Thanksgiving Day Football
Slatington v. Palmerton, Thursday, 25 November 1937

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Location: 10 AM, Delaware Athletic Field, Palmerton

Final Score: Slatington 0 - Palmerton 18

Weather: The weather forecast that morning was “fair and warmer today.” The high would reach 53 degrees that day in Allentown.

Coaches: Fred Maass (1910-1994) and Lloyd Williams (1907-1992) for Slatington and Bill Braucher (1894-1941) for Palmerton

1937 Slatington High School football team

1937 Slatington football team photo from the 1938 Slatington High School yearbook

In the fall of 1937, Slatington and Palmerton were into their third season of high school football. It was not a great year for either team. Slatington approached the Thanksgiving Day showdown with Palmerton having achieved a record of 2-4-1. That was the team’s best record since football started in 1935. Still opponents outscored Slatington 200-38.

Lost to Lehighton 14-6
Beat Emmaus 19-13
Lost to Northampton 86-0
Lost to Catasauqua 32-6
Lost to Whitehall 35-0
Beat Stroudsburg 7-6
Tied Coplay 7-7

Palmerton’s season was even worse, as the team headed into the big game winless, having been outscored 179-25.

Lost to Whitehall 13-7
Lost to Stroudsburg 8-0
Lost to Catasauqua 13-6
Lost to Summit Hill 32-0
Lost to Northampton 75-6
Lost to Wilson 19-0
Lost to Emmaus 19-6

The excitement leading up to the big game culminated in pep rallies at the two schools. On Wednesday, the 24th, “both teams … were accorded pep rallies as interest ran high” for the game. In Slatington, an afternoon pep rally in the high school auditorium was followed by a “victory fire” that took place in the evening in the space between the old Lincoln building and the new Smith Hall. It was expected that “the entire student body will go to Palmerton as will the high school band.” And the local newspaper confirmed that ‘virtually speaking, the borough will be deserted for fully three thousand tickets have been issued to Slatington fans and the student body.” (The Morning Call, 25 November 1939)

On the morning of the game, The Morning Call wrote that “since neither team has had impressive records thus far this season, the game is an even-up affair.” Slatington “boasts the most experienced players of the two teams” while Palmerton coach Bill Braucher “has been using a number of Juniors and Sophomores at Palmerton this season.”

The game did not go well for Slatington. The Morning Call headline (26 November 1937) said all that needed to be said, “Palmerton Closes Season in Blaze of Glory.” That was accompanied by a photo with a subheading, “Braucher Boys Win Over Neighboring Rival for First Triumph of Season.” According to the paper over four thousand fans packed the field, “The largest crowd ever to assemble in Palmerton for a football game.” The bands, cheerleaders and lots of students were on hand to see Palmerton dominate the game. “The Palmerton club was almost constantly on the offensive. Slatington making its only real drive early in the opening period.”

The key player for Palmerton was Captain Frank Tergo. In the first quarter, Palmerton "unleashed a barrage of forward passes" that led to Tergo's touchdown for Palmerton in the first quarter. In two other Palmerton drives, Slatington held on its eight and two-yard lines and prevented further scoring. ”Then, in the fourth quarter, after Slatington fumbled on its own five-yard line, and after three rushes had failed to cross Slatington's goal line, Tergo passed to Hartman for the score on fourth down after the turnover. Later, a long pass from Tergo to Hartman led to the final score of 18-0.

Remaley and Welty, a pair of Slatington players, and Nemsak, from Palmerton, were tossed out of the game in the fourth quarter for fighting, as "some bad feeling [had] developed between players."

The Lineups
Position Palmerton Slatington
Left end Walter Fedorishen Donald Hughes (captain)
Left tackle Milton Nemsak Donald Wotring
Left guard Charles Snyder Alden Boyer
Center Joe Boyer Irvin Welty
Right guard William Balliet Earl Kendig
Right tackle Aurelio Mendez Reuben Geiger
Right end John Korpics William Skutches
Quarterback Robert Noll Francis Kern
Left halfback Geza Holzman Robert Labold
Right halfback ? Andreas Norwood Mack
Fullback Frank Tergo (captain) Alfred Neff

That night, after the game, Palmerton’s senior class of held the annual gridiron dance in the high school gymnasium. Football players from both teams were invited as honored guests. Music was provided by Glen Garden’s orchestra.

Newspaper sources