One for the books

Famous photograph by Hugh Morton made after the 1957 UNC versus Duke football game, as printed in November 25th issue of The Charlotte News.

Famous photograph by Hugh Morton made after the 1957 UNC versus Duke football game, as printed in November 25th issue of The Charlotte News.

The University of North Carolina will meet Duke University on the gridiron for the 103rd time tonight November 10, 2016. The game will be played in Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium and will be featured on ESPN at 7:30 p.m.  Of the 102 previous meetings, Carolina claims 61 wins in the series that dates back to 1888. (Two of those wins, however, have been vacated by a NCAA penalty ruling).  With the rivalry about to play out one more time, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back 59 seasons to one of those UNC victories that Tar Heels like to recall as “one for the books.”

The only way the Tar Heels of 1957 can go is up.

A preseason comment by UNC Head Football Coach Jim Tatum

When the college football preseason magazines hit the newsstands in late summer of 1957, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Duke would be at the top of the ACC standing when bowl season rolled around in early 1958.  Durham Morning Herald Sports Editor Jack Horner (Hugh Morton liked to call him “Little” Jack Horner), writing for the Street and Smith’s Football 1957 Yearbook, said, “The Blue Devils have the potential to finish atop the loop and rank among the nation’s elite.”  Carolina, having finished the 1956 season with 2 wins, 7 losses, and 1 tie, was predicted to finish a distant fourth at best.

Carolina kicked off the season with a 7-0 home loss to North Carolina State, but got things together and won the next three games, one of which was a 13-7 win against sixth-ranked Navy in Chapel Hill on October 5th—a game many Tar Heels call one of Carolina’s greatest. Duke stormed into the season with five straight wins and by week number six they were ranked fourth nationally behind Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Iowa.

Carolina won two of its next four games, while Duke’s season started to slip a bit.  By the time the two teams reached their big rivalry game on November 23rd, the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils didn’t seem very far apart. Carolina had a 5-3 record; Duke was 6-1-2, and their ranking dropped to eleventh.  Duke was still favored to win the game.  In fact, Carolina hadn’t beaten Duke in eight years since its historic 21-20 victory in 1949.

Early on Thursday, November 21st, the Duke Stadium (it’s now named Wallace Wade Stadium) crew put down twelve large squares of plastic to cover and protect the field from the predicted wet weather.  The lead-ups to the Carolina-Duke football games have always been exciting and the ’57 game was no different despite that cold, rainy weather.  On Friday, November 22nd, Tar Heel students staged the “Beat Dook Parade,” while over in Durham students and alumni enjoyed a huge, twenty-foot bonfire and pep rally.

Game day dawned wet and cold as predicted, but by midday the rain had stopped to the delight of the 40,000 fans in attendance; the 40-degree temperatures, however, remained. For the second time in three years, the game was on TV.  The 1955 game received national attention, but the ’57 affair coverage came from Castleman D. Chesley’s newly-formed regional ACC Network.  Just before kickoff, the Duke cheerleaders rolled the Victory Bell across the field and delivered a basket of oranges to the Carolina cheering squad—just a reminder of Duke’s “next?” game: the Orange Bowl in warm Miami.

November 23, 1957 was also a special day for another reason: Tar Heel football legend Charlie Justice and his wife Sarah Alice were celebrating their 14th anniversary.  Coach Tatum had invited Justice to join the team on the sideline that afternoon, and when photographer Hugh Morton spotted his friend on the field, he of course took a picture. The Morton image would become a featured picture in the 1958 biography Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story by Bob Quincy and Julian Scheer, and can be found on page 121.

Two Carolina player buses arrived about 1 p.m., and the first person off the second bus was Coach Tatum wearing his big Texas-style hat.  At 2:05 PM it was time for the 44th meeting between the two old rivals.  Duke won referee John Donohue’s coin toss and elected to receive. Fifteen plays later, Duke’s Wray Carlton scored putting the Blue Devils ahead 6 to 0 after 7 minutes of play.  Five minutes later Carlton scored again.  This time he made the extra point and Duke went up 13-0. Then with 3:40 left in the first half, Carolina’s Giles Gaca scored making the halftime score 13-7, Duke.

On its second possession of the second half, Carolina took the lead when Buddy Payne caught quarterback Jack Cummings’ 19-yard pass for a touchdown. Phil Blazer’s PAT made the score 14-13 with 10:10 remaining in the third quarter. (It was the first time Carolina had led Duke since the second quarter of the 1951 game). Smelling victory, Carolina went back to work and six minutes later, Cummings sneaked over to give Carolina an 8-point lead at 21-13. The fourth quarter was scoreless.

The Charlotte News Sideliner column included two Morton spot-game photographs.

The Charlotte News Sideliner column included two Morton spot-game photographs.

Following the final gun, jubilant Tar Heels tore down the goal posts in celebration as Coach Tatum got a ride on the shoulders of his players and fans. Charlie Justice was one of the first to grab Tatum’s hand and Morton photographic contemporary Harold Moore’s Herald-Sun picture of the hand-shake made the front cover of the 1958 UNC Football Media Guide.

Following the traditional coaches handshake, Coach Tatum sought out some of his players for more celebrations. Then, a Tar Heel player who had been forced to watch the game from the sideline reached out to Tatum. First string quarterback Dave Reed, who had been suspended from the team earlier in the season for breaking team rules, embraced the coach in an extremely emotional moment. “I would have given a million dollars to help win this game,” cried Reed.  Said Tatum, “Son, you know it hurt me more than it did you.” Morton’s photograph of the scene is priceless.

In his news conference following the game, Coach Murray said “We were in a commanding position with a two-touchdown lead and we let them get away.”  In the Carolina dressing room, Coach Tatum simply said, “It is certainly my greatest thrill in football. It’s the happiest day I’ve ever known. How about the way those boys came back? Thirteen points down, golly!”  That’s saying a lot about this particular game. Tatum won a national championship at Maryland in 1953.

Overtime by Stephen Fletcher

1957 Press PassKnowing that Hugh Morton had sideline access during the game, I searched through the North Carolina newspapers that typically used Morton’s football photographs, but I never found a published game-action photograph.  Most newspapers published photographs made by their staff photographers.  Of the half-dozen or so newspapers I examined, only The Charlotte News published Morton’s photographs.  There may be game-action photographs from that day hidden in the hundreds of unidentified football negatives in the collection, but thus far none have been located.  Currently there are ten positively identified Morton negatives made either on the sidelines or in the stands during the game, or during the postgame celebration.

The “Heels” and the “Dawgs:” a storied rivalry

UNC will kick off the 2016 football season in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome on September 3rd at 5:30 PM (Eastern) on ESPN.  It’s the “Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game” between Carolina’s Tar Heels and Georgia’s Bulldogs. The game will mark the thirty-first meeting between the two old rivals in a series that dates back to 1895. Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at this historic series.

Cover of the official program for the 1956 UNC Homecoming football game against the University of Georgia. Handlebar mustaches would have been more popular in the late 1890s, so perhaps the cover design was a throwback to the early days of the UNC–Georgia series. The 1956 contest marked the silver anniversary between the football squads of what the cover story declared to be the "two oldest state institutions" in the South. Those in the know know which school was the first to open its door and admit students!

Cover of the official program for the 1956 UNC Homecoming football game against the University of Georgia. Handlebar mustaches would have been more popular in the late 1890s, so perhaps the cover design was a throwback to the early days of the UNC–Georgia series. The 1956 contest marked the silver anniversary between the football squads of what the cover story declared to be the “two oldest state institutions” in the South. Those in the know know which school was the first to open its door and admit students!

When Carolina and Georgia square off in the “Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game” on September 3rd, it will mark the 7th time the two teams have played in Atlanta.  Of the first three games in the series played there, Carolina won two games in 1895 and Georgia won the third game, 24 to 16, on October 31, 1896.  In 1898 the two teams played in Macon, Georgia before returning to Atlanta in 1899.  In 1900 these foes met in Raleigh, where Carolina won in a rout 55 to 0. Then in 1901 it was back to Atlanta where Carolina shut out the Dogs for a second straight year, this time 27 to 0.

Twelve seasons passed before the two teams met again. The 1913 game was a 19 to 6 Georgia victory at Sanford Field in Athens, Georgia. The sixth and most recent game (until 2016) in Atlanta was played on October 17, 1914—a game the Tar Heels won 41 to 6. There were no games between the two between the years 1915 and 1928.

The teams renewed their series on October 19, 1929 when Georgia visited Chapel Hill for the first time.  The game played in Kenan Memorial Stadium turned out to be a tough 19-to-12 loss for the Heels.  During the next five seasons, the two teams rotated home and away with Georgia winning in 1930, 1931, and 1933, while Carolina could win only in 1934. The game in 1932 ended in a 6–6 tie.

Once again, twelve seasons played out before the two teams met next, and this was a big one: the 1947 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.  Photographer Hugh Morton planned to attend, but had a last-minute-in-flight change of plans.  “I missed the 1947 Sugar Bowl against Georgia,” Morton explained in a 1992 game-day program, because bad flying weather diverted some other Tar Heel rooters and me to St. Petersburg instead of New Orleans.”

Most long-time Tar Heels know the 1947 Sugar Bowl story: Carolina’s first bowl game . . . battle of the “Charlies,” Justice and Trippi . . . controversial call . . . a Georgia victory, 20 to 10.  (You can read a longer version of the story via the link.)

On opening day, September 27, 1947, Georgia head coach Wally Butts brought his Bulldogs into Chapel Hill before 43,000 fans for the “rematch” of the Sugar Bowl.  I don’t believe the national attention this game brought to Chapel Hill as ever been equaled. Fifty-five reporters filled the press box; photographers, including Hugh Morton, lined the sidelines.  Present were all five movie newsreel services (MGM, Warner Bros–Pathe, Fox Movietone, Universal, and Paramount) and five radio networks (ABC, CBS, Atlantic, Tobacco Sports, and the Georgia Sports Network). The networks transmitted the play-by-play via 600 stations. Nationally known sportscasters Harry Wismer from ABC and Red Barber from CBS were on hand. Two Walt Pupa touchdown passes, one to Bob Cox and one to Art Weiner, sealed the 14 to 7 Carolina victory.  Hugh Morton’s picture of Weiner from the ’47 Georgia game is a classic and has been reproduced many times over the years. It was Georgia’s first loss in eighteen games over three seasons.

Art Weiner catching pass versus Georgia.

UNC left end Art Weiner catches pass during game against Georgia at Kenan Stadium, September 27, 1947. UNC tailback Charlie Justice (left) looks on from a distance while Georgia’s Dan Edwards (#55) watches from a few yards away.

When Carolina returned to Athens for the 1948 game, Charlie Justice had his best day ever, gaining 304 total yards in a 21 to 14 Tar Heel win.

It was another Art Weiner day in Chapel Hill on October 1, 1949, as the All America end caught two touchdown passes to lead Carolina to a third straight seven-point victory over Georgia—again 21 to 14 to the delight of 44,000 fans in Kenan.  In a 1992 interview, Art Weiner described his 33-yard 4th quarter touchdown as one of his proudest moments during his time in Chapel Hill.

On October 7, 1950, it was back to Athens for the 20th meeting between Carolina and Georgia. I have some special memories from this game as I sat at home in Asheboro, North Carolina listening to the play-by-play on the Tobacco Sports Network. Normally the play-by-play announcer would be Ray Reeve, but on this day he was not able to be behind the microphone and my future dear friend and sports anchor at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, Charlie Harville did the broadcast. In the end it was a 0 to 0 tie…the second time for a tie game in the long history of the series.

Festivities for the 1951 Carolina – Georgia game got off to an unusual start. On Friday night, September 28th, a torchlight parade through downtown Chapel Hill and across campus was followed by a pep rally in Memorial Hall that featured both head coaches, Carl Snavely from Carolina and Wally Butts from Georgia. The 1951 Tar Heel football team, led by Captain Joe Dudeck, made a dramatic entrance down the center aisle and onto the stage. In addition to the speeches from the head coaches, Kay Kyser, UNC’s All-Time Cheerleader, led the packed-house in a rousing cheer.

But on Saturday, in Kenan Stadium, it was all Bulldogs, 28 to 16.

The 1952 meeting between Carolina and Georgia was scheduled for October 4th, but two days before, UNC was forced to cancel the game because of a polio outbreak on campus. Georgia Head Coach Wally Butts said, “We are very disappointed that our traditional game with North Carolina can’t be played. We feel they were right to cancel the game under the circumstances.”

Starting with the 1953 game in Athens, the Dogs went on a 4 game winning streak ending with a 26 to 12 win to spoil homecoming in Chapel Hill on October 13, 1956 in front of only 19,000 fans. That ’56 game was the silver anniversary game in the series.

Hugh Morton's action photograph of the 1956 UNC versus Georgia game, as published in the October 15, 1956 issue of The Charlotte News. The caption identifies the ball carrier as George Whitton, but the game day program does not include his name and lists #32 as Ed Burkhalter.

Hugh Morton’s action photograph of the 1956 UNC versus Georgia game, as published in the October 15, 1956 issue of The Charlotte News. The caption identifies the ball carrier as George Whitton, but the game day program does not include his name and lists #32 as Ed Burkhalter.

Hugh Morton's negative of the above scene, without cropping.

Hugh Morton’s negative of the above scene, without cropping.

The teams would not meet again until the 1963 season. Going into that season’s game in Chapel Hill on November 2nd, the series stood at twelve wins for Georgia, eleven wins for Carolina, and two ties.  After Carolina’s 28 to 7 win the series was tied at twelve.  As it turned out, that UNC victory would be its last win over Georgia.  The Tar Heels subsequently lost in 1964, ’65, and ’66 as well as the last time these two teams met in the 1971 Gator Bowl—a game that was billed as the “Battle of the Brothers” between Vince Dooley of Georgia and Bill Dooley of Carolina.

That 1971 New Year’s Eve battle in Jacksonville, Florida was UNC’s sixth bowl game appearance going back to the 1947 Sugar Bowl game against Georgia.  After a scoreless first half, Carolina took a 3 to 0 lead in the 3rd quarter on a 35-yard field goal by Ken Craven, but Georgia came back later in the third with a 25-yard Jimmy Poulos TD run. Following the point-after, that was all the scoring that day. Georgia won the defensive battle 7 to 3.  (Hugh Morton was otherwise preoccupied and did not travel to photograph the bowl game.)  Carolina has not played Georgia since that day.  Tomorrow’s 2016 season opener will renew the storied rivalry.

Picture Day 1946: When Hugh met Charlie

The summer hiatus here at A View to Hugh is winding down as students begin appearing on campus this weekend.  Hot August days have returned to Chapel Hill and football practice is underway for the 2016 season.  Expectations are high for the Tar Heels just as it was seventy seasons ago.  Today, on this anniversary of the birth of a very special friendship, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back to August 17, 1946.

Charlie Justice standing with Hugh Morton. Justice is wearing the #22 jersey recovered in November 1948 by UNC President C. D. Spangler during a UNC-Virginia football game. This photograph dates from the late 1990s to early 2000s.

Charlie Justice standing with Hugh Morton. Justice is wearing the #22 jersey recovered in November 1948 by UNC President C. D. Spangler during a UNC-Virginia football game. This photograph dates from the late 1990s to early 2000s.

It was early August, 1946, and it was hot. The annual preseason football magazines had just hit the stands and judging from those traditional predictors, Carolina was going to be something special. Sportswriter Jack Troy wrote in the 1946 issue of Street & Smith Football Pictorial Yearbook:

. . . the Tar Heels are about ready to step back into the picture as a national football power.  During the winter the Tar Heels snatched Charlie Justice from under the noses of South Carolina coaches, and Justice is supposed to be one of the best ball carriers in the business.

On August 17, 1946, Head Coach Carl Snavely greeted 104 Tar Heel candidates along with Kay Kyser, headline radio star and considered Carolina’s greatest all-time cheerleader. Also present was University President Dr. Frank Porter Graham. Of the 104, only 18 were returning lettermen, but Snavely said he expected about 10 additional lettermen by August 26th. By the time editor Jake Wade got the ’46 Football Media Guide published, the lettermen count was 31.

One of the most welcomed lettermen returning was Hosea Rodgers, a 200-pound fullback who led Carolina to a 9 to 6 victory over Pennsylvania back in 1943. Many of the freshmen were returning World War II veterans in their 20s—like freshman Charlie Justice, sometimes called the “Bainbridge Flash.” Justice was the one player who was going to make a good Carolina team great.

With the stage set, practice got underway.  Although classes had not officially begun, there were many students already on campus.  It wasn’t unusual for two or three hundred students to show up for Carolina’s practices.  One of the early official team functions was called picture day, when the players dress out in their game day uniforms and talk with the media and pose for photographs. Of course one of those photographers present was Hugh Morton.  Here’s how Justice described the scene that day for biographer Bob Terrell in a 1995 interview:

The first time I saw Hugh Morton was in August of 1946. The weather was hot and we were practicing twice a day. Sunday was an off day and Snavely and his staff decided that was the day they’d have the press come in and take pictures, get interviews, and so forth. . . We started at two o’clock, and it seemed that everybody in the country was there to shoot pictures. I noticed Hugh Morton on the sidelines, paying no attention to me at all, taking pictures of everybody else.

After about two and a half hours, Snavely said “that’s it guys,” and told the players they could go inside out of the heat.  As the Tar Heels were leaving the field, UNC Publicity Director Robert Madry’s Assistant Jake Wade came over to Justice and said: “Charlie, I’d like for you to meet Hugh Morton. He’s a great friend of the University. He’d like to take a few more shots.”  According to Justice, “We stayed there another two hours, hot as it was, and everything had to be just perfect.”

Finally Morton finished up and as the August sun was setting behind the west end zone, Charlie began the long walk to the Kenan Field House dressing room at the other end of Kenan Stadium. “I didn’t say anything at the time,” Justice said, ”but when I got in the dressing room, everybody had already left. I said, ‘I hope I never see him again.'”

Charlie Justice photograph of Charlie Justice in a posed portrait while punting, circa 1946-1947.

Charlie Justice photograph of Charlie Justice in a posed portrait while punting, circa 1946-1947.

But Charlie did see Hugh again . . . often . . . at practice and on the Kenan sideline almost every Saturday afternoon. They would often carry on extended conversations, and in the end they became friends, a friendship that lasted 57 years. Justice often participated with Hugh at the Azalea Festival in Wilmington and at the Highland Games and other events at Grandfather Mountain. When Hugh Morton announced his candidacy for governor on December 1, 1971 Charlie Justice was with him in front of the Capitol in Raleigh.

“He supported me wholeheartedly,” said Justice, “not just at Carolina, either. When I got to the Redskins, I turned around on the field and there was Hugh shooting pictures. Because of him, I suppose my football career was preserved on film as well as anybody’s ever was. . . . When I went into the [College Football] Hall of Fame, he got Governor Luther Hodges’s plane and flew Sarah, me, and his wife Julia to New York—when we got there we discovered that the girls couldn’t got to the banquet. So Sarah and Julia went over to Broadway and saw My Fair Lady that night. Then we flew back to Raleigh.”

Justice treasured men like Hugh Morton as his friends, and the honor was returned. “We didn’t have ESPN or the Internet back then,” Justice said. “But we didn’t need ’em. We had Hugh Morton. What a great friend he was to our team and to Carolina.”

Hugh Morton photograph of UNC fullback Hosea Rodgers (#70) and left end Bob Cox (#49), late 1940s.

Hugh Morton photograph of UNC fullback Hosea Rodgers (#70) and left end Bob Cox (#49), late 1940s.

“I can close my eyes and still see him with that camera around his neck,” said Bob Cox, an end and place-kicker from the 1946 Tar Heels, “Hugh was always around the team, around the program. He gave meaning to what we were doing. If anyone ever stood for the Carolina tradition, it was Hugh Morton. He helped build the pride and spirit and love for Carolina as much as anyone on the team.”

On a day in late May of 2001, Hugh Morton, along with several Tar Heel friends visited Charlie and Sarah Justice at their home in Cherryville. Of course Hugh was taking pictures, but at one point he stopped and said, “Charlie Justice inspired more loyalty at a key time following the war that was reflected in a huge amount of support for every facet of the University, not just athletics. It would be impossible to put a value on his contributions to the University—it would be in the real big millions.”

On Monday, October 20, 2003, my wife Marla and I, along with 200 plus others, attended the memorial service for Charlie Justice at The Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville. We were seated on the right side of the church where we could see many of the special guests from the Tar Heel Nation seated in the center. Among that group was Hugh Morton. He, like all of us, was obviously emotionally shaken. I think it was the first and possibly the only time I ever saw him at a Charlie Justice event without his camera.

Charlie’s angel

Charlie Justice, Sarah Justice, Mrs. Chan Highsmith, and Chan Highsmith during a 1949 Sugar Bowl party in New Orleans.

Charlie Justice, Sarah Justice, Mrs. Chan Highsmith, and Chan Highsmith during a 1949 Sugar Bowl party in New Orleans.

On this day twelve years ago, the state of North Carolina lost a treasure—and Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard and his wife Marla lost a dear friend.  Sarah Alice Hunter Justice passed away in Shelby, North Carolina at age 79.  Today, Jack Hilliard takes a look at the life and times of a very special lady.

She was an angel here on earth, the epitome of a lady, always a gleam in her eye, and she never raised her voice.          —Jane Browne, Justice family friend, 2/18/04

It was early in the spring term, 1942, at Lee H. Edwards High in Asheville.  Football star Charlie Justice knew he was going to be late for class, so he applied some of his football skills and began to run down the hall.  In the process he ran over Sarah Alice Hunter.  She laughed and didn’t make anything of it.  Charlie was impressed, and later asked her out.  A notation in the campus newspaper’s “Rumors Afloat” column on March 20th said, “Charlie looks like he’s finally settled down to one girl—Nice going Sarah.”

Following her graduation in May 1942, Sarah headed to Appalachian State in Boone, but decided to return home to Asheville at Christmas.  Charlie finished at Lee Edwards on May 28, 1943, and was off to the Navy at Bainbridge Naval Training Station in Bainbridge, Maryland.  He continued playing football, while Sarah took a job with the Naval Observatory in nearby Washington, D. C.

Ten days after Charlie led Bainbridge to a 46 to 0 win over the University of Maryland, he went on a well deserved leave.  At the same time, Sarah took a brief leave from her job. The two headed to Asheville, where they were married at Trinity Episcopal Church on November 23, 1943.

Following his military obligation, Charlie and Sarah moved back to North Carolina and enrolled at UNC on Valentine’s Day, 1946.  Since Charlie was eligible for the GI Bill, Sarah got his football scholarship, thus becoming the first female to attend Carolina on a football scholarship.  In Chapel Hill, Charlie’s football heroics became legendary and on football Saturdays Sarah was always in the stands, cheering him on wearing her special good luck hat.  On August 23, 1948, the Justice family increased by one with the birth of son Charles Ronald. (They called him Ronnie.)

SMU All America football player Doak Walker, Doak's wife Norma, Sarah Justice, UNC All America football player Charlie Justice, Julia Morton, Hugh Morton, on the stoop of the Mortons' home in Wilmington. Walker and Justice were participants in the 1950 Azalea Festival.

SMU All America football player Doak Walker, Doak’s wife Norma, Sarah Justice, UNC All America football player Charlie Justice, Julia Morton, Hugh Morton, on the stoop of the Mortons’ home in Wilmington. Walker and Justice were participants in the 1950 Azalea Festival.

Following his playing days at Carolina, Charlie signed on with the Washington Redskins for four seasons.  In 1952, daughter Barbara joined the family and they returned to North Carolina in 1955, where they were often Hugh Morton’s guests at events in Wilmington and Grandfather Mountain.  They especially liked the Highland Games and Gathering of the Scottish Clans each July.

Over the years, Charlie and Sarah offered their name, their time, their talent, and their money to just about every cause in the Tar Heel state from Chapel Hill to Asheville to Greensboro . . . from Hendersonville to Flat Rock and Cherryville.  They were there when needed.  Sarah gave much of her time to the causes that improve the lives of the mentally challenged.  In Cherryville, she helped raise funds for Gaston Residential Services, which provides housing for the handicapped. The Special Olympics program was also close to her heart.  In 1989, when the Charlotte Treatment Center named a wing of its facility for Charlie, they also named a wing of the facility for Sarah.

Sarah and Charlie justice during their 50th wedding anniversary party.

Sarah and Charlie justice during their 50th wedding anniversary party.

On June 11, 1993, Charlie and Sarah lost their son Ronnie…the victim of a heart attack. He was 44 years old.  Following Carolina’s win over Duke 38 to 24 on November 26, 1993, a special celebration was held in the Carolina Inn on the UNC campus. While the win was celebrated, the real reason for the celebration was to offer sincere congratulations to Charlie and Sarah Justice on their 50th wedding anniversary, which was actually on November 23rd but game day three days later gave everybody a good reason for a celebration. The invitation for the event set the stage for the event:

A Golden Anniversary

Should be shared with family and friends.

Please join Billy, Barbara, Emilie

And Sarah Crews, Leah, David

And Beth Overman and in spirit

And loving memory Ronnie Justice,

In celebration of the fifty year

Marriage of Sarah and Charlie Justice.

 

There were family members, teammates, friends, and fans in attendance. Following a family toast by Barbara, Tar Heel Head Football Coach Mack Brown offered congratulations and spoke about the importance of Carolina’s football heritage. And throughout the ceremony, Hugh Morton was there with camera in hand documenting every phase of the event.

You didn’t need to be around Charlie Justice very long before it became very clear that his asking Sarah to marry him was the most important event in his life.  Although she was often thought of as Charlie’s wife, Sarah Justice didn’t fit the old saying, “Behind every great man stands a great woman . . . .” Charlie and Sarah stood side by side . . . they were a team.  They were connected. Their love story was the stuff of storybooks.  Sarah was always there . . . but chose to be just outside the spotlight.

In a 1995 interview with Justice Biographer Bob Terrell, Charlie talked about how the “Hand of Providence” placed him at the right place at the right time: “If I hadn’t knocked Sarah Hunter down while scuffling in the hall in high school, she might never have noticed me.  You bet that was providential!”

Soon after the Terrell biography was published in early 1996, Charlie began a seven-year battle with Alzheimer’s—a battle he would lose at 3:25 AM on Friday, October 17, 2003.  A memorial service celebrating his life was held at The Cathedral of All Souls in the Biltmore section of Asheville on Monday, October 20th.  Asheville Citizen-Times senior writer Keith Jarrett beautifully described the scene outside the church following the ceremony.

“It was one of several warm, touching scenes on a beautiful, cloud-free day with a sky the color of you know what.  Sarah sat in a wheelchair just outside the Cathedral as the UNC Clef Hangers, an all-male a cappella group, softly sang James Taylor’s ballad ‘Carolina in My Mind.’  Sarah tilted her head and was just inches away from the singers.  For a brief moment she closed her eyes, soaking in the words and perhaps recalling the memories of a marriage of love and devotion of 60 years.”

On November 4, 2003, I received a note from Barbara Crews: “Mother and I are at the beach.  Mom loves the ocean.  I think she has such peace now, she feels her job is done, and she did it well. . . . She is the best person I have ever known.”

There was a message on my answering machine when I arrived home from work on Monday, February 9, 2004.  It was from Billy Crews telling me that his mother-in-law had passed away earlier that day.  It had been 115 days since Charlie died. Marla and I had visited Sarah two days before on Saturday, February 7th at Hospice at Wendover in Shelby.  Sarah Justice was 79-years-old.

In an article in The Charlotte Observer issue of Wednesday, February 18, 2004 titled “Caregiver more than Mrs. Choo Choo,” Gerry Hostetler talked with some of Sarah’s family.  Son-in-law Billy Crews said, “She was always full of grace, and for her whole life a caregiver. She enjoyed doing things for other people and being out of the limelight.”  Granddaughter and namesake Sarah Fowler added, “She was a very giving person who always put others’ needs in front of her own. She was the backbone of this family and kept us going.”

Finally, Barbara ended the interviews with this: “She was just a saint, the kind of person you want to be around.”

A bowl of bitter sugar and an impromptu New Year’s Day truck ride in the Big Easy

The 2015 Tar Heels season ended disappointingly Tuesday evening at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida.  The game marked Carolina’s 32nd bowl appearance, but sadly for Tar Heel fans it became their 18th bowl loss.  Of the 31 previous bowl games, the Tar Heels won 14 and lost 17—and of those losses, the one on January 1, 1949 was “one that got away.”  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at the final three games of the 1948 regular season and the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

The University of North Carolina Marching Band performing on the field inside expansive Tulane Stadium during halftime of the 1949 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

The University of North Carolina Marching Band performing on the field inside expansive Tulane Stadium during halftime of the 1949 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

When UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely walked off the Kenan Stadium sideline on November 6, 1948, Carolina’s bowl-game-future wasn’t likely on his radar.  His third ranked, undefeated Tar Heels had just played William and Mary to a 7-7 tie. His team was looking at three tough games remaining: Maryland in Washington, D. C.; Duke in Chapel Hill; and Virginia in Charlottesville.

On Sunday, November 7th Snavely was back at his home on Tenney Circle in Chapel Hill screening film of head coach Jim Tatum’s Maryland Terrapins.  A record Washington football crowd of 34,588 turned out for the game at Griffith Stadium, with an estimated 6,000 Tar Heel fans in attendance.  Carolina was able to reverse the proceedings from the previous week’s 7-7 tie, and dominated Maryland 49 to 20.

An interesting oddity from that Maryland game was the game day program.  There were two different programs: one cover showed a standard Lon Keller designed football player, while a second one offered a Hugh Morton image of Charlie Justice and Coach Snavely.  The inside front cover page of that program also differed from the standard program.  It featured a Bill Harrison cartoon biography of Justice.

SugarBowlProgram1949_AltCov

Charlie Justice and Carl Snavely, negative by Hugh Morton.

Charlie Justice and Carl Snavely, negative by Hugh Morton.

SugarBowlProgram1949_AltIns

The weekend following the Tar Heel victory over Maryland saw another record-breaking crowd packed into historic Kenan Stadium for the 35th meeting between Duke and Carolina.  44,500 fans saw Charlie Justice’s 43-yard touchdown run break a 0-0 tie in the 3rd quarter as Carolina went on to claim the first Victory Bell win 20 to 0. Following the game, Coach Snavely said “I never saw a better run.” In a time long before the internet, Hugh Morton’s shot of Justice being carried off the field went viral and has been reproduced numerous times over the years.

Hugh Morton's photograph of Charlie Justice on the shoulder of teammates after the 1948 UNC–Duke game appeared on the cover of The State two weeks later.

Hugh Morton’s photograph of Charlie Justice on the shoulder of teammates after the 1948 UNC–Duke game appeared on the cover of The State two weeks later.

Next up . . . the ‘Heels and the ‘Hoos in Charlottesville.

The week before the UNC–UVA game on November 27th, bowl-talk filled the newspapers.  The Orange, Cotton, and Sugar Bowls all showed an interest in the Tar Heels.  On November 22nd the Carolina team voted to accept a bowl bid if they could beat Virginia in the final game of the ’48 regular season. The players liked the idea of playing SMU in the Cotton Bowl or Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, but a New Year’s Day game all hinged on a win in Charlottesville.

An overflow crowd of 26,000 jammed into Scott Stadium in Charlottesville on November 27, 1948 to see the UNC’s number four ranked Tar Heels take on the Cavaliers of Virginia.  Carolina scored on its first possession and added two additional touchdowns to lead at halftime 21 to 6.  That additional touchdown was spectacular.  Carolina had the ball at its own 20-yard line.  Justice took the snap, paused momentarily, then ran through a huge hole between left guard and left tackle supplied by Bob Mitten and Ted Hazelwood.  Justice then outran Virginia’s Billy Marshall to the end zone 80-yards away.

Colorful halftime entertainment was provided by the Lenoir NC High band.  The Tar Heels couldn’t score in quarter number three, but picked up two touchdowns in the final stanza.  The final Tar Heel TD was another Justice beauty: a 50-yard run down the sideline behind fantastic blocking to seal the 34 to 12 win and complete an undefeated season, the first one since 1898.

Following the game at the Albemarle Hotel, which was UNC headquarters while in Charlottesville, head coach Carl Snavely announced that his Tar Heels would meet the Sooners of Oklahoma on January 1, 1949 in the 15th annual Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Said the coach, “We got what we wanted . . . .”

An interesting sidebar to the ’48 Carolina–Virginia game involved a future president of the UNC system.  C. D. Spangler, Jr. became president of the consolidated university system in 1986.  Following Dr. William Friday, Spangler continued in that position until 1997; on November 27, 1948, however, he was an 11th grade student at Woodberry Forest, and was one of the 26,000 fans that jammed into UVA’s Scott Stadium to see Carolina play Virginia.  Leading the Tar Heels that Saturday afternoon was junior sensation Charlie Justice.  On one of Charlie’s plays, his number 22 jersey was torn.  Equipment manager “Sarge” Keller quickly got out a new one, tossing the torn one over behind the bench. Spangler quickly called a Carolina cheerleader over and made a deal to get the torn jersey.  He kept the prized souvenir for over fifty years. Then on November 20, 1999, during halftime of the Carolina–Duke game, Spangler presented the jersey to then UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour and it is now in the Charlie Justice Hall of Honor at the Kenan Football Center on the UNC campus.  And of course Hugh Morton photographed the jersey presentation ceremony.

Off to New Orleans

According to a January 2010 article in St. Charles Avenue Magazine on myneworleans.com, there is a tradition of opposing Sugar Bowl coaches mixing lots of sugar with coffee to make Café Brulot on New Year's Eve to cap off a party at Antoine's Restaurant "for Sugar Bowl notables and the press." You can read the short article at http://www.myneworleans.com/St-Charles-Avenue/January-2010/Coaches-and-Caf-eacute-Brulot/. On December 31st, 1948, it was Carl Snavely and Bud Wilkinson who got to make the concoction. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

According to a January 2010 article in St. Charles Avenue Magazine on myneworleans.com, there is a tradition of opposing Sugar Bowl coaches mixing lots of sugar with coffee to make Café Brulot on New Year’s Eve to cap off a party at Antoine’s Restaurant “for Sugar Bowl notables and the press.” You can read the short article at http://www.myneworleans.com/St-Charles-Avenue/January-2010/Coaches-and-Caf-eacute-Brulot/. On December 31st, 1948, it was Carl Snavely and Bud Wilkinson who got to make the concoction. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

The majority of the ’48 Tar Heel football squad arrived by plane at its Sugar Bowl training site in Hammond, Louisiana at 4:30 PM on December 19th…the additional 15 members of the traveling party arrived by train later that evening.  In the second group was Tar Heel end Art Weiner and his bride of three days. Southeastern Louisiana College played host the Heels. Training started on the 20th and continued through the 24th.  A quick trip to New Orleans for Christmas Day…then it was back to Hammond for more practice.

Many Tar Heel fans traveled to the Crescent City, too.  As an earlier post recounted, several, including Hugh Morton, managed to have some exotic fun in New Orleans.

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An early Saturday morning return to New Orleans on January 1st signaled the start of the big day as a record 85,000 fans jammed into Tulane Stadium, including photographer Hugh Morton who had working arrangements with several North Carolina newspapers including the Charlotte News, Greensboro Daily News, and High Point Enterprise.

Carl Snavely’s third-ranked UNC Tar Heels were primed and ready for Bud Wilkinson’s fifth ranked Oklahoma Sooners as was ABC’s national television audience. (The TV was not available back in North Carolina because the AT&T long lines had not been completed into the state and wouldn’t be until September 30, 1950, so the folks back home were tuned to Harry Wismer on the ABC Radio Network).  Prior to the kickoff, Coach Snavely and Justice, who had been a bit under the weather all week, posed for Morton’s camera along with ABC broadcaster Wismer.

UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely, UNC tailback Charlie Justice, and ABC Radio play-by-play announcer Harry Wismer prior to the start of the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely, UNC tailback Charlie Justice, and ABC Radio play-by-play announcer Harry Wismer prior to the start of the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

Then it was time for some football.

Charlie Justice running in the open field with two Sooners, including Paul Burris (#67), in pursuit. (Morton negative, cropped by the editor.)

Charlie Justice running in the open field with two Sooners, including Paul Burris (#67), in pursuit. (Morton negative, cropped by the editor.)

Carolina’s first-possession-drive started at its own 37, and with Justice leading the way moved swiftly down to the Oklahoma 15 on seven plays.  Then, Justice’s pass to Bob Kennedy in the flat was a bit late, and Oklahoma’s Myrle Greathouse intercepted and was off to the races.  Tar Heel Eddie Knox finally caught him 72 yards later at the Carolina 13.  It took the Sooners eight plays to score and take a 7-0 lead at the 8:10 mark.

On Oklahoma’s next possession, Lindell Pearson fumbled and Carolina’s Joe Romano recovered at the Sooner 30.  Four plays later, Hosea Rodgers scored—after being set up by a nine-yard run by Bob Kennedy to the Oklahoma three.  Bob Cox’s PAT attempt was wide right so the score at the 13:55 mark was 7 to 6.

The Greensboro Daily News published this Hugh Morton photograph (cropped similarly as seen below) of Bob Kennedy (#74) scampering a double reverse for nine yards and a first down. In the center of the photograph is blocking back Eddie Knox (#34).

The Greensboro Daily News published this Hugh Morton photograph (cropped similarly as seen below) of Bob Kennedy (#74) scampering a double reverse for nine yards and a first down. In the center of the photograph is blocking back Eddie Knox (#34).

A cropped detail from the above negative.

A cropped detail from the above negative.

With four minutes left in the second quarter, Carolina started a 10-play drive that ended up at the Oklahoma 7.  The big play in the drive for the Heels was a Charlie Justice 23-yard run plus a lateral to Chan Highsmith that added 11 more yards to the Sooner 7.

Chan Highsmith catches a lateral from Charlie Justice (on the ground). Also in the photograph is Ted Hazelwood (#42) and Oklahoma's Buddy Burris (#67), who made the tackle on the play. Published in several newspapers with different cropping, this print is cropped by this blog's editor.

Chan Highsmith catches a lateral from Charlie Justice (on the ground). Also in the photograph is Ted Hazelwood (#42) and Oklahoma’s Buddy Burris (#67), who made the tackle on the play. Published in several newspapers with different cropping, this print is cropped by this blog’s editor.

Then four passes failed—one of which many old time Tar Heels will never forget.  As time was running out in the first half, Justice went back to pass.  He had Art Weiner wide open in the end zone, but Weiner was not able to make the catch.  “Justice threw me a perfect pass,” Weiner recalled in a 1976 interview.  “I was supposed to cut toward the sideline on the left.  Darrell Royal (a future University of Texas head coach) was the defensive back and I had to get away from him.  Charlie threw perfect, I was more concerned where Royal was than the ball.  I took my eye off the ball. . . Had I known Royal actually fell down . . . it was a sure touchdown.”

Santa Claus made an appearance in one of the student card sections during halftime at the 1949 Sugar Bowl. Both schools had card section, one each per end zone.

Santa Claus made an appearance in one of the student card sections during halftime at the 1949 Sugar Bowl. Both schools had card section, one each per end zone.

Oklahoma led 7 to 6 at the half.

UNC's Johnny Clements (#20) tackling Oklahoma running back George Thomas (#25) with the ball during the third quarter. Other Oklahoma players are #70 tackle Wade Walker, #67 guard Paul Burris, #40 fullback Leon Heath, #81 end Jimmy Owens, and #26 quarterback Jack Mitchell. UNC players are #62 left guard Bill Wardle and #51 right tackle Len Szafaryn.

UNC’s Johnny Clements (#20) tackling Oklahoma running back George Thomas (#25) with the ball during the third quarter. Other Oklahoma players are #70 tackle Wade Walker, #67 guard Paul Burris, #40 fullback Leon Heath, #81 end Jimmy Owens, and #26 quarterback Jack Mitchell. UNC players are #62 left guard Bill Wardle and #51 right tackle Len Szafaryn.

During the first nine minutes of the second half, nothing much happened.  Then, with the ball near midfield, Oklahoma halfback Darrell Royal threw long for end Frankie Anderson who was finally tackled by Johnny Clements at the Carolina 10.  Ironically, this would be Oklahoma’s only pass completion of the game.  Two plays later, the Sooners scored at the 9:40 mark of the third quarter.  The remainder of the game became a punting duel between Justice and Royal…a duel that Justice won easily with punts of 65, 65, 57, and 53 yards.

One of the seven Morton photographs printed in the 1949 Yackety Yack, the UNC student yearbook. The caption places the scene within the closing minutes of the contest. Carolina coaches Carl Snavely and Max Reed are at left. The player at far left is unidentified; identifiable players are Kenny Powell (#53), Bobby Weant (#33), Bob Mitten (#42), Charlie Justice (#22), and Paul Rizzo (#66).

One of the seven Morton photographs printed in the 1949 Yackety Yack, the UNC student yearbook. The caption places the scene within the closing minutes of the contest. Carolina coaches Carl Snavely and Max Reed are at left. The player at far left is unidentified; identifiable players are Kenny Powell (#53), Bobby Weant (#33), Bob Mitten (#42), Charlie Justice (#22), and Paul Rizzo (#66).

A tighter crop of the same photograph as run by the Charlotte News.

A tighter crop of the same photograph as run by the Charlotte News.

With two minutes left in the game, Hugh Morton turned his camera toward the Carolina bench.  His remarkable picture of a dejected Charlie Justice tells the story of the entire afternoon. The picture has been reproduced numerous times over the years.

This photograph ran in The High Point Enterprise with the caption, "DEJECTED—Two minutes before the end of the the Sugar Bowl last Saturday this remarkable picture of Charlie Justice was snapped in front of the Tar Heel bench. The expression on the dejected "Choo-Choo's" face tells a whole story of an unsuccessful afternoon of football for one great All-American." The photograph as presented here is cropped by blog editor with a slightly different composition as published in The High Point Enterprise. For photographers who use the "Rule of Thirds," the upper third line runs straight through Justice's eyes.

This photograph ran in The High Point Enterprise with the caption, “DEJECTED—Two minutes before the end of the the Sugar Bowl last Saturday this remarkable picture of Charlie Justice was snapped in front of the Tar Heel bench. The expression on the dejected “Choo-Choo’s” face tells a whole story of an unsuccessful afternoon of football for one great All-American.” The photograph as presented here is cropped by the blog editor with a slightly different composition than published in The High Point Enterprise. For photographers who use the “Rule of Thirds,” the upper third line runs straight through Justice’s eyes.

The High Point Enterprise for January 4, 1949 published two Morton photographs for its coverage of the Sugar Bowl.

The High Point Enterprise for January 4, 1949 published two Morton photographs for its coverage of the Sugar Bowl.

Following the game, both head coaches weighed in on the proceedings.  Oklahoma Coach Bud Wilkinson said, “There is no question that Charlie Justice is great.  He was the player we feared the most and he showed that he is a great back.” Carolina head man Carl Snavely said, “Oklahoma had a big, fine, rugged team and played smartly.”

High Point Enterprise Sports Editor Bill Currie, writing colorfully in the late edition on January 1st said, “Errors in execution, judgment, and strategy on the part of the North Carolina Tar Heels helped the rapacious red-jersied hoard of Oklahoma Sooners to a 14-6 victory in the 15th annual Sugar Bowl game here today . . . .”

After all the interviews were completed, the weary UNC Tar Heels made their way slowly to their locker room as darkness fell on Tulane Stadium.  Justice took the defeat hard: once in the dressing room, he sat in the corner with a blanket over his head and cried.  That picture of the Tar Heel hero turned up in the 1949 University of Oklahoma Yearbook, “Sooner.” The caption: “Grief-stricken . . . Charlie Justice . . . .”

About ten minutes later, he looked up and told the reporters who had gathered around him, “Well, I threw that one away. I gave them that first touchdown with that bad pass.  You can say that.”

The Carolina players took their time in getting dressed, hoping the upset sting would go away.  There was a post-game party scheduled but nobody was really in a party mood. Finally, long after the Oklahoma team had left, the Tar Heels came outside to a dark, deserted parking lot. The busses that had been scheduled to take the Tar Heels back to the hotel had mistakenly taken the Sooners.  Then when the Oklahoma busses arrived and the drivers learned that their victorious Sooners had already left, they too left.

After a futile search, coach Snavely along with his assistants flagged down a passing truck.  The team stood in the open back end as the driver headed toward the hotel.  As the truck got close to the St Charles Hotel, the driver told Snavely, “Ya’ll have to get off a couple of blocks from the hotel.  I’m not allowed to drive to the entrance.”

So, in the New Orleans darkness, UNC’s 1948 Tar Heels slipped in a hotel side entrance unnoticed, and showing the good sportsmanship that Coach Snavely demanded of his players, celebrated with their Sugar Bowl opponent. Viewing Hugh Morton’s photographs from the celebration in the Greensboro and High Point papers, it’s hard to tell who won and who lost.

An unidentified couple, presumably a UNC player and his girlfriend or spouse, at a party for UNC and Oklahoma. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

An unidentified couple, presumably a UNC player and his girlfriend or spouse, at a party for UNC and Oklahoma. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

"Special news photo by Hugh Morton" as it appeared in the Charlotte News on January 4th, 1949. The caption reads, "Carl Snavely pays compliments of the night to Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma mentor, after the latter's team had stopped the Tar Heels on the Sugar Bowl turf, 14-6, on New Year's Day. The two coaches got together for a brief bit of conversation at the party held for both squads in the smart St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans. Needless to say, Canny Carl's expression shows he was in no mood for jokes."

“Special news photo by Hugh Morton” as it appeared in the Charlotte News on January 4th, 1949. The caption reads, “Carl Snavely pays compliments of the night to Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma mentor, after the latter’s team had stopped the Tar Heels on the Sugar Bowl turf, 14-6, on New Year’s Day. The two coaches got together for a brief bit of conversation at the party held for both squads in the smart St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans. Needless to say, Canny Carl’s expression shows he was in no mood for jokes.”

Hugh Morton's full negative of the published photograph shown above. Did Wilkinson and Snavely each bring only one suit and tie? Both seem to be wearing the same combinations on different days at Antoine's Restaurant (before game day) and St. Charles Hotel (after the game). Or, was someone cooking up some creative captioning?

Hugh Morton’s full negative of the published photograph shown above. Did Wilkinson and Snavely each bring only one suit and tie? Both seem to be wearing the same combinations on different days at Antoine’s Restaurant (before game day) and St. Charles Hotel (after the game). Or, was someone cooking up some creative captioning?

At 4:15 on January 4th, the majority of the Tar Heel team landed at Raleigh-Durham Airport and boarded busses for Chapel Hill. Two weeks later, Athletic Director Bob Fetzer received a check for Carolina’s participation in the 1949 Sugar Bowl, a check for $103,081.48.

Number 1 and only one (so far)

UNC running back Kelvin Bryant running with the football against Clemson at Clemson University, November 6, 1980. UNC won the game 24-19. The 1980 Tar Heels finished the regular season with an 11-1 record and the ACC Championship—the last time UNC won the title. The Tar Heels then played a postseason game on December 31st in Houston, where they defeated Texas 16 to 7 in the Bluebonnet Bowl. (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.)

UNC running back Kelvin Bryant running with the football against Clemson at Clemson University, November 6, 1980. UNC won the game 24-19. The 1980 Tar Heels finished the regular season with an 11-1 record and the ACC Championship—the last time UNC won the title. The Tar Heels then played a postseason game on December 31st in Houston, where they defeated Texas 16 to 7 in the Bluebonnet Bowl. (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.)

Prolog: Today, December 5th, at 8:00 P.M. UNC Head Football Coach Larry Fedora’s 2015 Tar Heels will take on head coach Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.  Clemson (12-0) is ranked #1 and Carolina (11-1) is ranked #8 in both the Coaches’ and Football Writers’ polls.  The game, which will be played in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, will bring back some memories for some old Tar Heels.  At the end of the 1948 season, Clemson (10-0) was at the top of the Southern Conference while Carolina (9-0-1) was second.  Ironically, the two teams did not meet in ’48 but the final Associated Press poll placed Carolina #3 and Clemson #11.  All of that took place five years before the ACC was born.

Introduction: UNC’s football tradition and heritage runs deep: thirty-one bowl games dating back to the 1947 Sugar Bowl, fourteen bowl wins dating back to the 1963 Gator Bowl, a host of All-America players dating back to 1934 and George Barclay’s selection, five players and two coaches currently in the College Football Hall of Fame dating back to Charlie Justice’s selection in 1961.  There is one distinction, however, that only appears once in the Tar Heel record book and it occurred sixty-seven years ago.  Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at that one-of-a-kind-honor.

When the 1947 football season ended and the final Associated Press poll came out on December 8th, the University of North Carolina was ranked ninth with eight wins and two losses.  The ’47 Tar Heels received several minor bowl invitations, including one from the Legion Bowl that was to be played in Los Angeles, but the team and the university turned down the invitations.

However when the 1948 preseason football magazines hit the newsstands in early August, at least one mentioned the Tar Heels in the same sentence as the words “national title.”  Durham sports columnist Jack Horner, (Hugh Morton jokingly called him “Little Jack Horner”) writing in Street and Smith’s 1948 Football Pictorial Yearbook said, “The Tar Heels of North Carolina . . . have the team to beat for Southern Conference honors but they’re a leading contender for the 1948 mythical national title.”  Greensboro columnist Smith Barrier wrote the following in the 1948 Illustrated Football Annual: “A strenuous schedule that opens with Texas and follows with Georgia gives the Tar Heels opportunity to win tall place among the seasons great football powers.”  When all the columnists’ ink had dried, it was time to play ball and see if any of the predictions would come true.

Opening coin toss before the Kenan Stadium contest between North Carolina and Texas. The Texas player wearing #32 is Tom Landry, who would eventually coach the Dallas Cowboys of the national Football League for twenty-nine years.

Opening coin toss before the Kenan Stadium contest between North Carolina and Texas. The Texas player wearing #32 is Tom Landry, who would eventually coach the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League for twenty-nine years.

First up . . . a Kenan Stadium match-up between coach Carl Snavely’s single-wing North Carolina Tar Heels and coach Blair Cherry’s T-formation Texas Longhorns.  There was no pre-season Associated Press poll in those days, but both teams would have most likely been in the nation’s top five.

On Thursday afternoon, September 23, folks in 10-gallon hats started showing up on Franklin Street.  Texans were in town for Saturday’s season opener and were looking to take up where they left off the year before when they crushed the ’47 Tar Heels 34 to 0 in Austin.  A sell-out crowd of 44,000 filled historic Kenan Stadium on Saturday, where fair, cool weather was in order.

Carolina’s barefooted kicker Mike Rubish kicked to Texas to start the game and Billy Pyle returned it to the Longhorn 22. Two running plays got nothing, so on 3rd down, Frank Guess quick-kicked to Charlie Justice who faked a hand-off to Johnny Clements, then took off down the sideline for 38 yards to the Texas 42.  A drive that included a reverse play to Clements was capped with a touchdown pass from Justice to Art Weiner to put the Heels ahead.  When Bob Cox converted the extra point, the game was only 3:30 old.

This photograph (cropped) appeared in The Charlotte News on September 29 with the caption, "MR. WINGBACK at North Carolina this year is Johnny Clements, successor to Johnny Camp in the single wing attack ably executed by Carl Snavely & Co. A defensive halfback last year, Clements went on the offense as well this year, and Saturday ripped off a 22-yard gain on Carolina's first play from scrimmage to set the stage for the blitz touchdown. The Texans present are Landry [sic?] (33), Fry (60), and One-Punch Kelley (70). Wilmington's Sunday Star-News also published the photograph with slightly wider cropping.

This photograph (cropped) appeared in The Charlotte News on September 29 with the caption, “MR. WINGBACK at North Carolina this year is Johnny Clements, successor to Johnny Camp in the single wing attack ably executed by Carl Snavely & Co. A defensive halfback last year, Clements went on the offense as well this year, and Saturday ripped off a 22-yard gain on Carolina’s first play from scrimmage to set the stage for the blitz touchdown. The Texans present are Landry [sic?] (33), Fry (60), and One-Punch Kelley (70). Wilmington’s Sunday Star-News also published the photograph with slightly wider cropping.

Rubish again kicked to the ‘Horns.  This time Paul Campbell received the kick, then lateraled to Texas co-captain Tom Landry (of future Dallas Cowboy fame) who was nailed by Tar Heel Haywood Fowle.  Landry fumbled and Clements recovered at the Texas 5-yard line.

The Charlotte News published this Hugh Morton photograph, tightly cropped on Rubish and Fowle, on September 28th with the caption "BAREFOOT BOY WITH FOWLE—Mike Rubish (left), who must have set some sort of record by kicking off five times in the first quarter for Carolina against Texas sits on the sidelines fully shod with Haywood Fowle watching following the Kelly–Wardle incident during the Carolina–Texas game. Rubish took off one shoe for the kicking, booted the ball with stocking foot."

The Charlotte News published this Hugh Morton photograph, tightly cropped on Rubish and Fowle, on September 28th with the caption “BAREFOOT BOY WITH FOWLE—Mike Rubish (left), who must have set some sort of record by kicking off five times in the first quarter for Carolina against Texas sits on the sidelines fully shod with Haywood Fowle watching following the Kelly–Wardle incident during the Carolina–Texas game. Rubish took off one shoe for the kicking, booted the ball with stocking foot.”

Two plays later it was Justice for Carolina’s second score.  The game was now 4:30 old.  Again Texas couldn’t move the ball on the Tar Heel defense and again Carolina drove for a third score—this time it was Justice passing to Cox.  As Justice came off the field, Coach Snavely stood up from his normal seat beside the Carolina bench to shake Charlie’s hand.  Said Justice, “Just sit down coach, it’s over.”

Despite being slightly out of focus, Wilmington's Sunday Star-News and The Charlotte News for Tuesday September 27th printed this photograph of Texas quarterback Paul Campbell being "smothered by Tar Heel tacklers." Bob Cox is identified as blocking Campbell's path, and the only Longhorn is identified as Ferrell (#36).

Despite being slightly out of focus, Wilmington’s Sunday Star-News and The Charlotte News for Tuesday September 27th printed this photograph of Texas quarterback Paul Campbell being “smothered by Tar Heel tacklers.” Bob Cox is identified as blocking Campbell’s path, and the only Longhorn is identified as Ferrell (#36).

Texas was finally able to score near the end of the first quarter.  Following a scoreless second quarter, the Kenan crowd was entertained by Head Cheerleader Norman Sper’s colorful 2,000-team card section along with Professor Earl Slocum’s marching band.

"A technicolor team of some 2,185 students" is how The Daily Tar Heel for 24 September 1948 described the stadium sections where Head Cheerleader Norm Sper introduced "card stunts" for the first time during a regular season game. Sper brought the crowd participation displays to Carolina from the west coast. He first used the cards earlier in the years during UNC's 1948 Blue-White spring intrasquad practice game. You can see the display from the Blue-White game at http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/morton/index.php/2015/04/a-tar-heel-tradition-in-blue-white/.

“A technicolor team of some 2,185 students” is how The Daily Tar Heel for 24 September 1948 described the stadium sections where Head Cheerleader Norm Sper introduced “card stunts” for the first time during a regular season game. Sper brought the crowd participation displays to Carolina from the west coast. He first used the cards earlier in the years during UNC’s 1948 Blue-White spring intrasquad practice game. You can see the display from the Blue-White game at http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/morton/index.php/2015/04/a-tar-heel-tradition-in-blue-white/.

After a scoreless third quarter, it was Justice again, this time for 9 yards and a TD.  The final Carolina score came on a Billy Hayes one-yard plunge, making the final 34 to 7.

"COACH PUPA AND FRIENDS" was the caption lead-in for this photograph, cropped to focus on the four certain figures, in The Charlotte News on September 28th. The caption continued, "A starting fullback last year in the Carolina attack, Walt Pupa is now a member of the coaching staff at UNC and sits on the sidelines in white shirt and necktie. His friends are Blocking Back Don Hartig, Tailback Charlie Justice and End Bob Cox (left to right). Their eyes are on Texas, and Justice, especially, liked what he saw.

“COACH PUPA AND FRIENDS” was the caption lead-in for this photograph, cropped to focus on the four certain figures, in The Charlotte News on September 28th. The caption continued, “A starting fullback last year in the Carolina attack, Walt Pupa is now a member of the coaching staff at UNC and sits on the sidelines in white shirt and necktie. His friends are Blocking Back Don Hartig, Tailback Charlie Justice and End Bob Cox (left to right). Their eyes are on Texas, and Justice, especially, liked what he saw.

A Kenan celebration with Snavely riding the shoulders of his team broke out following the game.  The sports headline in the Greensboro Daily News on Sunday morning, September 26th read:  “Justice Shines; Foe Outclassed.”  To this day, there are many old Tar Heels (like me) who say this was UNC’s greatest Kenan Stadium win.

UNC football players celebrating their win over Texas. Head Coach Carl Snavely is being lifted by UNC's Art Weiner #50; UNC Hosea Rodgers #70; UNC Dan Stiegman #67; UNC Charlie Justice #22; UNC Kenny Powell #53; UNC Don Hartig #48. The two players on the far right are Bob Cox (without a helmet) and #20 Johnny Clements. The Charlotte News published this photograph on September 27th.

UNC football players celebrating their win over Texas. Head Coach Carl Snavely is being lifted by UNC’s Art Weiner #50; UNC Hosea Rodgers #70; UNC Dan Stiegman #67; UNC Charlie Justice #22; UNC Kenny Powell #53; UNC Don Hartig #48. The two players on the far right are Bob Cox (without a helmet) and #20 Johnny Clements. The Charlotte News published this photograph on September 27th.

Three days later on September 28th when the Paul B. Williamson Football Ratings came out, Carolina was rated number one; most Tar Heel fans, however, anxiously awaited the all-important Associated Press Poll that would not be available with its first 1948 edition until October 4th—and the Heels had a road trip to Athens, Georgia before then.

Saturday, October 2, 1948 was a hot, 80-degree day in Georgia, but that didn’t stop 500 Tar Heel fans from staging a pre-game, traffic-blocking pep rally and parade through the streets of Athens led by UNC Head Cheerleader Norman Sper.  The rally made its way through the UGA campus ending up at Sanford Stadium where 43,000 fans were ready for some football, and Georgia Head Coach Wally Butts was ready for game number two of his 10th season with the Bulldogs.

The 2:30 pm game began at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Tar Heel–Texas game the Saturday before.  Carolina couldn’t seem to do anything right and the Bulldogs scored on a 76-yard-pass interception just six minutes into the game. That 7 to 0 score held into the third quarter when, with 10 minutes left in the quarter, Charlie Justice took control of the game scoring touchdown runs of 9 and 13 yards. Then in the 4th quarter it was Justice again—this time an 84-yard punt return to seal the Tar Heel victory, 21 to 14.

It turned out to be Justice’s greatest game as a Tar Heel: 304 total yards and his record performance prompted an article in the October 11, 1948 issue of Time titled “The Jack Rabbit of Chapel Hill,” complete with an Associated Press game action photograph.  UNC Sports Information Director Jake Wade called the article “somewhat shy of accuracy.”

The game story in Sunday’s The Atlanta Journal went like this: “Charlie Trippi and Frank Sinkwich moved over Saturday to make room for Charlie (Choo Choo) Justice. Neither of the Georgia All-Americas ever dominated a football game on Sanford field one whit more than did the North Carolina express.”

Billy Carmichael III writing in The Daily Tar Heel issue of Sunday, October 3, 1948, had this to say about the game and his dear friend Charlie Justice:

The Tar Heels arrived early, stayed late . . . scored . . . and then packed up their play things and went home.” . . . (Justice) ran through them, he ran over them, he ran around.  He passed to an assortment of receivers, picking his man like chocolates from a Whitman’s Sampler.

Georgia Assistant Coach Louis Trousdale said following the game, “It was all Justice . . . We coached our kickers for six months to kick away from Justice, and you see what happened.”

In a post game interview, Justice simply said, “It was the greatest game I ever played.”

The Tar Heel Nation faithfully awaited Monday’s Associated Press Poll, and most thought that Carolina would be number one for the first time in the history of the poll and the history of the school.  Sadly, when the first AP Poll for 1948 was published on October 4th the Tar Heels were number 2 behind powerful Notre Dame. “Just wait ‘til next week” was the cry of the Tar Heel faithful.

Next up was a road trip to Groves Stadium and a match-up with “Peahead” Walker’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons.  And for a second time during the ‘48 season, the Heels were looking to avenge a 1947 defeat.  The headline in the High Point Enterprise issue of October 7th read, “Stop Justice, Deacons Say is Main Problem and Hope for Win.”

On October 9th, a record crowd of 28,500, including photographer Hugh Morton, packed Groves Stadium on a warm, sunny afternoon for the 45th meeting between Wake Forest and Carolina, a series dating back to 1888.

UNC Wing Back Johnny Clements (#20) running with ball against Wake Forest. UNC Left End Art Weiner (#50) on ground.

UNC wing back Johnny Clements (#20) running with ball against Wake Forest. UNC left end Art Weiner (#50) on ground.

The Tar Heels played both ends against the middle, scoring twice in the first quarter and twice in the fourth quarter to take a 28 to 6 win. That 19 to 7 Wake win in ’47 was all but forgotten. The headline in the High Point Enterprise issue of Sunday, October 10th read:  “Justice, Rodgers Pace Carolina to Third Win,” and Enterprise sports writer Bill Hackney followed up the headline by saying: “Charlie Justice and Hosea Rodgers sparked the Tar Heels’ offensive unit as they ate up 170 yards on the ground alone.”  Justice and Rodgers outgained the entire Wake team on the ground by 60 yards.  Morton’s action shots of Justice are classics.

UNC tailback Charlie Justice, running with the ball, and Wake Forest defender Tom Fetzer at Groves Stadium, Winston-Salem, NC. Photograph (cropped) appears in October 10, 1948 Wilmington SUNDAY STAR-NEWS with caption: Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice evades Deacon tacklers in one of the Tar Heels' touchdown drives. Fetzer, 31, failed to stop the star back. Justice was injured on the play when he was finally brought to the ground, but he returned to the game after a short rest."

UNC tailback Charlie Justice, running with the ball, and Wake Forest defender Tom Fetzer at Groves Stadium, Winston-Salem, NC. Photograph (cropped) appears in October 10, 1948 Wilmington SUNDAY STAR-NEWS with caption: Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice evades Deacon tacklers in one of the Tar Heels’ touchdown drives. Fetzer, 31, failed to stop the star back. Justice was injured on the play when he was finally brought to the ground, but he returned to the game after a short rest.”

On Monday, October 11, 1948 it happened.  Carolina took over first place in the Associated Press weekly poll.  The Tar Heels got fifty-two first place votes and beat out Notre Dame by eighteen votes.  It was headline news across the state and nation.  The sports headline in the October 13th issue of The New York Times proclaimed, “Gridiron Poll Led by North Carolina.”

Legendary Associated Press sportswriter Will Grimsley said: “The Irish (of Notre Dame) who held the No.1 position for almost a year, were dumped to second place by North Carolina, a Dixie institution where a lad named Charlie Justice gets his higher learning.”

Austin Bealmear, another of the AP writing team added the following in The Greensboro Record: “Unbeaten North Carolina moved to the top of the class today as the country’s No. 1 college football team.  The Tar Heels displaced Notre Dame at the top of the list in the weekly poll of sports writers from coast to coast, conducted by the Associated Press.”

So, when NC State came into Chapel Hill on October 16th for Homecoming 1948, they faced the AP’s No. 1 team. And again, Head Cheerleader Norm Sper, along with card section designer Bill Harrison, was ready with a big US map with a large No. 1 in the center.  But a 14 to 0 Tar Heel win over State wasn’t enough for the Heels to retain the No.1 spot, as Coach Snavely predicted in his Monday morning press conference.  “Look,” said the low-key head coach, “our team is overrated.  Yes, we have a good team, but not a super team. . . We have our definite limitations and weaknesses.  And I don’t believe that we are entitled to the high position assigned us in the national ratings.”

Louisiana State University vs. UNC-Chapel Hill at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Often-published photo of Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice running with the football. UNC won 34-7. UNC players (other than Charlie Justice #22 with the ball): #33 Blocking Back Bobby Weant (on the ground far left), #36 Right Guard Bill Slate, #32 Wingback Merl Norcross, #42 Left Guard Bob Mitten. LSU players: #60 Guard Gerald Reynolds, #83 End Melvin "Sam" Lyle

Louisiana State University vs. UNC-Chapel Hill at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Often-published photo of Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice running with the football. UNC won 34-7. UNC players (other than Charlie Justice #22 with the ball): #33 Blocking Back Bobby Weant (on the ground far left), #36 Right Guard Bill Slate, #32 Wingback Merl Norcross, #42 Left Guard Bob Mitten. LSU players: #60 Guard Gerald Reynolds, #83 End Melvin “Sam” Lyle

On October 18th Carolina slipped to third behind Michigan and Notre Dame.  A 34 to 7 win over LSU in Kenan and a 14 to 7 win over Tennessee on Shields-Watkins Field in Knoxville failed to improve on that third place position.  And then, disaster in Kenan: more about that in the A View to Hugh piece titled “A Game Fit to be Tied” posted back on November 4, 2015.

For sixty-six seasons, the Tar Heels have struggled to regain that No.1 ranking from the Associated Press.  So far, they have not been able to achieve what the ‘48 Tar Heels did on October 11, 1948.

 

 

 

UNC versus NCSU football

The University of North Carolina Tar Heels and North Carolina State Wolfpack football teams face off this weekend, the final regular season game for both squads.  The two schools first played each other in 1894, UNC emerging victorious with a score of 44 to 0.  Hugh Morton was not yet born, but he likely would have photographed the game if he had been around to focus a lens and click a shutter.

Larry Parker tackling James Meadlock, University of North Carolina vs North Carolina State football game, Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, 25 September 1954.

Larry Parker tackling James Meadlock, University of North Carolina vs North Carolina State football game, Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, 25 September 1954.

The photograph above, made during the 1954 contest won buy UNC 20 to 6, is one my favorite Morton football photographs. A print from that negative is part of the Hugh Morton retrospective exhibition, which will be displayed in Raleigh during 2016.

Based upon the earliest negatives located to date, Morton began photographing the annual contest in 1941 when he was a junior at UNC.  Someone stole Morton’s camera soon after arriving on campus as a freshman in 1939, and he did not replace it until sometime in early 1940.  There are no negatives in the collection that have been identified from the fall 1940 contest played in Raleigh.  In 1941 when home field returned to Kenan Stadium at Chapel Hill, Morton was the staff photographer for the student newspaper and the yearbook.  On November 2 The Daily Tar Heel published the following photograph on the front page.

"BUILDUP TO AN AWFUL LETDOWN—"Shot" Cox plunges over the in the first quarter of yesterdays's fiasco for the only Tar Heel tally, as Caton (77), Watts (29) and Stilwell try futilely to stop the Blonde Bombshell. Hodges, Heymann, Suntheimer and Dunkle are in on the play.

“BUILDUP TO AN AWFUL LETDOWN—”Shot” Cox plunges over the in the first quarter of yesterdays’s fiasco for the only Tar Heel tally, as Caton (77), Watts (29) and Stilwell try futilely to stop the Blonde Bombshell. Hodges, Heymann, Suntheimer and Dunkle are in on the play.

The Yackety Yack published that photograph plus the following from that game, which N.C State won 13 to 7—its first victory in the rivalry since 1927.

"Fritchitt of State tackled hard just after catching pass," as captioned and cropped in the 1942 Yackety Yack.

“Fritchitt of State tackled hard just after catching pass,” as captioned and cropped in the 1942 Yackety Yack.

Below you can see the full negatives without cropping.

Morton enlisted in the United States Army in the autumn of 1942, making the 1941 game the only UNC versus NC State game that we know (thus far) that he photographed as a student.  To find other Morton photographs from UNC—NC State football games, including Andy Griffith’s famous “What it Was Was Football” routine, visit the online collection of Morton photographs.

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“Ties” that bind

Hugh Morton photograph made during the University of North Carolina versus Virginia Polytechnic Institute football game played on September 28, 1946. #23 UNC wingback Jim Camp (#23) runs with the ball while VPI tackle John Maskas (#56) looks on from behind the play. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

Hugh Morton photograph made during the University of North Carolina versus Virginia Polytechnic Institute football game played on September 28, 1946. #23 UNC wingback Jim Camp (#23) runs with the ball while VPI tackle John Maskas (#56) looks on from behind the play. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

Back on November 4th, we included a post about the famous UNC vs. William & Mary tie game from 1948.  Today, following Saturday’s game between UNC and Virginia Tech, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look at the other tie game from the “Golden Era” of Carolina football.

After the regulation sixty minutes of play this past Saturday (11/21/15) at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia, the scoreboard read UNC 24–Virginia Tech 24.  Six previous games during the history of the series between these two teams ended in ties.  The difference on this day in 2015: the NCAA rules now extend play into a tiebreaker overtime, during which Carolina was able to win 30 to 27.

Five of those previous ties (1896, 1900, 1902, 1906, and 1911) ended up 0 to 0, and since there was no overtime before 1996, those games are in the record book ties.  The other tie, in 1946, is the one many old time Tar Heels remember.  It was September 28, 1946 when VPI (now Virginia Tech) came into Chapel Hill to meet the Tar Heels in a game that opened the “Golden Era,” or “Charlie Justice Era” as some like to call it.  Photographer Hugh Morton was on hand to document  this historic game.

UNC wingback Jim Camp, running Head Coach Carl Snavely’s famous reverse, accounted for 50 yards of offense during that Saturday encounter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Charlie Justice had a 68-yard touchdown run and Carolina led at halftime 14 to 0. But in the second half, Justice had two punts blocked that led to VPI scores making the final score 14 to 14. Charlie finished the day with 100 yards rushing on 10 carries.  Justice never had another punt blocked during his football career: 39 regular season and 3 bowl games at UNC, plus 58 games with the Washington Redskins and 6 UNC Blue-White games in Chapel Hill.

Ironically, Virginia Tech would not return to Chapel Hill for a game until Saturday, November 6, 2004—the day following the dedication of the Charlie Justice statue.

UNC versus Duke on the gridiron

It’s Homecoming at UNC, and this weekend brings the annual showdown against Duke for the Victory Bell.  Hugh Morton attended many of these confrontations with camera in hand during his lifetime, starting with his years as a student between 1939 and 1942.

Have any identifications you can add? Please leave a comment!  You may click on the images, which will take you to a full descriptive record, and you can also zoom into the images for more detail.

Have fun, and explore all the other Tar Heel and Blue Devil related images in the Hugh Morton online collection!

1940 UNC pep rally

PROBABLY 1940: UNC-Chapel Hill cheerleaders and ram mascot "Rameses" at indoor event, probably the pep rally before the Duke-UNC football game. Both this photograph and a similar photograph (cropped) appear in the 1941 YACKETY YACK yearbook.

PROBABLY 1940: UNC-Chapel Hill cheerleaders and ram mascot “Rameses” at indoor event, probably the pep rally before the Duke-UNC football game. Both this photograph and a similar photograph (cropped) appear in the 1941 YACKETY YACK yearbook.

1940 UNC cheerleaders

1940: This photograph (cropped) appears in the 1941 YACKETY YACK with caption, "Cheerleaders maneuver before Duke-Carolina football game."

1940: This photograph (cropped) appears in the 1941 YACKETY YACK with caption, “Cheerleaders maneuver before Duke-Carolina football game.”

1940 Daily Tar Heel office

1940: UNC-Chapel Hill student at desk at office of DAILY TAR HEEL(?). November 17, 1940 issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL on wall in background with headline that reads "Happy Days Here Again," referring to 6-3 upset victory of UNC football team over Duke University.

1940: UNC-Chapel Hill student at desk at office of DAILY TAR HEEL(?). November 17, 1940 issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL on wall in background with headline that reads “Happy Days Here Again,” referring to 6-3 upset victory of UNC football team over Duke University.

Late 1940s? Rameses with Blue Devil

EARLY 1940s: UNC ram mascot posing with man dressed as Duke Blue Devil mascot at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game, probably early 1940s at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC.

EARLY 1940s: UNC ram mascot posing with man dressed as Duke Blue Devil mascot at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game, probably early 1940s at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC.

1948 Charlie Justice passing

1948: #22 UNC tailback Charlie Justice, back to pass; #83 Duke left end Bill Duncan; and #52 Duke center Tommy Harris; at UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan Stadium. Photograph, tightly cropped on Justice and Duncan, appears in the CHARLOTTE NEWS, 22 November 1948.

1948: #22 UNC tailback Charlie Justice, back to pass; #83 Duke left end Bill Duncan; and #52 Duke center Tommy Harris; at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium. Photograph, tightly cropped on Justice and Duncan, appears in the CHARLOTTE NEWS, 22 November 1948.

1948 Justice on teammates’ shoulders

1948: #22 UNC tailback Charlie Justice on shoulders of teammates following 20-0 win over Duke in Kenan Stadium; #63 UNC center Joe Neikirk; #42 UNC left Guard Bob Mitten; #69 UNC right end Bob Cox; #81 UNC right tackle Ted Hazelwood (background left). Cropped version of photograph appears on cover of 4 December 1948 issue of THE STATE, the November 1948 issue of THE ALUMNI REVIEW, and the 1949 YACKETY YACK.

1948: #22 UNC tailback Charlie Justice on shoulders of teammates following 20-0 win over Duke in Kenan Stadium; #63 UNC center Joe Neikirk; #42 UNC left Guard Bob Mitten; #69 UNC right end Bob Cox; #81 UNC right tackle Ted Hazelwood (background left). Cropped version of photograph appears on cover of 4 December 1948 issue of THE STATE, the November 1948 issue of THE ALUMNI REVIEW, and the 1949 YACKETY YACK.

1948 Cheerleaders with Victory Bell

1948 or 1949: UNC-Chapel Hill cheerleaders with Victory Bell after football team defeated Duke. THE CAROLINA GRIDIRON, 15 and 29 October 1949.

1948 or 1949: UNC-Chapel Hill cheerleaders with Victory Bell after football team defeated Duke. THE CAROLINA GRIDIRON, 15 and 29 October 1949.

 

1955 Duke cheerleaders at UNC-Chapel Hill football game versus Duke University at Duke Stadium

1955: Duke cheerleaders at UNC-Chapel Hill football game versus Duke University at Duke Stadium, Durham, NC.

1955: Duke cheerleaders at UNC-Chapel Hill football game versus Duke University at Duke Stadium, Durham, NC.

1957 UNC head coach Jim Tatum embraces suspended co-captain Dave Reed after upset win

1957: UNC Head Coach Jim Tatum (left) embraces player Dave Reed (right) after UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game at Duke Stadium, Durham, NC. "Carolina football coach Jim Tatum (left) suspended his co-captain and star running back Dave Reed the week before UNC's 1957 game with Duke for an infraction of team rules, and consequently Carolina was very much the underdog for the game with its traditional rival. When the Tar Heels upset the Blue Devils 21 to 13, a tearful Dave Reed embraced his disciplinarian coach in the center of the field at Wallace Wade Stadium."

1957: UNC Head Coach Jim Tatum (left) embraces player Dave Reed (right) after UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game at Duke Stadium, Durham, NC. “Carolina football coach Jim Tatum (left) suspended his co-captain and star running back Dave Reed the week before UNC’s 1957 game with Duke for an infraction of team rules, and consequently Carolina was very much the underdog for the game with its traditional rival. When the Tar Heels upset the Blue Devils 21 to 13, a tearful Dave Reed embraced his disciplinarian coach in the center of the field at Wallace Wade Stadium.”

1950s or 1960s? Duke cheerleaders with Victory Bell

1950s or EARLY 1960s?: Duke University cheerleaders and marching band celebrating with Victory Bell after football game.

1950s or EARLY 1960s?: Duke University cheerleaders and marching band celebrating with Victory Bell after football game.

1973 action photograph during UNC vs. Duke football game at Wallace Wade Stadium

1973: UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Duke University football game at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC. UNC players: #61 Offensive Guard Billy Newton and #40 Halfback Jimmy Jerome. Duke players: #62 Linebacker Dave Meier, #24 Defensive Safety Buster Cox, #76 Defense Tackle John Ricca, and #45 Linebacker Keith Stoneback.

1973: UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Duke University football game at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC. UNC players: #61 Offensive Guard Billy Newton and #40 Halfback Jimmy Jerome. Duke players: #62 Linebacker Dave Meier, #24 Defensive Safety Buster Cox, #76 Defense Tackle John Ricca, and #45 Linebacker Keith Stoneback.

A game fit to be tied

In his column in The Charlotte Observer issue of Sunday, August 25, 1996, legendary sports columnist Ron Green wrote the following:

The tie, a vestige of college football’s dinosaur age, is dead, eradicated by long overdue rule changes.

RIP.  Forever.  In a hermetically sealed steel container.   Under a heavy layer of concrete.

The fellow who said a tie was like kissing your sister gave far too much credit to a tie.

But before the 1996 season, the tie was alive and well and living on Saturday afternoons throughout college football.

During the “Golden Age” (1946-1949) of UNC football there were two of these tie games, and both made for interesting ink and airtime.  Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at one of those ties . . . sixty-seven years ago this week.

William &amp; Mary running back Tommy Korzowski (#14) encounters UNC defenders Ken Powell (#53, left end) and possibly Bill Maceyko (#43?). In the left background is Carolina right guard Larry Klosterman, (#80). In the far right background is right tackle Ted Hazelwood (#81). The jersey number for player in the left background is only partially visible, but may be #56; if so, that's right end Mike Rubish. <br />  This is the only negative (cropped for this blog post by the editor) identified by Morton from the 1948 William &amp; Mary versus UNC football game. Another negative from that game was scene made on the sideline, but previously misidentified in published in books as being taken during the 1949 Sugar Bowl. To learn more about that discovery, click on the link in the story below.

William & Mary running back Tommy Korzowski (#14) encounters UNC defenders Ken Powell (#53, left end) and possibly Bill Maceyko (#43?). In the left background is Carolina right guard Larry Klosterman, (#80). In the far right background is right tackle Ted Hazelwood (#81). The jersey number for player in the left background is only partially visible, but may be #56; if so, that’s right end Mike Rubish.
This is the only negative (cropped for this blog post by the editor) identified by Morton from the 1948 William & Mary versus UNC football game. Another negative from that game was scene made on the sideline, but previously misidentified in published in books as being taken during the 1949 Sugar Bowl. To learn more about that discovery, click on the link in the story below.

Three days after Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey for the presidency of the United States, The College of William and Mary’s 1947 Southern Conference champion football team rolled into Chapel Hill on Friday, November 5, 1948 as a twenty-point underdog.  They weren’t given much of a chance against the undefeated, nationally third-ranked Tar Heels.  Carolina was riding atop a thirteen-game winning streak, a winning streak that had started ironically against William & Mary on October 18, 1947—the only ’47 loss for W&M.  Despite a defensive front line that averaged 211 pounds per man compared to Carolina’s 205,  I think it’s safe to say that most of the 43,000 Tar Heel fans that jammed into Kenan Stadium on that rainy, gray, windswept Saturday afternoon thought this would be win number 14; the William & Mary team, however, had a different idea.

Game day program from the 6 November 1948 football game between William &amp; Mary and UNC played at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill. Pictured on the cover is singer Jo Stafford. The "On the Cover" caption on page 3 says, "Jo's hobby is folk songs and she has set up a $250 award for the student who submits the best collection of them to her." When Hugh Morton was a UNC student, he photographed Stafford along with Tommy Dorsey and the "Pied Pipers" performing during the 1941 "May Frolics" dance at the Tin Can. Also in that photograph is Chuck Lowry, Frank Sinatra, and Buddy Rich. See http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/morton_highlights/id/740.

Game day program from the 6 November 1948 football game between William & Mary and UNC played at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill. Pictured on the cover is singer Jo Stafford. The “On the Cover” caption on page 3 says, “Jo’s hobby is folk songs and she has set up a $250 award for the student who submits the best collection of them to her.” When Hugh Morton was a UNC student, he photographed Stafford along with Tommy Dorsey and the “Pied Pipers” performing during the 1941 “May Frolics” dance at the Tin Can. Also in that photograph is Chuck Lowry, Frank Sinatra, and Buddy Rich. (See http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/morton_highlights/id/740.)

Before the opening kickoff, Carolina head cheerleader Norman Sper reminded one and all:

There was booing at Tennessee last week, and we hope that all of you will refrain from such unsportsmanlike conduct.

Sper was referring to a controversial play during Carolina’s 14 to 7 win in Knoxville on October 30th.  Shortly before the end of the second quarter, Tennessee’s Hal Littleford returned a Charlie Justice punt 90 yards for a score, but the play was called back.  Referee Walter Hoffman detected clipping when Chaddie Baker tried to block Hosea Rodgers.  It seemed like all 50,000 fans were upset with the call—so much so that Knoxville Police Chief Joe Kimscy ordered special protection for the game officials when a small crowd surged out of the stands and onto the field.  An action photograph from the Knoxville News–Sentinel clearly showed the infraction.  UNC’s “Alumni Review” titled the picture “The Tennessee Clipper.”)

After a scoreless first quarter, William & Mary recovered a fumble on the Carolina 27 yard line about half way through the second quarter.  Two line plays netted six yards; then on third down, left halfback Tommy Korczowski threw a looping lob-pass into the end zone for co-captain Lou Hoitsma who seemed to be covered by Tar Heels Bill Flamisch and Bill Maceyko.  All three went up for the ball, but Hoitsma made a circus catch. The Indians—W&M’s nickname in 1949, but known today as The Tribe—led 7-0 at the half.

UNC’s special halftime guests were nine outstanding high school bands from across the state. The bands performed several maneuvers including an outline of the state and invited the crowd to join in singing “The Old North State.”

Late in the third quarter, Hosea Rodgers finally scored for the Heels on a one yard run to culminate a 15-play, 76-yard-drive. For the remainder of the third quarter and through the fourth, UNC’s Charlie Justice and W&M’s Jack Cloud tried all the tricks in the book, but defense was the name of the game on this day. Hugh Morton’s photograph of the Carolina bench near the end of the game tells the story with long faces and looks of concern. Then, with time running out and Carolina with the ball at its own 21, Billy Hayes went back to pass.  He spotted Max Cooke at the 28 and let it fly, but William & Mary’s Joe Mark cut in front of Cooke and made the interception. When Hayes finally got Mark on the ground, the ball was at the Carolina 8 . . . just as the gun sounded to end the game. William & Mary’s Jack Cloud immediately ran up to referee Mr. Dandelake pleading for a time out. But, as UNC center the late Joe Neikirk, who was standing beside the referee, liked to tell the story, Dandelake said, “Son, the d— game is over.” Neikirk added “the tie wrecked our season.”

Both head coaches weighed in following the game. W&M coach R. N. (Rube) McCray said, “We were definitely not playing for a tie.  We were out to win.”  UNC Head Coach Carl Snavely added,” We were lucky to come out with a tie.”

So, how did William & Mary hold the number three team in the country to a 7-7 tie?  They got only one first down and that was on a penalty, while the Tar Heels got 17.  They completed only 2 passes for a total of 22 yards; Carolina completed 7 for 83 yards.  They gained only 19 yards on the ground, the Heels got 184. Along the way, Carolina lost 3 fumbles and had 4 passes intercepted.  And W&M held UNC’s great All-America Charlie Justice scoreless for the first time during Carolina’s 13-game win streak.  For the answer, the headline in UNC’s The Alumni Review says it all:

Powerful W & M Defense Ends Tar Heel Streak

When the Associated Press football rankings came out on November 8th, Carolina had dropped four places to number 7 and as a number three going into the William & Mary game, they had received 36 first place votes.  Following the game they got only 7.

It’s rare when one considers a tie game to be a great game, but when you check the 1949 William & Mary yearbook, Colonial Echo, you find that the editors considered the tie with Carolina to be the “highlight of the year,” and their 21-yard touchdown pass as the “greatest play of the season.” Authors Wilford Kale, Bob Moskowitz, and Charles M. Holloway, in their 1997 book, Goal to Goal: 100 Seasons of Football at William and Mary, agreed with the yearbook assessment. The yearbook editors additionally pointed out that some newspaper writers even took the W&M touchdown play a step further calling it “the play of the year in the Southern Conference.”

There are two Kenan Stadium records from this game that still stand over half-way through the 2015 season—both achieved by William & Mary’s punter Buddy Lex.  On this day he punted a total of 15 times for a total 645 yards.

It was a classic game, one fit to be tied.

And as for that other “Golden Era” tie mentioned in the opening: it came on September 28, 1946, a 14 to 14 tie with another team from the state of Virginia, VPI (It’s Virginia Tech today).

Epilogue:  Another Tie of Distinction

In January, 1997, I received a letter from Hugh Morton after I sent him a videotape I had made about the ‘47 Sugar Bowl 50th reunion.  Here’s what he said:

“I’ve always considered myself the most loyal Charles Justice fan still around, but I’m having doubts about that. I think maybe you are, or possibly we are tied for that.”

I consider it an extremely high honor to be tied with Hugh Morton for Charlie Justice loyalty.  Just to be mentioned in the same paragraph with Hugh Morton and Charlie Justice is a distinct honor.