In the war years of 1942, 43 and 44 a number of great college and pro players either enlisted or were drafted into the Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard. During this time the Service football teams came into being, playing at the college level. Great teams like 1944 Randolph Field, 1943 & 1944 Iowa Pre-Flight, Second Air Force, Great Lake Navy and among others the March Field Marines.
These teams were powerhouses to be sure, as they were made up of Pro football and College players. Some of the pros were all pro or future hall of famers. Some of the college players were all Americans. Army and Navy had super teams during this era (read the write up about the 1944 Army I did a few months ago), but the teams in the first paragraph were service teams and not academies.
Among the best was the 1944 Randolph Field Ramblers. The Ramblers had a record of 12-0-0, scoring 518 points and giving up 19. The defense of the Ramblers had 9 shutouts, allowing a rush against average of 1.0 (that’s right 1.0) per carry or 29.6 yards per game. The pass defense gave up 31% complete and 81.6 yards passing per game. Total defense yards given up, was 110.8 per game. Quite a defense. The offense only averaged 43 points a game scoring and was ranked 8th in rushing, 8th in passing yards and 3rd in total yards per game in the country. The defense was number one in rush defense, number two in total defense and number one in scoring defense.
The team was led by:
Single Wing HB (5) CB (5) NFL Hall of Famer Bill Dudley. Dudley had 464 yards passing for 9 TDs, rushed for 595 yards and an 8.2 average, caught 7 passes for 93 yards, returned 9 kickoffs for 278 yards and a TD, returned 26 punts for 381 yards, kicked 6 XP and 1 FG, punted for a 48.5 average and intercepted 3 passes for 64 yards. I guess I would have to make three cards for all of these accomplishments. H 5-10 W 175 B 12/24/23. Two 1s and a 2.
HB (3) CB (4) John Goodyear rushed for 326 yards, 5.1 avg., 2 receptions and 1 Int. H 6-0 W 190 B 6/10/20 numerous 15s and 3 Ks.
FB (4) FS (4) Tippy Madarik had 494 yards rushing, 7.1 avg. 6 receptions for 104 yards and 1 Int. H 5-11 W 200 B 7/15/22
QB (3) SS (4) Ken Holley with 100 yards rushing for 4.0 avg. H 5-10 W 185 B 10/9/19
WR (5) DE(5) Harry Burrus had 24 receptions for 444 yards and 3 Tds. H 6-1 W 195 B 4/6/21 Grade A/B
TE (50 DE (5) Jack Russell had 8 receptions for 138 yards H 6-1 W 215 B 8/29/21. Jack was All Pro in the American Football conference in 1946 and 47.
C (3) MLB (4) John “Tom” Robertson H 6-0 W 199 B 7/25/17 played for the 1946 AAFC NY Yankees, which lost the title game 14-9 to the Cleveland Browns.
G (4) OLB (4) Bill Landis
G (4) OLB (4) Jack Freeman H 6-0 W 195 B 1/20/22 Played Pro football with Brooklyn of the AAFC
T (5) DT (5) Martin Ruby H 6-4 W 249 B 6/4/22 All Pro AAFC
T (3) DT (4) Master 4/5 Walt Merrill H 6-2 W 217 B 9/7/17 played 3 years in the NFL
Offense = 44 Defense = 48, Master Offense 44/44 Defense 48/49
Other important players were: HB Dippy Evans with 456 yards rushing for an 8.1 yard average. Peter Layden HB-QB with 225 yards passing for 2 TDs and rushing for a 4.1 average, returning kickoffs for a 26.6 avg. and punts for a 12.5 avg. while intercepting 3 passes. Bob Cifers of the 1942 Champion Redskins with 265 yards rushing, 5.1 avg. and 3 receptions and Ev Elkins rushing for 4.4 yards per carry.
The toughest game was the Treasury Bowl held on Dec. 16, 1944 in which the Ramblers beat the powerfull 2nd Air Force Superbombers by a 13-6 score.
Over 95% of the team played Pro Football.