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EDITOR’S NOTE: The afterward commodity appeared in the April 9, 1995 copy of The Post-Journal to bless Bemus Point Aerial School’s absolute 1964-65 able-bodied acquaintance during which the Red Dragons acquaint a 54-0-1 almanac in baseball, golf, football and basketball.
Terry Woodfield aftermost played a aerial academy basketball bold at Bemus Point Aerial Academy three decades ago, but his affections and his adherence to his alma academy — now accepted as Maple Grove — run deep.
So as the Red Dragons played the crumbling moments of their accompaniment championship bold at the Glens Falls Civic Centermost aftermost month, Woodfield could hardly angle it.
“I was nervous. … I was sitting on the bend of my bank until it was over,” he said.
When the horn articulate to end the game, which the Red Dragons won, 61-54, Woodfield and the array of Maple Grove followers who fabricated the seven-hour cruise erupted in celebration.
Woodfield was so aflame that “I acquainted I could dunk.”
One could absolve the 5-foot-7 above point bouncer for adorning a bit on the truth. But not alone was he active vicariously through the teenagers who had aloof captured the aboriginal boys accompaniment championship in Chautauqua Canton history, but he additionally was reliving some of the august moments of a august year — 1964-65.
“When you’ve got time to relax and anticipate about it, angelic cow, I assumption we did do all right,” Woodfield said.
That ability be advised an understatement.
In fact, from the alpha of baseball division in the bounce of 1964 through the end of the basketball division in the winter of 1965, Bemus Point won 54 amateur in the four sports — baseball, golf, football and basketball.
And the cardinal of losses?
BASEBALL: BROWN UNHITTABLE
The baseball team, beneath the administration of Drillmaster Mel Lewellen, began the arresting band by announcement an 11-0 almanac and claiming the Section VI Class B championship afterwards downing Akron, 3-1, in the appellation game.
“We had a appropriate team,” Woodfield said.
And a appropriate pitcher.
Senior Brian Brown, the son of above above leaguer, Walt Brown, was Lewellen’s ace, a right-hander who baffled opponents with an array of pitches, best of which were unhittable.
In fact, Brown threw no-hitters over Pine Valley (20-0) and Portville (6-0), and accomplished the division with an 8-0 almanac and a 0.76 becoming run average. In the exclusive semifinal no-hit gem adjoin Portville, Brown addled out 16 and would ability the division with 83 strikeouts and aloof nine walks in 53 innings.
“He had absolute control,” said Woodfield, the adorning catcher, who led the aggregation in hitting with a .447 average. “He could bandy the brawl wherever he wanted.”
Noted Brown: “It was aloof a abundant season. We didn’t accept that able of a team, I didn’t think. Everybody aloof played absolutely good. … Everybody aloof seemed like they came through in clamp situations. … Aback we aboriginal started out it seemed like a characterless team. As we kept playing, we aloof started gelling. Everybody stepped up. Every bold it was somebody different.”
Other associates of that aggregation were Paul Druelinger, Dan Harnish, Larry Page, Tim Anderson, David Richner, Paul Carleton, Ted Henderson, Tom Joneson and Mike Gore.
“We had a lot of acceptable athletes for a baby school,” Woodfield said.
And they were aloof accepting started.
GOLF: NO DUFFERS HERE
While Brown and aggregation were demography affliction of business on the baseball diamond, the golf aggregation was active up to its end of the arrangement on the links.
Led by Norm Rice, Dave Yentzer and Tim Casler, the Bemus Point golf aggregation accomplished 13-0, including bristles wins by shutout. The squad, accomplished by Jim Lucey, won the Chautauqua Canton golf clash for the aboriginal time and the Section VI Class B championship. The aggregation additionally placed fourth in the accompaniment qualifier and alternate in the Brae Burn Aerial Academy Invitational Clash in Dansville.
Rice and Yentzer angry for low advocate in the canton bout and the Class B sectionals with circuit of 82. Casler accursed an 83.
Other associates of that aggregation were Ernest Kestler, Jim Gowan, Dick Johnson, Ray Head, Bob Shephard Brian Eckwahl, Rick Scott, David Johnson, Steve Haglund and Charles Dodge.
This accumulation was so acceptable that one could shoot a condoning annular of 37 or 38 at Bemus Point Golf Advance and still not be a starter.
“It was unbelievable,” Head said. “Most of us grew up in Bemus. I can bethink activity to the golf advance (during the summer) and arena 81 holes.”
Added Eckwahl: “Our academy was on breach sessions and that fabricated a big difference. We’d get out of academy at 12:30 in the afternoon and afresh we’d be out on the golf course. … I apperceive it was a accidental agency (for the team’s success).”
FOOTBALL: WORTH THE WAIT
Bob Gustafson remembers advantageous his ante the aboriginal three years on the varsity football aggregation which had a 6-18 record.
“Coming up through those years, we’d apparent the brand of Marv Hubbard, Bruce Bergey and George Carter, so we had absolutely played adjoin some actual acceptable guys,” Gustafson said.
But, in the abatement of 1964, it all came calm for Bemus Point.
For the aboriginal time in the school’s 11-man football history, the Dragons, accomplished by Bob Bergstrom and Gordon Kidder, accomplished the division best with a 7-0-1 record.
Team associates were Harnish, Tom Joslyn, Druelinger, Terry Woodfield, Gustafson, Rice, Eckwahl, Yentzer, Jim Haskin, Mike Buck, Bruce Rosendahl, Jerry Casselman, Randy Chamberlin, Archie Miller, John Langebartel, Bob Shephard, Carleton, Richner, Don Miller, Bruce Lawson, Dennis Car, Bill Woodfield, Sam Tyler, Tom Moneson and Bob Swanson.
“We were best to do article that year,” said Gustafson, the quarterback on that team.
Did they ever.
The Dragons outscored Clymer and Westfield by a accumulated 71-6 in the aboriginal two amateur and afresh squeaked out a 7-0 accommodation over Pine Valley aback Richner took a pitchout from Gustafson and denticulate the alone touchdown of the afternoon. Richner was additionally the hero on aegis as his quarterback sack prevented a Pine Valley account central the 10-yard line.
“I was arena linebacker and Dave said, ‘I’m activity to blitz, I’m activity for the quarterback. … We can’t let them get in,’” Terry Woodfield recalled. “He blitzed, I alone aback and he concluded up authoritative the tackle.”
The alone birthmark on an contrarily banderole filigree division came adjoin Silver Creek aback the Dragons could administer alone a 19-19 tie.
After that, Bemus Point went on a tear, outscoring its opponents, 117-14, over the final four games.
BASKETBALL: THE BIG RED MACHINE
Lewellen, 71, retired in 1979 afterwards 28 years in the academy arrangement and now lives in Venice, Florida. And while best of his time is now adherent to softball, a bold he plays six canicule a week, his memorabilia from his 27-year basketball apprenticeship career is at his fingertips.
In fact, every already in a while, Lewellen will cull out one of his abridged notebooks, absolute statistics, array and capacity of every bold he anytime coached.
The 1964-65 aggregation was a appropriate one, he said.
“I knew them able-bodied and I anticipate the added acknowledged coaches are those that apperceive them in and out of the classroom,” Lewellen said. “You can acquaint with them. We’ve consistently had a abundant accumulation of kids in Bemus.”
Experience was the key to that aggregation 30 years ago.
“The capital affair was we had three of us who played on the alone accident division that Mel anytime had our green year,” Gustafson recalled. “We had a lot of experience. Aback in those days, we played calm always, in all kinds of weather. …. We knew anniversary added acutely well.”
Members of that aggregation were Gustafson, Terry Woodfield, Lawson, Jim Linquist, Carleton, Chamberlin, John Evans, Swanson, Jim Galloway, Head, Gustafson, Rice and Richner.
And anybody contributed as the Red Dragons, acquaint a 21-0 record, including a 67-61 exclusive championship achievement over Franklinville at Memorial Auditorium.
The acumen for the Red Dragons’ success was simple — teamwork.
“We weren’t absolutely that big, but we absolutely played acceptable together,” said Woodfield, a bouncer on that team, “Mel said at the time it was his best team. … There was cipher absolutely outstanding. Everybody played good.”
Gustafson abutting Woodfield at guard, Swanson was the centermost and Carleton and Head were the forwards.
“We were carefully a pattern, half-court abhorrent team,” Lewellen said. “We acclimated the Cincinnati swing-and-go offense, the one Oscar Robertson fabricated famous. This aggregation played that breach to perfection.”
Swanson led the aggregation in scoring, followed by Carleton, Head, Woodfield and Gustafson. Chamberlin and Evans were the aboriginal off the bench.
But Bemus Point could do added than account points. In fact, the Red Dragons gave up an boilerplate of aloof 45 per game.
“He got me to be a arresting fanatic,” Gustafson said of Lewellen. “We played a lot of box-and-ones. Mel told me that if you account four credibility and your guy array two, you’re allowance out.
“He accepted account and he formed you hard,” Gustafson added. “He aloof fatigued the fundamentals of basketball so abundant that we didn’t accomplish a lot of mistakes. Maple Grove is consistently accepted to accept shooters. Mel started that aloof with the drills and instilling in us to accumulate arena and accumulate shooting.”
Their alone alarm that division was a 54-53 overtime achievement at Pine Valley on Feb. 2, 1965.
We had baffled them by 14 credibility at home and we went over there and they had us exhausted by maybe six or seven credibility with two or three account to go,” Woodfield said. “We pressed, got it into overtime and won it. Evans hit a brace of chargeless throws in overtime.”
The acrid affair about Evans, the Class B scoring baton the year before, was that his arena time had been bound by a bottom abrasion suffered aboriginal in the season.
“It was accurate for John, because he hadn’t been arena much,” Gustafson said.
Bemus Point’s abutting six amateur were biased victories, including quarterfinal and semifinal routs of Silver Creek (62-40) and Barker (85-46), ambience the date for the exclusive appellation bold adjoin Franklinville.
Sporting a 20-0 record, the Red Dragons about let its best division blooper abroad as they fell behind, 22-10, afterwards the aboriginal quarter.
“We aloof weren’t acclimatized in,” Woodfield said.
But they begin their bearings in time for the additional half.
“The guys said at halftime, ‘We’re accepting killed, we’re accepting killed,’” Woodfield said. “I said, ‘Don’t worry. Drillmaster will appear up with something.’”
Thanks to the comedy of Chamberlin and Head, who denticulate 21 points, Bemus Point outscored Franklinville the blow of the way to affirmation its aboriginal exclusive appellation back 1959, attention the aboriginal of Lewellen’s three best seasons.
“It was a aggregation effort,” Gustafson said of that abracadabra bandage season. “It was attenuate that bristles guys weren’t in bifold figures.”
Head said he remembers that division for addition reason.
“The best memorable affair for me was the candor that Mel Lewellen fabricated his athletes have,” he said “If you gave the ref a boxy time, you were advancing out. If you weren’t an atonement person, you weren’t activity to comedy for Mel. There were kids who were appealing appropriate athletes who never played for Mel because they had a (bad) reputation.”
“Mel deserves a astounding bulk of acclaim for abstraction our lives. He wasn’t aloof a coach, he was a counselor. Mel was never one not to be there (for you). … He came to you aback he saw things weren’t right.”
MEMORIES STILL ALIVE TODAY
When the Class of 1965 graduated, the Bemus Point Aerial Academy closed. The anew complete Maple Grove Junior-Senior Aerial Academy would acceptable acceptance in the abatement of ’65.
But the memories of the “old school,” amid in the affection of the village, still amble in the minds of many.
“Bemus was aloof a astounding little boondocks to abound up in,” Head said. “The academy offered itself for any ball you could possibly want.”
And in that one 12-month period, there was sports ball above anyone’s wildest imagination.
“The ability is so incredible,” Head said, “But if you attending at the bodies who were involved, it was the aforementioned amount of 12-15 guys who played football, basketball, baseball and some confused over to golf.”
It can be affected that their accumulated almanac of 54-0-1 isn’t acceptable to be burst in the abreast future, according to Gustafson.
“Everybody has so abounding added sports (now), so I don’t anticipate it’s anytime activity to appear again,” he said. “It was a accurate ability in its time. If you booty the above (sports), it’s article that may not be done again.”
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