Mar 312017

After three games, with a 1-2 record, the Raiders were a definitively middling team. All three games were close and the team’s point totals on both sides of the ball were near the league median. The Raiders had significantly outscored their opponents in the first and fourth quarters, but the reverse was true in the middle two periods and they had yet to score at all in the third. Yes, it was the preseason and this was all meaningless, but the Raiders were thought to be under a real handicap because of their late start and to see them play competitive ball was both a relief and encouraging.

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Mar 272017

A report from Raiders team trainer George Anderson said tight end Gene Prebola‘s pulled hamstring muscle would keep him out of Wednesday night’s game in Buffalo. The team held out hope that the Boston University product would recover in time play against the Patriots on Sunday.

Two other players, defensive end Carmen Cavalli, who had suffered a broken nose against Los Angeles, and fullback Billy Lott, who bruised a shoulder in the same game, were going to be ready to go against the Bills, according to Anderson. However, there was still no word about the health of quarterback Tom Flores, who had taken a beating of his own Friday night.

Oakland Tribune

Sep 052016

Now that two-a-days were done the players had time to indulge in a little team promotion. With an afternoon practice scheduled, the Raiders bused from Santa Cruz to Jack London Square in Oakland to participate in a “Welcome Raiders” parade. The front office expressed satisfaction with their local popularity in general and said tickets for the Texans game, a benefit for the Children’s Hospital of the Eastbay, were selling briskly with more than 20,000 already sold, according to PR man Gene Perry.

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said the team appeared to have been inspired by the event and looked particularly crisp and spirited during their workout. Only non-contact blocking and tackling drills were performed, as the coaches hoped to prevent further injuries before the game.

Their hopes weren’t realized, though. Middle linebacker Tom Louderback came up with a bruised shoulder and was pronounced doubtful for the contest. On the other hand, the Raider quarterback picture brightened immeasurably when Tom Flores was able to return to practice following treatment of his pulled calf muscle and third-stringer Bob Webb was seen on the field as well.

Looking ahead, the team provided a provisional depth chart for the game that included few surprises, aside from the absence of Flores and Webb. On the offense, Chris Plain and Don Churchwell were at tackle, Lou Byrd and Ron Sabal were at guard, and Jim Otto was at center. At the ends were Alan Goldstein and Gene Prebola. In the backfield behind Paul Larson were Buddy Allen, Tony Teresa, and Billy Lott.

On defense, the front four consisted of Carmen Cavalli and George Fields at the ends, Joe Barbee and Ramon Armstrong on the inside, Louderback at middle linebacker, flanked by Billy Ray Locklin and Bob Dougherty. In the defensive backfield were Joe Cannavino, Alex Bravo, Eddie Macon, and LC Joyner. Larry Barnes was the placekicker, while the punting job was up for grabs among Barnes, Wayne Crow, and Bob Fails.

The complete depth chart

Oakland Tribune

Sep 032016

The Raider coaching staff began to turn their focus toward the first preseason game, against the Texans. To that end, head coach Eddie Erdelatz added a final set of plays to the offense’s playbook so Tom Flores and Paul Larson could work with the complete offense installed. The defense was still working with just two of the planned four defensive sets and the full defense wouldn’t be in place until the regular season opener against Houston.

In injury news, the team finally gave up any hope that defensive lineman Jim Woodard would recover from his knee injury in time for the start of the season and sent him home to Texas. That decision left Carmen Cavalli in possession of a starting defensive end spot.

Oakland Tribune

Sep 012016

Fully a week into training camp, the Raiders held their first scrimmage and head coach Eddie Erdelatz was cautiously pleased. “For the first time out it wasn’t too bad,” he said. At quarterback, Paul Larson looked a bit sharper than Tom Flores, completing 11 of 21 passes with many of the incompletions coming from receiver drops. Flores had a rougher time, connecting on just 5 of 14, throwing three interceptions. Third-stringer Bob Webb got off to a good start, connecting on the longest play of the day, an 18-yard pass to Charlie Hardy, but disaster struck when he went down with a knee injury. Trainer George Anderson said he may have torn cartilage and could need surgery, which would shut him down for the year. At other positions, tight end Gene Prebola, defensive end Carmen Cavalli, and cornerback Eddie Macon looked particularly good. Observers thought the defensive line played well as a group, but Erdelatz downplayed it, saying, “The defense is always ahead of the offense at this stage of the game.”

Once the scrimmage was over, it was time for another round of cuts, reducing the number of players in camp to 56. On their way out were tackle Claude Boyette, halfback Purcell Daniels, halfback Wes Fry, Jr., son of Raider player personnel director Wes Fry, Sr., tackle Willie Hudson, a former honorable mention AP Little All-American for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, who was in camp without a contract after getting cut by the Chargers, and Hudson’s former college teammate, tackle Rick Max.

Long Beach Press Telegram
Oakland Tribune

Aug 302016

After a day’s rest, the squad returned to practice to find a newcomer in their ranks. Tom Louderback, a 6’2″, 230-pound guard/linebacker out of San Jose State. A two-year starter for the Spartans, Louderback made second-team UPI All-Coast in 1954. He was picked in the tenth round by the Redskins in 1955, but didn’t make it out of training camp and spent the rest of the year with Hamilton in the Canadian leagues. He signed with the Browns a year later, but joined the US Navy before the season. Mustering out in 1958, Cleveland cut him in September, after which he earned a starting linebacker spot with the Eagles, where he spent the next two season. He was now in Oakland to try his hand with the new league.

Meanwhile, two more players left camp. Citing personal reasons, backs Marv Lasater and George Blanch packed their bags and departed. The Raiders had had high hopes for Lasater, offering him a nice bonus to sign, but once in camp his lack of speed seemed to doom his chances to stick. Blanch had been installed on the third team and probably got out the door just before the headsman arrived.

On the field, head coach Eddie Erdelatz continued to push his charges hard and was very pleased with what he saw. “If they keep coming at this rate,” he said, “we’re going to fool a few teams.” Erdelatz was generous in his praise for members of the offensive line including tackle Chris Plain, guards Don Manoukian and Ron Sabal, and center Jim Otto. Defensive secondary members Alex Bravo, John Brown, LC Joyner, Eddie Macon, and Tony Teresa, were also mentioned by name as were receiver Charlie Hardy and defensive end Carmen Cavalli.
Over in sick bay, Charley Powell‘s strained Achilles tendon had healed enough to allow him to practice, but linebacker Buddy Alliston had pulled a groin muscle and took Powell’s place on the bench to recuperate.

Eureka Humboldt Standard
Hayward Daily Review
Long Beach Independent
Long Beach Press Telegram
Lubbock Morning Avalanche
Oakland Tribune
Ukiah Daily Journal

Feb 182016

Early on the first morning of the league meeting in Oakland, commissioner Joe Foss and Oakland general manager Chet Soda made an announcement that 14 players had been assigned to the team:

  • George Blanch, a 6’0″, 195-pound halfback from Texas. A solid performer for the Longhorns in 1957 and 1958, he made UPI 2nd team All-Southwest Conference his junior year, but in his senior season, 1959, his performance faded on offense and he spent most of his time on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Claude (or Cloyd – see note) Boyette, a 6’4″, 245-pound offensive lineman from Texas Southern.
  • Willie Boykin, a 6’4″, 245-pound tackle from Michigan State.
  • Carmen Cavalli, a 6’4″, 245-pound defensive end from Richmond.
  • Fran Curci, a 5’9″, 160-pound quarterback from Miami (FL) and a first-team Associated Press All-America selection in 1959. Set Hurricanes records for attempts, completions, and yards that season, and led the team with three interceptions as a defensive back.
  • Purcell Daniels, a 6’2″, 205-pound end-halfback from Pepperdine.
  • Dan Edgington, a 6’2″, 180-pound end from Florida. A 16th-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers, he played in the North-South Shrine Game following his senior season with the Gators.
  • Abner Haynes, a 6’0″, 190-pound halfback from North Texas State. A Time Magazine All-American who was drafted in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. His status was in some doubt as the Minneapolis franchise had traded his signing rights to Dallas in exchange for a player to be named later. No player had been named by the time Minneapolis had relinquished its franchise. He also earned first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in both 1958 and 1959. A pioneer in the racial integration of collegiate athletics in Texas, Haynes led the Eagles in both rushing and receiving all three of his seasons in Denton.
  • Sam McCord, a 5’10”, 185-pound quarterback from East Texas State. Known as “Stumblin’ Sam”, he was named to the first-team Associated Press Little All-America team in 1958 and 1959 and led his team to victory in the Tangerine Bowl in both years.
  • Don Norton, a 6’1″, 190-pound, end from Iowa, he was named first-team All-Big Ten his senior season and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round. However, he had already been signed by the Chargers and his status would have to be adjudicated by Foss.
  • Jim Otto, a 6’2″, 225-pound center from Miami (FL).
  • Bob Parker, a 5’11”, 215-pound offensive lineman from East Texas State who was named first-team All-Lone Star Conference in his senior season.
  • Gene Prebola, a 6’3″, 215-pound end from Boston University.
  • Jim Woodard, a 6’5″, 230-pound offensive lineman from Lamar Tech.

All but Prebola had been part of the Minneapolis/St Paul draft list. Prebola had been received before the franchise’s demise in a trade with Houston for Al Witcher.

Journal of Sport History, Volume 14, Number 3 (Winter, 1987)
Lamar University football information guide
Michigan State University football media guide
Oakland Tribune
Richmond University football media guide
Texas A&M University-Commerce (East Texas State) media guide
University of Florida football media guide
University of Iowa football media guide
University of Miami football media guide
University of North Texas football media guide

Note: sources differ as to Boyette’s first name. Contemporary sources divide almost evenly between Cloyd and Claude, though most later publications use Cloyd.