Steubenville mention eases pain

Dec 6, 2005 3:10 AM

I ran into one of our loyal readers from Steubenville on Sunday and he asked how the "Big Red" did in the Ohio High School playoffs. He was excited to hear they finished off an undefeated season, winning all five playoff games to go 15-0 and become Division 3 State Champs.

Just how big is high school football back where I come from? Well I told an onlooker that we get about 10,000 a game in a city of just over 20,000. Some playoff games may draw 20,000.

In fact, the first parlay card I ever played was an all high school card, I think I was 10 or 11.Back in those days at Steubenville, there were the likes of the Sam Brown and Jimmy the Greek playing their trade from the fifth floor of the First National Bank building directly across from the famous Phil-Mor men’s clothing store. I used to work at Phil Mor in my younger years.

Gambling wasn’t considered a crime, but a way of life. Everyone had a favorite cigar store where they went in, made a bet on a game, horse or just played a number. In fact, even the police and the Monsignor at St. Peters played the numbers. I can remember going to church and the Monsignor would ask my mother Mary what the number was on Saturday. She would say 513 or whatever three digit number that came out. She would ask what number he needed for Sunday and the good old Monsignor would say he didn’t gamble on that day.

I still remember the first number (016) I won with. It hit for three cents that I found cleaning up in my dad’s restaurant. Gambling was so big in Steubenville in those days, it ended up supplying Las Vegas with many dealers and pit bosses. Some dealers who came here in the 60’s are still applying their trade. One in fact is the legendary John Brewer, who graduated from Ohio State and headed directly to Vegas. John works at Caesars Palace and is considered one of the top crap dealers around.

I know I was destined to be in Las Vegas and am very thankful. Now let’s see if I can get lucky with some NFL games off a one-game roll.

College record: 43-47

NFL record: 11-18-2

NFL Week 14

Bucs +5 at Panthers (37): TB has scored 20 in the last two games. The Panthers defense is allowing just 9.6 points over the past six. UNDER

Rams +7 at Vikings (45): I guess you stay with the hot Vikes, 5-0 both SU and ATS in the last five outings. VIKINGS

Bears +4½ at Steelers (31½): Chicago reminiscent of Pittsburgh in the Steel Curtain days. Big Ben and the Steelers have gone backwards and look to be in deep water. BEARS.

49ers +13½ at Seahawks: Seattle edged the Niners two weeks ago in San Fran as a 12-point favorite, 27-25. This big spread looks like a trap. I would be all over San Fran if not for how the favorites keep covering. SEAHAWKS.

Dolphins +13½ at Chargers: All five matchups in this series since 1995 have gone below the posted total. CHARGERS, UNDER.

Lions +5½ at Packers (37½): I won’t be wasting my time watching this game, instead at my cousin Lou’s birthday party. I don’t see either team scoring much. UNDER.