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Warren Township Football Club

Our History

A FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF THE FOUNDING OF THE WARREN TOWNSHIP FOOTBALL CLUB IN 1971 BY OUR FIRST PRESIDENT DICK LAHR

The following events are how I remember the beginnings of The Warren Township Football Club (WTFC). My name is Dick Lahr. I was the first President and one of 7 Founders of the Warren Township Football Club starting play in the fall of 1971. This is written … to let people know who helped start WTFC … how and why WTFC came into being … who were the first Board of Directors and some of the coaches who proved to be foundation building blocks of WTFC's start.

During the late 1960s I took my son to play at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church's football program (aka "TAB") at 34th and Washington Blvd because I was not aware of any non CYO football on the far eastside of Indy. I did help coach at St. Joan of Arc with their "56 team" in the CYO football program. These experiences did lead me to voice my opinion during the initial organizational meeting held in the Warren HS Cafeteria during the spring of 1971. Warren Central's Head Coach Dave Shaw and Assistant Coach Larry Willian imitated the meeting along with several people were dissatisfied with their junior football opportunities and involvement with another eastside junior football programs. At that time there were programs and the Y on Shortridge Road and one called around 38th and Post Road called Northeastwood … a successful but controversial program.

This program was led by its founder, driving force, and Traveling Team Coach, Bob Ranger. This was a successful program in many ways but there were many complaints of rules changes during the season favoring certain situations, coaches and teams. Many of the coaches were also Board Members. As I remember it …officiating was performed by others within the program who were not IHSAA officials.

The initial proposed idea for a Warren Township junior football program was to assign boys to teams who would represent each of the grade schools I spoke up several times about how to draft, rules of the intramural games, and remarks on the rules of the successful programs at TAB and CYO. At the end of the meeting … Dave Shaw, WCHS Head Coach asked me to lead the effort to organize a Junior Football program in Warren Township. Attendees filled out interest cards indicating if they would volunteer to be on the Board or to coach within the programs. We were off.

With this responsibility and challenge, I was able to organize those who volunteered to be Board Members and we together were able to recruit many of the 8 coaches who formed our initial intramural program. Orv Luther a successful but disenchanted intramural coach from the Northeastwood program asked to be our first coach of the Traveling Team (which I believe was called the Warriors … and later the Tomahawks). Orv also was a driving force who helped organize our first Fund Raiser, a highly successful Monte Carlo night. This event provided WTFC with the funding needed for the first year's operation to go along with each boy's initial enrollment fee of $30.00. Initial costs …WTFC furnished game jerseys and each player would provide their own equipment. 
I think we paid the IHSAA officials $20 per game. We decided to publish a weekly news letter called the 5th Down which would provide detail write ups of last week's games plus current news.

The First Board and "Founding Fathers" who served 3 years were:
Dick Lahr, President
Don Vandergrift, Director of Coaches
Paul Aardall, Director of PR 
Don Mull, Director of Officials
Alex Sekeres,Treasurer
Fred Kleinstein, Director of Maintenance

Orv Luther, First Head Coach of the Warren Warriors, Travel Team (first a member of The Indiana Football League( for 5th to 7th Graders). Later, ( I believe in 1973 or 1974
we joined the IEFA).

Notable successful Intramural Coaches during the start up years were Ed Rankin, Joe Neeley, and Jim Hazzard … just to mention a few. In 1974, Steve Spaudie was selected and volunteered to be the second President of WTFC.

The Board developed the following Guidelines for WTFC's foundation as set out in this general outline.

First: Since many boys may not be big enough or skilled enough to play football beyond the 7th grade, WTFC would provide a program designed so all boys could enjoy playing football in an organized program . A Traveling team would be designed for the more competitive boys in grades, 5, 6 &7. Initially, the Intramural Teams and Traveling Team were available to 7th Graders, also.

Second: The Board of Directors would govern the Program and Coaches would coach. … No Coach would serve on the Board and no Board member could coach. Once the program/rules were set, there would be no rule changes during the year. For our Club's design, we patterned our rules of play copied from the rules governing the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church League ( TAB) along with certain rules from the CYO programs.

Third: Each boy must play a minimum of 15 plays per half. In this regard, a Team Representative would be responsible for making sure all boys played the required number of plays (with few exceptions) and each team would show their count to the opposing team's Representative. This rule did not apply to the Traveling team playing in the IFL..

Fourth: We would hire IHSAA Refs to officiate our games based on current IHSAA rules with some minor changes … running backs were limited to a certain weight with heavier boys (with stripes on their helmets were restricted to carrying the ball … limited to dropping to their knees if recovering a fumble or intercepting a pass) noted as "Strippers."

Five: To keep the initial cost to join the program low … we would have equipment "swap days" at the start of and end of each season. WTFC would furnish a game jersey and a team stocking cap at the end of the season. A company called Warco (which later changed its name and location to Arena Sporting Goods) brought equipment out to our fields and sold equipment out of the back their truck.

Six. No boy would be out selling candy or any other products to raise funds for the funding the Club. A Monte Carlo Night would supply the needed funds for the remaining WTFC expenses. We received added help in our first year cost. During our first year a new restaurant opened 11TH AND Post Rd called Mac's (which now houses the K of C). This restaurant furnished us with ice and paper goods for our small concession stand which consisted only of 4 tables. Mac's also allowed us to deposit our game day trash in their Trash bins. On Game Day each winning team member and their family were given a free Hamburger.

Seven: At the end of the season, each player would be given a stocking cap representing their team. Each member of the first place team in the AFC (3 and 4th graders) and the NFC (5th, 6th, and 7th Graders) would receive a trophies. No Leather Jackets or Letter Sweaters would be given out as Warren's Junior Highs did not offer this to their teams (it must be noted here that at seasons end the Board was called into a meeting with the Warren Superintendent, and ADs and Coaches of the Junior Highs. Northeastwood gave their Traveling Team Leather Jackets for their winning season (even though our Traveling Team beat them and won the IFL Championship). WTFC was accused of this act and we explained we only gave trophies to our winning intramural teams and all received stocking caps representing their team's name. 
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Field Layout, costs, and Team alignments
Two fields were laid out side by side separated by 15 feet. running from North to South at the current location of the Baseball and Soccer fields. One field was the NFC ( ,5, 6, and 7th grade which was eliminated the 2nd year of the program) and the AFC field for the 3rd and 4th Grade Team. The Traveling Team played their games at the old Woodview Junior High field at 10th and Post. WTFC, first season was September of 1971 with 4 teams in the AFC (3 &4 grades) and 4 teams in the NFC (5, 6th and 7th Grade).

How teams were selected.
The boys came together at Try Out Day were weighed … were "put" through a number of events … running, passing, and catching and each boy was graded by the coaches as a 1, 2 or 3. Each boy was given a number score and then the Coaches drafted the #1 rated boys … then the # 2 then the # 3 rated boy until a team reached 15 to 16 boys. The AFC and NFC teams were allowed to practice 3 times a week …each practice no more than 2 hours in length. The Traveling team was allowed to practice 5 times during the week with a game on Saturday. Each practice was limited to 2.5 hours in length.

Traveling Team
There was a tryout for the Traveling Team composed of boys in the 5,6th, and 7th Grade. The Warriors or Tomahawks initially played in the Indiana Football League composed of teams from Warren, Northeastwood, Northwest, Center Grove, and a team from Indy Parks - Riverside Park (coached by Joe Wynns, future Director of Indy Parks and Recreation), Beech Grove, a team from St. Paul Indiana … just to name a few. I believe it was in the Third year of the program we joined the IEFA. The Warriors or Tomahawks went undefeated their first year and won the Indiana Football League Championship. This game was played at the Woodview Junior High School field against the Traveling Team from Northeastwood and Bob Ranger a program from which our program was given birth and blossomed.

Why we were Successful starting up.

We let the Coaches coach and the Board govern the Program. We had a devoted Director of Coaches who gave his counsel and enthusiasm for the game; a Treasurer who watched our expenses and kept us in the black; and good Director of Officials who encouraged our IHSAA officials to adhere to the intramural and IHSAA rules … favoring no coach or team. Our Monte Carlo event plus the help from Mac's Hamburgers kept us financially successful in our program first year. Our Equipment Swap Days were successful in providing excellent equipment at a reasonable price.

Boys who wanted to play football enjoyed played a few plays on Saturday morning. Most of the boys had an opportunity to play organized football for a few years. Most of the boys would not play beyond the Junior or Senior High School level. Little girls had the opportunity to be cheerleaders.

This was the purpose for founding the Warren Township Football Club in September of 1971.

Contact Us

Warren Township Football Club

9500 East 16th Street 
Indianapolis, Indiana 46229

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 317-983-1971
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