St. Vincent High School History

by

Prof. Michael Rustad

I was recently cleaning out my basement and ran across some old xerox of a St. Vincent High School newspaper or perhaps an Annual. The St. Vincent football team of 1928 or so was pictured: In the front row, there weas Jimmy Bernath, Billy MacKay, Allen Smith, John Fitzpatrick, and Harris Easter. The Center Row depicted Merlin Twamley, Donald Hutchins, Johnny Smith, Ralph Cameron. The back row pictured George Sylvester, Jim Gooselaw, Fred Stranger, and Professor G.H. Good. I was always interested in the details of everyday life. As a lay historian, I am far more interested in everyday life than in big events: floods, wars, or border clashes. The St. Vincent High School apparently had a full ledger of activities. I would argue that St. Vincent had a far more complete sports program than Humboldt in the 1920s. Certainly, there would be a case for St. Vincent to have had a complete sports program for girls and boys. They had a town team for St. Vincent as well as teams for both the boys and girls in all sports save football. In addition, the St. Vincent yearbook shows that the school had hockey team, a baseball team, a track team, a football team as well as drama, singing groups, etc.

I was particularly interested in the fact that the school would plan big football games to coincide with the St. Vincent Fair. In the 1928 game, it was Stephen v. St. Vincent. St. Vincent was beaten 26 to 12. The Stephen backfield was largely held in check by "the husky tackles," John Fitzpatrick and Merlin Twamley. In that game, George Sylvester, the St. Vincent fullback, made a sensational run of 60 yards, early in the second quarter, cutting Stephen's lead at the time, 12 to 6. The best athlete on the team was James Gooselaw, the right halfback for St. Vincent. Gooselaw received a punt in the Third Quarter and ran for 70 yards and the touchtown. The brief descriptions of these games do not point to a school name like the Huskies from Humboldt-St. Vincent High School. The game was played on a beautiful, sunny September Day with a huge crowd by St. Vincent standards. As the reporter noted, "The game was played on a warm afternoon with little wint to interfere. The game was played in connection with the Kittson County Fair, added as a special feature.

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I was fascinated that St. Vincent played other football games at Neche, Cavalier as well as Stephen. St. Vincent met one of the best teams in North Dakota when they faced Cavalier on October 27, 1928. The Cavalier boys had been playing football for four years. The Cavlier boys worked liked a clock and cleaned St. Vincent's clock 67-0. The reporter noted that this was no disgrace as "Cavalier was the strongest team in North Dakota having defeated Devils Lake, Valley City, and Grafton decisively. "A defeat of 67-0 at the hands of Cavalier was not disgrace."

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Another item pictures St. Vincent's hockey team. Jim Gooselaw, Fred Stranger, Allen Smith, Roy Clow, Manuel Gooselaw, Cecil Smith, and Billy MacKay were mainstays on the team. The goalkeeper was Ralph Cameron. Apparently, St. Vincent's team played local teams in the area as well as Manitoba teams.