Memorial’s road to a national title

100 Years of Football

 

EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – Memorial High School football has a winning history, but no run may be better than the five seasons between 1934 through 1938. Each team went undefeated, but one stood out as the best.

“In 1937, all 11 Memorial players made the All-City.”

The Tigers blew out every Evansville team that season and went 11-0. But when the season ended a team from northern Indiana was voted the state’s #1, and therefore champion.

“They were voted #2. That kind of ticked the coach and some of the powers that be off. In fact, the Mayor of Evansville was on the committee to bring in a team. They said we can’t bring in a state championship. Let’s win a national championship.”

A national search, landed on Mckeesport, Pennsylvania. The team in the Keystone State was also undefeated, but weren’t named state champs. It didn’t take much convincing to get them to come down to the Reitz Bowl.

Once the team from Pennsylvania made its way to the city of Evansville it quickly found out it wasn’t just the students, the staff, and the community of Memorial High School they were having to play against, it was the whole town.

“It’s the only time to my knowledge where the entire city backed one team. Rightfully so. They were playing for a national championship. They had the cheerleaders from other schools participated. The coaches from the other schools sat on the bench with Don Ping, Memorial’s coach. It really was a city wide effort. It was quite an amazing feat.”

Memorial won big, shutting out McKeesport 21-0. The city of Evansville came out on top that day.

It was just the next year, Memorial began to schedule teams very far away in Muncie and South Bend, and they beat them too.

“They beat the two northern teams they played, and they got the mythical state championship. They got the state championship in 1938. They got the national championship in 37.”

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