From Sportively Speaking, "NDG Monitor" August 4, 1949
by George Cochrane
NDGer's Edgar Mott and Vic Curtis trying out for berths on the Alouettes. Edgar, who catches for Steinberg's Intermediate softball club and who is rated pretty high in that department by our Mel James, learned much of his football out at West Hill under the tutelage of Roy Chesley. He went on to play for the championship NDG Juniors and was last season with the Quebec Swimmers in the intermediate circuit.
Article in “The Monitor” August 11, 1949
Local Junior Gridders Hold Three Drills
NDG's Junior Maple Leafs have had three conditioning drills out on the Trenholme Park layout this past week. The NDGer's were out for the first time this year on Saturday afternoon and returned for repeat performances on Monday and Wednesday evenings
The team's destinies will be guided by a trio of coaches this season. The three mentors are Bill Davies, Sol Mastro and Gordie Lawrence. All have considerable experience on the gridiron.
It's still too early to say how the team is going to shape up but Mssrs. Davies, Lawrence and Mastro will have at least a few promising players to work on. Big Jim Ambrose, massive lineman, and the highly rated Jones brothers from West Hill, are candidates for the team.
All boys interested in playing junior football will be made welcome at the drills.
Article in “The Monitor” September 8, 1949
N.D.G. Maple Leafs Prepare for QRFU Opening
Mastro, Davies Guiding Local Team This Year
President Calls on Residents' Aid to Assure Club of Proper Equipment
By Mel James
This year's edition of the NDG Maple Leafs in the Junior QRFU has power, depth and speed, as a number of former top flight high school stars and several of last year's veterans are holding nightly practices at Trenholme Park.
Under the watchful eye of Solly Mastro, the line coach and Bill Davies who is handling the backfielders, the team looks destined for another big season as they are going all out in the practices so far. Many of last year's “big guns” are not with the NDG team any longer but the high school talent lined up looks capable of filling the backfield chores especially.
New Players Good
West Hill High has again supplied a number of her graduating students for the local QRFU entry, the most popular being big Jimmy Ambrose, whose well educated toe will probably put in good use for converts and field goals. Another West Hillian to join the Maple Leafs is speedy Johnny Harris, rated as fast as the well known speedster Sandy Spence, who was a star of the local high school gridiron a few years ago. Bill Dickie is another well known backfielder of tremendous speed who played with West Hill last year, while trying out for the quarterback slot in place of Bob Gibson is Bobby Pugh, the sensational signal caller for Verdun Fashion Juniors of last year. The championship Westmount squad will also be without the services of Mike Maruska who has joined forces with NDG while other high school stars of last year include Loyola's Frank McLaughlin, a fine safety man, and Jack Connelly playing end. Paul Doyle one of the most valuable players in a Catholic High sweater is also out at the Maple Leaf practices, while others on the roster are Bob Swail, John Martin, Moose Young, who also played for Westmount squad last year, and Manny Barnoff, a hard-hitting back with Montreal High School last year.
While the new players are undergoing their pre-season training with plenty of enthusiasm, a number of last year's veteran players are also getting conditioned for the coming season. Fired with the ambition to regain the championship they lost last year by a single point are such starry backfielders as Billy Bastien and Dick Mignault, while others remaining are Brian Mulvaney, Alec Olson, Bill Wren, Jack Cooke, Bill Wilkinson, and the Jones brothers, Bruce and Leonard. Nothing definite has been made about the return of Bill Dunn and Bill Rattary, who would add a great deal of fighting power to the Maple Leaf lineup.
This year's coaching duties, being handled by Solly Mastro and Bill Davies provides an excellent combination. Solly, a former lineman with the Navy, is a hard talking little man who gets respect from the players, while Bill Davies, the only Montrealer to ever receive the Jeff Russell Memorial Trophy, has a talented eye for picking backfield performers.
The President of the NDG Club, Harry Lawrence, who attends every practice, feels that the local club has again come up with a championship squad. He is quick to point out, however, that residents of the district fail to realize the value of having a local team in the league, and said it was disgraceful to think that something could not be done by the city to provide the park with lights and a shower room so the players could use the proper facilities.
“There are a few residents,” the president said, “who do take a keen interest in the local team, but they are very few, and unless we can find more of them, NDG may not be able to furnish the proper equipment for the players this year, and in future, may not be able to equip a team well enough to enter the league.”
Article In “The Monitor” September 15, 1949
Maple Leafs Juniors Play Opening Game This Sunday
St Aloysius First Opponents For Local Squad
Coach Bill Davies Awaits Game Before Making Any Comments on Strength of Team
By Mel James
28 players have been signed by the executive of the NDG Maple Leafs Football Club and while little is known of the strength the other five teams have mustered, observers feel that the local squad have a good chance to regain the Junior QRFU title.
Coach Bill Davies however had no comment to offer when asked his opinion, stating that the boys must play a game before he could tell their relative strength. “All practices look great,” he said, “but the game with another squad is the thing that tells”.
The local club therefore, may prove to their coach just how strong they are this weekend, as they are scheduled to meet St. Aloysius at Eastward Park, Sunday afternoon. Club President Harry Lawrence has a little more confidence in the team than his two coaches, stating that they are working hard and are in the peak of condition for their initial contest.
The Maple Leafs management have signed an impressive line-up to carry the green and white colours for NDG this year. A number of last year's top notch performers are still left, and with them are well known high school personalities from last year's football fields. The 28 members of the team to see action on Sunday are:
Bill Arnett, Ted Chase, Bill Dickie, Bob Swail, John Harris, Jack Cook, Manny Barnoff, Frank McLaughlin, Dick Mignault, Carl Butler, Mike Maruska, Bill Wilkinson, Len Jones, Jim Ambrose, Bill McLeod, Don Shontz, Ross McCallum, Bill Trudeau, Bruce Jones, Brian Mulvaney, Wenty Young, John Miller, Alex Olsen, Al McLeary, Karl Stenkrud, Paul Doyle, Jack Connolly, and Bill Wren. Gordie Raza of last year's team will miss the first game, but will be in the line-up the following week.
In the backfield slots, Dick Mignault, Carl Butler and Jack Cook are holdovers from last year's Maple Leaf squad. Others from last year are Bill Trudeau, guard; Bruce Jones and Brian Mulvaney, tacklers; Alex Olsen and Bill Wren, ends and Bill Wilkinson, centre.
The remainder of the team are all newcomers to NDG Maple Leafs, though not all are playing junior football for their first year. Mike Maruska, a halfback, Bill McLeod, a guard and Wenty Young, playing tackle, were all members of Westmount Warriors, last year's champions, while Ted Chase, playing a flying wing spot, was a star with Rosemount in 1948. Al McLeary, an end, was a Verdun Fashions junior man last year.
Graduating students from West Hill High supply other players for this year's squad. Both quarterbacks, Bill Dickie and Bob Swail, were former Westhillians, while Bill Arnett, at flying wing, is another. In the backfield, speedy Johnny Harris is a last year high schooler, with Jim Ambrose playing guard and Len Jones, brother of Bruce, moving up from West Hill to play at centre. John Miller, another West Hill student, is playing tackle.
Other player's with this year's local entry in the QRFU, are Manny Barnoff, formerly with Police Juveniles, and Frank McLaughlin, of Loyola, playing halves, Ross McCallum of South Shore Combine Juveniles with Don Shontz, playing guard, Jack Connolly of Loyola, Paul Doyle of Catholic High and Karl Stenkrud, formerly with South Shore Combines Juveniles, complete the team as ends.
Article in “The Monitor” September 22, 1949
Maple Leafs Win Their First Junior QRFU Contest
Down St. Al's 15-6; Meet Rosemount At Home, Sat.
Both Teams Primed for Big Game as Locals Add Bastien, Raza; Game Time 2:15 p.m.
By Mel James
The NDG Maple Leafs of the Junior QRFU League started their season of on the right foot when they took the opening game from St. Aloysius 15-6 at the rain-drenched Eastward gridiron on Sunday.
In a steady downpour the local squad managed to throw 10 forward passes and complete half of them, though most of their gains were made through skillful ground plays.
The Maple Leafs started their scoring in the first quarter when newcomer Bob McLeary tallied a major and MM added an extra point in a convert.
Ed Scully of St. Al's booted a single and Don Rocheford evened the game when he went over for a major that went unconverted.
Big Jim Ambrose put the locals in the lead when he booted a third quarter placement for three points. Following this the game took on a see-saw version, until quarterback Bill Dickie, last year signal caller with West Hill High, went over for a major tally in the last quarter. Big Jim added the extra point to end the scoring.
The win put NDG on an even basis with the South Shore Combines who trimmed Lachine Ramblers on Saturday to the tune of 22-0, and Rosemount Bombers who took last year's champions, Westmount Warriors to the task in a 13-0 drubbing, also played Sunday.
This week, the local squad may move up to a first place tie as they face Rosemount at Trenholme Park on Saturday.
With both teams winners in the opening game it is believed by observers that a closely fought battle is in the making.
The NDG team will add two of last year's standouts to the lineup for the contest, as Bill Bastien and Gordie Raza are out for practices this week. Bastien tied for the high scoring honours last season, while Gord Raza proved one of the fastest runners in the league, his specialty to run back kicks.
The fate of quarterback Bob Swail has not been ascertained as yet. Injured in the first quarter of the St Aloysius game on Sunday, he is still limping around on a badly twisted ankle, so that his entry for this week's important meet is still a question mark.
One of the big men on the Lachine team is Lou Miller, and that can be taken in more than one way. . . Lou's a top notch high school sports writer for the Montreal Gazette, and in addition to this, his big frame can almost match our own Jim Ambrose. Speaking of Jim, it looks as if his well trained toe may be a great help in a closely fought contest this year. . .
Maple Leaf Club President Harry Lawrence is always pretty proud of his team, but admits frankly that he hasn't seen the squad score a touchdown in more than two years . . . He's always at the game, but invariably someone gets hurt or there is something to get, so he has to jump in his car and do errands. . . He usually sees the opening kick-off, and a few of the last minute plays per game.
Both coaches Solly Mastro and Bill Davies feel that the competition is going to be plenty tough this year, and won't make any comments on the eventual outcome. . . only it's going to take a good club to beat them.
Though most of the team are new in the Maple Leafs costume they seem to want revenge for the loss of the championship last year, after playing the league without defeat.
Article in “The Monitor” September 29, 1949
Maple Leafs Charge Into First Place with 30-5 Win
Beat Rosemount; Play South Shore Combines On Saturday
Bill Dickie Assist in 16 Points; Also Makes Major;
Cook, Maruska, Connelly and Ambrose Score
By Mel James
The Maple Leafs charged their way into first place of the Junior QRFU.
They were a tired group of ball players on Saturday afternoon after drubbing Rosemount 30-5. In the dressing room they weren't hilarious, they weren't shouting, they were just plain tired, probably because the ex-Maple Leaf man on the stopwatch, Jack Birmingham, stopped the “ticker” after most of the plays.
Long, lean Bill Dickie was over in the corner quietly removing his football gear. You'd never have known from the expression on his face that he had heaved three touchdown passes, and collected a major for himself. Big Jim Ambrose was sitting quietly on the bench, not making much of an effort to hurry out of the place, while Bill Bastien, who was playing his first game this season, looked to be a little more in a hurry.
There was no telling what mood the Rosemount boys were in for they hopped in the bus immediately after the game and headed for the home park. If it was any consolation to them, they did draw first blood early in the first quarter when Jim Shaw lobbed a 20 yard forward to Emo who ran for another 30 yards for the major.
It wasn't long after that though that Paul Doyle rouged Art Tait behind the line for a single, and then a few minutes later, NDG started a drive from their own 30 which ended up with Dickie going over for a major.
In the quarter, Rosemount started an end extension lateral play on their own ten that went astray. The ball was fumbled and last year's leading scorer in the Junior ranks, Bill Bastien, picked it up on the run and carried it over the line for another major making the score 12-5. Bill Dickie hit Jack Cook with a pass for the convert.
The Leafs were threatened again in the last few plays of the half, but Referee Frank Ulley ruled that they failed to make a first down on their third try with a foot to go to the goal line so the score rested - and so did the players.
During half time Coach Bill Davies said, “You're doing fine, only think that the game is still nothing-nothing and get in there and fight.” Feeling slighted by Ulley's last minute ruling they did just that.
It was early in the third when Dickie's arm went to work, and ended up in a 15 yard forward over the line to Connelly. Jim Ambrose booted another convert with his well trained toe, making the score 19-5.
In the same quarter, Jim Shaw tried to punt, but the ball went up, instead of forward, coming down on their own 25. Jack Cook fell on the ball giving Maple Leafs possession, and on the next play, Bill Dickie heaved another touchdown pass to Jack Cook. Big Jim added the extra point.
The Rosemount Bombers made a last ditch stand at this point, and held the score down until the dying minutes of the game. Jim Shaw reeled out some long forwards, but his receivers failed to make them connect.
Then with three minutes to go, NDG put on another display of downfield charging with signal caller Dickie tossing a neat pass to Maruska who swept over the line for the last major of the game. Dickie tried a convert pass but it failed which finished the scoring at 30-5.
Like all football games, certain players were exceptional throughout the contest. Aside from the flinging arm of Bill Dickie, there was Jack Shaw who caught many of the passes and Gord Raza, who displayed his same old form in broken field running. Gordie galloped for many long gains and was easily one of the outstanding players of the game though he failed to make a score.
Jack Connelly, Jim Ambrose, Bill Bastien, and Mike Maruska were also top ball players in Saturday's contest.
Another break of the ball game was the fact that no injuries were reported from the NDG line-up. Dick Mignault and Bob Swail failed to play on Saturday due to injuries received in the opening contest, but it is believed that they will both see action in Saturday's clash with the South Shore Combines.
This game will be a hard fought, for if the Combines win they will take over first place in the league, while a Maple Leafs victory would cement them solidly in the top spot. The Combines managed to tie Westmount last Saturday to gain a point in the league standings.
The game will be played at the South Shore home grounds, with kick-off time scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
Article in “The Monitor” October 6, 1949
Maple Leafs Meet Westmount Warriors On Saturday
Local QRFU Squad Ready For Last Year's Champs
Dickie, Raza, McLeod Star as South Shore Beaten 20-0 for First Time in Three Seasons
By Mel James
The NDG Maple Leafs spoiled the South Shore Combines record of victories on Saturday…
Hey not only spoilt it: They ruined it with a 20-0 win, making the Combines realize defeat for the first time in three seasons.
The South Shore boys swept to the juvenile title in 1947 and 48 without a loss, and then graduated to the Junior ranks this year to win their first, tie their second and lose their third game to NDG.
The tied game was with Westmount Warriors, and while Westmount hasn't got a good record this year, NDG are liable to throw every ounce of strength into their contest with the Warriors this week-end.
The reason is natural enough. The Maple Leafs had an unblemished record for three seasons, '46 '47 and '48 until the big final play-off game last year. Then Westmount eked out an 8-7 victory for the title, and proclaimed themselves the finest team in the league.
So on Saturday NDG playing at Trenholme Park against the last year's title holders, will have a revengeful attitude which is liable to flare up from the first kick of the ball game. While it is true that Westmount will be the underdog of the contest, the same as they were last year in the final game, it is also true that the Maple Leafs don't intend getting over-confident this time.
Meanwhile the South Shore Combines will in all likelihood try to regain their winning streak, for they are still undoubtedly smarting from the one-sided score of last week's contest with the Maple Leafs.
The scoring started early. When the Maple Leafs were held on two tries for a first down at the South Shore thirty yard line, there was a ripple of laughter in the crowd as Bill Dickie kneeled to hold the ball for Jim Ambrose for a placement try.
He was kneeling on the 40, slightly to the left of the uprights, and “Big Jim” waited for the ball to be placed. But as the pigskin sailed upward there was a groan from the same snickering crowd. The score was 3-0, on a perfect field goal.
That was enough to win the ball game, but NDG lost no time in adding a touchdown. The Combines were given the ball on the 25-yard line, but failing to make yards, they kicked to Bill Bastien. The Maple Leafs started to march down the field. After four first downs in a row, Bill Dickie hit Alex Olsen with a 15 yard pass that netted a major, making the score 8-0. For the convert Dickie again used his flinging arm to Karl Stenkrud, which might have added insult to injury as Karl played for the Juvenile Combines last year.
In the second quarter the Combines got to the Maple Leafs 15-yard stripe and tried to make yards on a first down, but failed. On the next play, Gord Raza, who was again one of the big yard gainers for the local squad, swept around to the 45 yard line. Two plays later Raza displayed another broken field running sprint, and then another with the ball finally resting on the 10 yard line. Bill Dickie carried for the major, making the score 14-0. The convert was no good.
It was a fighting Combines team at the beginning of the second half, outplayed the Maple Leafs during the third quarter. Ambrose tried another placement from close in, but failed, and more than once the Combines were in a scoring position but couldn't make it pay off.
Then in the final stanza, Dickie's arm went to work again and Maruska gathered one in for the last major of the game. Jim Ambrose made the convert count, making the score 20-0.
Combines roared back and got the ball on the NDG one-yard line, then fumbled. It was a bitter blow after a brilliant pass play from McKay to Williams, which netted them 60 yards.
Penalties were fairly heavy on the NDG side once again, and two players received injuries. Bruce Jones, a heavy and most effective lineman limped off in the second quarter with a bad knee, while Manny Barnoff suffered a deep cut over his left eye.
Outstanding in the game against Combines was Bill McLeod, who carried the ball a number of times, intercepted a forward pass by Williams, and was great defensively. Gord Raza was another big gun, while Bill Dickie figured in 16 of the points scored.
Article from “The Monitor” October 13, 1949
Maple Leafs Play McGill Tonight; Lachine Saturday
Extend Undefeated String to Four; Beat Warriors
Bill Dickie's Flinging Arm Again Active As Locals Swamp Westmount Entry 32-0
By Mel James
The Maple Leafs got revenge…
If a 32-0 victory over Westmount Warriors in the Junior QRFU league is revenge for last year's upset victory over the Maple Leafs, they got it.
But the big test for the local squad is tonight when they face a McGill Intermediate squad at Molson Stadium. Some observers feel the Redmen will overshadow the Leafs in all round strength, but others are sure the Maple Leafs can and will come up with another victory.
The game, to be played against the third team Intermediates of McGill at 8:15 p.m. will see the Maple Leafs squad at full strength, except perhaps quarterback Bob Swail who has been out since the beginning of the season. His status is still a question mark, but he is expected to see action in the final league scheduled game for Saturday when the Maple Leafs are playing the Lachine Ramblers, a win starved group of ball players presently down in last place.
The game on Saturday will be their third in six days, and if the club can keep together and score points like they did in the first encounter of that six-day period, it's going to be a fine football week for the Maple Leafs.
The first game was against Westmount, Monday.
Behind the flinging arm of Bill Dickie; the deceptive running of Gord Raza; the fine placement booting of Jim Ambrose; the sticky finger performance of half a dozen pass receivers, and the fine blocking by the whole NDG line, the Maple Leafs rolled up the biggest one sided score of the season.
Game a Rout
Played at the Westmount Athletic Grounds, the game was a rout from start to finish. After three minutes of midfield action, Bill Dickie heaved two consecutive and completed passes the second going to Jack Cook over the Westmount line. Jim Ambrose upped the score to 6-0. In the same quarter Big Jim reeled off another 40 yard placement boot that split the uprights for a field goal and three points, making the score 9-0, and then in the following quarter swivel hipped Gord Raza pranced through the Westmount line for 32 yards and another major score.
The convert failed, but it wasn't long after the third quarter began when Jim Ambrose had another chance at a convert as Bill Bastien roared through the Westmounters for 23 yards and a major score. Big Jim made the extra point making the score read 20-0.
Quarterback Bill Dickie kept his average of a major a game still intact when he took the ball over in the same quarter from about 10 yards out. Ambrose toed another extra point, which ended the scoring for the third quarter.
In the final 15 minutes of the ball game, the Maple Leafs scored another major when Dickie threw a field wide pass to Manny Barnoff out on a sleeper play. Barnoff caught the pigskin behind the Westmount line, and then added another point when Dickie hit him with a convert pass making his ninth completed pass in 14 tries.
The Maple Leafs were the victors in every department. They completed 11 out of 20 passes; made 27 first downs, and intercepted two forward passes attempted by Westmount, who tried 23 and completed eight.
Westmount were forced to kick 10 times to NDG's 5, and the Warriors were only able to manage nine first downs during the contest.
Back in the Maple Leafs dressing room after the game, Bill Dickie had a chance to rib the coach Bill Davies for one play. Dickie had devised a new play off the T formation which was most unconventional, and Davies told him that if it worked, he'd send the play to Frank Leahy, coach of the Notre Dame college squad, and master of the T formation. So Dickie pulled the play during the game and it netted a 20-yard gain. Now the ace flinging quarterback of the Leafs is after the coach to see the play is sent to the famous coach of the Notre Dame team.
Bruce Jones sorry he had to miss the W contest because of a knee injury . . . Bob Swail expected to return to the quarterback slot for Saturday's game against Lachine… Bill Wren was the second string quarterback for Monday and did a good job. . . Bill Trudeau in a big hurry after the game on Monday. . . Bill McLeod nursing an injured finger at half time. . . Some of last year's team ribbing the boys for only winning 14-0 at half time. . . A case of jealousy won't get you anywhere.
Though played in Westmount, the game was actually NDG's home game. . . it was a tough break for Brian Mulvaney who thought the Maple Leafs had swiped Westmount's ball . . . Manny Barnoff getting ribbed by team-mates for the touchdown and convert he got in the final quarter . . The Boys are so football conscious that they wanted to make a trip to Stansted over the week-end if the league game between Lachine and them wasn't on.
Article from “The Monitor” October 20, 1949
Maple Leafs-Warriors Tangle in Semi-Final Saturday
Meet At Westmount Park; Still Remain Undefeated
Beat Lachine Ramblers 15-0 in Sloppy Affair at Trenholme Park; Cook, Raza, Bastien Score
By Mel James
A semi-final clash between Westmount and the NDG Maple Leafs promises to be the highlight of the current QRFU season this sat, at the Westmount Athletic Grounds.
W captured the play-off spot by a slim 13-12 victory over St Aloysius last Saturday, while the Maple Leafs were rolling up their fifth straight win over Lachine.
Despite the one-sided score in the Maple Leafs victory, 15-0, it was Lachine who rated the applause, for they fought valiantly from start to finish against their stronger rivals.
The Leafs played sloppy ball on Sat, and if they continue along the same lines this week in the semi-final clash with Westmount, the same thing that happened last year could happen again.
During the regular play, the Maple Leafs turned on a brilliant game to defeat the Warriors 32-0, running up the biggest one-sided score of the season, but most observers feel that they won't do that this time.
Saturday's contest may have been the reason for the observer's feelings. The Maple Leafs played terribly, being offside on numerous occasions, fumbling the ball, and failing to block along the front wall. While they gained more first downs than the 17-man squad from Lachine, they lacked the real spirit of the game from start to finish and four players were thrown out of the contest for fighting or arguing with the referees.
All scoring was completed in the first half of the game. Near the end of the third quarter, with Danny Harkin of Lachine trying to complete numerous forward passes, one backfired, as Gord Raza speared one at the NDG 45-yard line and went unmolested for the touchdown. The convert failed, but on the last play of the quarter Johnny Harris caught another Lachine pass to start another play by NDG.
The beginning of the second quarter was the only point where NDG rolled up consecutive first downs. Dickie brought his flinging arm into play for one of them, and after two more movings of the yardsticks, Jack Cook carried the pigskin over the line for the major.
The convert failed again, but late in the same period, Bill Dickie heaved a touchdown pass to Bill Bastien for the third and final major.
The second half was a scrappy affair with four Maple Leafs and two Lachine boys getting benched. On the Maple Leafs side, Bruce Jones was the first one tossed out, followed by Alec Stanton, Len Jones and Don Shontz. No scoring on either side resulted in the half but Lachine threatened on several occasions.
It was the third game for the Maple Leafs in one week, which some observers termed as the cause for the bad showing they made against Lachine.
Two nights before they met up with a tough McGill Third team, winning this contest 7-0 on a fluke touchdown and a clean cut single.
The single was scored in the first quarter when the ball, kicked from the McGill 50-yard line, bounded behind the goal posts, and a maze of players piled in to make the tackle.
In the third quarter, Bill Wilkinson blocked a McGill kick with his face. The ball bounded thirty yards, rolled into touch territory where Paul Doyle fell on the elusive pigskin for the major.
Jim Ambrose made the convert.
Jim Ambrose hurt in the McGill affair, forcing him to have three stitches placed in his left hand, and missing the game against Lachine . . . Bob Swail back in action in the McGill encounter . . . his first appearance since being injured in the opening game of the season . . . Bill Wilkinson playing terrific game against McGill . . . he blocked two kicks with his face, the second one for a touchdown . . . The Leafs have rolled up four straight shutouts if you include the exhibition game against the McGillians . . . George Valois of the Senior McGill Redmen, and former player for the Maple Leafs remarking on this year's squad along with Glen Douglas of the Alouettes . . . The boys of the local squad cracking numerous puns about the fact they could have a real shower after the McGill contest . . . They're all looking forward to the big game with Westmount this weekend, and saying that if they win, that it'll be fun playing a two-game total point series championship against the winner of the Rosemount-South Shore semi-final clash also slated for this weekend.
Article from “The Monitor” October 27, 1949
Maple Leafs Meet Rosemount Bombers On Sunday
Locals Play Away For First Of Two Game Final
Win Semi-Final Playdown with Westmount 20-5 on Mud-Soaked Field Last Saturday
By Mel James
The Maple Leafs and the Rosemount Bombers will play the first game of a two game total point series for the QRFU championship at Rosemount on Sunday.
Last Saturday, the local squad qualified for the final round by downing the Westmount Warriors 20-5, while Rosemount soundly trounced the South Shore Combines on Sunday, 31-1
While the Maple Leafs took a 30-5 win over the Bomber crew in their league meeting at Trenholme Park, most observers feel the feat won't be duplicated this week end.
Rosemount have evidently improved since that time, showing plenty of power in their convincing win over the South Shore boys, while NDG hold their undefeated streak, after six straight games.
Saturday's game was no exception to the rule: that NDG pose as the most powerful team in Junior QRFU circuit this year.
At the eight-minute mark of the first quarter, after racking up 4 straight first downs, Johnny Harris went over for a major, with dependable Jim Ambrose booting the extra point.
At the opening of the second quarter, Ambrose tried for a field goal from about 30 yards out but the ball slid off his foot, missing the goal posts but gaining a singleton for the Maple Leafs.
Mike Maruska was the next NDG scorer when he sliced through the middle for 26 yards to the Westmount one-yard line and then bulled his way over on the very next play. Ambrose made the convert, upping the score to 13-0. Before the half ended, Johnny Harris lifted a high soaring punt well behind the Westmount goal line for another single.
With the score 14-0 at the end of the first half, the same as it was at the end of the first half during the league game this year, the Maple Leafs kept on charging the Warriors but were unable to score throughout the third quarter.
Bill Dickie, who's flinging arm is usually good for one or two touchdowns a game remained silent, as he only made four passes, completing one of them. Unsure footing due to the muddy field was another reason why speedy backfielders like Johnny Harris and Gord Raza were slowed up, but midway through the fourth quarter, the latter put on a burst of speed when he intercepted a Westmount pass and romped 35 yards for the major. A converted again making it 20-0, but it was only a minute later when Jimmy Lawson cracked the shut-out, being the first one to do it since the Rosemount encounter early in the season.
He went through the Maple Leafs line, broke out into the open field, skipped around Bob Swail who fell on the mud soaked field and ran for a total of 60 yards for the touchdown. At the goal line Lawson fell, dropping the pigskin but he gathered the ball in under him to make the major. The convert try went unconverted.
There was no further scoring but tempers flared near the end of the game. Gord Raza was benched when he sprung up from a tackle and collided with a Westmount player. The mud soaked players ended the game without further battling after that.
Most of the Maple Leaf players out to see Rosemount trump the South Shore squad Sunday . . . They're practicing hard this week believing that the Bombers have improved . . . plenty of witty remarks passed around during and following the Westmount encounter . . . One Warrior fan was keeping up a steady barrage of shouting during the game which caused Big Jim Ambrose to comment “he must be getting paid by the word”. Gord Raza grinning happily after being ejected from the game and holding up the contest while he patted his replacement Johnny Harris on the back . . . Said Gordie, “What the heck, I was tired anyway”. At the dressing rooms, there was a barrage of jokes cracked about Bill Dickie's so called hat: the one that's turned up at the sides and heaven knows where else . . . Bill McLeod being teased about being carried out of the game for the second time in a row said . . “Well, how else can I get my name in the paper?” . . . Yet with all this easy relaxed attitude, the boys aren't as cocky as they were after beating the McGill Indians a few weeks back . . . They're not going on past performance when it comes to the big finals with Rosemount come Sunday afternoon.
Article from “NDG Monitor” November 3, 1949
Leafs 19 Points Up For Second Title Match on Sat.
Rosemount Hopes Fade As Locals Sweep Ahead
Gordie Raza Stars in Initial Contest; Three to Miss Game at Westmount Athletic Grounds
One of the main reasons for N.D.G. Maple Leafs outstanding record of wins this year is the lineman who are pictured above: Front Row: Brian Mulvaney, Len Jones, Bill Wilkinson and Bill McLeod. Standing are: Jimmy Ambrose, Line Coach Solly Mastro and Alex Stanton.
Bill Davies is seen giving some of the ends tips on the finer points of the game.
Left to right they are: Jack Connolly, Karl Stenskrud, Paul Doyle and Alex Olsen.
By Mel James
The Maple Leafs play their last local game Saturday. . .
It appears from their present standing that it won't be the last game they will be playing, but this year, the QRFU Champions play in Ontario for the Eastern title. And if the Leafs should drop their 19 point lead over Rosemount at Saturday's encounter to be played at the Westmount Athletic Grounds, it will still be the last local game for the team, with Rosemount making the trip to Ontario.
So whatever happens, local fans will have their last glimpse of a Junior QRFU team in action for the year.
Despite the one-sided score, the Maple Leafs were not particularly impressive in registering the 19-point win over Rosemount, Sunday. The line was not tight at the middle strips, but once the Bombers penetrated the 15-yard line, the Leafs rose to the occasion and usually threw them for a loss on the next two or three plays.
One player was impressive. The fleet-footed Gordie Raza was easily the chief star of the contest, reeling off long runs in his usual dipsy-doodle style that had Rosemount's defensive forces completely baffled.
There were others, too, that made long gains for the local team. Bill Wren played one of his best games of the season, snaring a couple of Rosemount passes and going over for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Less than ten minutes after the first quarter had got underway, Jimmy Ambrose booted the picture field goal of the year. With Bill Dickie holding the ball on the Rosemount 40, Ambrose toed a high end-over-end kick that landed on the cross-bar and bounded over for the initial score.
In the second quarter, Gordie Raza made his outstanding run that brought more than 3,000 people up cheering. Taking a wide lateral from Dickie, the speedy Raza swept over end, was stopped, spiraled his way from the clutching hands of a Rosemount tackle, was stopped again, wriggled loose, cut to the left and sidestepped two more Rosemounters to make his way in the clear. Once free of tacklers, he romped easily for the major, having picked up about a 40-yard gain to do so.
A convert pass from Dickie to Karl Stenskrud failed, making the score 8-0 at the half.
In the third quarter, the local squad proved their superiority in all-round play. After being forced back to their forty-yard line, Dickie received a long kick from Rosemount behind the goal-line. He ran the ball out to the one-yard stripe, latteralled to Jack Cook, who was swamped by three Rosemounters at the five. Mike Maruska charged through for a first down on the next play, and a steady march upfield resulted, with Cook, Maruska, Wren and Raza making the long gains up to the Rosemount five-yard line. Bill Wren carried the pigskin at this point, and he plunged through the middle for a major, which Jim Ambrose converted, making the score 14-0.
Late in the last quarter, the Leafs tallied another major when Jack Cook made an almost impossible catch on Dickie's field-wide forward. The convert was no good.
There were more than 3,000 fans watching the game that became rather scrappy at the end. The Maple Leafs and one Rosemounter were thrown out of the contest for fighting, and a minor brawl broke out at the Rosemount bench which held the game up for several minutes of the last quarter.
19 Points Up
So the Maple Leafs will enter Saturday's contest with 19 points to the good. Observers who felt that the Rosemounters might pull the upset of the season have changed their minds pretty well, though some feel that over-confidence might be the greatest asset to a Rosemount win this week.
Most however, feel that the Maple Leafs are one of the strongest junior squads ever assembled in the area. They maintain that the variety of plays, the all-round power of every department and the will to win amongst the players makes the team too powerful for the remainder of the league.
This year's squad has chalked up the biggest record of points for and against in many a season. With seven league and play-off games to their credit, the Leafs have scored 151 points and held their opponents to 16. The lowest score that NDG have made this year is 15-6, that being in the first game of the season, while the highest was the 32-0 shellacking they gave Westmount during the league play. Not counted in these statistics is the exhibition game against the McGill Intermediates which the locals won by a 7-0 score.
A great deal of the credit is being thrown towards the co-coaches of this year's team, Bill Davies and Solly Mastro. Old Catholic High partners, the two split up in junior ranks with Mastro once playing for the NDG Yellowjackets and Davies switched his talents to a CNR team. They met again on the same squad in the Big 4, both playing for Montreal, and in 1941 that Bill Davies was picked as the most outstanding football player in Canada. For this Rating he was awarded the Jeff Russell Memorial Trophy, while two years later Solly was picked as an all-star middle with the Navy team.
Today, Davies coaches the backfield players while Mastro trains the linemen, and most people of the football world think that this is one of the most solid combinations at the present time. They will be on hand to pilot the Maple Leafs on Saturday, with game time slated for 2:15 p.m.
Article from “NDG Monitor” November 10, 1949
NDG Maple Leafs Play Hamilton Wildcats Tomorrow
Beaten by Rosemount 7-5 But Win Series
Capture Third QRFU Championship in Four Years; Leave for Hamilton Tonight
By Mel James
The local favourites are the underdogs….
NDG Maple Leafs, QRFU Champions of 1949 who were the favoured team to cop that crown all season, are now the underdogs as they face the Hamilton Wildcat Juniors tomorrow night at Hamilton Civic Stadium. Should they win, it will repay the drastic defeat in the hands of the same team of 1946, when the Joey Pal led Hamiltonians scored a 22-1 victory over the Maple Leafs.
Despite the win record of the Maple Leafs this season, most observers feel that Ontario puts out bigger and better teams in the junior ranks. This year's squad has never faced Hamilton, and only one member of the team played in the last Hamilton classic, that being Bill Bastien who has been forced to give up playing due to an injury received in the McGill Intermediate fixture over a month ago.
It will be an entirely new team that face Hamilton on Saturday, a team that went through the season with seven wins and one loss, the latter happening in the last local game of the season when Rosemount upset the Champions 7-5. Playing in a mud soaked gridiron at Westmount Athletic Grounds last Saturday the Maple Leafs failed to show much of their tremendous power, while Rosemount put up the battle of a lifetime.
Big Jim Ambrose was the scoring man again for the Maple Leafs, when in the first quarter he booted a three-point field goal from 30 yards out and away off to one side of the field.
The Leafs made it 5-0 in the second period when Karl Stensrud pulled Earl Shaw down behind his own line and with it was the safety touch worth two points.
But in the second half there was a different story, with Rosemount throwing everything they had into the contest. First George Binsley booted a single at the top of the fourth quarter and then Al Robinson broke up the ball game when he pounced on an NDG fumble from a bad snap behind the Maple Leafs goal line. Binsley booted the convert, and that, making the score 7-5, saw the Leafs charge upfield in a desperate attempt to keep their winning streak intact. But time ran out. In the last play of the game Ambrose may have booted another three point specialty for certainly he was within striking distance of the uprights but Dickie elected to try a pass over end to Mike Maruska. The ball, wet and slimy, bounded out of Maruska's hands and the game was over with the Maple Leafs suffering their first defeat of the season, but winning the two-game series, 24-7.
There is no disgrace in losing a ball game, certainly not in a game like the one Saturday. The Leafs have experienced a tremendous season, scoring 156 points for and allowing only 23 to be scored against them. They shutout four of their opponents, South Shore, Westmount, Rosemount and Lachine, and played a brilliant game against the McGill Intermediates which the Maple Leafs won 7-0.
But now the big test is here. Hamilton, last year's Dominion champions are the team to beat, and the Leafs are their opponents.
Should Leafs pull off a win they will at once enroute for a trip out west and the Dominion final; should they lose tomorrow night under the arc lights of Hamilton Civic Stadium, they will return to Montreal and pack up their gear for another year.
Coaches Bill Davies and Solly Mastro of the NDG Maple Leafs announced the starting lineups this afternoon for the Hamilton Wildcat game in Hamilton.
Playing in the quarterback slot will be Bill Dickie, while the first halfbacks to see action in tomorrow night's final will be Jack Cook, Johnny Harris and Bill Wren.
Bill Wilkinson , who missed the last game against Rosemount due to a tonsil operation will be the starter at snap, while Jim Ambrose and Bill McLeod will handle the first duties of inside wing.
Wenty Young and Brian Mulvaney will play middle for the first part of the game; Ted Chase will hold down the flying wing spot and Paul Doyle with Jack Connolly will play the end positions.
Others making the trip are Bob Swail, Gordie Raza, Manny Barnoff Alec Olsen, Ross McCallum, Mike Maruska, Bill Trudeau, Karl S, Don Shontz, Bill McDonald, Len Jones, and Dick Mignault.
Jim Ambrose Leads Maple Leafs Scorers
Jim Ambrose is the leading point-getter for the NDG Maple Leafs, despite the fact that he missed one game of the season. The Leafs heaviest player, Ambrose has booted a total of 28 points, while Bill Dickie and Gordie Raza are tied for second spot with both players scoring four majors for 20 points each.
Mike Maruska is third with 16 points, and Bill Bastien who tied for the league scoring honors last year and is now on the injured list since the Lachine contest, is tied for fourth place with 15 points to his credit, the same as Jack Cook.
Article from "NDG Monitor" November 17, 1949
Maple Leafs End Grid Season - Lose To Hamilton
Locals Suffer Worst Defeat In Four Years
Overpowered by Wildcats 31-0;
First Time NDG Has Lost Two Games in Succession
Gordie Raza, one of the longest ground gainers for the locals at Hamilton, is being hit hard by two Wildcat players while Don Shontz (68) is running over to see if he can help out.
Jack Cook lays a hand on a Hamilton backfielder with Wenty Young (70), Jack Connolly (55) and Brian Mulvaney (51) rushing in to help down the fleet-footed Hamiltonian.
It's all over. . .
The Notre Dame de Grace Maple Leafs, Quebec Rugby Football Union Champions of 1949 bowed to the Hamilton Wildcat juniors 31-0 in a sudden-death final Friday night.
They were outplayed in every department, and there are no excuses for the beating which Gordie Raza predicted to the exact score just before game time.
Not that the local lads didn't try to ruin that prediction, Raza included. They showed plenty of spirit; they fought their best; they never gave up; and they took the defeat like true sportsmen.
It was evident that the Maple Leafs didn't belong in the same league. Before the game, sports writers and radio commentators were outlining the history of this year's team; shouting their praises of the Hamilton squad; describing it as the finest junior team ever turned out in Canada, and then the team went out to prove it.
It started in the first quarter. Jim Ambrose booted the kickoff and Hamilton was held at the 35-yard line. Then they rolled up four first downs before they bogged down, the Leaf line throwing everything they had into the contest in order to stop the march.
Brian Timmis, standing on the 25-yard line, booted, on purpose, a short kick and the Maple Leaf safety man tried to run it out. But a hard tackle made him drop the ball with Wally Bashak of Hamilton being the major man as he fell on the loose ball. He converted his own touchdown, and then kicked to the Maple Leafs, who ran up two first downs before being stopped.
Before the quarter was over, MacDonald of Hamilton booted a long kick to Bob Swail, the safety man, who ran it into to touch for another Hamilton point. Hamilton added another seven points in the second quarter.
Displaying excellent booting form, Brian Timmis booted another singleton at the start of the second quarter, making it 8-0, and Rogers intercepted a Maple Leaf forward pass a few minutes later to give the Hamiltonians a first down on the NDG 25-yard line.
Guay took it 15 yards, and Brian Timmis added a major two plays later, with Wally Bashak again adding the extra point, making it 14-0.
At half time the Quebec champions weren't discouraged and far from beaten. Bill Davies, the co-coach of the squad, told them quietly that they were fighting a good team; that they had to fight harder and that all was not lost.
But the fatal third quarter spelled further disaster. The Hamiltonians got a further break when they capitalized on a bad snap. A determined and heavier Leaf line held for two plays from their one-yard strip but Hamilton's third attempt was successful with Harras carrying the pigskin over. The convert was blocked.
It was now or never. Hamilton kicked the ball and Gordie Raza, taking it on the dead run, swivel-hipped his way for 35 yards before being tackled, with more than 4,000 fans cheering him on.
Cook, Dickie, Raza and Wren then combined to take the ball all the way to the Hamilton 23-yard line, where Dickie tried a pass. The pass was good to the 13 but as the receiver was tackled hard the ball spun out of his hands and a Hamilton player recovered.
A 25-yard run, an exchange of kicks and a long pass was the next major scored by the Wildcats, with Brady doing the receiving for the major. The pass was from Dawson who then booted the extra point, making it 25-0. MacDonald booted another single and with the minute flag up, Dawson fired another 30-yard pass to Dilks for the final major of the game.
Soundly trounced, the Maple Leafs were nevertheless not ashamed of their showing. They knew that they had been beaten by a better team; they knew they had tried their best, that it had been an honest and straightforward defeat, one that smashed two long-standing records of the local squad.
First of all it was the first time in the last four years that the Maple Leafs have lost two games in succession, having been beaten by the Rosemount Bombers the week before, and secondly, it was the worst drubbing the team has ever taken in the same four years, the worst before this being in the hands of the same Hamilton team when the Leafs lost 22-1 in Hamilton.
Many thanks to Myer Insky who presented the Maple Leafs with a complete new set of sweaters just before the game on Friday. . . Jimmy Ambrose set the pattern on the way up in the coach when he put his pajamas on a few minutes after boarding the train. . . most were wishing Paul Doyle would follow suit. . . Jack Cook deserves a special mention for the spirit he showed in playing. . . despite an injured back Jack was in the game playing his usual charging style in the backfield slot. . . he gained his parents' permission to partly freeze his back so he could play.
* * *
Len Jones was the only casualty of the contest when he had to leave with a bad ankle. . . Bill Wren received a black eye when he was hit hard by the Hamiltonians in the first quarter but he stayed in the game. . . Gordie Raza got applause from the crowd when he swivel-hipped his way for 35 yards on running back a Hamilton kick. . . he also made a prediction just before game time that the Leafs would lose 31-0. . . you're so right. . . Bill Dickie sorry he couldn't make a better showing. . . his folks were in the stands. . . Bob Swail getting a nod of approval from the Hamilton press box when he conceded a point to Hamilton. . . Alec Olsen more than peeved when he heard some Hamilton players call the Maple Leafs "Pea Soups" as the game ended. . . Bill McLeod saying it would be a great idea to form a basketball club from the players if they could get a spot to practice and play in.
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Article from "Hamilton Spectator" November 12, 1949
Wildcats Earn Right To Meet Vancouver
Blank Montreal With 31-0 Show
Powerful Hamilton Squad Runs Wild In Eastern Canada Age-Limit Final
Wildcat juniors last night stamped themselves as one of the greatest junior teams ever developed in the east when they swamped Quebec's best, Montreal Notre Dame de Grace, under a 31-0 count in the eastern Canada final played before 2,000 fans at the Civic Stadium.
Dazzling their heavier opponents with the variety of their attack, the Cats swept the NDG Maple Leafs into the sticky underfooting with an onslaught that picked up 20 first downs.
Definite arrangements were expected to be made some time today on a Vancouver-Hamilton series for the Dominion title.
The Vancouver club turned back Saskatoon Hilltops, last year's finalists, 16-12 yesterday and are hoping to arrange a two-game total-points series with the locals to be played in Vancouver November 26 and 29.
Defensively, the Wildcats turned in their usual brilliant game. They gave up two first downs in a row in the first quarter and three more in the third and the rest of the time the visitors were banging up against a stone wall. The celebrated passing attack of the Montreal club was also stopped cold as they completed but one of 10 passes, four being intercepted.
A converted touchdown and a single point put the locals up 7-0, at the end of the first quarter while another converted major and a singleton gave them a 14-0 lead 1t the half way mark. One try in the third and two more in the fourth, one converted, along with a singleton, made up the 31 points.
Hard to Pick Stars
The ball-toting for the Hamilton club was well divided as almost all of the backs came up with standout performances. Bob MacDonald was driving with the speed and abandon of a run-away train while Bud Guay, Floyd Cooper, Tommy O'Connor, Brien Timmis and Frank Dilks were just one step behind. Timmis and MacDonald turned in some great kicking to hold a big edge over the visitors in this department.
Up front it was just as difficult to pick stars. Jack Rogers, Paul Yachetti, Jim Dodds, Ed Walker, Walt Bashak and Butch Guthro were all terrific.
The Wildcats showed the crowd in the first few minutes of play that they were headed for another of their one-sided victories. They took the kickoff and reeled off four first downs with Brian Timmis finally booting from the 20. The Montreal safety man fumbled behind the line and Bashak fell on it for a major. He also kicked the convert. MacDonald got away a long kick to Swail who stepped over the deadline to concede the point.
Interception Paves Way
Timmis added another singleton in the second when his kick bounced over the touch-in-goal line. Jack Rogers then intercepted a pass only 25 yards out and Bud Guay raced for 20 on the next play. Brian Timmis went over three plays later and Bashak kicked the extra point.
Montreal's only scoring threat came in the third quarter when they pushed to the Wildcat 13-yard line only to lose the ball on a fumble. Hamilton pushed right back and kept the Leafs hemmed in their own end the rest of the night. A bad snap on third down gave the cats possession only one yard out and Ottie Harras scored the touchdown after two line smashes had failed.
Two Touchdown Passes
Another drive culminated with Dawson throwing a forward to Brady from only two yards out. Dawson booted the convert. In the final minutes, Montreal lost the ball on their own 25 trying for yards on their third down. Dawson heaved a 30-yard pass to Frank Dilka who made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch to go over standing up.
Gordie Raza was best for the visitors, accounting for almost all of their yardage gained.