Mon., Sept. 5, 2016
Rogers, Gonzaga Prep traded punches in 1944
In 1944 it was a two-team affair as Gonzaga High and Rogers were the clear favorites to battle for the football crown in the Spokane City League.
The City League’s four teams played each other twice. In their first match-up at Gonzaga University, Rogers gave the Bullpups their first loss of the season 13-0. The Pirate line dominated the game, giving running backs Bob Adams and Floyd Breedon huge holes for big gains. Rogers ended the contest with twice the net yardage of Gonzaga.
In the second meeting at Rogers, Gonzaga returned the favor, giving the Pirates their first loss, 18-13. The Bullpups dominated early, with Bill Burns scoring two touchdowns, and went into halftime leading 16-0. Rogers rallied in the second half closing to within 16-13. The game ended as it started, with a Gonzaga safety.
The league schedule closed with both teams sporting 5-1 records and declared co-champions. However, the season wasn’t over. Gonzaga defeated a touring team from Boy’s Town, Nebraska, 18-12, while Rogers traveled to Yakima and took a 25-13 victory over an undefeated Yakima High team.
As it turned out, Rogers and Gonzaga had been selected to end the football season in the annual Thanksgiving Day game at Gonzaga Stadium. It was also to be the unofficial tie breaker between the two schools, as they would remain co-champions regardless of the outcome.
Thanksgiving was a cold and dismal day, with a small crowd in attendance to witness the contest. Jim Presley scored first for Gonzaga, but was soon matched by a touchdown from Rogers' Wayne Allen. The only score of the second half came on a long drive by Rogers, ending in a touchdown by Clyde Lewis. That gave Rogers a 14-7 victory and bragging rights as Spokane’s top team for 1944.