Ellsworth during his playing days

Carmichaels star athlete Glenn Ellsworth is shown during his high school playing days. (Submitted photo)

Area sports fans were saddened by the news of the passing on Friday of former Carmichaels star athlete Glenn Ellsworth.

Ellsworth was one of the top football players to come out of Greene County and was profiled in a Memory Lane column in 2009. Here are some excerpts from that column.

They called Glenn Ellsworth the “rabbit” during his high school days at Carmichaels. The stocky 5-8, 155-pound halfback, who was so fleet-footed, cut a wide swath during his football and baseball career in the early 1960s.

Ellsworth played enough football at Carmichaels as a freshman to score seven points, and then added 87 as a sophomore when he won his starting spurs. In his four years of scholastic play Ellsworth is credited with 347 points, which would place him high on any state ranking.

“I played a lot my freshman year,” Ellsworth remembered. “What Coach Fred Stuvek saw in me was the name. My brother Harry played a few years before me, and when he was there he held the county scoring record for a couple of years. The name was what coach recognized. Sometimes it’s not what you know it’s who you know — he recognized the name and the bloodline and gave me the opportunity, and I ran with it.”

Carmichaels was a very competitive program during Ellsworth’s playing days. The Mikes were 6-3 in Ellsworth’s sophomore season.

Stuvek’s Mikes were one of the best around in 1962, going 9-0 during the regular season. The Greene County school met Rostraver in a mud battle at Uniontown High School Stadium for the WPIAL Class A championship and played to a scoreless tie.

The Mikes won the mythical Greene County championship in Ellsworth’s senior campaign by beating West Greene (41-26), Jefferson (24-20) and Waynesburg (41-6), but did not meet Mapletown. Overall, the Mikes were 5-2-1.

Ellsworth followed in his brother Harry’s footsteps and put up some remarkable records, including two straight district scoring titles with 22 touchdowns and 139 points as a junior and 108 points as a senior.

“Harry was seven years older, so I would go to his games when I younger and watched him play,” Ellsworth said. “At the beginning of my sophomore year he came up to me and said ‘I want that record back in our name again.’ I said what are you talking about? I didn’t know he broke the county record and held it for a couple of years. He said if you do nothing else try to get that back in the family, and it just happened that I had enough ballplayers in front of me that it worked out all right.”

Ellsworth was a much different player than his brother Harry.

“He was smaller, he might have been 130 pounds,” Ellsworth offered. “But, he wrestled and he was a hard-nosed little guy. I was the complete opposite. He ran over people and if I could, I avoided people and I tried to run by them. That is why they called me the rabbit.”

Looking back Ellsworth feels the 1962 season was a highlight.

“There is no way that I could forget that year,” he said. “I had some good players around me. Joe Taffoni, who went to West Virginia, and Tennessee Martin, then there was Joe Lencewicz and he went to the University of Pennsylvania. Frank Menhart was on that team along with Bob Atcheson, Jim Stewart, Arley Halterman, Jim Zalar, Joe Kuchinsky, and Jim Boggio, who played a lot my senior year.”

On Friday, Nov. 16, 1962, more than 6,000 people watched the Mikes play Rostraver for the WPIAL Class A championship in the pouring rain and a field that turned to a sea of mud. The game ended in a tie as each team was unable to beat the opposing team’s defense, or the mud. The Mikes’ best chance to score was on the opening kickoff of the second half. Ellsworth took the kickoff, found a seam, and was heading for a touchdown. He was caught from the side at the Leopard 23-yard line. The drive stalled at the 15. The final score was Carmichaels 0, Rostraver 0.

“I stepped on the field and the mud went up over my ankles,” Ellsworth recalled. “You just couldn’t run in that mud. The closest we came was on that kickoff return. You could hardly tell who was who because we were covered in mud.”

Ellsworth ran low to the ground and was a big play back. In 1960, his first touchdown was for 23 yards. In 1961, he had touchdown runs of 52, 54, 70, 65, and 92 yards. In 1962, he had touchdown runs of 85, 87, 55, 70, 63, 60, 52, 51, and 70 yards. In 1963, he had touchdown runs of 85, 80, 66, 76, and 80 yards.

“We had two plays that really worked,” Ellsworth reported. “The 26 power and the 24 trap, I would just step up and cut through the four hole. We had Taffoni, Lencewicz and Menhart just cutting people down and if you looked at the hole, I could have driven a truck through some of those holes. Teams tried to stop me and keyed on me, but you can’t stop someone when the people in front of you are knocking people down.”

Ellsworth was named to the Greene County All-Star football team for three straight years Ellsworth was selected as the Most Outstanding Football Player in Greene County in 1962 and 1963.

He also excelled at baseball.

“Baseball was the sport I liked,” revealed Ellsworth. “I played football because I could, but baseball was the sport I loved.”

Ellsworth played on the Greene County All-Star team, assembled for the 1959 Pony League World Series.

By the time the 1959 Pony League World Series ended, the Greene County All-Stars had nearly done the unthinkable. The team finished second to Long Beach, Calif.

Ellsworth had limited scholarship opportunities when he graduated from Carmichaels in 1964.

“That did pan out well,” Ellsworth lamented. “My grades weren’t that great and neither were the SAT scores. If they were good I probably would have been at California State where my brother went. Fairmont State accepted the ACT scores. My scores were better there and I wound up going down there.”

Ellsworth lettered in baseball and football at Fairmont State in 1964 and 1965. He became a teacher after graduating from Fairmont State.

“I taught at Collinwood High School in the Cleveland area for 31 years,” said Ellsworth. “I started out in phys-ed and health and then taught history. I was an assistant coach for over 25 years, working with wrestling, football and baseball. I retired in 1999.”

Ellsworth lived in Cleveland with his wife of 49 years, Marjorie. They had three children: Laurie, Stacey and Glenn Jr., and five grandsons.

Some of his Carmichaels teammates had great memories of Ellsworth.

“Ellsworth was a scat back,” former Mikes quarterback Bob Atcheson said. “He had the ability to cut, he could run and just make that cut to be elusive. He was real quick, but he had that ability and that quickness to cut and he made a lot of people miss tackles.”

“What was amazing about Glenn Ellsworth was he waited for his blocks to form,” former Mighty Mikes end Mike Fedorko stated. “He didn’t try to outrun his blockers, he was a patient runner, he wasn’t big, he wasn’t a speed demon, but he knew how to run. He knew when to pace himself and when to put on a burst of speed.”

Ellsworth was 74 years old at the time of his death.

George Von Benko’s “Memory Lane” column appears in the Monday editions of the Herald-Standard. He also hosts a sports talk show on WMBS-AM radio from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

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