The WHS Football team defeated North Reading and the dedication to Alumni Field was held

Back in 1957, the WHS Football team defeated North Reading and this game also featured the dedication to Alumni Field. Above is a page out of the game’s program book with the starting line-up and roster for the Wildcats.  (Courtesy photo)

The Wildcats had their ups and downs last Saturday as they beat a scrappy North Reading team 20-13.

Starting off as though they were going to smother another visiting club, the Wilmington eleven marched 65 yards for a quick TD on their first series of plays from scrimmage. Belting Billy Rooney personally accounted for 47 of the 65 yards, with his best carry being a 34-yard jaunt around right end to the North Reading 12 yard line. Warren McFeeters almost took care of the remaining distance on an end around dash to the one. Co-captain Johnny Amara belted over on the next play, and when McFeeters P.A.T kick split the uprights, it looked like a runaway for the Wildcats.

Looks are deceiving, however, as the battling North Reading squad proceeded to prove. Showing a versatile offense which featured a great little halfback, Charlie Carucci, the visitors came storming back to scare the daylights out of Wilmington's rooters. With Carucci leading the way, they started a march which took them from their own 30 to the Wilmington eight yard line. Here fortune smiled on the Wildcats as Carucci bobbled the ball on a drive through right tackle. Co-captain Harry Sawyer made a sensational one hand grab of the loose pig-skin to end that North Reading drive.

On the Wildcats first play from their own 8, Billy Rooney galloped 45 yards on and off-tackle slot. North Reading held for downs. The visitors could do nothing in three tries and then handed the 'Cats a golden opportunity. With three yards to go, on their own 32 yard line, North Reading elected to try for the first down. They were stopped cold by the right side of the Wildcat line, and Wilmington had possession deep in the North Reading territory. George Munroe pulled a rabbit out of his hat as he faded back and lobbed a beauty to Rooney on the three yard line. But even Rooney isn't perfect and a combination of a glaring sun and overanxiousness caused Billy to let the ball elude his grasp.

The half ended with the North Reading team knocking on the door once more. Gaining possession on the Wildcat 16, they marched down to the four yard line. Once again, the big paw of Sawyer saved the say as he knocked down a jump pass at the gun.

North Reading got back in the ball game early in the third period when they capped a 54-yard drive with a fourth down pass from Staff to Carucci. A fake kick for the extra point ended in a pass from Carucci to La Mont which made it all even at 7-7.

The touchdown was the visitors downfall, however since it shook the Wildcats out of their lethargy. Following an exchange of punts, Wilmington drove from their own 25 to the North Reading 12, with the pile driving Rooney contributing a 47-yard spurt to the march. Losing the ball on downs, they got a big break as North Reading fumbled on first down, with Brian Phillips making the all important recovery for Wilmington.

Rooney scored from six yards out on second down to make the score 13-7. Boots McFeeters kick was blocked and the visitors were still very much in the ballgame.

Fumbles once again hurt North Reading as they lost the ball on their own 47. The charged up Wildcats, with Amaro slicking off tackle for 25 of the 47 yards on three carries, put the game on ice when Rooney powered over from eight yards out. McFeeters' kick was good and the Wildcats had a two touchdown lead with minutes remaining.

North Reading came back to score a consolation touchdown against the Wilmington subs as Staff threw a pass to Carucci in the end zone. The point was blocked and at the end of a wild-and-wooly fourth quarter, the final score was Wilmington 20 and North Reading 13.

DEDICATION

Hundreds of spectators turned out on Veterans' Day to the dedication of the High School Athletic Field, where they heard the dedicatory program and watched Wilmington defeat North Reading 20-13.

Brevity was the key-word, as Mr. Bernard McMahon, principal of the High School, expressed the appreciation of the student body for the interest and support of the towns-people.

Except for the fact that Mercedes Strow, president of the Class of 1961, was unable to participate in the presentation of colors, as originally scheduled, the program proceeded according to plan. Mercedes playing in the band prevented his taking part in the colors ceremony.

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