The Kansas City Times from Kansas City, Missouri on November 21, 1968 · Page 33
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The Kansas City Times from Kansas City, Missouri · Page 33

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Kansas City, Missouri
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Thursday, November 21, 1968
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Page 33
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s > ’ Two Kansas City Negro Youths Boost Falcon Football Fortunes (Bv The Star's Own Service) T he Air Force academy football team is assured of its best season since the ’Gator bow! year of 1^ and has regained much of the luster acquired in its unbeaten 1958 initial season in big-time football. Helping the Falcons back into grid respectability are two third classmen (sophomores) from Kansas City, Curtis Martin and Ernest R. Jennings, jr. Spark Team’s Offense Their speed and flair for game-4)reaking plays (Jennings is a 9.7 sprinter and Martin 9.8) have given Coach Ben Martin offensive weapons which have been lacking in recent years. The two Negro youths have had a tremendous impact on Falcon sports fans as Coach Martin’s team has cruised to six wins against close defeats at the hands of Florida, Stanford and Arizona. Martin, at 5-10 and 178 pounds an elusive whirling dervish, handled the ball on a third of the academy plays as the bread-and-butter runner until he twisted a knee against North Carolina November 2. A twisting, darting road runner who seems to get closer to the ground as he breaks to day- Ught, Martin has gained 412 yards in 129 carries despite being pointed inside the tackles most of the time. And more importantly he scored 48 of the Falcon’s 155 points through the game with the Tar Heels. The first time Martin touched a ball in varisty competition he ran the kickoff in the Florida game back for 98 yards and a touchdown. Sets School Record Jennings, a 6-foot, 170 poun­ der, has been just as effective as a flanker. He turned in a 55- yard touchdown run against Pitt and an academy record scoring play on a 78-yard pass against North Carolina. The academy, with its rigid scholastic requirements, hasn’t been a haven for any athletes, black or white. The only previous Negro football players pi academy,” says Jennings. “He and his wife visited our homes often and got to be great friends with our parents. Mom and Mrs. Bezyack would go out shopping together and things like that. “It was really a people-to- people thing. And I really believe that we’d have stayed good friends with them even if Curtis and I had decid'ed to go to school somewhere else.” Their fathers, Ulysees Q. Martin and Ernest R. Jennings, sr., are Postoffice employees, and both of the youths grew up about five blocks apart and attended Central Junior High school and the Progressive Baptist church, yet they had no agreement to attend the same college. “We did talk about what we might do,” Jennings said. “And when we found out that the other sort of wanted to fly jets and that he also was thinking of the academy, it sort of helped,” says .fennings. “We visited the academy separately and came to the .same choice.” With 45 Negroes now enrolled. discrimination was not one of the problems they had to face at the Colorado Springs school. Here no favoritism is shown. Both join their white coun- you come back and everybody comes in to give you a boost and a pat on the back. It’s a great feeling.” Martin’s roommate in the 25th squadron is Tom Folsom of New York while Jennings* roommate in the 9th squadron is Harold Whaley, a varsity defensive end . . . one of five football players in the squadron. Like Their Coaches “Whaley’s from Opelika, Ala., you know,” says Jennings with a smile. “We give each other a bad time, and I think we’ve been good for each other.” Among the Kansas Citians* heroes are, of course, Ben Martin and his coaches. “I love our coaches,” Martin says. “They really help you.” And Jennings nods and adds, “They stick with you when you’re having trouble>as I was in catching long passes early this year. They never give up on you.” Then Jennings adds, “This team is one close bunch. The players really like each other. It reminds me of our high school teams that way.” And Martin says, “It’s more fun playing with guys you like, fe- lows such as Dennis Ryll, our fullback. He’s the most underrated guy on the team. You know when you go around end that he’ll knock down some guys for you.” Both cadets are proud- proud of themselves, their families, the academy. And both, everybody is convinced, are going places. THESE TWO AIR FORCE ACADEMY FALCONS began their football careers at Central high school in Kansas City. The cadets are (left) Curtis Martin, 19 years old, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ulysees Q. Martin, 3027 Jackson avenue, and (right) Ernest R. Jennings, jr., also 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest R. Jennings, sr., 3609 Beliefontaine avenue. terparts in describing that trouble with engineering me- A GRADUATE of Central high school in Kansas City, Curtis Martin (foreground), is the top running back for the Air Force academy football team. were Fritz Greenlee, an end, a victim of the first cheating scandal, and Larry Cook, a halfback who left two years ngo in the cleanout of honor code violators. The academy has graduated 15 Negro cadets. One of them —Capt. Frederick D. Gregory —has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and 15 Air medals for aerial combat support in Vietnam. And the drive has been on to interest more and more academically qualified Negro students. Coach Martin and his staff have been trying to find Negro athletes to bolster the Falcon team as well as to broaden the image of this national school. Central high in Kansas City, with its fine athletic tradition and its solid academic standing, was a natural target. And the “selling job” that Capt. Marty Bezyack, head junior varsity coach, did on Martin and Jennings was only matched by the “selling job” the two youths did on Bezyack. Both youths were all-city and aU-metro honorable mention in football while playing both defense and offense at Central. “It seemed that every time we’d look up Capt. Bezyack was here pointing out the advantages open to us at the rough “doolie” first year. Martin laughs when he says, “many is the time in that first year I wished that our football coach, Harold Michael, and our track coach, Harvey Green, hadn’t encouraged me to come here. “You expect it to be rough academically and physically, but it’s rougher than anybody expects. But, you know, you find out your limit of endurance in everything... they concentrate on the whole man here. And suddenly you realize that it’s doing you more good than harm.” Jennings laughs and adds, “Lots of times I would ask myself, ‘What are you doing here?’ in that first year. It was especially tough for a kid like me. If anybody had told me as a high school sophomore that I’d wind up in a military academy where there are no girls, I’d have told them to drop dead. But here I am—and I love it. “You’ve got to want to be a cadet and then an officer to stick it out. If you want to, you can do it. “Here we are part of the academy, not just entertainers. And there’s none of that racial unrest that’s plaguing the country. Last summer I visited Air Force bases on our field trip and the relationship between the races couldn t have been better. I’ll tell you that when the civilians reach the racial understanding that is in the military, our country will be a better place to live.” Both Good Students Martin is a good student (he was president of his high school class as both a junior and senior) who works at it. He loves to read books on philosophy by Kant and Locke. He had a 2.8 grade point after his first year. This fall he had ii AT THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY, athletes must keep pace academically, and their schedules are even busier than those of other cadets. Ernest R. Jenmngs, Jr. (left), a flanker for the football team, studies with William B. Foulois of Waterbary, Conn. ______ Estes Park Hotel Set $50,000Reward \ i^ee For Silver Return N ewark, n. .i. (Ap)Last somewhere are 242 bars of silver valued at $380,000 and anyone who finds them could receive a $50,000 reward. The reward was offered in the lost and found column of the Newark Evening News. The lost silver was part of a shipment of 942 bars that left the World Metal corporation of Pennsauken and the Empire Smelting and Refining company of Philadelphia September 12. Tne shipment traveled by truck to Port Elizabeth where it was sealed in containers and loaded onto the SS American Legion, a U. S. Lines ship that sailed September 16 for England, with stops in Rotterdam and Hamburg. The trip ended September 30 in London. A police guard stood by as the silver was unloaded.* One container was short 45 bars and 197 bars were missing from a second container. The reward, to anyone offering a clue to the mystery, was offered by the adjuster, Graham Miller & Co., Ltd., of New York. SHRINER EVENT IS SET More Than 1,500 Expected at Garden City, Kas Garden City, Kas. (AP)—More than 1,500 Shriners aift expected Saturday in Garden City for the annual fall ceremonial of the Midian Temple of the Shrine. The temple represents Western Kansas. A big parade including ten Shrine units and several floats is scheduled, and a crowd of 7,500 parade-watchers is expected. Tommy Whitehead, a Garden City youngster who is a Shrine hospital patient at St. Louis, is the honorary parade marshal. For V/3 Million Estes Park, Colo. (AP)—| Three California financiers are! paying 1.3 million dollars for the! Stanley hotel, largest such facility in the Estes Park gateway to Rocky Mountain National park, it was announced yesterday. The hotel is being sold by the Stanley Properties, Inc., headed by Dr. Maurice L. Albertson of Colorado State university. Fort Collins, on January 1, the announcement said. Buyers are Richai-d R. Holechek, Charles F. Hanson and Mrs. Carol Hanson Pick of Riverside and Palm Springs, Calif. The Stanley was buildt in 1908 and 1909 by F. 0. Stanley, who gained a greater measure ofj fame by inventing the Stanley Steamer automobile. He spent $250,000 to build the hotel, re-^ ported to be among the first with an all electric kitchen. Stanley j built his own power plant to provide the energy. chanics (“. . .you get a little behind during football season if you don’t watch out.”) But he worked with a tutor on football trips and now is fourth or fifth in his class. Jennings says. “I hate to read. I always did. But I do like math and do well enough in it that I could go into some type of engineering.” The grades show he’s strong in everything as he has an accumulative grade point of 3.4. “You couldn’t get the individual attention you get here at any other school,” Jennings points out. “The classes are small. My largest one has 20 in it. And the instructors come to you trying to help.” Both youths like the policy, where roommates are selected by computers and the football players are scattered among the squadrons. “You get to know more people with ditferent interests ” says Jennings. “After a game SHOP THE CAKE BOX BAKERY 10th & Main Lower Level Sawl 6 ^ on Miracle: the soft- stick mai^nne. Save 4( here Save 4( here Save here Save ON TWO LBS. OF MIRACLE SOFT STICK MARGARINE. To the grocen You are authorized to act as oor agent fn redeemfrtg this coupon. We will reimburse you for the face value of this coupon or. If coupon calls for free gcx3ds, we will reimburse you for the regular retail price of the free goods plus 2c for handling each coupon, provided you and the customer have complied with the terms of this offer. Proof of purchase of sufficient stocks of Kraft product specified to cover coupons presented must be furnished upon request. 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