Jack Marlowe

Jack Marlowe

I won’t recognize the renovated Goodenow Field this fall as the same place I witnessed the first football game played in the facility in 1949. It has been the home of the Cardinals for 70 seasons, with the 71st soon to get under way.

Goodenow Field history

Football began as a high school sport at Maquoketa High School in 1910. The games were played at the north side of town along the Maquoketa River. It was a complex designed for baseball and still is used that way.

Teams usually played on Saturday. The teams were paraded down Main Street from what now is the middle school with fans following to watch the game.

The Cardinals played home games in the same area until 1949. The exception was nine years from 1926 to 1934 when football was suspended at Maquoketa.

In 1935 Maquoketa played the Davenport second-string team with lights installed for softball. It was the first night game in history. 

About 10 years later I saw my first high school football game.

In 1948 the Maquoketa Bears baseball team installed lights on the diamond, just west of the ground used for softball. The outfield of the diamond was well-lighted and served as the home field for the Cardinals in 1949

Meanwhile, Louis W. Armstrong, Maquoketa superintendent of schools, sought a better location for a football field, closer to the school and avoiding the damp, frigid and windy weather often in the fall and spring floods.

The closest land available was a pasture owed by John E. Goodenow often called the “Father of Maquoketa.” He came from Warren County, New York, a young store clerk in the town of Moriah. Hard times and the prospect of better opportunities lured him to travel west. Goodenow decided Maquoketa, then unsettled, for a spot he wanted to live. He traveled back to New York. In 1938, he returned with his new bride, Miss Eliza Wright, to live in a cabin at a spot now the southeast corner of Platt and Main Street.

Eliza suggested Goodenow give land for a school on the highest point in town.

Generations of Goodenows called Maquoketa their home. One raised cattle and had a son, Osceola, who built a home just east of the present Goodenow Field.

When Armstrong approached him about purchasing a plot for an athletic complex, he was not receptive to giving up pasture for his cattle. They couldn’t agree on a purchase price, the story goes.

However, the purchase was negotiated. Goodenow also followed by presenting the school $1,000to recondition the ground and buy equipment.

The original layout for the football field to run diagonally from south west to northeast with six rows of 276 foot long bleachers on each side, surrounded by an eight-lane, 455-foot track with space for tennis courts and a softball field.

For undisclosed reasons, the plan shifted to a football field running west to east and a 390-yard track.

The first game

The opening of Goodenow Field was a huge event for Maquoketa. 

The south side of the field has seated the home fans since the beginning. Five light poles brought light to each side of the field; each had six light bulbs of 1500 watts. There wasn’t a scoreboard, press box or restrooms. 

The south bleachers consisted of wood seats built for $5,000 and expected to seat 900 people with room for expansion in later years. As time went on, season ticketholders would have their spot reserved as their name was stenciled on a preferred location. 

Maquoketa lost the first game they played at Goodenow Field, 25-6. The D-Hawks took charge at the start and wiped out Maquoketa threats with three pass interceptions. Ron Veit scored late in the game for Maquoketa’s only points. 

After losing to Independence, Anamosa came to Maquoketa to play at the dedication game. Attending were Lyle T. Quinn, executive director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and WMT sportscaster Tait Cummins, who broadcast his 10:15 p.m. sportscast from Maquoketa.

Maquoketa won the game 13-12. The big play was an 85-yard kick return by Ron Veit, who followed by his pass to Bob Risser for the winning PAT. It was the Cardinals’ lone win of the season.

Goodenow improvements

Improvements were slow in coming. In 1953 the Maquoketa Lions Club dug deep in their treasury to purchase a scoreboard, costing $750. It had a circular clock and included downs to be gained and the score.

A place for the clock operator was needed. A small platform, perhaps 10 feet off the ground, was erected on a light pole on the 50 yard-line of the visitors side. It provided space for a PA announcer and someone to film the game, a real novelty in the 1950s when some of Maquoketa’s opponents had fields without scoreboards

A new scoreboard with a digital clock was installed at Goodenow Field in 1974. 

The platform remained in use in 1962 before the press box was moved to the south side, above the home bleachers and much easier to access. It’s expansion provided space to accommodate press and radio, and both home and visiting coaches followed.

The entry to the original press box was a door at the top of the middle isle to the grandstand with possibly three steps to the door. As the press box grew the steps began to decay. When Mike Wing constructed a larger, more modern press box a stairway leading to the back of the press box was included.

Recent expansions gave more room for the coaching staff, press and radio, statisticians and camera crews. 

 Maquoketa vo-ag instructor Nolan Zugschwedt organized a group of his students to construct the first concession stand.

Fans seeking restroom facilities had to leave the grounds and return until Ed Whitchelo, then president of the Maquoketa Sports Booster Club, spearheaded a drive to provide the structures still in use on the southeast corner of the field. A new women’s restroom is one of the latest improvements.

Aluminum bleachers with handrails have been more accommodating. My spot in recent years is close to the same area the I stood cheering as Veit made that run for a TD vs. Anamosa in 1949.

The cinder track, badly outdated according to necessary distances, was removed when the all-weather surface was installed near the present high school.

The sight to the east of the Goodenow home, and barn, with cattle in the yard, is a scene I’ll always remember. It has been replaced by the Maquoketa YMCA.

Congratulations to the organizing group to improve Goodenow Field. The scenes, thrills and chills of years past cannot be replaced by modern advances for me. I’m proud to say I saw the first game played at historic Goodenow Field and there never was a better place to be on a Friday night in the fall.

I have heard of more additions and improvements still in the planning stages.

The memories will always be with me, even if they may not be exactly correct.

Semi-pro football

Goodenow Field was the home gridiron for a Maquoketa semi-pro football team in 1949, the second and last season of their brief history. The roster included local former high school and college players from the area. They faced teams from Waterloo, Des Moines, Harlan, the Fort Madison state penitentiary (not at Goodenow), Peoria, and East St. Louis. Most of the games were on the road. A couple games in 1949 were at Goodenow Field.

The team wore gold uniforms with blue numbers. The uniforms and pads were donated and used by the Maquoketa High School teams. The nickname of Monarchs, Eagles and Maquoketa All-Stars depends on whom you ask. They won four of 12 games in their two years, including a 63-0 home win over Madrid in their final game.

High school games had far more fans, thrills and memories. 

The pre-game and halftime gatherings around the concession stand provided a good opportunity to renew friendships. 

A heavy thunderstorm sent more people to the press box than remained in the stands. A food bar for press box workers has been a feature for many years, reaching high point under Jerry Nelson and continued today.

Games twice have been suspended before conclusion and teams, Anamosa in 1973 and last season when Center Point-Urbana, went home and came back the next day to complete the contest.

An electrical shortage in 1992 stopped the game against Washington. The problem wasn’t solved immediately. With the Cardinals leading 35-0, the Demons weren’t considering making a return trip to resume the game.

Exciting wins

A couple of Maquoketa’s most exciting wins came during heavy rain.

The 1959 homecoming upset of Monticello 2-0 came in a steady downpour with Loyd Shaffer blocking a punt for a safety as the only points of the game.

In 1965 a game against Manchester was played in a driving rain. The Hawks scored to break a 13-13 tie with less than five minutes to play.

The slippery ball on the following kickoff was taken by Maquoketa 90 yards from a score. Using 10 plays, runs, by Dave Mayberry, Jim Roeder and Chuck Whitsell put the ball into the end zone with 1:18 on the clock. Roeder, with a determined burst, scored the winning PAT. Only five passes were thrown during the game. Maquoketa threw four of them and had the only completion.

Favorite Goodenow memories

Space doesn’t allow for many of my favorite Goodenow Field memories. 

Maybe my favorite would be a 9-7 win over Anamosa in 1979 when Mike Davis kicked a 22-yard field goal with 1:27 remaining to give the Cards a tie for the WaMaC title with the Blue Raiders and Marion.

Jon Wallace ran the ball 33 times, gaining 109 yards in the game. Maquoketa’s team total was 108, a yard less than Wallace!

A year earlier Maquoketa played Tipton for homecoming. After four quarters neither team had scored. Both teams made 25-yard field goals in the first OT. Maquoketa’s Tom Fate scored in the second OT on a 3-yard run and then kicked the extra point. The Tigers followed with a TD and decided to go for the win. Their try around left end was stopped inches short with a tackle by Tom Bodensteiner.

The 19-13 playoff victory over Crestwood had unbelievable momentum turns and ended on a gimmick play by the Cardinals.

The winning score with the least time on the clock was John Casady making an 18-yard field goal with 2 seconds left to beat Western Dubuque 10-7 in 1975.

A 75-yard kickoff return by Jacob Kloft in the final minute in 2015 gave the Cards a 17-14 win over Dubuque Wahlert on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Kloft’s 65-yard punt return vs. Anamosa in 2013 ignited two Maquoketa touchdowns scored in a matter of 4 seconds. Anamosa’s player on the kickoff return fielded the ball close to his own goal and fumbled into the end zone where Cavoszyvea Campbell recovered for a touchdown.  

Among Goodenow Field’s most frustrating games was played in 1988 when Marion outlasted the Cardinals 34-26 in three overtimes played in sweltering heat. It was Maquoketa’s lone setback of the season, eliminating them from a spot in the playoffs.

Maquoketa’s first overtime experience was at Goodenow Field in 1976. They lost to DeWitt Central, 13-12 when the Sabers completed a fourth down pass. Maquoketa’s record in overtimes at Goodenow Field is 3-4.

Maquoketa won four consecutive homecoming games by shutouts between 1959 and 1962, beating Monticello, 2-0; Tipton, 20-0; Anamosa, 34-0; and Independence, 30-0

The 1983 team never gave up a point in games played at Goodenow Field.

Barry Broman made Maquoketa’s first field goal in modern school history at Goodenow Field, 28 yards vs. Independence in 1968. A game with Tipton in 1956 was the last 0-0 tie in school history. It featured a determined goal-line stand by the Cardinals.

With the recent improvement at Goodenow Field it seems certain it will be the home of the Cardinals for years to come.


MHS Football Records


Maquoketa’s record at Goodenow Field, 139-148-2

Coaches records: Gayl Farnum, 9-16-1; Merle Harris, 8-4-1; Jim Dahlberg., 19-16-1; Mike Dotseth, 1-11; Francis Johnston, 16-6; Kirk Daddow, 5-12;John Furlong, 7-3; Leonard Morehead, 9-5; Mark Hillebrand, 50-48; Kevin Bowman,32-32

Most wins vs. team: DeWitt, 20-15; Anamosa, 17-14; Monticello, 15-10; Vinton/Vinton Shellsburg, 14-9-1; Manchester/West Delaware, 14-17-1; Independence. 12-7

Most consecutive wins: 9, 1982-84; 8, 1964-66

Most points, one season:  251 in 2011 (6 games)

Fewest points allowed: 0 in 1983 (five games)

Most consecutive games scored: 58 from 1986 to 1999

Most points scored, one game: 59 vs. Anamosa (6) in 2013

Lowest winning score: 2-0 over Monticello, 1959

Lowest combined score: 0 vs. Tipton, 0-0 tie in 1956


Individual Highs since 1961

Maquoketa players at Goodenow Field

Most rushing yards, one game: 240 Jon Fitzpatrick vs. Monticello, 2004

Most passing yards, one game: 501 Zach Bellendier vs. Mount Vernon, 2007

Most receiving yard, one game: 237 Dillon O’Connell  vs. Mount Vernon, 2007

Most pass receptions, one game: 12 Dillon O’Connell vs. Mount Vernon, 2007

Longest run: 94 yards John Kane vs. Anamosa, 1991

Longest pass play:89 yards, Trent Bollman to Cohl Kueter, vs. Anamosa, 2013

Longest kick return: 88 yards, Reid Keeney vs. Mount Vernon, 2006

Longest interception return: 87 yards, Mike Balliu vs. DeWitt, 1978

Longest punt: 62 yards Luke Patterson vs. Western Dubuque, 2005

Longest field goal: 39 yards Austin Dietzel vs. Washington, 2008

Most tackles, one game: 21 Chance Jenkins vs. Marion, 2002

Most tackles for loss, one game: Curt Morehead vs. Vinton, 1969