American football: West Point gridiron great Blanchard dies

BULVERDE- Felix "Doc" Blanchard, who won the Heisman trophy for the nation's outstanding collegiate gridiron player and starred in Army's vaunted backfield of that era, has died at the age of 84, his family said.
Fullback Blanchard scored 38 touchdowns and gained 1,908 yards in his three seasons playing at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Blanchard, who with Glenn Davis led Army to three consecutive undefeated seasons, died at home on Sunday of pneumonia.

His daughter, Mary Blanchard, said Blanchard had been in good health until contracting the illness recently.
In 1944, after Blanchard had helped Army beat the University of Notre Dame 32-13 in Baltimore, Fighting Irish coach Ed McKeever was quoted as saying: "I've just seen Superman in the flesh. He wears No. 35 and goes by the name of Blanchard."
West Point had already scheduled Doc Blanchard Day celebrations to retire number 35 on October 10, when the academy hosts Vanderbilt University.
The school said on Monday that the ceremony will go on, and Blanchard will become the fourth Army player to have his uniform number retired by the Army Athletic Association.
He will join Davis (41), Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins (24), and Joe Steffy (61), a star lineman who blocked for Davis and Blanchard.
Blanchard, who also played linebacker and handled place-kicking and punting duties, capped his 1945 Heisman Trophy season by scoring three touchdowns in a 32-13 victory against Navy.
He was the first football player to win the Sullivan Award, given to the nation's top amateur athlete.
Blanchard was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers but never played professional football. He served as a fighter pilot, flying in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Tuesday, April 21st 2009

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