The 1930 South High Squad, yearbook photo

30/30 Club


The 1930 South High football squad was special. Junie, the team's All-City center, captained the team, and was destined to be named All-State. Ford snapped the ball to quarterback Allan Elliott. “He was Jerry’s best friend and the two of them worked beautifully together,” recalled Clifford Gettings, South High’s head football coach.


Elliot said that Ford’s character showed itself early on, “…as early as the ninth-grade football season when a group of us played second-team football and recognized him as the person that we could turn to for leadership.”


Junior showed that leadership before his senior season began. The 1929 team opened its season with a loss on the road to Ottawa, by a 10 – 6 score. The 1930 season would open with South hosting Ottawa, a team stacked with veteran players. Ford thought the 1929 squad began the season out of shape and was determined not to repeat that error in 1930.


Coach Gettings remembered that Junior “…took the group up to his dad’s cabin … about a week before practice started.  Did they get into condition! They were in shape for Ottawa and beat them 18 – 6.”


South would not lose that season and would be crowned state champions. In 1931, tackle Art Brown and halfback Dick Zylstra organized a breakfast at a local hotel for Thanksgiving morning, the same day the previous year that witnessed the epic battle between South and Union. The breakfast became an annual tradition. Eventually, they began referring to their group as the 30/30 club – the thirty members of the 1930 team. Ford missed a few of the meetings during World War II and while traveling as a Congressman. But the 44th meeting of the 30/30 Club was held in the White House, hosted by President Ford.



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