Academy to recognize Raider 1963 state football champs this Saturday

50 YEARS AGO the Fryeburg Academy football team won the Class C state title. The 1963 Raiders will be recognized this Saturday. SP w39 raider celebration info State Champs Reunion When: This Saturday, Sept. 28 Schedule of events:  10 a.m. coffee social in the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center lobby; 10:30 a.m., program in the theater;  11 a.m. game film video recapturing the 1963 championship season;  12 p.m., lunch in PAC lobby;  1 p.m., gather at the football field;  1:30 p.m., Morse vs. Fryeburg Academy, Homecoming Game Halftime, Introduction of the 1963 Championship Raider team and team picture presentation to the Academy The celebration is open to the public. 1963 Title Run (7 wins, 1 loss) Fryeburg 28, Kennebunk 7 Fryeburg 14, Traip Academy 7 Fryeburg 13, Mexico 0 Fryeburg 33, Hall-Dale 0 Fryeburg 20, Oxford Hills 6 Fryeburg 27, Holderness 7 Fryeburg 32, Proctor 12 Gould Academy 13, Fryeburg 7 • Conference record: 5-1 • Vs. Class B opponents, 3-0 • Vs. Class C opponents, 2-1 • Non-conference, 2-0

50 YEARS AGO the Fryeburg Academy football team won the Class C state title. The 1963 Raiders will be recognized this Saturday.
State Champs Reunion
When: This Saturday, Sept. 28
Schedule of events:
10 a.m. coffee social in the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center lobby; 10:30 a.m., program in the theater;
11 a.m. game film video recapturing the 1963 championship season;
12 p.m., lunch in PAC lobby;
1 p.m., gather at the football field;
1:30 p.m., Morse vs. Fryeburg Academy, Homecoming Game
Halftime, Introduction of the 1963 Championship Raider team and team picture presentation to the Academy
The celebration is open to the public.
1963 Title Run
(7 wins, 1 loss)
Fryeburg 28, Kennebunk 7
Fryeburg 14, Traip Academy 7
Fryeburg 13, Mexico 0
Fryeburg 33, Hall-Dale 0
Fryeburg 20, Oxford Hills 6
Fryeburg 27, Holderness 7
Fryeburg 32, Proctor 12
Gould Academy 13, Fryeburg 7
• Conference record: 5-1
• Vs. Class B opponents, 3-0
• Vs. Class C opponents, 2-1
• Non-conference, 2-0

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Kit Foster remembers the state football championship season during his junior year, as if it unfolded yesterday.

“I can remember vividly my first day at practice. I walked down, and I couldn’t believe the size of those guys,” Kit said. “I looked at my dad and wondered if I would fit in here. They stuck me on defense, where you didn’t have to know a whole lot but make a play. After a half hour of Bob Mitchell (our Jim Taylor) and Ron Colter coming at me, I had a headache for a day or two after. I stayed. Coach must have liked what he saw, that Saturday, I was playing. Seems like yesterday. I am glad I listened to my father, who told me to try it and see how it works. I am glad I did.”

It has been 50 years since Foster and Raider teammates claimed the Class C state football championship, after compiling a 7-1 record — the lone blemish, a 13-7 loss to Gould Academy.

“We should have never lost that one,” recalled Kit, who was a junior tight end.

This Saturday, the 1963 Raiders will be honored at the Academy with a special morning program followed by recognition at halftime of the Fryeburg vs. Morse Homecoming football game.

“I thought it would be nice to bring the guys together again — some I haven’t seen in 50 years,” Foster said. “A lot of credit goes to Todd Gallagher, who was the director of Alumni at the Academy. He has helped piece it together, along with some local guys like Larry Gallagher (Todd’s brother), who was our quarterback, and Bob Hatch.”

The group met in January, and started the planning process, as well as trying to track down and notify each member of the championship team. At least 21 members will be on hand at this Saturday’s reunion celebration — including trainer Al Glover.

Saturday will surely be a trip down memory lane. Kit Foster has many fond memories of his playing days at the Academy from big plays on the field to “having the pleasure” to be coached by Buck Austin.

“He is easily the best coach I ever had. For me, the Number 1 person you respected, as a boy, was your dad. So, if you can compare anybody to your dad, that is a pretty good comparison. Buck Austin was my dad at Fryeburg Academy,” Kit said. “I was a dorm student there, and he continued to be my dad after I graduated. Those two individuals had as much influence upon me than any other individuals in my life. Outstanding man.”

Coach Austin had a way to blend a group of boys from various walks of life into a team that dominated its opponents. He was able to do it in a very short period of time.

“If he told you to do something, you probably ought to do it and do it right. If you didn’t do it right, he would tell you and then show you,” Kit said. “If you didn’t do it right the second or third time, you probably weren’t going to be playing. He expected a lot from you, and got it out of us.”

What made this Raider team a special one — a state championship squad?

“Probably the most unique thing was we were a team. There were 11 players on the field at one time, but every player on this team contributed. I believe the game of football teaches you a lot of lessons you use in life. For me, being in business, I try to put together a team — each one with certain responsibilities to get certain things done. Not everyone is going to be a running back, I wasn’t, thank goodness, but we all play a big role in what leads to success. If I don’t make a block, they wouldn’t be so good running the ball,” Kit said.

Kit transferred from Bridgton High School, where he played football as a freshman. But, that experience resulted in Kit hanging up the shoulder pads his sophomore year. He would leave BHS and attend Fryeburg Academy his final two years of high school.

The first sign that this Raider team could be a force to deal with came in the opener against Kennebunk, a highly-regarded club.

“I was standing on the sideline and Coach called a reverse. My roommate, Ron Colter, got the ball and was in the end zone 65 yards down the field before the Kennebunk players even knew where the ball was,” Kit recalled.

The highlight of the year for Kit was the game against Oxford Hills — a school three times the size of Fryeburg Academy. The Vikings expected a cakewalk, but instead were trounced 20-6.

“I was on defense, and Oxford Hills must have had six to seven plays inside the one- or two-yard line. Because of penalties, they kept getting new chances to score, but we held them,” Kit said. “The second big accomplishment that day — and maybe it was what convinced me that we really had something — was we took the ball and marched it down the field. We ran two plays — off tackle left and off tackle right. And, we scored.”

Coach Austin wanted to run a pass play to change things up, but quarterback Larry Gallagher told his coach that the Raiders should just keep running the ball until the Vikings could stop them. Coach Austin sided with his QB, and the Raiders scored, quieting the Vikings on their home turf.

“We had quite a rivalry with them,” Kit said.

Back in 1963, there was no state title game. The championship was decided on record, including a 3-0 mark against “B” teams.

Another fond memory was a head-on collision by Tinker Kiesman that knocked Mexico’s quarterback, who was “a great athlete,” out of the game. The Raiders went on to a 13-0 victory.

“That was some hit,” Kit said. “Thank God Dr. Boothby was there.”

His football days resulted in developing close friendships. For Kit, his offensive line partner, Bob Hatch, was one, as well as Sonny Pendexter, on defense.

“You get close to those guys because you depend on each other. To this day, we don’t see each other a lot, but when we do, we remember those days,” he said.

Memories

Like Kit Foster, teammates still hold firmly memories of that magical 1963 season. Some of those recollections include:

Bob Hatch, #51, “The thing I remember most happened in the first game against Kennebunk. The first play in the first game of that year was when Ron Colter scored on a 65-yard run. The play was a 42 counter; my rule, inside out, first man over or beyond the two-man. I did my part and Ron was 25 yards down field before Kennebunk knew where the ball was.”

Joseph R. Austin Jr., #48, “Actually, there are several memories that are special to me: Simply playing with my friends, riding on the bus for away games, laughing a lot, having fun! Being well-coached. Playing for my dad, who I loved and greatly respected.”

Tinker Kiesman, #59, “Trying to stop Bob Mitchell in practice. It was like being hit by a freight train. Gould game — enough said!”

Steve Smith, #36, “At one of our games in which I was punting, an opponent charged me while I was kicking the ball. I did kick the ball, which went straight up in the air and came down not five feet from me. Upon everyone’s amazement, the referee penalized the opposing team for roughing the kicker. That gave us a first down and four more plays. Someday, I hope to meet that referee in Heaven…I look forward to seeing my teammates, especially the linemen. If I forget your name, just turn around and bend over. I am sure I will recognize you then!”

David Hicks, #45, “Wow, I don’t have many memories except always having to block against Tinker (285 pounds), the immovable object. Please, Mr. Kiesman, could you move around a bit so I won’t look so bad in front of Coach Austin?”

Larry Gallagher, #19, “Many times, I have thought of how good these guys were, each one in his own way. We were tough and fast, we had ‘farm boys’ and ‘city kids’ all together in the mix. We loved each other, played hard for each other and for Coach Austin. These were some of the best times of my life. Moments I never will forget!”

Together, they will relive and celebrate those fond moments Saturday.

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