Packers shut out Portsmouth in pre-season warm-up

[September 15, 1929 - Green Bay, Wisconsin]

It was a beautiful day for pre-season football here in Green Bay, as the Packers opened the season in front of a record City Stadium crowd of 5,113. The visiting Spartans of Portsmouth, Ohio, never crossed the 50 yard line, and the Packers defense held the semi-pro squad to -33 yards of offense, en route to a quality 14-0 victory.

"We held our own on both lines and we moved the ball efficiently, and nobody on our side got severely injured, so it was a good day," said Coach Curley Lambeau after the game. "Portsmouth has a talented young roster and they put up a splendid fight. I wish them luck against Chillicothe (Eagles) next week."

While the Spartans kept the game close through most of the first half, the gargantuan Packers squad eventually wore down the Ohio Valley League co-champions. Portsmouth never crossed into Green Bay territory, and two of their players suffered broken femurs. A third Spartan appeared to have died from a crushed thorax after the Packers scored their first touch-down, but he later rose from the turf and trotted to the visitor's locker room. He was listed as questionable to return.

Verne Lewellen scored that first touch-down on a three-yard plunge behind newly acquired guard Mike Michalske's catastrophic heave-block. The line opened brilliant running lanes all after-noon, and Lewellen averaged a fine 4.78 yards per carry in limited first-half action.

Speedy second-year back Eddie Kotal looked electric after rehabbing a back-wards knee-cap and a stab wound during the off-season, gashing the defense on several read-option sweep plays.

While the offense kept the play-book somewhat bland and primarily gave reps to second- and third-string players fighting for roster spots, the defense showed mid-season form in posting the shut-out. They forced three turn-overs including a crucial fumble recovery in the fourth quarter after Spartan quarter-back Rosco Armil mis-handled a snap on his own six yard line. Cully Lidberg quickly capitalized on the mistake and gave the Packers a 14-0 lead, barreling into the end-zone two plays later. For Lidberg, the rushing score was an continuation of an excellent training camp and the young back has a good chance of making the final roster, it would seem.

Coach Lambeau must cut the roster to 28 players by noon on Wednesday and he will have some difficult decisions in the coming days. The regular season begins in one week when the Packers host the Dayton Triangles at City Stadium, September 22.

"This is a talented group of men, as talented a group as we've ever assembled here in Green Bay," said Coach Lambeau at his post-game press conference. "And now the goal is right in front of us again, and it is very simple. A championship, yes. The first of many."