by Jim Riggs
Lake Shore Play Brought Back Bad Memories For Former Red Raider
Jamestown attorney Greg Peterson was an offensive guard and defensive tackle on the 1968 Jamestown team that played its last game of the season at Altoona, Pa. Altoona ran Elvin’s “water bucket,” which current Jamestown coach Wally Huckno called “muddle huddle,” on its first play of the game and just like Lake Shore, the result was a touchdown.
“I said, ‘This is déjà vu,’” Peterson said were his thoughts when he saw a Lake Shore player tying his shoe near the ball while his teammates were bunched together near the sideline.
It happens right after a kickoff. As Elvin explained, the player near the ball pretends to tie his shoe while the other players appear to be coming to the sidelines to leave the field, talk with the coach, or get a drink of water, which is why it is called “water bucket.”
The key is for the officials to blow the whistle to start time allowed to get off the play. When the whistle blows, the other players quickly get into a formation and the shoe-tier suddenly flips the ball to a running back.
Saturday it was flipped to returning Connolly Cup winner Dennis Martin who went 67 yards to cut the Jamestown lead to 14-7 and the Eagles eventually won 20-14.
“It’s a transition from the kickoff,” Peterson explained. “It has to be done on first down. You can’t do it on second or third down. It has to be first down.”
He added, “The only way to defend it is to call a time out.”
When asked what they called the play back in 1968, Peterson laughed and said, “They called it a touchdown!”
Former Jamestown coach Tony Nunes called it something else.
“He went ballistic,” Peterson recalled when Altoona’s use of the play resulted in a 65-to-70-yard touchdown run.
Peterson said just the week before Jamestown had played at Erie, Pa and lost to McDowell, which was ranked No. 1 in the state, 13-3. Then came the trip to powerhouse Altoona to ends the season.
“This was playing the big time,” Peterson said. “So Tony was higher than a kite.”
But his blood pressure went higher than that after the trick play. Jamestown went on to lose that game 26-0 to finish the season 4-3-1.
So when Peterson saw Lake Shore “lining up” in a similar formation Saturday and then pull off the play for a touchdown, he said, “It was a flashback. A bad flashback.”