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Harold is a great choice as team captain



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Harold Schonfeld holds the traveling trophy for the big game this Friday night. Kick off is 7:30 pm. photo by Randy Jorgensen.
August 01, 2007
When you think of great Imlay City football players, Harold Schonfeld may not be at the top of your list. In fact he may not make your list. Harold would be one of the first to tell you exactly that. He certainly enjoyed the game, but his name wouldn't be mentioned with the likes of Al Dorow, Doug Mason, Pat Emerick, Chester Marcol, Steve Lestage, Rick Granata, Matt Topie, Chris Gilbert, Nate Miller, David Kircus or a host of other outstanding Spartan alumni, some with distinguished NFL careers.

But then again, few would be.

Harold Schonfeld would be at the very top of the list when it comes to supporting his alma mater though. Since the early 60s he may have attended more Imlay City High School football games than anyone.

"Come rain or shine, cold weather or hot, I make most all the home games at the very least," Harold told me.

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I've been to my share of games over the past 27 years and I know, off in the distance, standing along the fence will be Harold. And you can bet he will be in his blue and gold colors cheering his beloved Spartans on.

For this Friday's alumni game, Harold will get a little closer to the action, since the 2007 team has asked him to be their 'Honorary Team Captain.'

A wonderful choice.

"I'm surprised and a little embarrassed, there are so many other players from Imlay City who deserve this honor," says Harold modestly. "But this is a great thing they are doing for both schools and communities. I'm very proud to be part of it all."

Rick Lee, player/coach and one of the organizers of the event says, "Harold is always there to help and support. He does a lot behind the scenes and all of us appreciate that. He is an obvious choice for Honorary Team Captain and we are all happy to have him on the field with us."

Harold and North Branch alumni Ralph Deshetsky even went out and bought a traveling trophy for the unique rivalry. A beautiful trophy at that.

The first game Harold ever watched in Imlay City was at the fairgrounds in 1934, he was 10 years old. They continued to play at the fairgrounds until the late 30s. Harold never played a game there, but he watched Doug Buike, Jack Cornell, and George Radalowski, play there on several occasions.

"All the games were at the fairgrounds, all day games," mentions Harold. "People would line up around the fence and watch the game."

Harold's brother, Jack, also played, with fella's like Harry Diehl, Gordon Stoldt, Casey Campbell, Pete Secor, Ken Day (Sr.), Harold Warner, Bob Churchill, Willy Wagner, Ralph Wagner and Russ Teal. Harold played a couple years later on the 1940 and 1941 teams.

"I was pretty much a benchwarmer most of my junior season. Near the end of the season Howard Winslow, our starting guard, got injured in a game. Coach Sweeny yelled for me to go in for him," remembers Harold.

"I told Coach I was trained as a tackle, I didn't know the guard plays," Harold recalls. "Coach told me to get on the field, telling me to ask Leo Dunn what to do," Harold explains.

"So I asked Leo, what do I do?"

"Go in low and grab legs and hold on tight, or else you'll get kicked in the face," instructed Leo.

Harold understandably struggled a little to remember all his teammates, but he did mention these players; Jim Lee, Carl Sterner, Tom Ward, Moe Gibbard, Glen Spencer, Vern Stoldt, Bob Frenthewy, Russ Maples, Bob Lancaster, Ed Kempf, Joe Simons, Rich Zanhow, John Glousque, Fred Robinson, Bill Hall, Bill Weston and Kay Buchanan.

Recalling the teammates brought another story to mind for Harold.

"We didn't have a bus like they do these days, we all met at the school and drove our cars or trucks from there," he recalls. "Once we were going to Oxford, so we all loaded into a pickup truck. Along the way the truck kept stalling out, luckily we had John Sisson along, he was a mechanical genius you know. Well, he figured out it was the fuel pump or something, so he sat on the fender of the truck and poured gas into the carburetor a little at a time to keep it running. We made it okay thanks to John," laughs Harold.

I continued to push Harold for names of players he enjoyed watching, and since he worked on the family farm in the 40s and 50s he didn't see some of the players like Al Dorow, Pat Emerick, and Doug Mason play much. He did see Spike McKillop, Don Bosker and Jack Weston play though.

In the 60s Harold remembers watching Chester Marcol kick a 50-yard field goal. And he has many fond memories of watching nephew Charles, as well as, Mike and Peter Schonfeld, son-in-law Rick Bogart play, along with John Topie, Ken Day, Steve Upleger, Roger Romine, Jerry Stryker, Bill and Jack Lengemann, Jim Schiller, Gary Roy, Jim and Gary Nolin, and Dale Goodrich.

The best team he felt was the state runner-up team in 1993. They were big, fast and had plenty of talent at all positions. "Those fellas could play football and on any other day, they would have beat that Kingsford team too," Harold stated. "We were a better team, just not that day."

Over the years, Harold has been very active with the Imlay City Lions Club and Eastern Michigan Fair. In 1989 he was recognized by the Imlay City Chamber of Commerce as 'Citizen of the Year.'

Next year, Harold and his wife Dorothy will celebrate 60 years of marriage. They often visit their daughter, Lynn and son-in-law Rick Bogart in California. Harold and Dorothy have two grandchildren, Jeff and Amber.

Harold is a good family man, a good businessman and outstanding contributor to the community of Imlay City.

You may not think of Harold Schonfeld when it comes to heroics on the football field, but certainly off the field, he's at the top of everyone's list.

So this Friday night, when Harold is calling the toss of the coin at midfield, let's give 'team captain' a rousing round of applause.

The game kicks-off at 7:30 pm at Imlay City.

Email Randy at

rjorgensen@pageone-inc.com

Randy is the President of Page One Inc., which publishes the Tri-City Times, Woods-N-Water News and Page One Printing Company. He has been with the company since 1980. Randy has been writing a local column for 27 years on community events, individuals, sports, hunting and fishing adventures.
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