EDITOR'S NOTE: The following subject is not our Bill Jewell of
Newport Harbor High aquatics lore.
Humor always deserves a place in sports since it helps balance life
out. It sometimes arrives in the midst of a tense moment and settles
things down. Sometimes an event may not be so funny at first, but it
often arises after people understand the total picture.
We still recall one football game at Willamette University in Oregon
against a rugged rival, the Pioneers of Lewis & Clark College. Not only
were these rivals loaded with physical strength across the line, the
Pioneers featured a superb breakaway runner named Reuben Baisch. He was
built like a barrel and it often took more than one or two men to haul
Bearcat Bill Jewell, a senior defensive halfback for Willamette, was
determined to meet the challenge against Baisch. He labored hard all week
for the game. Finally, he felt he was ready.
After the game was steaming along, Jewell had been shining and drawing
praise from his mates on the sidelines. Coach Chester Stackhouse chose to
give Jewell a rest late in the contest. Hence, Jewell lumbered to the
Within minutes, Baisch broke loose and was clearly heading for a
touchdown along the sidelines near the Willamette bench. Jewell couldn't
believe what was happening and suddenly leaped off the bench and sprinted
toward Baisch and struck him with a thundering tackle.
The crowd was astonished at what had just transpired and many felt it
was sufficient to bring an angry Lewis & Clark crowd storming onto the
field to crush Jewell.
The officials were quick to resolve the problem by extending their
arms upward to signal a touchdown - even from a great distance from the
goal. Baisch and his mates won easily.
Jewell was shocked at himself after realizing what he had done.
"Especially," one smiling newsman said, "Because he is the son of a
minister. He still could be forgiven by the pastor.
Santa Ana High Coach Bill Foote once appeared to officiate a
middleweight game between Newport Harbor and Anaheim. He only made one
gross mistake near the sidelines. The Anaheim tailback turned his way and
released a long pass.
It was so long, it was flying out of bounds. However, Foote, without
thinking, reached out and caught the pigskin with a smile.
The smile soon disappeared as he came to his senses and ruled it a
no-play and allowed Anaheim to try again.
Blocking back Joe Muniz, who sometimes served as the signal caller for
the '44 Harbor High varsity grid team, recalled one day of utter
confusion against Laguna Beach on the Artists' field.
Nothing was clicking the way it should. He finally strolled off the
field with a drained look on his face and asked the late coach Les Miller
what was happening. It appeared that numerous players were not following
He remembered looking Miller's way and only noted that he seemed
speechless and gave little response. Thus, Muniz returned to the field.
Newport should have won by four or five touchdowns, but was lucky to go
home with a 12-6 victory.
"I never understood that," Muniz said, "until years later when Miller
approached me at the bank one day and explained what had happened."
With gas rationing out of World War II and the fact that players often
had to drive their own vehicles to games since there were not buses
around constantly, it was vital to keep smooth relations going with
Miller explained that he had to be overly cautious since Laguna had
told him that another heavy loss like the 42-0 pasting by Newport in '42
would find Laguna cutting off the relationship.
Miller said the '42 coach, the late Wendell Pickens, had been aware of
that and tried to hold the score down, but even the champ team's second
unit was a fair-scoring outfit.
Joe Muniz recalls another laugh when he first turned out for varsity
football under Miller. Muniz said Miller lost his temper one day when
lineman Chuck Dennis messed up on one of the plays, then found Miller's
shoe thumping him from behind.
Muniz said, "You'd probably get sued for something like that today."