Quaker Football Teams
Salem High School Quakers’ first football game was played on Sept. 1, 1893. The opponent was Lisbon, and it turned into a bloody and rough fight. After a Salem player was struck on the chin with a large club, the crowd surged onto the field and a fight ensued. Salem played three games that year, winning against a YMCA team and losing to Massillon.
Through the years, some outstanding football teams have taken the field for the red and black. History tells us that five Salem football teams have gone through the season unbeaten – the squads of 1899, 1901, 1910, 1926 and 1929. In 1899, the Salem squad was unscored upon, but was held to a 0–0 tie by Mount Union. Later, however, Salem defeated Mount Union 6-0. That year the Quakers had a record of eight wins and one tie.
The Quakers in 1901 were unbeaten in four games, with an opening game tie with Sebring 0-0, the only mark on their record. In 1920 the Quakers were unbeaten, with only an 8-8 tie against Ravenna to mar their record. The most notable feat of the 1924 team was its opening day 80-0 slaughter of Columbiana. In 1925, Salem won six games and lost only two.
Salem was undefeated in 1926, compiling a 10-0 record. The Quakers held their first six opponents scoreless, and limited the last four teams to one touchdown per game. Wilbur Springer was in his third year of coaching that season.
The 1928 team had lost only two games, but in 1929 the Quakers went undefeated with a record of 11-0. They opened their 11-game schedule with a 40-0 victory over Leetonia. Then followed with wins over Akron West, 19-12; 32-6 over Wellsville; 7-6 over Warren; 20-0 over Lisbon; 14-12 over Youngstown South; 15-0 over Youngstown East; 25-13 over New Philadelphia; and 7-0 victories over East Palestine and Alliance. By rolling up 11 straight victories, through the help of a superb running back named Ed Beck, this team became Northeastern Ohio Class A champions. Floyd Stone was the coach.
The 1943 Quaker team was another powerhouse, winning seven of its eight contests. It won six in a row before falling to East Liverpool, and then trouncing Lisbon 31-0 in the final game. Outstanding backs on this team were Dick Greene, “Flick” Entriken and Ray Wise.
Ben Barrett’s 1947 squad rolled up nine straight victories, most by wide margins before losing the season’s finale to Lisbon 7-0. Before the Lisbon game, this team was rated seventh in the state by the Associated Press. The Quakers ended the season rated eighth. Tom Miner (quarterback), Bob Wank (tackle) and Walter Ehrhart (running back) were picked to the first string all-county team.
Back in the 1920s and ‘30s, a Quaker man symbolized Salem schools. In 1936, when Charles Freed was editor of the school annual, a paper mache figure of a Quaker man was featured. A traditional male Quaker head was used again in the 1937 annual.
Thereafter, the profile of a Quaker woman was used. Anna Doudna Smith, a devout Quaker and mother of Ella Thea Smith (a 1916 graduate of SHS and long-time teacher of biology there) was the model for the Quaker Lady. This insignia was used on the 1925 class ring, but the class of 1937 was the first to adopt it as a standing emblem for future class rings.
When John Cabas came on the scene as SHS basketball coach in 1950, he decided to make a change. His team was being ridiculed for having the Quaker Lady’s face on their warm-up jackets. He began looking for an artist and was referred to Perry Calvin, a local artist.
Calvin had never drawn cartoon characters before, but agreed to try. He sketched over two dozen views of a portly, diminutive Quaker man expressing his feeling after the Salem team won or lost games. In the background was the school, and a flag flying in the breeze when there was a victory, and drooping when there was a loss.
Cabas liked the drawings and, as a member of the Kiwanis club, took his idea to the members. They decided to put the Quaker man on a badge that would be sold. The symbol was drawn in black and white, with red for the lettering. Cabas came up with an appropriate slogan – “Love Those Quakers.” It caught on with the public.
Cabas then had a 20-foot plywood “Quaker Sam” built in three sections for use at basketball and football games. The teams would run through Sam’s legs to and from the locker rooms. Don Getz, a student at the time and now a well-known artist, drew a huge emblem on the center of the gymnasium floor.
Soon the symbol was seen on city trucks, and in cartoons published in the SALEM NEWS after athletic events. When Salem won, Sam might be shown bowing or turning a somersault. If the team lost, he might be bandaged, hobbling on a cane, or shown with a depressing expression.
Cabas soon replaced the Quaker Lady symbol on team jackets with Quaker Sam. And, when the 1951-52 season began, the emblem appeared on the team’s new uniforms. Even the cheerleaders got into the act by performing in short black dresses and bonnets. In the early 1960s, the plywood character was replaced with a living Quaker Sam, dressed in knickerbockers and split coat.
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