LHS Hall of Famers Bender, McBride led Chieftains to 1939 SEOAL crown
Editor’s note: Logan football historian Spencer Waugh is in the process of writing a complete history of Chieftain football, chronicling each season along with the players, coaches and characters that are a part of the Logan football tradition. The following is an example of what to expect.
Seventy-five years ago, the Purple & White claimed their second Southeastern Ohio Athletic League championship — Logan’s first since the legendary 1934 team went undefeated — and here’s a look back at that ‘39 team.
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McBride, who was a tackle in 1938, moved to fullback in ’39 and led the team with 13 touchdowns and was second on the team with 704 rushing yards. He led the Chiefs in passing yards and scoring, putting up 94 points on the season.
McBride was named first-team All-SEOAL and honorable mention All-Ohio while also being selected to the All-Central Ohio team that competed in the Kumquat Bowl in Florida.
Teammates Bill “Mutt” Bryan (a junior halfback), Tracy Conrad (a sophomore guard), and Bill Johnston (a sophomore end) would all eventually join McBride in the Logan High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Bryan led the team with 740 yards rushing.
The Chieftains scored a combined 120 points in the first two weeks in thrashing McArthur (59-0) and Glouster (61-0) to open the season. Then, in the first road trip and opening league contest, the Chiefs snuck past Nelsonville 12-0 on a wet, slippery field.
After following up with league wins over Athens (13-0), Pomeroy (32-0) and Gallipolis (20-0), Logan was both unbeaten and unscored upon through six games.
The Wellston Golden Rockets changed that the next week on the Logan field in a game played in mud up to a foot deep in places.
A 7-0 LHS halftime lead evaporated as Wellston fought back to take a 12-7 lead in the second half before McBride slammed into the end zone for the winning score in a 14-12 victory.
McBride’s heroics reached their peak the following week during Logan’s trip to Middleport.
Two years earlier, the Chiefs had defeated the Yellow Jackets for the first time in eight tries — the two squads did not meet in 1938 — and a special train carried fans from Logan to Meigs County for the game. McBride ensured that the train ride home would be a happy one.
The Yellow Jackets led 20-7 with under six minutes to play — a seemingly insurmountable deficit — but McBride uncorked two touchdowns passes and kicked a pair of extra points to secure a 21-20 victory to clinch a share of the league championship.
The 8-0 start ended there, however. Defending SEOAL champion Jackson topped the Chiefs 6-0 on the Hilltop to create a three-way tie for the title between Jackson, Logan, and Middleport, all of whom finished 6-1.
Logan’s season then finished with a 26-12 loss against Lancaster.
Not enough can be said about both Bender — the LHS grid boss from 1936 to 1941 — and McBride, the first Chieftain to receive All-Ohio recognition. Both were inaugural inductees into the LHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bender won a pair of league titles (the second in 1941) and, for the next 25 years, held the top winning percentage for an LHS coach who coached more than one season.
McBride, the team’s captain and heartbeat, went on to play at the University of Notre Dame under legendary Irish coach Frank Leahy. A guard, McBride was a starter for the Irish but was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II after his junior year in South Bend.
McBride served in Europe, where he was captured at the Battle of the Bulge and kept captive by the Germans for four months and lost over 100 pounds during his captivity. But McBride didn’t let these setbacks stop his athletic career. He returned to Notre Dame and got back in shape to play his senior season.
The Irish were national champions in 1946, and McBride was a Notre Dame captain in that fall’s “Game of the Century” against Army.
Look for a story on the undefeated 1964 (50 years) team in next Thursday’s “Chieftain Football Countdown” section of The Logan Daily News.