East Liverpool Historical Society

This is a story about a very remarkable East Liverpool Family. Had it not been for Jeannette Bell's total assistance and cooperation this story wouldn't exist here. We deeply thank her.

The Patriarch and Matriarch of the Bell family, Less and Mattie Bell. Jeannette Bell Collection.

Left to Right Back Row: Ernie Bell, Thom Bell, Ravanna Bell, Jerry Bell. Front Row Left to Right: Gene Bell Jr., Nelson Clark Jr. Charlie Bell, Kevin Bell. Picture from Picking Elderberries by Frank "Digger Dawson, page 123.

Tuesday November 15 , 1955 East Liverpool Review

Gene Hopes To Become Fourth Bell To Capture All-Ohio Grid Honors.

By Bob Curry

Review Sports Editor

Many schools in Ohio can boast of turning out more All-Ohio football players than East Liverpool. But it's doubtful If any of them can make the claim of one local family.

Three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Lester Bell, 1232 Chaffin Street, already have gained All-Ohio recognition and a fourth is making a strong bid for similar honors this season.

Gene Bell, the Potters speedy fullback, would like nothing better than to join his brothers Tommy -- Charlie and Ernie -- in the select group of All-Ohio gridders.

[Left to Right, are Charlie, Ernie, Gene, Lester and Tommy. Picture courtesy of Jeannette Bell from the Bell Family Collection.]

And on his performance so far this year, the fullback stands a good chance of getting some statewide recognition.

What would clinch matters for the 18-year-old senior would be a terrific job Friday night and Alliance. One of the fastest backs in the district, Gene had to take a backseat to several to several Alliance speed demons in the last year game at Patterson field.

If Gene lands an All-Ohio birth, he will become the first member of the family honored for backfield performances.

Although not as fast as Gene, John was considered terrific blocker.

Tommy became the first member of the family to land on an All-Ohio team, getting the nod as a first string guard on both the Associated Press and International his News Service squads.

The honor came to the 175-pound guard when be was a junior on the 1947 Potter team. It's tough to get much recognition when you play on a losing team, but Tommy made it despite the fact the Potters won only three of nine games in 1946.

Tommy's senior year East Liverpool managed to win only one of 10 games and he failed to repeat as an all-stater. He also was a member of the undefeated team of 1945, and in his senior year was co-captain.

Tommy also received the Bill Booth Award in 1941.

Charlie was the next member of the family to be honored. The 166-pound guard war named to the INS second team in 1949 and received honorable mention from the AP the same year. He also was on the AP's honorable mention list in 1946.

Charles Bell also earned Letters in Wrestling, 1947-1950, a Letter in track in 1948 as well as Lettering in football.

Ernie topped both his brothers when he was named to the first team guard position on every All-Ohio team in 1952.

Magazine courtesy of Jeannette Bell from the Bell Family Collection.

Along with Eddie Oliver, Ernie became the first Potters to play in the annual North - South football game. Both boys played in the game at Canton as the North defeated the South. The 165-pound guard, one of the mainstays on the undefeated squad, was honored by the AP, INS, United Press, First and Ten and the All-Senior squad.

Jeannette Bell Collection.

All four of the older brothers are employed in the Crucible Steel mill at Midland.

Getting back to Gene, the fullback played freshman ball but had to sit out his sophomore year when his grades caught up with him.

He got back in the lineup his junior year. Coach Bob Gibson first used him entirely on defense, but later installed him on the offensive team.

Last year Gene scored five touchdowns. Three of the markers came in the Youngstown Ra yen game when he showed some of his speed by sprinting 80 yards for one TD.

In nine games this season, Gene has scored 11 to lead the Potters in this department.

He has tallied one touchdown in every game but against New Ph illy. His best performance was in the Bella ire game when he romped to three touchdowns, one for 67 yards for his longest run of the season.

Two touchdowns have come his runs of four yards, but the other nine markers were all for 15 or better.

Gene is second only to halfback John No tt in yards gained. He has picked up a net of 903 yards in 91 attempts for an average of 9.9 yards a carry.

The fullback has also caught two of five passes thrown to him for a gain of 26 yards. He has tacked on another 59 yards on two punt returns and 21 yards on a kickoff return.

Gene demonstrated some of his speed last spring as a member of the East Liverpool track team. He ran the 100-yard dash and several times was clocked at 10.2 seconds.

East Liverpool opponents haven't seen the last of the Bells either.

Ravanna will be a sophomore next year, while Jerry will be eighth grade at East Junior. Both played guard the past season for East Junior High and the East End grade school elevens respectively.

Picture courtesy of Jeannette Bell from the Bell Family Collection.

Picture courtesy of Jeannette Bell from the Bell Family Collection.

Gene Bell was awarded All-Ohio honors that year.

All-Ohio Patch courtesy of Jeannette Bell from the Bell Family Collection


Backfield duties in 1942 went to Paul Hester at Quarterback, with Guy Silence. Joe Dawson, John Bell and Bill Abbot doing most of the ball carrying. Chapter 45 1942, We Are the Potters "100 Years of East Liverpool High School Football" by Frank "Digger" Dawson.

Johnny Bell was back, but not as a halfback. In Bell's words, "I was moved to Quarterback because of my quickness and ability to run, although in the Chapeau system, the quarterback also was called on to do a great deal of blocking. . . " Chapter 46 1942, We Are the Potters "100 Years of East Liverpool High School Football" by Frank "Digger" Dawson.

Practice time. Picture courtesy of Jeannette Bell from the Bell Family Collection.

Picture courtesy of Jeannette Bell from the Bell Family Collection.

Picture courtesy of Jeannette Bell from the Bell Family Collection.

John Bell joined the military on December 3, 1943 after his Junior year in High School. Picture courtesy of Jeannette Bell from the Bell Family Collection.

The Bells: First Family of Potter Football 2


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