By Jim Dunne
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today is the first of a series of articles profiling the 2013 Norwich Sports Hall of Fame induction class. This year’s banquet is scheduled for Saturday, May 11 at Canasawacta Country Club. Information on reserving spots for the ceremony is located in today’s sports section.
Lewis W. Newton grew up on a farm in the town of North Norwich. He graduated from Norwich High School in 1928 and Syracuse University in 1932.
A big man, Newton played four years of football for Norwich, the first three under coach Reaves “Ribs” Baysinger, and the last for Willard “Andy” Anderson, both former Syracuse players. He received a gold football as a freshman varsity letterman on the undefeated 1924 team. At the end of his sophomore season, he was elected captain for 1926.
The 1926 team had as seniors two more of “the boys from Akron,” brought to Norwich by Baysinger from his hometown in Ohio especially to play football. They were Bill Lewton at end and Jerry Welch at fullback. They were both injured in the fourth game, however, and did not play again. The star in the backfield was George “Red” Baker, short but speedy, who was also known as an outstanding infielder for Norwich and later Indiana University, where he was chosen captain of the baseball team. Other regulars in the backfield were husky Walt Lowe and diminutive “Eddie” Sullivan.
From his tackle position, Newton led by example: “If there was one man who stood above the rest in that satisfactory battle against Cortland Saturday afternoon, it was Captain Lewis Newton. Newton is the leader of the Purple and White gridders and it was Newton who ripped mighty holes in the Cortland line, it was Newton who recovered fumbles, smeared play after play before Cortland could barely start, and it was Captain Newton who led a fighting bunch of athletes to a victory that smeared from the records that stinging defeat of a year ago.” (Perry Browne, Norwich Sun, Nov 1, 1926.)