Football at East Liverpool High School has become one of the communityís great traditions dating back to 1898 when the school first fielded a team. From that humble beginning, the sport has been embellished by a history of strong competition, great victories and heart-breaking defeats. From the time the first ELHS team lost their initial contest under Coach Dennis McCarron to the Diamond Indians, the Blue and White have compiled a 471-435-27 record.
Much of the success of the program has come from those dedicated "behind the scenes" individuals who seldom receive credit for their efforts. Heading that list is Pete Coplin, who has been the teamís official scoreboard operator for more than half a century. As a tribute to Pete, the press box at Patterson Field officially bears his name. Now assisting Pete is his son Jerry.
In the booth next to the Coplins is another press box veteran, Mike Kapp, who has served at the PA systems "voice of the Potters" since the mid-1960ís. Kapp, who played for Coach Lou Venditti, is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, and is a practicing attorney on West Fifth Street. He is ably assisted by Bob Kelly, president of the Blue and White Touchdown Club. Kelly is a great grandson of W.E. Wells, early Homer Laughlin principal, whose son Edwin played for and coached the Potters in the early part of the century.
For nearly 20 years, the radio voice of the Potters has been Rob Pratte, however, increased demands on his time with KDKA in Pittsburgh in recent years, have curtailed his time at Patterson Field. Veteran WOHI broadcaster John Rambo will be back for another season along with Dan Bing and "The Admiral," Craig Burbick. Burbick has filled every capacity at the West End ball park, first as a player for Coach Lou Venditti, later an assistant coach under Bob Morris and finally as an announcer. The United States Naval Academy grad is a low handicap golfer and serves as a consultant to numerous companies.
John Bobalik, assisted by Don Pickering, faithfully keeps statistics with accuracy, and expediency. Upon completion, team webmaster Jimmy Joe Savage enters the stats onto the teamís web page (www.potterfootball.com); usually before midnight from his home office for fans to pick up across the nation and around the world. Savage, a member of the ELHS Class of 1980 is an employee of the school transportation department.
Rounding out the press box crew is Linda Thayer, wife of Coach Bob Thayer and a successful coach in her own right with the ELHS girlís track team.
The difficult task of maintaining the grounds at Patterson Field falls on the shoulders of Ron Crabtree, newly appointed custodian of the "House of Monroe," replacing the retired Jack Saling. Crabtree, who for the most part works alone, must keep the playing surface in shape for both football and soccer while keeping both the locker rooms and stands in tip-top shape.
The tradition of longevity continues with the sideline chain crew headed by emeritus supervisor Bob Duke. Active members include George Jones, "Butch" Warrick, Jerry "Smoke" Stovall and John Dailey. Another devoted member of the sideline crew is Harry Malone who not only assists with the Freshman team, but also patrols the end zone, keeping law-and-order following extra point and field goal attempts.
Also seen at his familiar sideline position for all home games is Dr. Bob Beatty, another long-time volunteer. A graduate of ELHS and the Ohio State School of Medicine, Beatty spent seven years in the military before returning to establish a medical practice in his hometown, and serve as team physician.
Dave Maly, who has served seven United Methodist Churches in the East Ohio Conference, has found a home in East Liverpool, and especially as team chaplain for the Blue and White. A graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College and the United Methodist Seminary of Ohio, Maly spent several years in industry prior to entering the ministry.
No Friday night at Patterson Field would be complete without a marching band and East Liverpool High School has one of the best under the direction of Don Caiazza and his assistant Robert Rollo. Caizza, a graduate of Youngstown State University, is married to the former Sharon Yanni of East Liverpool who serves as guard instructor for the band. Rollo, also a graduate of YSU, additionally serves as music instructor at the junior high level.
Finally, there are the Potter faithful who come from all walks of life to support their team. From attorneys and doctors to ex-players and cheerleaders everyone sports the Blue and White on Friday night when their team takes the field, all part of a great East Liverpool tradition.
You can always get back to the
by clicking on Patterson Field in the top left corner.