Charles LaLonde, Daniel McCartan, Joseph Borer, Aloysius A. (Wishy) Kramer, Arthur Houck, Florian Meng, Robert Zahn
Harold Mang, Victor Hartzell, James Weinandy, Louis Hoffman, Kenneth Conrad, Howard Seitz, Harold Reinhart
John Saad, Gilbert Crist
The school was founded in 1923 under the guidance of Bishop Samuel Alphonsus Stritch as the Tiffin Catholic High School. Rev. Anthony J. Gallagher was chosen as the first principal. During the 1925/26 school year the school was given the name “Calvert,” named for the Calvert family of Baltimore, Maryland.
All classes were held in the Ursuline Convent building until 1954 when the current building was erected. From that point until about 1970 classes were held in both buildings. At that time the use of the Convent as a part of the school was discontinued. The old Convent was finally demolished in the mid 1970’s.
The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that stood in the center of the
Courtyard of the old Convent was returned to the school in the mid 1990’s.
She is now prominently displayed to public view within a glass case mounted
on the outside of the building’s third floor. From here she gazes down
on the site of the old Convent.
The Calvert News newspaper first published February 12, 1926. The 1925/26 school year had 4 Volume 1 issues. the first Editor in Chief of the paper was Francis Reinhart. The Calvert yearbook was named Calvertana in a nearly unanimous vote of faculty and students in December, 1926. Over 350 copies of Volume 1 were distributed in June, 1927 at a cost of $1.50. Harold Reinhart was the first Editor in Chief. In 1926, Calvert became the first school in the diocese to institute an official shield. It was drawn by Calvert student Vincent Omlor. The block C was first awarded as the official athletic letter in December, 1926. Prior to that, a monogrammed TC was used. Mission work was established at Calvert in December, 1927 at the urging of Father Herman Gabel. The Calvert Alumni Association was first organized on June 10, 1927, the day after the first graduation at the Grand Theater.
The first Calvertana, the school yearbook, contained a foreword written by the founder, Bishop Stritch:
(pictured; Bishop Samuel A. Stritch)
“There is a debt that you owe to Calvert High which must consume your life in paying.
CALVERT DEMANDS that you be men and women of deep faith. Religion must be the dominant force in your lives, for heaven is your ultimate goal.
CALVERT DEMANDS that you be men and women of that fine patriotism which your religion enjoins as a distinct phase of the virtue of charity. Never must you say, even in the secrecy of your hearts, that you are not your brother’s keeper, but ever you must remember that you have a social duty to your fellow-countrymen.
CALVERT DEMANDS that you never neglect an opportunity for self-improvement or the acquisition of useful knowledge. A trained and well-informed intellect is, when combined with sturdy Christian character, the world’s greatest force.
CALVERT DEMANDS that you be ever, even in your leisure, occupied. No
life is so useless as an idle life, no excuse so false as I could have
done better. Only a few years are allotted to you - these you dare not
(Pictured; Aloysius A. "Wishy" Kramer)
Aloysius A. “Wishy” Kramer was a 1924 graduate of Tiffin Columbian High School. The 1924 Blue and Gold, the school yearbook, states about him; “None but himself can be his parallel.” As a football player he proved to be an exceptional quarterback. Although short of stature he was an inspiration to his teammates. The following is taken from the 1923 Blue and Gold.
“ALOYSIUS KRAMER; Wishie, Babe, Rudulphvalentino.
The field general of our machine of destruction. He ran the team like Foch ran the Allies. He had the ‘orneriest’ knack of knowing just where to shoot one of our backfield thunderbolts at the right time. A weak spot in a line was as plain to him as a hole in a doughnut. Whenever he wanted to be real mean he just picked himself up and sneaked through the line for a toothsome little gain. He was as hard to hold as a greased pig. At the Lima game he cracked his beak; the M. D’s. call it a broken nose, but that didn’t make a particle of difference to him, for the very next game found him at his right place with some kind of false face on to scare the opponents. Tough egg. His toe was made for drop kicks at which art he is a past-master. Next season will find him still running the team.
Quarterback ‘21, ‘22.”
The 1924 Blue and Gold had this to say;
“CAPT. ALOYSIUS KRAMER. ‘Wish,’ ‘Wishie’
‘Who’s the best quarterback and captain Tiffin High ever had?’ The answer is unanimous, ‘Wish’ Kramer. He ran the team as captain and quarter as no one else could have run it. He knew when a play would work and when it wouldn’t. He knew what the other team would do and he put the spirit into his own team to stop them. But that’s not all - did you say ‘triple threat’? He wasn’t anything else but. His reputation was spread over all of Northwestern Ohio. Those 50 and 60 yard punts, those drop-kicks, those accurate passes, and the wonderful runs, were only a few of the things other coaches had to drill their men against. He wasn’t big, but - oh! He was right there all the time, and other teams were impressed, and will remember him for his gameness and sportsmanship as well as for his playing. It will be hard to fill his position with anyone nearly so good.
Quarterback, ‘21, ‘22, ‘23.”
He was also the captain of the basketball team at Tiffin High. The 1924 Blue and Gold had this to say;
“CAPTAIN ALOYSIUS KRAMER. ‘Wish.’ A number of great basketball stars have gone out from T. H. S., but none have been any better than ‘Wish’ Kramer. As captain of the team he instilled pep into the squad that brought them out from under more than once. His phenomenal passing, dribbling and shooting were in themselves responsible for more than one victory. Other teams knew him and toward the close of the season he had two guards following him continuously. This was his third year on the squad. Although playing only one game in the tournament, his spectacular exhibition won him a place at the top of the list as All-Regional Forward.
Forward ‘22, ‘23, ‘24.”
The 1924 Blue and Gold contained a story entitled “Prophecy of the Class of ‘24.” Therein was this prophetic statement. “.....In the conversation she told me that Aloysius Kramer was teaching the Swedish youths the great game of football. He is developing a team with which he expects to beat Harvard.” This statement makes it very clear that his classmates knew early on that Wishy was destined to be a coach.
Wishy did indeed coach! The following year he became the Father of Calvert Football. After the 1924 season he left for a couple of years in order to finish his education at Heidelberg College. In his absence the team was led by Coach Meier. Kramer then returned to coach the team through the 1945 season, after which the team was coached by Mr. Joseph Muller. Kramer then became Athletic Director and remained coach of the basketball team, as well as an assistant football coach to Muller.
Most editions of the Calvertana had kind words and high praise for the football program and for Coach Kramer. The following quotations are from the 1930 Calvertana:
“‘The spirit of Calvert is showing results in athletics as in other activities.’ - COACH KRAMER
Football vitalizes Calvert spirit and broadcasts that spirit to friends of the school and lovers of the game. The Calvert gridiron game is made lively by the spirit of those heroes who stopped many a march to victory, reversed the forces of that charge on the one-yard line and fought to victory in a last minute of play. ‘Tis true that Calvert would be an extremely worthwhile institution without football, but we also know that it is a much better place with football. The game is an asset well worth it’s maintenance. The school’s football men represent, not a roughneck group, but the most finished, best educated in the wide sense, and the finest specimens, generally, of Calvert products. Athletes, in addition to the ordinary curriculum, receive a special training in mind, body and emotions.”
Following his final season as Head Football Coach, the 1946 Calvertana had this to say:
Under the guidance of Coach A. A. Kramer, Calvert gridmen and cagers have once again completed a successful year. Not only has Mr. Kramer proved a guiding spirit to Calvert athletes, but he has also been a help and inspiration to all Calvert students during his seventeen year regime. He is noted for his unswerving sportsmanship, a quality which he strives mightily to impress upon his players. This, Calvert’s book of memories, would be incomplete without a special word of thanks to ‘Coach’ on the part of the class of 1946.”
In 1974, as a Calvert football player, I remember the 50th year reunion
of the 1924 team as a part of the pre-game festivities. Coach Kramer,
then an old man, gave us the pre-game pep talk in the locker room. Even
then, although frail, he was an inspiration to us, and it was easy to see
why this man held such a prominent place in the history of Calvert High
School, as well as in the hearts of all who called him “Coach.” and friend.
On September 25, 1924, on Armstrong Field the Tiffin Columbian football team played in their annual game against the alumni team. The Captain of the previous year’s team was chosen as the coach of this year’s alumni team. That young man was Wishy Kramer. In that game the alumni gave the boys a lesson in solid defensive play and working as a team, in handing the Columbians a 6 - 0 defeat.
This was Wishy’s first taste of coaching. It became clear that he was a natural born leader. That same year Rev. Anthony J. Gallagher had him scraping together the beginnings of that long honored tradition, now known as Calvert Football.
The school was in it’s second year of existence, and was then known as Tiffin Central Catholic. The local papers, the Seneca Advertiser and the Tiffin Tribune, made particular mention of the fact that the Catholic gridders had been enduring some “stiff workouts.” Wishy was indeed a tough coach. Although he did not swear around the boys, it was not unusual to hear him yell, “Son of a brick!” with plenty of feeling.
On October 23, the team got their first taste of competition in a scrimmage against Columbian, with whom they had had some of their practice sessions. In this scrimmage no time out was taken for the half and the field was not even marked off. The Catholics did not yet have uniforms. As the Tribune put it, “The refereeing was mostly guess work.” The young Catholics made a good showing in playing the Columbians to a 0 - 0 tie. Central Catholic’s game was marred by fumbles, but both newspapers agreed that they mostly outplayed Columbian. The Tribune made particular mention of the play of James Weinandy and Louis Hoffman in the backfield, and Joe Borer and Art Houck on the line.
I believe that it is likely that coach Struble’s team probably took the Catholics lightly. With Fostoria set to come to town on the following weekend it would be so easy to do. But I also believe that they were greatly surprised by the determination and fight in this group of Freshmen and Sophomores.
The following Saturday, November 1, Tiffin football fans were set up with a full slate. For the first time there were three high schools playing games in Tiffin on the same day.
At the top of the list was the Tiffin - Fostoria game, which had already heated up into a full blown rivalry. Knowing that Fostoria would be sending “snoopers” to look in on their last few practices before the game, Coach Struble held them in secret, much to the disappointment of the Fostorians.
Coach Swisher’s Junior Home team was set to take on Blufton,
a team they were expected to defeat easily.
In it’s preview the Daily Advertiser reported;
“Although this is Catholic High’s first year in football and it only has freshmen and sophomores to pick from, the way the team works together makes it look like a bunch of veterans. The backfield is light but fast. Coach Wishy Kramer has put his team through a stiff practice this week”
The Tiffin Tribune Reported;
“As this will be Catholic High’s first game a large turnout is expected. The team has a huge following of backers. It is certain the school will put a fighting eleven on the field.”
NOVEMBER 1, 1924, 2:30 PM RHODES FIELD
THE STARTING LINEUP
Left End Bob Zahn
Left Tackle Harold Mang
Left Guard Dan McCartan
Center G. Crist
Right Guard Joe Borer
Right Tackle Art Houck
Right End Johnny Saad
Quarterback Vic Hartzell
Left Halfback Ken Conrad
Right Halfback Louie Hoffman
Fullback James Weinandy
Substitutes LaLonde & Gase
Some excerpts from the Daily Advertiser’s account of the game:
“The little Tiffin team composed of freshmen and sophomores of the Tiffin Catholic High looked like a team of dwarfs when they lined up against the heavy eleven of St. John’s school......The Tiffin squad appeared to be outweighed between 20 and 30 pounds to the man.
The contest Saturday was the first game for both teams and the players lined up in clean, new jerseys, spotless football moleskins and shiny headgears.
The Toledo team made it’s first touchdown in the first quarter, and the little Tiffin line held. In the second period the Toledo backs were unable to carry the ball over the goal. Twice the visitors worked the pigskin within 20 yards of the Tiffin goal, and both times they were forced to try a goal from the field. Here the skillful toe of McKunion, St. John’s quarterback showed to advantage and his drop-kicks went straight between the goal posts.
The Tiffin team came near scoring early in the second half on a long pass to Saad. The Tiffin end who was within a few feet of the goal line, missed his footing on the rough ground and dropped the ball. Tiffin had no other chances to score.
(Quarterback Vic Hartzell remembered this play well, and often told the story. He and Saad were best of friends, and he remembered this play as one of the most memorable plays of his career. He always said that he threw a perfect pass and Saad "tripped over his own feet". He never let his friend forget about it!)
As the game went on the greater weight and age of the Toledo players told and they scored two touchdowns in each of the last two periods. McKunion’s drop kicks brought the score to 30 - 0 at the close of the game. .....
The Tiffin players displayed the effects of excellent coaching and much credit is due to ‘Wish’ Kramer, former Tiffin High star, who developed the little Catholic athletes into a fighting machine in a few short weeks of training.”
From the Tiffin Tribune:
“It was an uphill battle all the way for the Tiffin boys, but they staged a plucky defense against the visitors and gave promise of some real football talent which can be worked up into a winning team. Every advantage was with the Toledo team from the start. They were drawn from a high school of 300. The local team was picked from a school of 50.
Lack of substitutes crippled the Tiffin team when Hoffman was knocked out. He went back into the game after a few minutes on the sidelines. ....
Considering the odds, Coach Kramer and his warriors can congratulate themselves on their showing Saturday.”
All four officials were from Toledo. It was considered to be a very
clean game and there were very few penalties. This is an indication of
the discipline with which Wishy Kramer coached this team, as well
as that which was exhibited by the Toledo St. John’s team.
The Catholic High was slated to play the Saints of Fostoria Saint Wendelin. The team came through the St. John game without any major injuries. Coach Kramer continued to try to develop some depth, as a lack of it proved to be more than his young charges could overcome.
The Daily Advertiser reported in it’s previews:
“The only team to show in Tiffin this weekend is Coach ‘Wishy” Kramer’s Catholic High gridders. They play Fostoria St. Wendelin’s on Rhodes Field, Friday afternoon, in the former’s second game in history....
Coach Kramer is rounding the team into shape for the battle which is the only weekend schoolboy scrap in the city. LaLonde is being developed into an end to stop some of the rushes of the Saints around the wings. LaLonde is green but shows signs of coming. Smith, a six footer, is being run in at guard aside of Mang. This pair of defenders with Borer and Houck will be a big factor in stopping the Fostorians.
Some questions about the playing of the game in Tiffin was cleared up with negotiations between Revs. Gallagher off Tiffin and Ben Burger of Fostoria. The date was to be switched, but Tiffin would not agree and the game will go on as scheduled.”
The Tribune reported in it’s previews:
....“Last Saturday’s battle gave Coach Kramer a good line on his men and he is working them hard at the present time correcting the faults. St. Wendelin’s travels in the same class as St. John’s of Toledo, which means that the Tiffin lads are going to be in for a troublesome afternoon. With the experience of one game behind them Catholic High will improve and provide more formidable opposition as the season progresses. .....The Fostoria team, while lighter than St. John’s eleven, have had more experience.”
NOVEMBER 7, 1924, RHODES FIELD
Some excerpts from the Tiffin Tribune’s account of the game:
“Tiffin Catholic High gridders won their way into the hearts of a big crowd of fans yesterday afternoon at Rhodes Field when they went down fighting before the big St. Wendelin’s eleven of Fostoria by a final 37 to 21 count. Tiffin lost, but the plucky lads put up such a scrappy battle, that they really won glory in defeat.....
The local team could not bear up before this tide of fresh material and gradually their lead was lessened until finally overcome. Even when St. Wendelin’s passed Tiffin’s score, the locals did not give up. This wonderful fighting spirit made Fostoria work hard to make their scores. The Tiffin lads kept hanging on and put everything they had in their drives against the enemy line.
Fostoria sent a second string team on the field against Tiffin at the start of the game, and what Catholic High did to that bunch was a treat to watch. Before Fostoria had fully awakened the local lads rushed over for the first touchdown and a minute later scored a safety.
With a rush St. Wendelin’s put their first team on the field with Tiffin leading 9 to 0. The Jefferson St. lads could not be stopped and by the time the first period had ended they brought the ball up to Fostoria’s 30 yard line. Beginning the second quarter with the ball on the 30 yard line Tiffin worked a trick play and fullback Weinandy ran 30 yards for a touchdown.
Fostoria’s fresh men began to tell on Tiffin before that period ended and they crossed Tiffin’s goal line two times. Tiffin scored again in the third period but Fostoria went them one better and in the final quarter again scored twice. A fake play, the same one that fooled Fostoria so badly in the second quarter was used in scoring Tiffin’s touchdown in the third period. Fullback Weinandy ran 78 yards bringing the ball up to the 5 yard line. On three plays he scrambled over for his second touchdown.
Weinandy made Fostoria’s defense look sick at times, when he broke loose for long runs. Weinandy was Catholic High’s threat and he never failed his team. He smashed the opposing line to ribbons and was a hard man to stop. This youngster is a comer, and with a little more experience he will step out and make them all take notice.
Captain Hoffman played a stellar game for Catholic High, being in the thick of the battle at all times. Hartzell ran the team in good shape at quarterback and appears to be a real field general. Conrad received a bad bump on his hip near the end of the game and had to retire.
Coach Kramer is doing wonders with his green eleven. The team showed the effects of fine coaching....”
More details from the Daily Advertiser:
“With the fighting Tiffin team maintaining a nine point lead, Capt. Reinhart opened up and the visitors marched 80 yards down the field for a touchdown. Vance kicked goal....
The most spectacular play of the afternoon was pulled by fullback Weinandy when he ran 90 yards to the 5 yard line paving the way for Tiffin’s final score in the third period. Tiffin was backed up against the wall and Hartzell mixed up the play, and instead of punting, sent Weinandy on a fast cross buck through the line. The play was worked so smoothly that Weinandy was not discovered until he knifed his way past tackle and was in the open field. He sidestepped Vance and had a clear field to the goal when the Fostoria safety man came up from behind and dropped him on the four yard line.
Weinandy was the outstanding star of the Tiffin lineup and did great credit to himself by his hard line plunging and general open field play. He was the one man in the game that Fostoria could not stop.
The Tiffin team showed a lot more class than a week ago and has improved
along every line. A couple more weeks and the newness of the game will
be worn off with the result that football will become methodical to the
Tiffin Catholic High was scheduled to play Sandusky St. Mary’s on each of the next two weeks, with the first at home on Saturday, and the final game in Sandusky on Thanksgiving Day.
The Tiffin Tribune reported in it’s preview:
"Tiffin Catholic High will have a splendid opportunity to break into the victory column by trouncing St. Mary’s of Sandusky. The teams are about evenly matched and should stage a very interesting game. This will not be the final game for the Catholic gridders as they are scheduled to play a Thanksgiving Day game with St. Mary’s at Sandusky.”
The preview from the Advertiser:
“Catholic High will make a strong bid for victory Saturday afternoon when Coach Kramer sends his young charges against the Sanduskians..... Kramer will probably use the same lineup that gave the St. Wendelin’s crew such a hard battle. The team has been drilling hard on defensive work and have been scrimmaging against local teams all week. The game will be played at Rhodes Field and will start at 2:30 p.m.”
(Drawing By Vincent Omlor, Class of 1928)
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 22, 1924, 2:30 PM RHODES FIELD
The Daily Advertiser reported the game in this manner:
“Coach Wishy Kramer’s speedy little Catholic High gridders scored a victory in their last home game of the season on Rhodes Field Saturday when they tore through the line and around the ends of the St. Mary’s team from Sandusky for a score of 13 to 6.
Coach Kramer’s little warriors played their speediest game of the season and clearly outclassed the heavier Sandusky team throughout the game. In spite of their heavier line the Sandusky eleven was unable to gain consistently on straight football and were unable to make first downs except by the pass method. The aerial attack of the St. Mary’s team might have brought the game to a different outcome except for Kramer’s defense against this form of play.
The Tiffin team relied chiefly on the skill and speed of it’s backfield players in straight football and only a few passes were attempted. Weinandy and Hoffman starred for the local team being able to tear through the line and around the ends for consistent gains.
The Tiffin team took the lead in the first quarter on a touchdown by Hoffman. Weinandy booted the goal for the extra point. The St. Mary’s team came back in the second period when Erney recovered a fumble and ran 10 yards to the goal line. They failed to score the tying point after the touchdown, however, and the local players clinched their victory when Hoffman scored again in the third quarter.”
The Tiffin Tribune reported as follows:
“Noticeable improvement in the team since it’s first game with St. John’s eleven, Toledo, brought coach Kramer’s men up to such a point Saturday that they performed with the skill and spirit of seasoned players.... Not once in the first quarter, after Tiffin kicked off, was the Tiffin goal in danger. St. Mary’s team was held between the 10 and 30 yard line practically all the time....
The first scoring of the game came in the second quarter after Zahn worked the ball near the Sandusky goal on a long end run through the center of the field. From the 6 yard line Hoffman took it over on a line drive....
Speedy work at taking the ball out of dangerous territory was shown by Hoffman, Mang and Hartzell when they carried the ball from the 12 yard line to the center of the field after kickoff at the opening of the second half.... In the last quarter Weinandy, by a series of straight line drives put the ball in position for Hoffman to score the final 6 points. In the next two plays the ball was advanced to the 2 yard line. An end run by Hoffman made the score 13 to 6. An attempted goal kick failed when the ball hit the upper part of one of the posts.”
The following Monday a rally was held at the school in honor of the team and it’s first ever victory. The Daily Advertiser gave the most complete account of this event. Below is the entire article which appeared in the Tuesday November 25, 1924 edition:
“CELEBRATE VICTORY WITH CHEER RALLY
A very enthusiastic rally was held at Tiffin Catholic High School Monday afternoon when the first football victory of the school was celebrated by students and faculty. The fighting spirit of the young grid warriors was praised by the various speakers and a special cheer for every member of the football squad individually was given. Rev. A. J. Gallagher, faculty manager, commended the boys for their victory but warned them against overconfidence in their Thanksgiving game at Sandusky.
‘Although our boys are only from the first two years of the High School they have had to play teams two years older and stronger than themselves. In their first two games they showed a never-say-die spirit that has won the admiration of all lovers of a fighting team. Now this same spirit has brought them to victory, and we are proud of them. May they always play the same clean fighting game for the sake of the sport and the honor of Tiffin Catholic High School,’ Rev. Gallagher said.
Tiffin Catholic High will end it’s football season - the first in the
history of the school - at Sandusky with the St. Mary’s High School game.
The boys hope to duplicate their victory of last Saturday. A win on Turkey
Day will make their standing for the year two won and two lost, a very
excellent one for so young and light a team. The Thanksgiving game will
be played in the morning. A large number of rooters are planning to accompany
the team for the game.”
From the Tiffin Tribune:
“Tiffin Catholic High School ended their first year of football at Sandusky yesterday morning against St. Mary’s. Tiffin lost the Turkey Day contest by a 6 to 0 score, having defeated St. Mary’s here last Saturday.
The local Catholics outplayed the Sanduskians but Sandusky was lucky and got the breaks. Tiffin lost the contest early in the final quarter because of recklessness. A line buck was tried on the 20 yard line on the final down with 4 yards to go. Tiffin failed to make the yardage. Sandusky then showed the best football of the game and crossed Tiffin’s goal line for the only touchdown.
The Tiffin High gridders made more first downs in either one of the four periods than Sandusky totaled during the entire game. They were in position to score in the opening period but a fumble came at a critical time. Weinandy made big gains through the line. Capt. Hoffman hurt his ankle and was forced out of the contest in the third quarter. Houck played a good game at tackle.”
With the season now over for all Seneca County teams the Daily Advertiser picked it’s all-county team. Their selections were explained in this manner:
“With the selections made, every school with the exception of Tiffin Catholic High gets recognition. This is the latter team’s first year in the gridiron game and with only Sophs. and Freshmen on the team was not able to compete with the more experienced gridders.... As it lines up on paper, basing the conclusions on scores, Tiffin High is first, Fostoria High second, Junior Home third, St. Wendelin’s forth, and Tiffin Catholic fifth.”
Given the quality of the area teams in 1924 I believe these opinions to be reasonably accurate. But that does not detract from the things that were accomplished in this first season.
Obviously a lover of the sport, Rev. Gallagher saw a young man
of promise in Wishy Kramer and he seized the opportunity to make
the young man the Father of Calvert Football. What Wishy Kramer was
able to accomplish in so short a period of time, and with so little to
choose from, had won him the unanimous praise of both Tiffin newspapers
as well as the local community. He set the tone and the standard for every
team that was to follow, and clearly justified his rightful place in the
history of Calvert High School.