finish. No game was booked for the next week and the fellows were given a rest. The following Saturday brought Rochelle to Dixon where a fairly good conflict was staged though our men were a little over confident. As a result the margin was small 7 - 0. The sixth match was played on the Belvidere gridron. Snap and enthusism were looking among our men and the enemy claimed the game 12- 6 Rynie (Rynerson) played here for the first time since he was injured in the ROck Falls game.
The next week found us still "outta luck". Ottawa fought us on our own field. For a long time time the issue was uncertain but in catching a punt Tuffy Jones broke a leg. The team lost confidence and the final score favored Ottawa 26-6. Here the story goes into a long-winded discussion of propations for the Thanksgiving day windup game with Sterling. From the first whistle Dixon took the lead and stayed in advance the whole game. The team work was unusually fine and Sterling, overconfident at first, soon became uncertain of her playing. The match ended in a drizzling rain with 13-0 victory for Dixon - concluded the recap. Thus an unusual season came to a dramatic close. That was Dixon's story on the football field just 23 years ago. DX
Transcribed from the 24 December 1946 Dixon Telegraph