Turkey Bowl: A family tradition involves all

99 years ago in 1917:

• Local produce dealers failed to pay bills, leaving a potato shipment to rot in Youngstown.

The people of Youngstown are being held up by local produce dealers is the charge here as well as in Cleveland. The railroads stand ready to deliver more than 50 cars of perishable food stuffs but the consignees failed to present the bills of lading.

With 19,000 bushels of potatoes in Youngstown railroad yards, the majority of these were consigned on approval. That is, the dealers could inspect them and if not found satisfactory, refuse them.

By paying for the shipment at the banks, bills of lading would have been furnished and the potatoes could have been unloaded. But drafts were not paid in most instances and the cars were reconsigned to Pittsburgh. Stores of onions, apples, cabbage, grapes and other perishables were rotting in cars on local sidings.

50 years ago in 1966:

• Basketball records were being defended and overcome as two area high schools were set to start their seasons and one lucky local football fan played the odds.

• The Warren G. Harding Panthers were looking forward to another season of basketball, as the preview game was in Pennsylvania.

With a 2-1 edge in returning lettermen, Harding High School’s varsity basketball squad invaded Sharon, Pa., to launch their season against the Tigers.

His most disastrous season a thing of the past, Braceville’s Al Lopez looked for the silver lining as he prepared his Bees for the opener against Farmington.

The Bees’ last season saw a record drop of 14 straight games before snapping the streak with a win over Garrettsville. The Bees had wound up with an overall 3-17 record, a lowpoint in Lopez’ industrious career in the TIA ranks.

• George Hosaflook of Larchmont Avenue picked 12 of the 15 contests in a local final college football contest. None of the contestants predicted the tie between Notre Dame and Michigan State, but Hosaflook earned a pair of tickets to the Cleveland Browns game with the New York Giants. The only other games he missed were Harvard over Yale and Texas Tech over Arkansas.

25 years ago in 1991:

• Families share original traditions to serve the community, including a Turkey Bowl, in its fourth year.

Many families have their Thanksgiving traditions, but the Martin family of Washington Avenue SE has a charitable tradition that involved families and kids from all over town.

The Martins’ annual Turkey Bowl,  a day where 7- to 12-year-olds from Niles and Howland meet in the Martins’ yard on a makeshift football field to play a game complete with lines, a referee and homemade first-down markers. This year’s event drew 22 boys and girls whose families brought food and canned goods to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Tracy Martin said they started collecting food donations at the previous year’s Turkey Bowl, where they collected about 136 pounds of food. The yearly game had an authentic game-day atmosphere with parents watching and videotaping their children playing football while drinking hot chocolate on the sidelines.

The idea was the brainchild of Grant Martin, 11, who wanted to have a football game with his friends Thanksgiving. Ten kids showed up at the first game. By the third year, the teams were sponsored by local businesses.

The Martins said the game gave back to the community through the food drive but was also an opportunity to have fun together over the holiday weekend. Chuck Martin said news of the yearly Turkey Bowl spread by word of mouth through his son and his friends.

“This is something that we share with our hometown,” Chuck Martin said.

10 years ago in 2006:

• Changes for local high school students included a new principal and the tightening of reins.

At Warren G. Harding High School, Ruth Zitnik, former Warren City Schools elementary teacher, was making sure every student got to class. Many modifications taking place at the school included tardy rules with students allowed to be late for class three times before disciplinary action was taken.

Camille Heller, 18-year-old senior, said, “Before Mrs. Zitnik came to Harding, things were more relaxed … her coming here and tightening things up shows me personally that she cares about our future.”

Some students disagreed with some of the changes.

Larry Davis, a 17-year-old senior said, “I don’t like how she did the seniors, how everything changes our senior year. The schedules are all messed up, and even though I need two classes to graduate, I have to have six and stay an entire school day.”

“I’m glad the principal is active and took charge,” Ramona Vargas,  a 17-year-old senior, said.

Zitnik was known to be everywhere in her school. Before big football games, Zitnik was working with student leaders to organize pep rallies, bonfires and the band playing in the hallways.

“I really do care about the students,” Zitnik said.

— Compiled by Emily Earnhart