Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

FLASHBACK: 1957 – Raiders may field big name gridders

(NOTE: Article was originally written by Cam Papara and appeared in the Sunday, June 16, 1957, edition of the Racine Sunday Bulletin.)

Frank SchinkowitzIf William (Wigs) Konicek is successful in his quest for football talent, the Racine Raiders will be sporting some “big name” players when the Bi-States Football League opens play in the fall.

Konicek, club business manager, is extending feelers to get Bob Petruska, former University of Wisconsin quarterback, and Mario Bonofiglio, Kenosha High star who played for the University of Miami (Fla.). Bonofiglio is out of military service now and is teaching near Kenosha, says Konicek.

Won Title Last Year

The Racine squad figures to have a considerable number of holdovers from the team which last season won the league title by edging Elmhurst 6-0 in a
playoff contest. Konicek’s ambition is to get as many local boys as possible as a way to cut expenses, stimulate more interest among Racine fans and make practice sessions more convenient.

The league held a preliminary meeting at Woodstock (111.) two Weeks ago and another is slated there June 23 to approve the 1957 schedule. Teams interested in play, besides Racine, include Aurora, Elmhurst the Chicago Rockets and a squad from Milwaukee. Cudahy still is undecided about joining this season, Konicek reports.

The Milwaukee club which likely will replace the Trails End eleven, will depend upon players just out of high school along with a group of former college players in the area.

Delavan Finished

The Delavan Red Devils, a familiar football-name throughout the state for several decades, have given up the ship, according to Konicek. Sagging attendance in recent years and the loss of standout performers to other clubs have torpedoed interest in Delavan.

While the Racine team’s league schedule as yet is not complete, Konicek asserted the Raiders definitely have booked an exhibition here with the Great Lakes Naval gridders for the second weekend in September. Last year, Racine played at Great Lakes and gave the sailors a real battle, though
succumbing in a free-scoring duel.

Frank Schinkowitch again will coach the Raiders, says Konicek, who adds that Orv Dermody may help out with the tutoring chores.

League rules prevent one team from luring players from another and only through a release can an athlete transfer. However, if Cudahy decides against fielding a team this season, the entire roster is up for grabs and there are a few that Konicek would like to get his hands on.

Other Possibilities

The Rockets, which mopped up on Chicago teams the past season or two, are definitely interested in becoming a Bi-States League member where they expect to meet stronger opposition. Rockford and Elgin are two other league possibilities. More definite word on these two clubs will be forthcoming at the next league meeting.

The league’s hope is for a close-knit circuit which makes long trips unnecessary. It was the long-distance travel that wrecked the Central States
Pro Football League three years ago. That league included Racine, Wausau, St. Louis, Crown Point (Ind.), Des Moines; Delavan and Waterloo, as well as Minneapolis, for a brief time.

“Our plan is to keep something alive in Racine,” Konicek said of the Raiders. The club, which averaged about 600 attendance a game last season, has received financial help from a number of firms and individuals in the past.