- SATURDAY, -'JS.TtUAP.Y 7' T'Xf
THE" DAILY TAR HEElT
l he Way, Choo Choo-Charlie Justice
By ZANE BOBBINS
End of the Trail ,
.THE BLAZING heels of Charlie (Choo Choo). Justice will,
write finis to one of the most glamorous careers in the long
histdiy of football this afternoon in. Jacksonville, Fla. When the
fix-time All America captains a team of Rebels in the first annual
fclenior Bowl game. ' ,
Charlie, who has declined all pro football "feelers," will climax ,
ti thrill-packed 11-yer grid career today after capturing vir
luuliy every major honor that this .football-conscious-nation of
tur. ha to offer. .
The sensational Choo Choo was All America from the word go.
Io made the select circle four consecutive years while playing With
the Tar Heels, had made Service- All America for two years prior -lo
that, and was an All Southern schoolboy star at Asheville's
Lee Edwards high school.
' His freshman year at Carolina was lived in typical storybook
fashion. Fresh out of the navy, Charlie was rush&d by a host of
professional clubs in addition to countless colleges and universi
ties. He listened to most of the offers, but ended up by choosing
his own state university.
With the news that Justice had picked Carolina, rival coaches
started tearing their hair and dreaming up defenses to halt the
mighty mite. One enterprising soul went completely overboard
tLoiit the whole thing and dreamed up a cock and bull story that
had Charlie under contract to the Philadelphia Eagles: ' 'THY 'story "
alleged that the Choo Choo had signed with the pros shortly after
graduating from high school, and was ineligible at Carolina.
1 As things turned out, there was nothing much. to the-'ktory"
(Justice was offered a contract with a bonus attached,! but'.re--turned
both before entering the. navy); and things drifted slowly
buc k to normal. .
.' WHEN THE Southern Conference season got under .way, the .
fireworks lost little time in redeveloping. Choo Choo held, the
match this time, however.
Virginia Tech was the first SIC opponent to sample Justice's
phathom-like dipsy doodle style of running. The Gobblers were
in top shape for the 1946 opener and surprised everyone by hold
ing the Tar Heels to a 14-14 deadlock. They might have won had
it not been for the Asheville Ambler who danced 65 yards for the
Justice shook loose for a 63-yard teedee run against Miami
(Fla.) University the next week, and followed that one up with
70 and 90-yard touchdown runs against Florida U.
Then came what many experts call the Choo Choo best's run
an electrifying 84-yard jiqstep against Tennessee's powerful Vols
in their own backyard, Shields-Watkins Field. It was a twisting,
turning run that had the fans' hearts in their mouths. He scored,
and the game movies showed that 13 Vols went for the razzle
dazzle artist during the course of his excursion. As; Orville
Campbell put it in his rave ditty "All The Way Choo Choo,"
"He took the .ball, poured on the coal; ran a thousand yards from
goal to goal."
The Other Side
FAME. LOST no time in seeking out Charlie Justice. The
Carolina Express rolled for other long paydirt jaunts during that
first year and failed to slow up noticeably in the years after when
opposing coaches set their defense for him, roughed him up in
pile-ups, and tried in every way to stop the miniature marvel.
There's another side to the story, however. It blossomed into;
full view during the past season. After surviving six rough-and-tumble
years in the toughest of service and collegiate football
ranks without missing a game because of an injury, the blow came.
In the twilight of his brilliant career, the indestructible Choo
Choo's luck finally ran out, and old Dame Fortune gave him a
kick in the pants that he'll probably never get over. "
One week before the game that Charlie had waited a lifetime
to play, he suffered his first serious injury a bady sprained
ankle that refused to repsond to treatment.
And so, he sat the big one out; even cried on the sidelines of
New York's Yankee Stadium while watching his mates stave
off a Notre Dame landslide forvthe better part of the game.
Thrills and Chills
CHARLIE HAS certainly had his share of thrills and chills
during his young life. Missing the Notre Dame clash, he says,
Was his greatest chill the biggest disappointment he ever had.
On the brighter side again, one would think choosing his biggest
thrill would come a little harder for the busy little man that
cracked all kinds of records in the course of "his career.
Justice has little trouble in putting his finger on his number
calling that unforgettable 43-yard touchdown scamper that pulled
one thrill, however. If was the 1948 Duke game, he says, re
the Tar Heels from tho brink of disaster after half the game had
gone scoreless. Final score, 20-6.
Today, Justice is the same likable little guy that led Asheville
High to grid glory back in the early 40's. He never let his ability
and the glory that was heaped upon him go to his head.
Someone recently asked one of Justice's very close friends how
the Choo felt about missing a lot of first-team All Americas
"He feels the same about missing them as he did about making
them," the friend replied. "It doesn't affect him."
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As An AH Southern Schoolboy Star
Chop Choo Had
Ralph James, Justice's high
School coach was contacted earli
er in the year and asked for data
jConterrung Charge's high school
Coach James had' no official
records at his disposal, but sent
along an interesting letter which
read, m, part:
"1. The season of - 1941: 17
touchdowns averaging 25 yards
per (touchdown) run, leader in
11 victories, no defeats.
"2. The 'season of 1942: 17
touchdowns averaging. 35 yards
per run. Longest run, 99 yards
against Knoxville City High,
champions of Tennessee.--
"3. Operation for severe boil
on Tuesday and two long touch
down runs on following Friday,
"4. His type of athlete made
coaching a t pleasure as well as
Of 10 Miles
In four years of football for
Carolina Charlie- Justice has ad
vanced the ball more: than 10
miles. - ' V, ! r
. The arha2ing little man ran
for a net of 2,755 yards, passed
for 2,299 yards, kicked for 10,
439 yards, returned punts for
1,200 yards, returned kickoffs for
892 yards, returned intercepted
passes for' 33 yards, and has
caught passes good for 232 yards.
; Justice scored 39 touchdowns
and passed for 25 more in his
four-year career, thus accounting
for 384 ponits.
; His overall punting record of
42.6 yards per try stamps him as
the 'best booter in the history
of the game, and the record
will probably stand for a long,
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He'll Always Be All America In The Hearts Of These Kids
Ex-Bainbridqe Coach Tells
Abolit Choos Naval Days
A 99-yard Teedee Run Against Knoxville Hi
In Long Line
Of All Americas
Charlie Justice is the 19th in
a long line of All America grid-
ders from the Old North State,
but is th first three-time first
team All America in North Caro
lina's football history.
Freddy Crawford, Duke's giant
tackle, started the chain back in
1933 when he was chosen on the
"dream team." Like Justice,
Crawford was reared in western
North Carolina. His home is
Waynesville, 28 miles from
The Carolina AA representa
tives are: George Barclay, Don
Jackson, Andy Bershak, Steve
Maronic, and Paul Severin.
Severin was first two-time se:
lectee, receiving the honor in
1939 and again in 1940.
Art Werner is twentieth in the
long line from this state.
And Baseball, Too
Brother Joe, Right
Many stories have made the
rounds during the past few years
concerning Charlie Justice's foot
ball, activity at the Baimbridge
The. stories always vary, so
we went directly to Joe Maniaci
who was coaching the Bain
bridge eleven at the time.
Maniaci wrote the following
letter describing the incident:
"When Charlie reported he
was 18 years old, 5' 9", and
weighed around 165 pounds. He
was, a frail youngster compared
to; the others that reported and
I refused to issue him equipment
beacuse I was afraid he'd get
hurt.- He kept coming back and
kept begging me for equipment,
so just to get him out of my hair
I.gave him everything but shoes.
, . ,". . .He was always the first
one -.out for practices and the
last one off the field. I couldn't
help but admire him for working
so hard. Of course, he still con
tinued to pester me about the
shoes and about getting in for
contact work, so finally I decided
to actually try him. I was still
worried about him getting in-
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Here Is The Lighter Side
Of Charlie Justice Story
A Family Porirrfl: Rft' CUirltw, ini Sink
During his four-yer tenure at
the University, Charlie Justice
has been probably the most
talked-about young man in col
lege circles. The seemingly-end
less ' bull sessions that always
pop - up when Charlie's name is
mentioned have ' been, for Mhe
most part; serious" discussions of
the Choo Choo's amazing grid
iron talents, but there has been
the humorous side, top. . j
In the ensuing paragraphs are
related a few of the better-known
anecdotes concerning the famous
Tar Heel. . ,
Wally Butts tells this one' about
a recent Carolina-Georgia clash.
"We were playing North Caro
lina and they had this boy Jus
tice. We had a boy who had bfeen
a guard. for three years without
any success, so we shifted him
to endl .1 told him how great
Choo Choo Justice was and for
him to watch him.
". . .In the third quartw, with
the score tid, this boy . was .at
jured and warned him about
how rough the game was, but
he wasn't the least concerned.
The first contact work that he
took part in was a punting drill
which consisted of two linemen
going down under a punt, and
then a back would receive the
kick and attempt to evade the
"When Charlie's turn came, I
asked the two linemen to help
me get this kid out of my hair
for his own good, but to be
careful not to hurt him.The two
best ends on the squad were
slated to attempt to tackle him.
Charlie received the punt beau
tifully, started toward the on
rushing linemen and, to the great
surprise of everyone, got away
untouched. I put him through
the test again and again, but
by means of his tricky running
he wasn't stopped. After prac
tice, I called Justice aside and
told him to report to the equip
ment room because it just hap
pened that there was a pair of
football shoes there that would
fit him. . ." '
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As Grid Great
Charlie-, Justice, is what
known .as a "player's p'.a,.r."
which is. a." great- tribute ir, i. j
to the lvalf-pirrt ..Carolina Ail
America star, - .More ttun th.
however, he ,is.,a coach's play-r.
too. . -
When a player wins the t.
admiration, and praise, of j ivl
coaches, he's bound to. h
No run-of-the-mill ball-car:
would ever have prompted Vir
ginia's Art Guepe to say. "J h,,.
is the greatest football pLv-r
I've ever seen. Bill Dudley i
of the great players in the hi. toi y
of Southern football) couMn't
carry his shoes."
Justice's former Bainhndp
coach, Joe Maniaci, had tins to
say: "Charlie was never a quit
ter, no matter how hopeless th
situation." Maniaci also r(-ral
an event in the 1944 Bainbridm
Camp Perry game., The bahle,
according to ! Maniaci," was ' a
whale of a defensive, 'Contest. :sA
Charlie as weil asi lall- ths-hac!:?
on the squad was tpKing a severe
However,' Harry Hopp, former
ly of the Detroit Lions, broke
into the clear and dashed GO yards
for a touchdown. "The last block
on that play," said Maniaci. -'was
made by Charlie the kid that
everyone thought was just a run
ner." Maniaci later said, "I am proud
to have had a part in starting
Justice on his way to greatness,
and it couldn't have happened tn
a better boy."
Wallace Wade, boss of Caro
lina's arch rivals, the hated Blue
Devils, also had kind words about
Charlie. "If he (Justice) played
as well against everybody as he
does against us," opined Wade,
"they'd have' to invent a new
Heisman trophy. The present
one wouldn't be enough." .
'- ; '?
With High School Coach. Ralph 'Jantel
his end position when
took a punt and went
him for 75 yards and a
down. . .So I called the boy over
f or . an interview. 'I thought, I
told you to watch Justice,' I said
to him. Well, the boy shook his
head and said he did. -'And he
looked like a helluva good foot
ball player to me, Coach, , while
I was watching him. '
: Then there was the one that
came out of New Orleans last
year when the Tar Heels were
down for the Sugar Bowl game.
A drunk staggered into a Canal
Street bar after a trolley had
jumped the track while turning
a sharp corner. "I shaw it all," he
stammered, asking for a double
shot of bourbon. "Sharlly Justice
was going the other way in a
Shevvy and faked the damn
thing" right off the track."
There are a great many other
anecdotes concerning the famous
Choo Choo that are interesting,
.but-Are too long to relate here.
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When His Luck Ran Out Trainer Quinlan At His Side
- - MU . photos courtesy Winston-Salem Journal.)