Walter Young grew up in a time of uncertainty in United States history, but 75 years ago he and his Garfield teammates were at the center of the high school football national landscape.
With the country still struggling economically in 1939 because of the Great Depression and World War II in its early stages, Young — and the Boilermakers — had football.
“We were just kids,” said Young, 92, but still as sharp as a tack. “We weren’t frightened of anything because we were so young. We didn’t understand all the dangers and politics going on at the time.”
Garfield went 10-0 and captured a national championship that year, defeating Miami (Fla.) High School, 16-13, in a game coined the “Infantile Paralysis Bowl” in honor of then President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who suffered from the affliction better known as polio.