For many Americans, fall means football. From homecoming games to the Super Bowl, the season is jam-packed with reasons to cheer or jeer, depending on what team you are rooting for. This has been the case in East Hampton for many decades.
An East Hampton High School football team has existed in some form since at least 1896, when the school’s athletic club met and planned to recruit “eleven boys of the school” to form a team, though they had yet to enlist a coach. By the 1927-28 season, the team appeared in an official photograph in their uniforms on the steps of the high school.
This 1946 football schedule belonged to Lorraine Loris (1929-2006), a member of that year’s junior class who attended at least four of the six games played that season. Lorraine was an attentive spectator, as she recorded scores for the games played against Smithtown, Greenport, Westhampton Beach, and Sag Harbor. The Sag Harbor game was a decisive win for East Hampton, ending up 39 to 0. According to the School Scoop, East Hampton High School’s biweekly newspaper, the 1946 season was average, with the football team winning three out of six games.
That season’s top scorer was Joe Pombo. Pombo returned in 1947 as one of the team’s elected captains and won a trophy for being “the outstanding football player on the team.” Also returning in 1947, to create what is generally regarded as one of the best football teams in the school’s history, were Lorraine’s cousin Walter Loris, Eddie Ecker, and John McGuirk. Unfortunately, a few well-remembered players, such as Bruce Collins and Carl Erickson, left before the magic of the 1947 season.
Francis Kiernan coached the East Hampton football team in both 1946 and 1947, when he led the Bonackers to victory against Greenport for the first time in 14 years.
Julia Tyson is a librarian and archivist in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.