Posts Tagged ‘Nikifer Schouchuk’

Carlisle Players Play Each Other

January 19, 2009

While researching the lives of Henry Roberts and Mike Balenti, I became aware that they, and some other Carlislians played against each other when enrolled in other schools. In response to criticism that Carlisle Indian School had been playing some of the same people for too many years, Pop Warner instituted a policy that limited players to four years on the varsity squad. Mike Balenti had used up his eligibility at Carlisle and Victor Kelley had one year of eligibility remaining at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. While there were no national eligibility standards, many colleges limited students to four years of eligibility, one for each of their four years of college – assuming that they finished on time. However, colleges often conveniently ignored the time former Carlisle players now at their institutions had played at the Indian school because it wasn’t a college academically. In fact, it wasn’t even a prep school. Putting these vaguaries of eligibility aside, Mike Balenti and Victor Kelley enrolled at A&M (reenrolled in Kelley’s case) to play under new head coach Charlie Moran. Moran, coincidentally, had assisted Pop Warner at Carlisle the previous year before embarking on a career as football coach. Previously, he had been a star player and a baseball coach, but hadn’t coached football. The Aggies, with Kelley at quarterback and Balenti at left halfback, had a powerhouse team. One of the obstacles in their path to the unofficial Southwestern Championship was Haskell Institute. The teams met on October 23 at College Station. Captain and left end of the Haskell squad was Henry Roberts who would later star of Carlisle’s great 1911 team. Not on the field that day for Haskell, but on the squad, were center Nikifer Schouchuk and quarterback Louis Island. It was like old home week at the game which the Aggies won 15-0. Aggie students celebrated wildly after the game because beating the team that had beaten the University of Texas meant a lot to them. At the end of the season Charlie Moran, as coach of the Southwestern Championship team, was given the honor of selecting an All Southwest team. He named Kelley for quarterback, Balenti for left halfback, and Roberts for punter. Carlisle was well represented on that team by alums both past and future.

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Single-Wing Article in Sports Illustrated

December 2, 2008

The December 1 issue of Sports Illustrated has an article on the single-wing. The writer, Tim Layden, first discusses the formation’s current use at Apopka High 15 miles northwest of Orlando and in the NFL by the Dolphins in their unexpected victory over the unsuspecting New England Patriots. Also mentioned is Todd Bross, organizer of the annual spring conclave at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. (It was Todd Bross and Ted Seay who urged me to research Pop Warner’s correspondence course in football that was first published in 1908). Layden discussed the renaissance the single-wing is undergoing but was apparently unaware that little Windber Area High School is running it as he was probably unaware of my documentary in which they were featured.

The article talks about viewing old films over Ed Racely’s garage on Cape Cod. Racely, now 80, has been studying the single-wing longer than anyone. Layden then goes into the single-wing’s history beginning with President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 threat to ban the game unless rule changes weren’t made to clean up the game. He goes on the mention that Pop Warner coached Carlisle Indian School from 1907 to 1914 and quotes Warner as having first used early incarnations of the single wing by the Carlisle Indians in response to the 1906 rule changes. He is apparently unaware of Pop’s earlier tenure at Carlisle (1899-1903) and of my research that uncovered Warner’s weeklong visit with the Carlisle coaches shortly before the start of the 1906 season. He made no mention of the revisions to Warner’s correspondence course between 1909 and 1911, nor did he mention my publication of the offense pamphlets from the correspondence course. The diagrams found those pamphlets represent the earliest known documentation of the single-wing. A 1924 newspaper interview of Warner was accompanied by a diagram of a formation that “The Old Fox” designed in 1902 to protect injured linemen Antonio Lubo, Martin Wheelock and Albert Exendine and to adjust for injured first-string center, Nikifer Schouchuk. It’s too bad that wingback diagram wasn’t made public a couple of decades earlier. The Sports Illustrated article can be found at:

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1149161/index.htm

Carlisle Indians Had The Right Stuff

November 27, 2008

These days authors are supposed to have video previews of their books posted on the web for all to see. I was also instructed to make a video of me reading from my new book. Knowing full well that few would want to look at me reading for any period of time, I took a different approach. I read the words Pop Warner said in a 1924 interview in which he told of an episode that clearly shows what kind of stuff the Carlisle Indians were made of. After getting the thing started, I mostly disappear from view and am replaced by other footage and still photographs. Warner’s story is fascinating and, as best I can tell, is true. Because he told it over twenty years after it happened, he may have had some details confused. But the major things check out.

The story is a bit long but, when I’ve read it in book talks, audiences enjoy it because it is such a good story and, to my knowledge, hasn’t been told since the 1920s. YouTube.com enforces a strict time limit on videos that may be posted on their site, so it was necessary to split the story into two pieces. The first, and longer, part has been created and posted. The second and more interesting conclusion will be posted next week. “Carlisle Indians Had The Right Stuff” can be found at www.YouTube.com/TomBenjey. This is a chance to learn more about people such as Albert Exendine, Nikifer Schouchuk, Antonio Lubo, Martin Wheelock, James Johnson, Charles Williams and Richard Henry Pratt.

Feel free to make comments, either positive or negative.