Sports View: Loss of former Carbon High athlete brings back memories of 1951
The recent death of Tom Taskar as the result of an automobile accident in Spanish Fork Canyon brings to mind brighter days in the history of Carbon High football.
Tom was an outstanding halfback on Carbon's state championship team of 1951.
Much has been written of the University of Notre Dame's famous Four Horsemen under coach Knute Rockne.
In 1951, Carbon had their own version of the Four Horsemen under the late coach Pres Summerhays. Tom Taskar, Lou Mele, Dick Morley and Martin Bezyack comprised a backfield unparelled in Dino grid history.
Playing in a league known as the "Big Eight" comprised of Carbon, Jordan, Provo, Granite, Davis, and the three Salt Lake City schools, South, East and West, the Dinos raced through an undefeated season and a state championship There were only two classifications for the state's high schools at that time for extra-curricular activity.
Coach Summerhays took his team to Grand Junction for the season opener in early September of 1951 where they defeated Grand Junction High School 18-7.
The Grand Junction newspaper estimated that 15,000 fans were on hand for the game, many from Carbon.
There was an intense rivalry between the two schools in those days as they exchanged games on a home and home basis. Carbon began Big Eight play the following week by traveling to Granite where they thrashed the Farmers 45-0.
By that time it was apparent that Summerhays indeed had a good football team and local interest took heart.
The Dinos followed this up with succeeding victories, 34-6 over Jordan; 27-9 over Provo; 19-0 over South; a key win over a touted West team, 39-0, at Carbon where 5,000 fans were on hand; 20-13 over East and 41-13 over Davis. The Taskar, Mele, Morley, Bezyack foursome was backed up by Scott Jeffs, who played safety and returned kickoffs and punts.
They moved on to the state championship game at the University of Utah stadium where they ran rough shod over Box Elder, 27-0.
Each member of the Dino Four Horsemen brought their own particular talent to the field. Taskar was known as an explosive long distance runner, having returned an interception 96 yards for a touchdown, had carries of 69 yards, 81 yards, 70 yards and 54 yards in the games and he totaled 14 touchdowns for 84 points over the season.
Mele was the workhorse of the foursome, a talented kicker, a bruising runner, a passer when called up and a tough defender. He later starred at the University of Utah.
Morley, just a junior that year, was considered the fastest high school fullback in the state.
Bezyack, the quarterback was the brains of the team. Working with Summerhays. he guided the team to untold heights.
Bezyack lost his life in an airplane accident while returning from a scouting trip as an assistant football coach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
It is often said, a good back field is only as good as the offensive line in front of them. Carbon certainly had that.
Stalwarts such as Amadeo Beacco, Harry Abeyta, Tom Ramage, Pete Milovich, Jay Herring and others provided the openings for the back field game after game.
The Dinos had considerable depth on their squad. Observers were quick to point out that reserves such as Tony Kosmack, Jeffs, Denny Lindsey, Dominic Albo, Baysinger and others surely would of been starters on any other high school team.