Back Story: Robert Hansen, Pocahantas Football

They like basketball and wrestling in Iowa, two sports where the state has traditionally excelled. They also play football, sometimes with championship seasons. In the ’50’s, when Robert Hansen played football, the running game was everything. And Pocahantas Indians quarterback Ralph Hudek… he was something else. 265 pounds of Iowa corn and a cloud of dust. Compared to Ralph, Bob was a little undersized, but compared to Ralph, everyone was undersized.

Still, Bob seemed to have a philosophy that got him through.

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Or, had a philosophy that seemed to get him through. Even way back then, Bob had a bundle of troubles, including a brush with arson after returning to Pocahantas from a stint in the Army.

“Bob planned the arson of the Pocahontas Community School bus barn several days beforehand, at the back of his father’s bakery. His accomplices were two sixteen year olds who also worked for his father. On the night of the arson they were to give their parents some excuse and come to the bakery instead. Once there they would paint the ovens so they would have an alibi.

On the morning of December 7, 1960, while one of his cohorts was at work in the bakery, Bob passed the word. “Tonight is the night,” he said. “We’ll meet at the bakery as planned.”

Excerpt From: Walter Gilmour & Leland E. Hale. “Butcher, Baker.”


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Robert Hansen, Pocahantas Indians, 1957 (Des Moines Register, February 28, 1984)

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Pocahantas Indians Football (Partial Roster, 1957)


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