By GARY DOVE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Homecoming 2012 for the Mount View Golden Knights tonight will feature more than a normal football game and festivities associated with the event.
At halftime of Friday’s game with Fayetteville, it will be a combination anniversary and homecoming for some returning former players and cheerleaders for the Welch Maroon Wave from 1952.
This season marks the 60th anniversary of the Maroon Wave starting to play their home football games at the current Junior Poca location of what is now Vic Nystrom Stadium.
Prior to the first game in 1952, played on Sept. 5 against Oceana, the Welch football team played home games at the former Blakely Field, now the site of the National Guard Armory.
Welch opened the campaign with a 25-6 victory over the Indians from Wyoming County. In fact, that win snapped a six-year losing streak for the Waves in their season opening games, dating back to 1945.
Junior quarterback Bobby Hardison scored the first points at the unfinished stadium for Welch, which was coached by John Suba.
The Maroon Wave followed that victory with two more, both at the new field, over Iaeger and Elkhorn. The Indians were then house in the now-closed Switchback Elementary School building.
After consecutive losses on the road to Big Creek and Bluefield, the Wave returned home for their 1952 homecoming game against Princeton on Oct. 10.
Just before that contest was when the stadium was officially dedicated as Maroon Wave Stadium. As part of the ceremony, McDowell County Superintendent of Schools George W. Bryson was presented with the paperwork for the dedication.
Bryson passed those papers on to Welch Principal G.M. Hollandsworth, who accepted them on the behalf of the school.
Also in pregame festivities, Beverly Boothe of Havaco was crowned homecoming queen.
The Wave dropped the contest 13-7 to the visiting Tigers to move to 3-3.
The final home game of the season was played the following week and provided a victory for the Maroon Wave, which finished their inaugural season at Maroon Wave Stadium at 4-1.
Successive wins on the road over Northfork and Pineville were celebrated before dropping a season ending game to powerful Gary to conclude the campaign at 6-4.
The stadium name remained Maroon Wave Stadium until the 1978 season when Gary and Welch consolidated to form Mount View and the name became Golden Knight Stadium.
The name changed once more when it became Vic Nystrom Stadium in 2007, named to honor former Wave player, assistant coach and later head coach Vic Nystrom. He would serve two seasons as a Knight assistant before becoming head coach in 1980, a position he held for 16 seasons, guiding Mount View to the Class AAA state runner-up slot in 1990.
Former Welch and Mount View assistant coach and former Wave head basketball coach Ed Mosko was a senior on that 1952 Welch football team. Frank Marino, who is a former basketball and football coach at Welch, was a sophomore on that particular team.
Seven former Welch players from the 1952 team will be present and honored as distinquished guests tonight. They will include seniors on that squad, Don Boyd, Bob Mark and Donald Rankin, junior Richard Gaminde and sophomores Bill Tolley and Arvel Wyatt. Player-coach Dean Jones will also be in attendance.
Four former cheerleaders from the ‘52 club will be back tonight, including Boothe, who was the homecoming queen, Rosalie Chericozzi Hurt, Shirley Murphy Kowalski and Beverly Pigg Chipouras.
Mount View Athletic Director Ed Evans urges all fans to come out to celebrate homecoming, welcome those back who originally played and cheered on the new field in 1952 and cheer on the Knights, who are boasting a two-game win streak.