Cuyahoga Falls Football Beginnings

Falls Football

Year Unknown. L to R: Marvin Maxwell, Earl Cook, John Porter, Ralph Hertzler, Donald Senn, ____ Whitaker, Earl Ryan, Lisle Weaver, Earl Howe, Gurney Chronister, Carl Cannon, Burtram Smith, Coach Wade Moyer.

Football has been by far the most spectacular sport over the last 100 years. The first high school football teams’ records were first recorded in 1911. The Falls High team played its home games on the East Side Field, now the southeast corner of Deming and Curtis Streets. James C. DeLong was captain and Gus Kittleberger, an 1896 Falls High graduate, was coach. The teams used that field until the new high school was opened on Fourth Street in September 1922.

William H. Richardson, superintendent of Falls Schools, hired Gilbert Roberts on as football coach and teacher in September 1919. Mr. Roberts stayed on as coach in all sports, then as athletic director and history teacher until September 1924 when he became the Falls High School principal. Marvin J. McKinney was football captain at Falls High in 1919, an honor he also carried at West Point with the Army team four years later.

In 1924 the football field was again moved, this time to the south side of the school property just behind the houses on the north side of Stow Street. A wooden grandstand that held 300 people was built. This changed the entire atmosphere for the people who had always followed the play up and down along the side line.

In 1939 the seating capacity of the Falls High football grandstand was increased by adding more bleachers and night lights were installed, making it possible to play on Friday nights instead of the old Saturday afternoon games.

Earl C. Clifford, president of the Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education was killed in the “doodlebug” train crash of July 31, 1940. The new Falls High football stadium was then dedicated “Clifford Stadium” in his honor that fall.

In 2013 a new entrance and “tiger trail” was built enhancing and updating Clifford Stadium.

*Adapted from local historian Eric Thompson and used in Cuyahoga Falls: River of Memories.

Copyright © 2014 Cuyahoga Falls: River of Memories by Jeri Holland