Compiled by Tom Dameron

End of AHS 1936 Football Season


Final Weeks of Season Will Determine Greenbrier Valley Champs
 1936 Inaugural Season for McLaughlin

 Tom Dameron
November 15, 2008

            The Indians of Alderson enter the home stretch of the 1936 Season with three games to go.  On November 7th the Tribe meets non-conference state powerhouse Hinton led by coach Johnny Worth.  Hinton is reportedly one of the strongest teams in the entire state.  Although the outcome of this game will not affect  the Valley Conference Standings for the Indians a win would cap an outstanding freshman season for Alderson mentor "Abe" McLaughlin.  The Bobcats are always a thorn in the side of a smaller and usually undersized Alderson Eleven.  On November 14th Alderson will meet a strong Talcott team under the tutoring of long time coach Roy Pollock.    

            Going into the final weeks of this season the prognosticators are picking a two-way tie for the valley Championship between Alderson and The Rainelle Rangers providing the Rangers can defeat the Bulldogs of Ronceverte, and Alderson does not fall victim to their long time rival at home on Thanksgiving Day.  Rainelle beat the Indians in the first game of the season 6 - 0 and head into a game with the Bulldogs undefeated in conference play.  The Bulldogs are also undefeated in league play which could make the Ronceverte - Alderson battle a Championship match.  The fans in Alderson are excited about McLaughlin led team that has won more games in his first year at the helm   than in the previous three years combined.


Indians Mowed Down By Powerful Bobcat Combine

          The inaugural Cinderella season for McLaughlin took another hit Friday, November 7th. in a sound defeat to Hinton by a margin of 27 - 0.  As reported in the November 13th. edition of The Alderson Advertiser, Dodie Vaughan  reported on the game: 

            "Alderson's Indians went out of the Conference Saturday and were defeated by one of the strongest schoolboy elevens this state has to offer."   

            "The Indians' razzle dazzle attack that had clicked in five successive games was forced to bend the knee before the powerful charges of Johnny Worth, who has under his wing next to the strongest high school team in West Virginia.  Pugh's sensational runs, Hedrick's terrific line smashes and Copeland's off-tackle thrusts were stopped cold by the conquerors of Benwood and other strong teams.  However, Pete the Alderson flash, broke loose once and was headed for a certain touchdown but slipped and fell.  The punting of Melvin Honaker, as was predicted, proved to be the real feature of the game from an Alderson standpoint.  However, the line play of McClung, B. Jones, Fawcett and A. Jones gave the Alderson side something to cheer about on several occasions.  This quartet in the forward wall showed what they could do under fire, and against the best team they will ever be called upon to face."   

            "Alderson took it on the nose the same as Benwood, East Bank, Oak Hill, Bluefield and other strong elevens have done and even in defeat the Indians will be a smarter, a much wiser and harder team than ever to down in the two remaining games.  McLaughlin never pointed for this game.  However, the outcome has roused the local mentor's ire to a certain extent and Talcott and Ronceverte will feel the real power of this 1926 Indian combine." 

            The headline in the "Advertiser" on November 20th pointed to the Talcott game on the 21st as the big match up prior to Alderson's meeting in the "Valley Classic" with Ronceverte.  According to the writer, Vaughn, "Pollock, who has done a nifty job of coaching at the little Summers county school. would rather win from Alderson than any team on his schedule."   The fans in Alderson are reminded of last year's game with Talcott where the Pirates beat the Indians 27 - 0.  Many believe that the result of that game was largely responsible for a change in the coaching job at Alderson with McLaughlin coming to town. " Talcott has broken even so far this year winning two and losing two, and a win over Alderson's title bound Indians would make Roy tops among the Talcott fans."   This was not to be although the game was much closer than anyone in Alderson imagined.  The outcome, after a tough hard fought game, saw the Indians prevail 7 -6. 

            The win for Alderson came at a very high price.  The Beckley Post Herald reported in its November 23rd. edition:  "It was a bitterly waged battle from start to finish and was one of the roughest ever played on Alderson's field.  The Indians held a slight edge throughout, gaining 11 first downs to eight for the losers.  The one point victory was a costly one to Alderson as Pugh, stellar quarterback, was removed from the game with a broken arm that will keep him out of the important Turkey Day battle here with Ronceverte.  The injury to Pugh, coming early in the first quarter, handicapped the locals the rest of the game, as the offense has been built around this lad.  Bill Jones, star tackle, also suffered a broken collar bone, which will keep him out of Thursday's game."   

            "Alderson scored in the first quarter on a series of line plays and end runs, while Talcott came back strong in the third period to score on a series of line plays and line passes.  The visitors missed the try for extra point while Alderson's fullback, Honaker, made it seven for the locals by splitting the Pirates' wide open for the margin of victory." 

            The Herald continues: "The loss of Pugh and Jones will be felt here Thursday in the season's final, but Alderson fans are looking to Ave McLaughlin to bring the 1936 conference banner here this season."

"Valley Classic" Will Thrill Football Fans Here Next Week" Alderson Advertiser, November 20, 1936

             The "Valley Classic" as the game between Alderson and Ronceverte has been named did not disappoint the fans.  A portion of Dodie Vaughan's article prior to the game says it all:   

            "The traditional time honored battle between Alderson High and Ronceverte High down through the years is a vigorous spirit of rivalry that has burned at white heat between these two schools.  A hundred or more of Alderson men and women recall the bright days of their youth when they arose in the grandstand to shout themselves hoarse in a frenzy of effort to stir their favorites onward and onward to the goal.  Many of them will be at the Thanksgiving tilt mingling with the youngsters while the years slip away and the sweating, struggling figures are the same as in the years gone by. This year the crowd will be as big as ever and the outcome will mean more to Alderson than it has meant in a number of years.  So let's all turn out and help Alderson even up the score with this time honored rival."   

            This final game of the season had the distinction of being for the Greenbrier Valley Championship.  As reported earlier Alderson lost to Rainelle in the first game of the season.  Ronceverte was undefeated in league play late in the season, and could have ended up with the championship outright.  Rainelle suffered one loss prior to meeting Ronceverte, and could have won the Championship by defeating Ronceverte.  As fate would have it Ronceverte lost to White Sulphur by a score of 13 - 7 (Alderson defeated White Sulphur 32 -7), and then Ronceverte defeated the Rangers of Rainelle in an away game 15 - 12.  Ronceverte and Alderson were tied in the standings going into this big match up on Thanksgiving Day. 

            In his article building up the drama toward the game Vaughn noted that comparison of scores during the season against common rivals favored the Indians, but he opined some wisdom that anyone who has ever followed Alderson football is sure to know when he said the following:  

            "However, comparison of scores means nothing when these tow old rivals meet as in the past the favored team has not always been victorious.  Good games usually result and Alderson fans feel like this is an Alderson year.  'Abe' McLaughlin has built a powerful ball club here this year a team that has both speed and power built around a young halfback by the name of Pete Pugh, who has been the Red Grange of the valley this season."  (When Dodie wrote this article it was prior to the Talcott game where Pete broke his arm and was not available for the Ronceverte game along with standout Andy Jones hobbled with a broken collar bone).

"Alderson and Ronceverte have been playing annually since 1923.  Alderson won five games, Ronceverte won six and they tied two in '25 and '26." 

Alderson Indians Greenbrier Valley Grid Champions
Alderson Advertiser, November 27, 1936

              "Before a crowd of 1,900 spectators yesterday the Alderson Indians defeated the Bull Dogs of Greenbrier high school of Ronceverte by a decisive score of 19 to 0 to win the championship of the Greenbrier Valley conference for 1936.  The annual game between these ancient rivals was played on the local field. " 

            "The scores for Alderson came in the first, third and fourth periods of play as the result of straight football.  Throughout the game the Indians out-fought and out-played the visitors in every department of the game.  In first downs Alderson topped the Ronceverte team about thirteen to one, and gained much more yardage." 

            "At only one time did the locals make good the extra point following a touchdown-after the second marker had been won by a full-back plunge.  The entire Alderson team played excellent ball, although handicapped by the loss of Pugh and Jones who were injured in the Talcott game Saturday.  Among the outstanding gridders for the local combine were Copeland and Hedrick in the backfield and Fawcett and McClung on the line.  The punting of Honaker was the best seen on the Alderson field within the past five years." 

            "Although the whole Alderson outfit did themselves proud in yesterday's game, and throughout the entire season, yet most credit should go to Coach "Abe" McLaughlin who taught the local gridders how to handle the pigskin.  It has transformed the Alderson team from a combine of losers last year into the champions of the Greenbrier Valley Conference.  McLaughlin, by his work here this season has propelled himself to be the outstanding coach in the Greenbrier valley.  The fact that McLaughlin had to practically reorganize his team after the injuries received from Talcott in order to win yesterday's battle speaks of his merit."  

            If the game did not provide enough excitement the half-time festivities were outstanding.  "Yesterday's game was featured as an annual home-coming occasion for Alderson high school.  Outstanding among the features was the crowning of two lovely girls, Miss Frances Neely, Princess Aldersonah, of Alderson high school, and Miss Kathleen McDowell, Miss Greenbrier, of the Ronceverte School, at the football field.  These two girls were elected to their positions by the respective student bodies." 

            "J. Frank Nash, member of the board of education of Greenbrier County, crowned the princess and Miss Greenbrier.  Parents of the football players of the high school were admitted without cost to the football game and occupied reserved seats.  The parade started at 1:30 o'clock and was led by Hunter Ellis, the Princess and Miss Greenbrier.  The kick-off was at 3:30 on the local field." 

            As footnote to this outstanding first season for "Abe" the Alderson candidates for the all-valley eleven were Pete Pugh, Raymond McClung, Billy Jones, and Willie Fawcett, while the play of Bob Copeland and Mark Hedrick received outstanding marks throughout the season.



The 1936 Season In Review







  16 Alderson 0 Rainelle 6
  26 Alderson 14 Ansted 6
October 3 Alderson 26 Greenbank  6



  17 Alderson 25 Hillsboro  0
  26 Alderson 41 Lewisburg  0
  31 Alderson 32 White Sulphur  7
November 7 Alderson 0 Hinton 27
  14 Alderson 7 Talcott 6
  26 Alderson 19 Ronceverte 0

Record 7 - 2   Points for 164    Points Against  58       Greenbrier Valley Champions