Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lawrence Girelli's Last Football Game

(Lawrence passed on this news clipping, circa 1955, which he had also sent to his teammate at Napa, the legendary Dick Vermeil. Lawrence noted that his twin brother Leonard missed the game with a knee injury)

Vermeil and Girelli Shine
By Bud Tucker
Register Sports Editor

SUSANVILLE — Napa College Chiefs sang their 1954 swan song to the tune of 'Crazy Man Crazy' here yesterday as they outscored Lassen Cougars. 46-31, in a free-scoring, penalty-studded contest which had everything but defensive play and took over three hours to complete. Casting aside such brutal actions. as the tackle, both sides had an offensive field day passing the lead back and forth while the men in striped T-shirts joined in the fun by gaily tripping off a total of 215 yards in penalties. An over-due explosion on the part of Chief quarterback Dick Vermeil led tile Napa squad to victory. The Calistoga Comet passed for three touchdowns and climaxed an inspired performance with a 70-yard scoring jaunt late in the fourth quarter.

Joining with Vermeil to pace the Chiefs was end Larry Girelli who latched onto two of Vermeil's touchdown tosses and electrified the crowd with great catches all after­noon. a third Vermeil to Girelli scoring throw was called back on a Napa offside.

The Chiefs started the wild and woolly proceedings early In the first quarter after recovering a Lassen fumble on the latter’s 40-yard stripe. Tom Henry and Bob Sowell carried down to the one and Sowell crashed over. Harland Morely kicked the convert.

The scoreboard was hardly lit up when Les Haug pounced on another Lassen fumble on the 7-yard line. Sowell again went over and Don Simmons’ convert attempt went wide.

The Cougars struck back immediately after the kickoff. On third down quarterback Gil Harris passed from his own 46 to Al Robinson the Napa 30 and the speedy halfback danced down the sideline to score. Bob Johnson kicked the convert.

Lassen knotted the count at 13-13 three minutes later after runs by Harris and Jeff Manning and two Napa penalties placed the Cougars in possession on the Napa one. Art Grohs carried over and Les Haug blocked the convert attempt.

The host team continued to pour it on and went into the lead for the first time when substitute quarterback Tony Flores dropped a pass into the hands of fullback Hale Yarber who was standing all alone in the end zone. The convert failed.

The Chiefs pulled back into the lead on a march from their own 39 in the dying moments of the first half. Vermiel passed to Girelli who was downed on the Cougar 30 and two plays later the Comet again hit the glue-fingered Girelli who made a sensational grab in the end zone.
Harland Morley kicked the extra point and the half ended Napa 20, Lassen 19.

It was the Cougars' turn again early in the third quarter after Tom Henry fumbled Flores’ kick and Lassen recovered on the Napa 15. On the first play Yarber charged over the left side of the line and fought his way in for the score which went unconverted.

Vermeil and Girelli then took over to put the Chiefs back in the lead once more. Vermeil passed to Girelli from the Napa 27 and the sure-handed end made another phenomenal grab at midfield.

On the next play Vermeil again pitched to Girelli who snagged it on the 15 and angled the rest of the way to pay dirt. Vermeil punched the convert through and Napa led 27-25.

The after-you-my-dear-Alphonse act continued as Lassen eased back to the front late in the third frame. Jeff Manning set it up with a 46-gallop to the Napa 8 from where Yarber bulled his way over.

Girelli blocked Johnson's kick and the third quarter ended Lassen 31, Napa 27.


That was all for the Cougars and. Vermeil assumed complete command for the balance of the game. He threw a 16-yard pass to end Leo Sandoval on Lassen's 21 and the lanky Leo fought his way through three defenders and went over standing up. The convert attempt went wide.

Vermeil then capped a brilliant afternoon midway through the final canto. With third down and 10 to go the blonde from upvalley slashed over tackle on a keeper play, shifted himself clear in the secondary and sped 70 yards to score. The convert was no good and the Chiefs were in front. 39-31.

Larrupin' Les Haug wound up the scoring three hours and five minutes after the start of the contest.when he lunged over from one yard out. Vermeil passed to Girelli for the conversion.

Jeff Manning came close to run­ning the kickoff back for a touch­down but was caught on the Napa 31. A long pass into the end zone was just missed by Anthony. Alosi as the gun ended the marathon with the final tally Napa 46, Lassen 31.

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