Russell Cunningham (1922-1924)
Russ Cunningham may be best remembered for his kicking of field goals and points after touchdowns. Playing at the tackle position, he was a well regarded two-way lineman.
Trim Robarts, whose high school football career was beginning just as Cunningham's was coming to a close, says of Russ, "He came to life in 1923 as a player. He had a high percent of accuracy on his conversion kicks. Many of these were dropkicked. He had a special shoe with a square toe for his field goal placekicks. He was a scrapper. He put everything he had into it."
Cunningham was a member of Marblehead's unbeaten 1922 squad which won the North Shore League co-championship with Lynn Classical under coach Ray Pendleton.
In 1923 Cunningham kicked six conversions. He had one in Marble-head's 39-0 win over Danvers, three in a 64-0 romp over Gloucester, and he converted twice in a 14-0 win over Boston English. Marblehead's record that year was 5-3-2 under a new coach, Dale Jones.
Marblehead had a 6-1-2 season in 1924, again under coach Jones. Cunningham kicked 13 points after touchdowns and four field goals for a total of 25 points. At the 1924 Marblehead-Peabody game, Peabody's Leo Buckley Stadium was dedicated, but Marblehead spoiled the event with a 17-0 victory. Cunningham dropkicked two conversions and kicked a field goal from the Peabody 8-yard line. The field goal was Marblehead's first score which came in the second period. Marblehead upset an unbeaten Thornton Academy(of Saco, Maine)team 10-6. Cunningham's field goal from the Thornton 25 and conversion made the difference. The three points marked the first time Thornton had been scored upon all season. With Marblehead trailing 7-6 in the third period at Amesbury, Cunningham kicked a field goal from the 20 to give Marblehead a 9-7 victory. He had two conversions in a 21-0 win against Winthrop. His field goal and conversion were very necessary as Marblehead tied Swamp-scott 10-10 that year. With Swampscott leading 3-0 in the third period, Ray Smethurst returned a Swampscott punt from his own 15 to the Swampscott 10 for a 75-yard runback. Cunningham shortly thereafter kicked a field goal from the Swampscott 5 to tie the game. Early in the fourth period, Don Barry passed to Red Snow for Marblehead's touchdown. Cunningham kicked the conversion point to put Marblehead in front 10-3. Swampscott later deadlocked the count at 10-10.
Cunningham went to Springfield College where he played football and graduated despite economic adversity. He had successful careers as coach and athletic director at Dolgeville and Kingston, N. Y. and was a Navy Commander in WW II. He passed away at age 54.