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1955 LC Football

Lewis and Clark coach Bob Bartlett with players in 1955. (The Spokesman-Review Archives)
Lewis and Clark coach Bob Bartlett with players in 1955. (The Spokesman-Review Archives)

Coach Bob Bartlett was looking forward to the 1955 Spokane City League football season with hopes of improvement for his Lewis and Clark Tigers. The previous year the team was winless in league play and finished 1-8 overall. The roster had fifteen returning lettermen, including Willie Jones, Bob Gifford, Larry Shopbell and Gail Cogdill.

The first game of the season indicated they would be competitive as they narrowly lost to league favorite Rogers, 21-19. After squeaking out an 8-7 victory on the road against Yakima, the Tigers won their first league game in two years against North Central.

The team continued to improve, and by the second meeting with Rogers the offense was running on all cylinders. LC gave Rogers its first loss of the year by an overwhelming 39-7 score. Jones ran for 180 yards in the win.

The following week the Tigers faced the state's No. 1-ranked team, Walla Walla. In a defensive battle the Tigers came away victorious, 12-0.

Lewis and Clark ran the table the rest of the way, ending the season with a 20-2 win over rival North Central. In 1955, the city teams were also members of the Columbia Basin Conference, which gave Lewis and Clark two league championships to celebrate.

Postseason, the 7-1 Tigers were invited to a special air show at Geiger Field where they saw the pilots do a flyover with the planes in an “LC” formation. They also won the mythical state championship by being awarded the top spot in the final Associated Press state high school football poll.

Coach Bartlett and his team had a lot to be proud of in going from worst to first. They had gone from the bottom of the league to the top spot in Washington state football in just one year.

 




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Bill Pierce
Bill Pierce is a sports blogger who writes the weekly nwprepsnow prep sports almanac.





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