1951 Undefeated Kulpmont Wildcats
- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 3, 2024
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Although Kulpmont football is best remembered by the legacy of the 1938 Eastern Conference/State Championship Team and followed by the 1945 Eastern Conference Championship Team, one of the greatest of all times was the 1951 edition. That eleven went 10 and 0 during the 51 season and gave up only 47 points while scoring 333. They were denied their rightful place in history when Tamaqua refused to play the Wildcats that season. You see, the Blue Raiders had been defeated by a 61-0 score in 1950 and didn’t want more of the same in 51. Because of the old Eastern Conference rating system, the Wildcats were nosed out by Pottsville for the Southern Division Crown.
The Wildcats were coached that season by Ed “Truck” Stavenski and Bobby Balent. What is amazing is that it was their first year at the helm for both men after taking over for Bob Magalski. Their field leader was captain Nick Bruno, who died saving a fellow workman in July of 1954. They began the year with a convincing win over arch rival Mount Carmel Township by a score of 26-0. Wins over West Hazleton, Ashlad and West Mahanoy Township set up a 34-6 victory over former coach Mike Terry and the Red Tornadoes. They followed that with easy wins over Minersville, Shenandoah and Shamokin. They then defeated Coaldale 32-0 and Coal Township 20-0, avenging their only two losses from the 1950 campaign.
The Wildcats were paced by Harry “The Mailman” Malick, for QB Lashendock would give him the “Mail” and he would deliver. And deliver he would! <ailck went on to score 90 points that season, second only to Joe Pezelski’s 138 during the 1938 season. Malick also scored 18 points in the Coaldale game, good enough to tie the 4th best game in Kulpmont history. His 78 yard run vs Shenandoah is good enough for 7th on the all time Kulpmont list. Sugar Lashendock threw TD passes of 69 yards to Malick and 68 yards to Leo Fuginitti against Coal Township and Mount Carmel Township. Lashendock also chipped in with a 60 yard interception return vs West Mahanoy Township and a 70 yard punt return vs Mount Carmel and 60 yarder vs West Mahanoy Township.
Of course nothing would happen without the front line of Bob Stark, Tony Toter, Steve Pisarz, Joe Wanzie, Rollo Rovito, Puddin Head Yasenchak, Nick Bruno, Charlie “Chow Dog” Else, Jimmie “Dun-Dun” Rovito, Joe “Baggie” Wisneski, and George “Gal” Goodelunas. One of the reasons for success of the 51 Wildcats was the challenges they faced in practice every day. Many of their second team players could have started for other teams, but this was a TEAM. It really felt odd when Bruno, Rovito and Murdock went on to play at Mansfield and they had to play against their old QB Lashendock at Bloomsburg. But today, these Wildcats come together again to be recognized as one of only four undefeated teams in the 34 year history of Wildcat football.