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Ninety Years of Pigskin

By Staff | Oct 2, 2019

CINDY KNIER/The Luminary Montgomery residents gathered around the Old Shoe Trophy following a presenttion on Thursday, Sept. 19, regarding 90 years of football in Montgomery. The Red Raiders have ownership of the trophy until Friday, Oct. 4, when they face Muncy in the annual battle for the iconic award. Montgomery won the prized Shoe last year in a 15-14 last minute win over the Indians. Will they return home empty-handed? Kick-off is at 7 p.m. at Schuyler Stadium in Muncy.

Nine decades ago, the Wall Street Stock Market crash rocked the United States, marking the beginning of the Great Depression. It was a terrible time that would put many hard-working families at the mercy of charity. Despite that heartbreaking era, it was also the the birthing of Montgomery football.

Larry Stout of the Montgomery Historical Society provided a brief slideshow of Montgomery’s 90-year football history to the general public on Thursday, Sept. 19. The meeting was held in the Adam Room Museum.

Stout described Montgomery’s first year as “not very good,” winning only one game against rival Hughesville. Of the eight teams played, Montgomery was matched against Hughesville twice that year, Stout explained, adding, “They were young, most of them freshmen.”

The following year brought a new coach in the form of Michael Guido-the team finished with a 2-4-1 record. Something really changed in 1931 with a 9-0 record, followed by a repeat record in 1932, Stout noted, as “Teams started forfeiting.” It was also the year that Montgomery shut out eight of the nine teams-Muncy being the singular team to score against the Red Raiders, losing by one point.

A 7-0 record in 1933 saw three teams-Ralston, Wellsboro and Canton–forfeit their games. Oddly enough, Muncy was once again the only team to score, and still losing by one point.

The winning streak was broken in 1934 with a 5-2-2 record yet Montgomery managed to win the West Branch Conference. A quote from the Williamsport Sun-Gazette that year passed praise to Guido, saying, “During [Guido’s] five-year reign, Montgomery teams have 34 victories, piling up more than 1,000 points to 27 for their opponents. And all these 27 came in small batches.”

An article in the Grit gave credit for their 1934 success to Delbert Walborn, saying he was “a broth of boy with a frame like a structural steel worker and lot of good football ideas. Walborn will be playing his last high school football, and the fans will be sorry to see him pass from the scholastic picture. He was by the best lad in Class B football hereabouts and maybe the very best in this part of the state.”

Lennie Day, who played for Guido in the early 1950s, said the coach wouldn’t tolerate disruption. “He was a real disciplinarian,” Day said, who attended the presentation along with his wife.

Guido was the constant star in the Montgomery constellation, Stout said Just 21 years of age when he came to Montgomery, having graduated from West Chester prior. He later studied at East Stroudsburg State College and Cornell University.

Montgomery was his first and only teaching position; in addition to football, Guido coached basketball and baseball teams to 10 league championships.

The community mourned the sudden passing of Guido on Oct. 3, 1953. An oil painting of Guido was presented to the school in 1954 and was proudly displayed in a hallway. The painting has since been removed and its whereabouts unknown, Stout said.

“He’s a man who deserves remembering because of what he did,” Stout said, noting that his first teams later went on to fight in World War II. “No doubt his work ethics learned during sports affected those men to tough it out as things got difficult overseas,” he said.

Stout turned the second half of the program over to Michael Snyder, current Athletic Director for Montgomery. Snyder provided a more in-depth documentation of recent football players and coach Paul Bozella-and of course, the Old Shoe rival game with Muncy.

Established in 1961, the Old Shoe Trophy has become an icon for excellence between the neighboring towns, despite initially being somewhat of a joke in the beginning. Muncy has won the shoe more often than Montgomery, particularly more so since 2002. After a 13-year drought, Montgomery took the shoe away from the Indians last year with a thrilling 15-14 score, with a last minute two-point conversion, Snyder said.

“There’s no doubt when we walk into Schuyler Stadium this year with the shoe, we will also be walking out with it again,” Snyder said. “I’m pretty confident. I know the records don’t indicate it, but I believe we’re going to hold on to this [shoe] for a couple more years.”

At the end of the program, those in attendance posed with the Old Shoe trophy, which is up for grabs this Friday, Oct. 4.