B y Dan King

The unbeaten, untied and unscored upon 1939 Whitehall High School football team will live forever.
At the Radisson Turf Inn in Colonie, the team was officially inducted into the Capital District Football Hall of Fame Saturday as part of the hall of fame’s seventh induction class.
“They were a great team – one of the best ever,” said Athletic Director Keith Redmond.
Former Whitehall football coach and Capital District Football Hall of Famer John Millett went to the ceremony to accept the reward on behalf of the 1939 team.
“I figured he was the right guy to do it,” Redmond said. “He’s been excited to do it for a while.”
Back then, the players wore leather helmets and the 1939 season preview noted it was the first season that players could throw the ball from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage, the first season teams could bring in unlimited substitutes, and the first season those substitutes were allowed to communicate with their teammates at any time.
The 1939 team finished its Northern Conference campaign with a record of 7-0, outscoring its opponents 210-0. The Maroon, as they were called then, were led by Gerald “Barney” Ross, Francis “Hacket” Conlon, Putt LaMay, Ned Jeffreys, Chris Grady, Charlie White, Austin Creedon, Joe Latino, Jess LeRoy, Charlie Carswell and Reggie Carroll – just to name a few. Hall of famer Ambrose Gilligan was the team’s coach.
Throughout the course of the 1939 season, the team drew crowds of thousands both at home and on the road. The largest crowd came in Week 5, when an estimated 4,000 people showed up at Hudson Falls’ Derby Park.
In Week 1, the Maroon traveled to Rutland and came out with a 33-0 victory. Grady, one of the team’s leading rushers, left the game after suffering cuts to his face. He was taken to Rutland hospital.
Week 2, Whitehall, in its first home game of the season, defeated Mineville 19-0. Ross was back in the lineup, scoring one of the team’s three touchdowns. The other two touchdowns came from LaMay and Grady.
In its first league game, the Maroon hosted Glens Falls in Week 3, blowing them out 31-0. Following that, the Maroon hit the road for the next two weeks.
Week 4, Whitehall received a scare at Fort Edward, but was able to pull away for the 19-0 win. That game was played on a Thursday night; the Whitehall Times called that game the worst Whitehall looked on the season.
In Week 5, Whitehall’s final road game of the season proved to be the toughest contest. The Maroon squeaked out a 14-0 win in front of 4,000 in Hudson Falls. That win left the Maroon with two home games to close out the season.
Whitehall shellacked Plattsburgh in Week 6 by a score of 44-0, the second-most lopsided victory of the season for the Maroon.
With its perfect record on the line, Whitehall hosted archrival Granville in the finale and trounced the Horde 50-0 in front of 1,500 onlookers, sealing a Northern Conference title and preserving the perfect season.
A complete game-by-game breakdown of the 1939 team can be found in the Jan. 28, 2016 edition of this paper.

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