The Orange Bowl Team.
Utter those words around the city of Gloucester and they are immediately attributed to the 1956, Class B state champion Fishermen football team. During that season Gloucester ran the table in the regular season (9-0) and earned a trip to the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. to square off with Miami Sr. High School.
Even five decades later, the ‘56 team, the last of four state championships under head coach Nate Ross, is still widely regarded as one of the best, and in some corners the best football team to ever grace the gridiron of Newell Stadium.
Gloucester won the Class B title that fall, but its undefeated record also gave it enough points to win the Class A state title if it had played in that division. The dominance Gloucester displayed in its championship seasons in 1955 and 1956 forced the state to move the program up to Class A the following season despite the fact that it had the smallest enrollment in the division.
All over the lineup Nate Ross had talented athletes at his disposal. The single-wing offense was ran with superb efficiency as the Fishermen scored 25 points per game on the season and did not allow more than two touchdowns in a game on defense until a 20-7 loss to Miami at the Orange Bowl.
While the ‘56 team did not finish unbeaten, no Gloucester team can ever be expected to take down a school as big as Miami Sr. High School, which was ranked No. 3 in the state of Florida at the time.
The 1956 team has withstood the test of time, and all the Gloucester football success that came after it. Considering the quality of football that has been played at Newell Stadium in the five plus decades after the ‘56 team took home the Class B title, it’s pretty safe to say that this team was for real, and one of the best to ever put on a Gloucester football uniform.