Concord Observer: When Football was King  

September 7, 2023

By Ken Anderson 

When I wrote this piece (at 5 a.m. on September 1, 2023), there was a blue moon of brilliant luminosity. But my purpose is to talk about football, a week before CCHS’s first game. 

I grew up in the Bernie Megin era of football, 1941 through 1961, with time off to fight in World War II. My father was on the coach’s first team and I was on his last team. In between, he led his teams to an undefeated streak of 56 games (one tie), took them to two bowl games in North Carolina (one win, one loss) and, in 1946, went 10-0, scoring 420 points while giving up 12. You can read about the seasons in the streak in a short book written by Bobby Gray, a Rain Man-esque fan of our high school’s teams. 

Our freshman team went 10-0 under the direction of Coach O’Connell and Quarterback Seth Aronie, who threw for at least 50 points and handed off to Johnny Boynton for 78 points. (We are still waiting for induction into the CCHS Hall of Fame as the first undefeated team at CCHS.) 

I remember because I suffered from a case of math-nerdism. I was not alone, as I played varsity football with at least five other people who were on the math team! 

We opened with Winchester sophomore year. For some reason, we had a motorcade through Winchester that morning. In the game I remember two things: rolling my ankle but being saved from any damage by a tape job by Charlie Blair; and trying, unsuccessfully, to cover a punt to Mike Bellino, younger brother of Joe, who won the Heisman at Navy. 

Football was King. We had nighttime motorcades, bonfires, speechifying. My parents and their friends formed the Hubbard Street Athletic Club and went to games en masse. A banner hung from our house to the Warrens’ house across the street promoting HSAC. Games regularly had thousands in attendance and the crowds lining the track around the field were three or four deep. 

My recollections include Players like Charlie Flanagan, Squeaky Denaro, Roger Mattison and just big, God-like players on the teams.  

Special moments include: 

Bobby Windheim kicking the first field goal (or extra point) I ever saw in a game; 

Dickie Harris spoiling the beauty of that 3-0 game with a fabulous run to make it 9-0; 

Kit Harris wore number 31 and went to Princeton, just as Route 31, west of Concord, goes to Princeton; 

Billy Donovan, his helmet pulled off in a poor tackle against Belmont, running around to the left end and back to the right end before being brought down. 

I remember soccer as a week-long activity in gym class. After I graduated, an assistant football coach started a soccer club. My brother was co-captain. At prep school, he returned to football, and he later was tight end for Colby. 

There are many more stories, but for now, may the 2023 season under Coach Josh Reed shine with the brilliance of the blue moon I saw.