At DiBurro Clubhouse Dedication, Hamel Tells of 1955 HHS Football Victory

Donald “Joe” Hamel brought the winning 1955 football to the new Trinity Stadium clubhouse dedication Friday night. Haverhill defeated Medford in that game 26-21. (WHAV News photograph.)

When Ernie DiBurro was honored last Friday for his nearly $1 million donation for a new clubhouse at Haverhill Stadium, one visitor traveled in the rain further than most to cheer on the benefactor.

Donald “Joe” Hamel had a chance meeting with DiBurro at the beach this summer and found himself invited to the clubhouse dedication. Hamel won DiBurro’s interest when he told of his participation in a winning football game against Malden 62 years ago. Haverhill School Superintendent James F. Scully introduced Hamel Friday night and explained the significance.

“From the 1955 undefeated—last undefeated team—at Haverhill High School, who came all the way up from Natick to be here tonight to appreciate what you did,” Scully said in his introduction.

Hamel, whose uncle was the famed industrialist Louis H. Hamel, retold the story he first told WHAV audiences in a 1955 broadcast.

“We had one game against Malden and they were marching down the field and there was two minutes left in the game. The guy came around my end. George Moriarty had the end, Mike Conway, and myself on his program at WHAV.”

Moriarty was Haverhill High’s head football coach and a history teacher. He also broadcast sports reports on Haverhill’s radio station.

As Hamel continued his story, he joked about his critical role in the game.

“Mike hit the guy kind of high and he bumbled the ball on our 12-yard line. I was right behind Mike and I grabbed the ball right out of his hands and started running down the field—90 yards. I was the slowest guy on the team just about. A big lineman caught me on about the 10-yard line, tackled me. I hit the ground, the ball bounced in the end zone and falls and recovers, but they only had about 10 seconds left and we won the game.”

It would not be the last time Hamel would see the player who ran after him.

“The kid that chased me all that way: when I was in the Marine Corps station in Memphis, he stuck his head out the barracks window. ‘What’s that H stand for?’ I said, Haverhill High, and he came out. He’s the guy that chased me down the field from Malden High when we were in high school together.”

While Hamel makes his fourth appearance over WHAV today, his first three were more than six decades ago.

“WHAV, they did that probably three times my senior year. They had me on there talking about the plays during the games, with George Moriarty, our former coach who was a broadcaster that year for all of our Haverhill High games.”

3 thoughts on “At DiBurro Clubhouse Dedication, Hamel Tells of 1955 HHS Football Victory

  1. Springsteen had it wrong in his song Glory Days…

    Glory days, well, they’ll pass you by…Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye.
    And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it, but I probably will.
    Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture a little of the glory of…
    Well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days.

    But they’re NOT boring…they’re what it’s all about!!
    Congratulations Joe….great story!!