When I called the Seward County Independent the next morning following the banquet and asked them if they had the story of the local boy who had made good, namely Lloyd Cardwell, the sweet young thing at the other end of the wire said "Who's Lloyd Cardwell?"
After telling her why Lloyd Cardwell was about Seward's only claim to fame and that he was without a doubt (in most everyone's opinion) the best football player ever to tear up the sod at Memorial Stadium at the University of Nebraska, I was invited to do a story on the Wild Hoss.
I, and almost everyone in Seward, who has lived here any length of time at all can talk for hours about Lloyd, but to write in a few short paragraphs about this fellow takes a heap of doing.
My first look at this guy came on a Thanksgiving day forty years ago when it was still the custom to have a Turkey Day Game in the afternoon. This particular day, the game was to be one between Seward and David City. I had been hearing a lot about the local team being a great one mainly because of a fellow named Lloyd Cardwell. Having nothing else to do, I went to the local fairgrounds to see this great player. David City kicked off to Seward. Cardwell fielded the punt on the run and did not slow down until he had knocked most of the entire David City team down and deposited the ball in the end zone. So far, so good, but was Cardwell really this good?
Two more times that afternoon he did the same thing, returning punts seventy or eighty yards into the end zone for touchdowns. The only reason he did not run more of them into the end zone was that the David City coach decided punting where Lloyd could get the ball was charity to the Seward team. He was that good and more so. I was told after the game that Lloyd was sick and should not have even been in the game.
From that game on through University, I never missed a home game and very few games away that Cardy played in and in all of those games I never saw Lloyd play a bad game. He was that kind of a guy. As they said at the banquet, he was strictly a Saturday ball player, lousy at practice, but give him the ball on any Saturday afternoon and he was at his best. Always the last one on the field, usually carrying his shoes in his hands, which he calmly put on sitting on the cement curbing around the running track. Lloyd never lost his cool.
There was never a more exciting player to don the Big Red pads. When his play was called and the ball passed to him, (his specialty was a wide sweep) everyone in the stands stood up as they knew something big was going to happen and they were seldom disappointed. True there was an occasional loss on these end sweeps, but more often a 20 or 30 yard gain and very often six more points on the scoreboard. I'll never forget one run when he covered the entire field from end to end and from side line to side line, a 200 yard run, but again those six points.
I I am not going to bore you with statistics, because I do not know how many touchdowns he made either in high school or university, let the boys with the records do that. Neither am I going to tell you about the Detroit Lions in the pro game. But always he was great.
Football was not his only cup of tea. Many are the points he picked up for the great track coach Henry Schulte. Entered in as many as five events, he always came up with points in each. He would have made the Olympics in tryouts at Randall Island in New York except for an unfortunate injury.
Lloyd had never played tennis. I was going to teach him and taught him well. After winning two games I never again came close to beating him. He was a natural at anything connected with sports.
I have another reason for knowing Lloyd about as well as anyone. Claire taught him in high school and many are the episodes I learned about through her.
Many were the happy hours that Lloyd, Ted Rupp and I (as well as many others) spent together fishing and other things which best remain untold! There is no question when I say Lloyd is Seward's one claim to fame, at least I can think of no other individual who has gained so much national recognition for this city. Correct me if I am wrong. At the same time Lloyd received his place in the NU Hall of Fame, Sam Francis, Charley Brock, Link Lyman, Dave Noble, Bobby Reynolds and Tom Novak were likewise honored. Thus far there are fourteen members.
To give Lloyd all the credit for his success in high school and college football would not be entirely fair and knowing Lloyd as I do, he would be the first to want his teammates to receive credit for contributing their full share.
The 1931 Seward High School football team has a record of nine wins and no losses. Seward scored 320 points to their opponents 2. The 2 points being scored in a blizzard at Auburn. Here are the members of that great team: Art Baker, Roy McCalip, Henry Imig, Loraine Patterson, John Tomandl, Chas. Coke, Palmer Welsh, Von Hillyer, Russ Souchek, Lloyd Cardwell, Lyle Foster, Wilmar Jacobs, Jimmy Dowding, Ev Oaks, John Hintz, Les Menze, Lloyd Morrow, Frank Ost, Bill Thomas, Floyd Gleisberg, Gordon Diers, Harry Campbell, William Roussell and coaches Ben Kellner and Walt Hansen.
The few that I can recall on the Big Red Teams with Cardy were: Mehring, Amen, Francis, Yelkin, Brock, McDonald, Callihan, Mills, Doyle, Brown, Schwartzkopp, Strasheim, Sauer, Fischer, and again the great Staplehurst athlete Elmer Dohrmann.
Lloyd is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Cardwell who live at 534 No. 4th here in Seward. He and his wife, the former Beth Horner, also of Seward reside at 5008 Parker in Omaha where Lloyd is affiliated with the University of Nebraska of Omaha, having been connected with the University of Omaha until it was taken over by the State. Also living in Omaha is Butch Cardwell another of Lloyd's achievements (with an assist from Beth). There you have it folks, my memory of Lloyd Cardwell, truly a LEGEND IN HIS OWN TIME!