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SEARCHING THE RECORDS TO SET THINGS RIGHT

Looking for the correct answers as I explain an extensive search.

History -like any person’s story-it’s messy. It doesn’t always fit into neat boxes. About 30 years ago I was at the Milwaukee Public Library sifting through old newspapers…The Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Sentinel in particular, when I happened upon a record that I found to be very important. This is a tail about that record and confirming it.


A story in the Sentinel in 1963 mentioned that a player from Pewaukee, Charles Page, was a very good running back and an expert defender on defense. So good defending against the pass that he had 18 interceptions that year.WOW.18 interceptions in a single season! That record went to the top of that category on my records list I saw in a 1964 story that he had 13 more that year for a career total of 31. That was the career record until a few years later I discovered that Roy Gruel of Glenwood City ended his career, 1981-84, with 33. In 2003 Jake Owens of Stevens Point Pacelli tied Gruel with 33. That all fit into “neat boxes.”


About 2009 or 2010 I received an email from a person who said that he knew Charles Page. The person had found my records list on the WFCA web site, and he noticed Charles’ name. So, he asked Mr. Page about the record and Page said he had a few but he didn’t think it was that many. I told the reader that I would make time to look through the local papers for confirmation, but I also asked that he give Charles my email address and to contact me. Well, I never heard from Charles Page, and I never got around to looking deeper into the local newspapers. I got busy doing other things and when I didn’t hear back the record checking went into the back of my mind.


However, over the years every time I did updates and looked over the interception section I thought of that email from the reader. I lost his address to reconnect and I’m sorry for that.


Now, fast forward to July of this year, 2023. I was again at the in the downtown Milwaukee library and I was allowed to look at the real newspapers and not to have to resort to microfilm (THANKS MPL!). They will let you look at the old papers instead of microfilm if they are still in good condition. They have the Journal and Sentinel in big, heavy binders going back to when the papers were first printed in the 1800’s. I was trying to get info for a blog on Don Bosco high school and while turning the pages for October 1964 in the Milwaukee Journal I saw a small story about Charles Page and another player on the Pewaukee team. The article said that after the team’s first seven games Page ‘s rushing stats were 82-1007-12.3-14 with two more games to play. Impressive, even for a small school program and in only seven games. But in reading the story the other player mentioned was Don Strauss, listed as a superb defensive back. It said that he had intercepted 18 passes in 1963 and had 10 more in 1964 so far. To say that I was shocked was an understatement. How could this be? I was so sure that what I had written down on paper back in the 1990’s and then transferred to my computer files was correct. So, the hunt to get to the truth began.





First, I went to the Waukesha Public Library and looked up the sports pages from October and November 1963 and 1964 and found next to nothing about the two players. In later years the Waukesha Freeman newspaper would have recaps for the teams they covered. But in 1963 and 1964 the paper just mainly covered Waukesha High School and Catholic Memorial with scant attention to other schools in the county. An occasional story here and there about Muskego, Mukwonago or a Brookfield school but almost nothing on other teams. While that coverage would change in the future it didn’t help my search now. I looked for that papers All-Waukesha County football team. For 1963 there was nothing except that Charles Page was listed as honorable mention. The stories those days were low on statistical info for most players on the All-County team and the first and second teams were made up of only 11-players each. You would have thought that the 18 interceptions would have gotten him on the second team if not the first team. There was no mention of Don Strauss. I then looked at the 1964 All-County team and Charles Page was now listed on the second team. No final stats there, just his name, so his record is unfinished for my curiosity. Again, Don Strauss isn’t mentored. With 28 career interceptions from the Milwaukee Journal story, you would think that there would be some mention, honors.


Next, on to the Pewaukee Public Library to check out the high school’s old yearbooks. I looked at the 1963, 1964 and 1965 yearbooks and found one page with the team picture and the record for the seasons scores and the next page had pictures of the senior players. No story about the team. Dead end there. I followed up with a visit to the Hartland Public Library to look at the Lake County Reporter newspaper. Now this was a weekly paper, small in size but seemed to want to cover a large area. Maybe later the paper would do so but not in 1963 or 1964. I found two game stories for the 18-games Pewaukee played in those years and very little about a small school next to the town, Arrowhead. In fact, while the paper covered news from Pewaukee, Delafield, Merton, Okauchee Lake, Nashotah, Chenequa and North Lake there very little football coverage. No pre-season previews and no season ending recaps. Of the only two stories that I found on Pewaukee they were from 1964. A story similar to the one in the Milwaukee Journal mentioning Page but nothing about Strauss. This was an article also mentioning the upcoming game against Kewaskum and Homecoming in particular. Another dead end.


So, I decided to email the principal, vice-principal and the athletic director at Pewaukee. I explained my plight and wanted to know if they knew the interception records or any alumni info on the two players. No response but that isn’t a surprise since it’s summer and they probably aren’t checking the school emails. Their possible contact with either Charles or Don was very slim. Schools also don’t often carry records that far back with any consistency.


But five days after I sent my email, I decided to do two things. I had the next day off and I decided I would burn some gas. I live in Milwaukee, not far from the airport. Pewaukee’s final two games were against Kewaskum and Grafton. Small towns then…Kewaskum about 1,700 people, Grafton about 4,500 and West Bend about 12,000. Hartland was small as well with about 2.100 residents. My plan was to go to the West Bend library to look up any info about the Pewaukee vs. Kewaskum game in that city’s newspaper. Kewaskum was only about nine miles from West Bend in those days and had no local paper. I would then go to Grafton and take a chance that the newspaper there would have relevant info. I was willing to hunt down my needed info. However, my plans sort of changed when I did a Google search the night before my trip of Don Strauss


I had done one search earlier, before I emailed the high school and only got 253 links to obituaries for various men from around the country named Charles Page. I never had done one for Don Strauss. When I did, I hit the jackpot. Unlike Page I only found one Google obituary for a man named Don Strauss. In that obituary I found that Don Strauss was born in Milwaukee County in 1947. After graduation he ended up in Florida as a firefighter for the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department where he worked for 21-years. He passed in 1995 at age 47 and had a brother still living back in Pewaukee at the time of his death. That info didn’t help with the interception record though but I now knew a bit more on Don Strauss than I had on Charles Page. When I did my Google search I had just put in Strauss’ name and Pewaukee WI. Google offered me a lot more options but no Don Strauss in Pewaukee so, at first, I clicked on the obituary option and got the above info. I took obituary out of the search and came up with, surprise, the Pewaukee High School football records lists…Records - Individual & Team (pewaukeefootball.org) First, I found that they credited Charles Page with an even 1,200 yards rushing in 1964 with an even 12.0 yards per carry. With two games to go and the info based on the Milwaukee Journal story plus the one in the Lake County Reporter that means he only carried 18-times in the last two games for 193-yards. I have been able to find the scores of those two games, Kewaskum was a 40-0 win and Grafton was a 20-26 loss as per the yearbook. The 193-yards seemed suspect to me. Here’s why. A look at the Grafton News Graphic newspaper said that going into the game between the two schools that Page had 1,070 yards going into the final game and another story on the game had him rushing 24 times for 85 yards so that doesn’t add up to 1,200 yards. Plus, if the Journal story was correct then the 82 carries plus the 24 in the Grafton game would have given him 106, not including what he had in the Kewaskum game.


However, the News Graphic mentioned another player, Tony Lorscheidt who ran wild against Kewaskum, scoring five times and twice against Grafton where he gained 70-yards on 15 carries. In the pre-game story between Pewaukee and Grafton, where the above 1,070 season yards were mentioned, it was mentioned that Lorscheidt was scoring a lot of points in conference play. Did that also mean that Page’s 1,070 yards were in conference play only? Could the 14 season interceptions in Pewaukee’s records be only for conference games? None of the true totals, doing a newspaper game-by-game search, can be found except for their opener against Burlington St. Mary’s. That was a 7-0 win for Pewaukee, and I did find that St. Mary’s did throw two interceptions and one that cut a drive short was hauled in by Don Strauss. Page didn’t score in the game but had a 57-yard run to set up the only score by Tony Lorscheidt. I got the story from the Racine Journal Times. Small town papers just didn’t fully cover most schools or post a box score of football stats. If there were we could get a better feel for what the real numbers are.


Looking down farther on the Pewaukee records I find that in 1963 Don Strauss is credited with 14 interceptions, not 18 and there are no career totals. He is credited with a 101-yard interception return against Campbellsport (The Pewaukee records has Campbellsport spelled with only one L) in 1964. Since the Journal said Strauss had 10 interceptions so far after the first seven games in 1964, he may have had more against his last two opponents.


Here is my analysis on the subject:

While I trust what most newspapers print, they do make mistakes…either their error or what is reported. Numbers can be out of order. BUT, if a coach reports 18 interceptions as opposed what the school records show, who is correct? I really don’t know but I have made changes in the records. Plus, a later story from the Journal had Page with 13 for 1964. So, what’s right? I’ve made some corrections to my lists.


I have removed the name of Charles Page from the interception records and replaced it with the name of Don Strauss. Strauss is now listed tied with another Pewaukee player, Ron Anderson (1967), for the number two spot on the single season record and Larry Lusness of Osseo from 1953 is on the top spot. I have put Strauss at the number three spot on the career interceptions list even though the Pewaukee web page records don’t show career records.


So, there you have it. I am about to send the updated records list to be posted soon on the WFCA records page so you can see the official changes and a few other updates.

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