Tiger football: A 1939 retrospective

LUSK – 1939 was a long time ago, America was coming out of the depression, yet to enter World War II. Tough times were everywhere, yet high school football was an event in towns across the country.

Both Lusk and Manville had teams and faced off 11 times from 1930-41 but did not play each other in 1939.

The Tigers were led by Warren Scoggan and closed the 1930s with a pair of winning seasons. Scoggan coached just three seasons (1938-40) and in the first two his teams went 10-5-1. Many felt the ’38 team was stronger, but the 1939 team would post a 5-3 record, for just the third winning season of the decade.

The Tigers opened the season at Edgemont, S.D. – one of the areas toughest teams and came home with a 20-6 defeat. They recovered from the loss to defeat the Scottsbluff, Neb. JV, 26-0, but a stout Lingle team beat Lusk 13-6 at the fairgrounds site. Jack Hunter returned from injury to help the Tigers defeat Guernsey, 26-0, Newcastle, 19-6 and Wheatland, 7-0.

Several mentions are made in the 1939 Lusk Herald archives of size differentials of the mostly smallish Lusk boys facing much bigger opponents. Some things never change for Tiger Football.

Torrington was a good example of this – always bigger, more athletes and had their way with Lusk for the majority of that rivalry. The 1939 Tigers were a very good team but not strong enough to beat the Trailblazers at Wiseman Field. Lusk lost 27-0 but finished on a winning note with the traditional Armistice Day game against Douglas. The Bearcats, like Torrington, were much bigger and usually got the best of Lusk but in 1939 the Tigers put together a 20-6 win.

There were no playoffs like we enjoy today yet Lusk finished third in the E.C.W.A.

Some of the Lusk players included: Jim Potter, Joe Mashek, Jack Hunter, Earl McKinnis, Albert Hoy, Otto Klemke, Jim Meng, Eugene Guibalt, John Smith, Dick Mills, Val Edmonson, Hugh Gunn, Art Mashek, Foley.

Other notable events from 1939: General Motors introduces first automatic transmission for their 1940 Oldsmobile models. Batman makes first appearance in DC Comics No. 27. Lou Gehrig ends streak of 2,130 consecutive games for the New York Yankees, who still won the World Series 4-0 over Cincinnati. The first Little League baseball game was played in Williamsport, Pa. Lusk High School graduates 53 and Manville High School graduates 25 students. Lusk hosts state fireman’s tournament, June 21-23. The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind debut in movie theaters. Aug 30 Germany invades Poland. Sept 1 World War II begins. While this major historical event unfolded and cannot be dismissed, it was interesting to note how little of it was included in the archives.

(Writer’s note: this article was written with the assistance of The Stat Rat, Wyoming-football.com and The Lusk Herald archives.)


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