Twin Bridges celebrates homecoming, 1952 state football champs

Members of the 1952 Twin Bridges state champion football team. From left: Loran Frazier, John Simpson, Ron Paige, Matt Telin, Jack Basolo and Bob Graham. Photo by Ben Coulter

The 1952 state football champions from Twin Bridges were honored during this year’s homecoming festivities Friday, celebrating a class C title and reminiscing about their gridiron glory 59 years later.

Even though the uniforms and the game itself might have changed since then, the players who were there still remember the game like it was yesterday.

The Twin Bridges Falcons beat Medicine Lake by a score of 45–12 on that snowy Thanksgiving Day. It was 18 degrees with six inches of snow on the frozen ground, although the players admit the snow gets deeper as the years go by. There was no parade, and the team enjoyed a turkey dinner to celebrate their title.

“We didn’t even have homecoming in our day,” said team member Ron Paige of Twin Bridges.

Ironically, the title game itself wasn’t much of a matchup. Paige explained that what happened in the semi-final against Plains is the stuff that legends are made of.

“The game everyone talks about was…”

“Plains,” interrupted the five other teammates, who slowly shuffle into a huddle as the story unfolded.

“We just about got beat,” Paige continued. “We were behind pretty much that whole game. We were down three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. We got ahead by three points, but there was still time.”

“They come all the way down the field, with time for one play, from about the two yard line. They bucked the line and we stopped the guy, about that far…” Paige said, holding up his thumb and index finger.

Instantly, the memories returned from inside the huddle.

One man said, “They made the mistake of running the ball.”

“Supposedly might have broke his leg,” said another of the ball carrier.

“If they had run any other play than the one they ran, they’d have probably made it…”

The six members of the 1952 team who were recognized at this year’s homecoming were Jack Basolo, Loran Frazier, Bob Graham, Ron Paige, John Simpson and Matt Tilin. As they floated down Main Street during Friday’s parade, they waved to the crowd along with the rest of the Twin Bridges Falcons. They enjoyed the spotlight again later that evening during halftime of Twin Bridges’ football game against Ennis, if only for a moment.

“Its surprising to me the turnout and participation they have,” Basolo said of this year’s homecoming activities.

Twin Bridges School superintendent Chad Johnson also reflected on homecoming week.

“You see camaraderie every day but it just tightens everything up for that one week, because for the most part everybody plays home,” he said. “So you’ll see your boys at the girls game, you’ll see your girls at the football game.”

“I think the students just enjoy the whole week,” Johnson continued. “As far as I go, I like the whole thing. This is where we get a chance to sit down and talk about the football team and the volleyball team, the booster club, the fun stuff.”

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