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A Thanksgiving Eve football tradition

Thanksgiving and football may mean watching the NFL on TV today, but Palm Beach County fans of a certain age will recall when THE Thanksgiving game was Palm Beach High vs. Lake Worth — a long-time rivalry played on the eve of Thanksgiving. The annual holiday game began in 1928 and continued through the 1960s, when the Forest Hill Falcons stood in for the Lake Worth Trojans.

The 1964 game has been described as the one of the most publicized football games in Palm Beach County history. Both teams — the Palm Beach Wildcats and the Forest Hill Falcons — were unbeaten. The preview story in The Palm Beach Post began, “Tonight’s the night when the hopes and dreams of an unbeaten-untied football season are wrapped up in 48 violent minutes of combat.”


The Palm Beach High football team as pictured in the Nov. 25, 1964 game preview story in The Palm Beach Post.

The Wildcats won that 1964 game 25-6.


The 1946 game between Palm Beach and Lake Worth drew what The Palm Beach Post called “the largest crowd in the history of Palm Beach County football,” with estimates ranging up to 10,000.


The cover art on the program from the 1946 game was by Lon Keller, an artist from Pennsylvania whose work was featured on high school and college football game-day programs from 1938-70.


The 1946 Palm Beach High football team, from the annual Thanksgiving game program.


The 1946 Lake Worth Trojans, as pictured in the annual Thanksgiving game program.


The center of the program featured the starting lineups for that night’s game and a guide to referee signals along the bottom.


The Lake Worth coaching staff from 1946. Despite the Trojans having no chance at the county championship that year, coach E.R. Goodell was quoted in the Palm Beach Post as saying, “We have no excuses. We’re banking on our two-team system to spell each other and make it a good game.”

Read more about the annual game in this 2009 Palm Beach Post Gametime story.

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Posted in Flashback blog November 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm.

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Whatever happened to that statue of a football player at the old Atlantic High School stadium?

It’s still there, at Hilltopper Stadium, adjacent to the city of Delray Beach’s Seacrest Soccer Complex. The former high school stadium is home to the Delray Rocks youth football team.

The 20-foot-high steel-reinforced concrete statue of New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle was sculpted by Don Seiler, who died in 2000. Seiler wanted the statue to go to the Orange Bowl, but a friend suggested donating the statue to “a lovely little high school with a great football team,” and the Seacrest High School class of 1969 contributed the funds to move the statue to the school.

A Palm Beach Post file photo of the statue in 2003:

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The statue was featured in The Palm Beach Post in 1981:

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The dedication at Seacrest High School in 1968:

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Posted in Flashback blog February 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm.

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Homegrown football heroes

By Michelle Quigley

It’s hard to escape football fever in south Florida — what with the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl at Sun Life Stadium — so let’s take a look at some local football players who have made history.

Indianapolis Colt receiver Pierre Garcon, a 2004 John I. Leonard graduate, and New Orleans Saints fullback Heath Evans, a King’s Academy grad, will be at the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 (Evans won’t be playing though; he’s out with an injury), but they’re not the only local boys to make it big.

Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Santonio Holmes of Glades Central was last year’s Super Bowl MVP, after he made an amazing tip-toe catch in the end zone for the winning touchdown.

And 15 area players made the Florida High School Athletic Association’s list of the 100 greatest football players in Florida history, including past stars — Carver’s Barry Hill, Kennedy’s Lemar Parrish and Atlantic’s Bobby Butler — and present ones — Pahokee’s Anquan Boldin, Suncoast’s Devin Hester and Santaluces’ Vince Wilfork.

Other area high school football players who made the list:

ottisandersonOttis Anderson (Forest Hill, pictured at right with St. Louis Cardinals owner William V. Bidwell as he holds up the jersey that he would wear for the 1979 season)
John Carney (Cardinal Newman)
Anthony Carter (Suncoast)
Eddie Edwards (Fort Pierce Central)
Jessie Hester (Glades Central)
Rickey Jackson (Pahokee)
Don Latimer (Fort Pierce Central)
Fred Taylor (Glades Central)

We know there are a lot more local football players who have made the big time, and we’d like your help in compiling a list of them. You can see the list we have so far here.

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Posted in Flashback blog January 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm.

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Palm Beach County area football players who made it to the NFL

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On Thanksgiving eve in 1960, when this cartoon ran in The Palm Beach Post, the “spotlight of tradition” shone on the undefeated Seacrest and Lake Worth high school football teams vying for the Suncoast Conference championship, “old-timer Palm Beach facing newcomer Forest Hill” for the West Palm Beach championship, and Pahokee meeting Belle Glade in “another one of those traditional games in which anything can happen.”

High school football is still king in Palm Beach County, and with the 2010 season beginning, we’re bringing back our list of local football players who made the pros. For the definitive roster of every local player currently playing at the next level — college or pro — check out this list on The High School Buzz blog at The Palm Beach Post’s PBGametime.

This list is a work in progress, and we welcome your input in expanding it. Please use the form or comments below to let us know about other local football players who have made the big time. We appreciate your contributions!

The list is sorted by school, then by player’s last name.

Sources: Palm Beach Post archives, Pro-Football-Reference.com. Last updated February 2013.

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Posted in Archives and Flashback blog January 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm.

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Lake Worth High School football in the ’40s

The Lake Worth Trojans dominated area football in the 1940s. Coach E.R. ‘Buddy’ Goodell, posthumously inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, led the Trojans to the state championship in 1942. The 1944 team (pictured below) defeated every other team in Palm Beach County but then lost the south Florida regional championship to Fort Lauderdale.

In 2007 Palm Beach Post reporter Andrew Abramson interviewed Lake Worth class of 1949 halfbacks Ed Elliott, Clifford Franks and Eugene Bie. Read the interview and view an audio slide show of the three reminiscing about the way high school football was played in the 1940s.

We invite you to share your own stories and memories of high school sports in the Your History section of historicpalmbeach.com

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1944 Lake Worth High School Football Team

Front row — John Beane, William Harvey, Wiliam Menges, Bobby Forder, Roger Collar, Lynn Hotchkiss, Cecil Harper, Bob Fulton, Frank Bradswhaw, Gerald Crocker, Jack Adair and Jack White.

Middle row — Coach E.R. Goodell, Bobby Adams, William Humphrey, Herbert Russell, Ralph Warriner, Karl Easton, Alvah Dermott, Tommy Johnson, Jimmy Martin, David Giles, Eric Tuttle, Coach Tom Burns.

Top row — Manager Lloyd Cook, John Remsen, Richard Watson, Donald Sargent, Ted Venos, Wally Johnson, manager Allen Kirkpatrick.

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Posted in Flashback blog October 1, 2009 at 10:27 am.

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