The Bengals were Ironton’s other semi-pro football team

The Ironton Bengals were the 1948 Tri-State Conference champions. Team members were: Front row, left to right, Manager Frank Houston, Harry “Fuzzy” McMackin, Bill Lawless, Pinky Hogsten, Neil DeFore , Reeves, Art McKnight, Dick Gasser, Nick McMahon, Fred Mittendorf; second row left to right, Herb “Harold” Lewis, Darrell Cales, Bob Cales, P. Meyers, Bob Haas, Guy Edwards, Clifton Perkins, Leroy Boykin and Vic Burcham; third row left to right, Rick “Meat” Boykin, D. Tipton, Doyle Murnahan, Nonnie Bartram, J. Sipple, Bill Dressel, John Gatewood and coach Walden Fannin. Coach Dr. John J. Haney was absent.

Jim walker

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Ironton and the world of sport know the famous Ironton Tanks.

But the Tanks were the only semi-professional team to have played in town.

During the years 1948 and 1949, fall Sunday football consisted of Ironton Bengals.

One of the remaining players from those teams is Herb Lewis, who said players are getting between $ 20 and $ 50 per game, the equivalent of $ 240 to $ 549 in today’s world.

When Herb was playing for the Bengals he was in the middle of a professional boxing career and playing under the name Harold Lewis.

Lewis was a running back for the Ironton Bengals, a tradition that continues for the Ironton Fighting Tigers.

Herb’s sons included Herbert Jr., Nathan, Gabriel, John, Steven, James, Ray, and his stepson Tony Forest. He also had grandsons who played for Ironton including Darius Lewis, Lamont Lewis, Patrick Lewis and Terrence Byrd.

Of the group, Gabriel, Steven, James, Ray, Tony, Darius and Terrence were all running backs. Gabriel and John were on the Class AA State Championship team in 1979 and Gabriel signed with Eastern Kentucky. Darius signed with Marshall.

Based on a program from that time, here are the players and descriptions of each:

Grass “Harold” Lewis

Half-back n ° 75

Harold was a speed merchang in the backfield of Ironton High School during the 1947 season. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. It is mainly used as a “scatback”.

Glen barber

Half-back n ° 61

Known to other players as the “Tiny Mite,” Glen played at Ironton in 1935. He weighed 5-5 and 135 pounds.

Leroy boykin

Guard n ° 79

Nicknamed “The Bear” by his teammates following an exhibition match at Logan, Boykin played as a lineman for the Ironton High School in 1947. He was 5-8 years old and weighed 230 pounds.

Vic Burcham

Guard n ° 66

Living up to the nickname “Longface”, Vic played with the Ironton High School in 1943 and spent time in the service of the Navy. He was 5-6, 162 pounds.

Bob Wedges

Center n ° 72

Captain, line coach

A graduate of Ironton High School in 1940, Bob played three years at center and at the end. He attended Kentucky Western Teachers College.

Darrell cales

Tackle n ° 76

Darrell played with Ironton in 1937. He was 6ft 199 and spent five years in the United States Army during World War II.

Neil Duforé

End n ° 58

Neil was picked All-County while playing his high school ball in Columbus. He played for two years with the Georgia Bulldogs. He was 6 feet and 205 pounds.

Guy edwards

Guard n ° 60

Guy played a lot of guard for the 19437 Ironton High School team. He then joined the US Navy during World War II. He was 5-9, 170 pounds.

Max fields

Half-back n ° 77

Fields carried the ball for Coal Grove. He was 6-1, 197.

Dick gasser

Tackle n ° 78

The “Lonesome Pole” played with Ironton in 1934 as a fullback. The 5-11, 190-pound Gasser moved in to tackle to bolster the Bengals’ line. He was in the navy during World War II.

John gatewood

Half-back n ° 67

A former Marshall College player, he played at Huntington College in 1946-47. Called “Scooty” because of his high speed, he weighed 5-11 years and 165 pounds.

Bob haas

Tackle n ° 56

Bob played for the St. Joe Flyers and was chosen All-County in 1944. He was then in the US Navy during World War II for two years. He was 5-11 years old, 186.

Gene Haas

Guard n ° 50

Gene played guard for Ironton High School in 1943 before playing college football.

Judson Haney

Guard # 55

“Sonny” Haney played with St. Joe during the 1942 season and was in the US Navy for several years during World War II. He played a service ball and weighed 5-10, 177 pounds.

Red knight


A star at Wurtland (Ky.) High School in 1945, Knight also served as an assistant coach at Wurtland. He was 5-11 years old, 190.

Tom Leake

Rear n ° 69

Tom played for the Ashland Tomcats in high school. He was 5-7, 173 pounds.

Arthur mcknight

End n ° 53

Better known as “Junior,” Arthur played for the Coal Grove Hornets. He served in the Navy during World War II. He was 5-9 and 165 pounds.

Harry mcmackin

Quarterback # 59

Called “Fuzzy” because of his short hair, he played for St. Joe during the 1944 season and was with the US Navy during World War II.

Clifton perkins

Half-back n ° 68

Cliff performed for Westwood High School (Ky.). He was 5-11 years old, 193.

John shelton

Half-back n ° 74

John played football for Ironton High School and with the US Navy Base in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He weighed 5-10, 171 pounds.

John wilson

End n ° 51

Playing his high school ball in Marion, Ohio, Wilson was with the US Navy during World War II. He was 5-10, 168 pounds.

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