(On Sept. 26-27, Ottumwa High’s 1963 state championship football team will hold a 50-year reunion. This is the last in a three-part series on that unbeaten season by former Courier sports editor Alan Hoskins)
Bettendorf at Ottumwa. It was the game of the year not only in the Little Six but the entire state considering the bearing the outcome would have on a mythical state championship.
“Never before have our boys been in a winner-take-all championship games such as this one will be,” said OHS Coach Gary Grouwinkel. “Seldom does a last conference game on the schedule decide the title, This one is unique.”
Not only was the Little Six championship at stake was so was the Bulldogs’ No. 3 rating in all three of the state prep polls – AP, UPI and Des Moines Register. The No. 3 rating was the highest ever for an OHS team (the 1961 Bulldogs finished No. 5).
The game, indeed, would live up to all expectations. But as history would show, it would not be the biggest game ever. That would still be to come.
OHS 47, BETTENDORF 21
“Scoring with assembly line precision as 5,500 wildly cheering fans could scarcely believe their eyes, the go-galloping Bulldogs hung a 47-21 crusher,” wrote Emmett Mowery in The Courier. “Had hurricane Ginny, that blustery and unpredictable storm on the eastern seaboard suddenly swept into Schaefer Stadium, it would have created no more havoc that the Ottumwa pigskin pushers cooked up for Coach Merritt Parsons and his single-wing equipped crew. Before the first half was over, Johnny Stater had scored on a 31-yard pass and again on a one-yard run, Mark Chedister had galloped 42 yards to punch the point register and Larry Baugh had scooted 58 yards to dig his cleats in pay dirt.”
The lead was 28-7 at halftime but could have been 28-0 had not Stater touched a punt at the OHS 3-yard to set up Bettendorf’s lone first half TD. “I guess I thought I was downing the ball; I was just sick about it,” said Stater. No matter, the Bulldogs made it 41-7 after three quarters on runs of six yards by Keith McIntosh and seven by Chedister and the second unit finished off the rout with a 2-yard run by Tim Timberlake on a drive led by third team quarterback Bill Miler, who took over when Bill Dull was sidelined by a hand injury,