Beverly lost one of the greatest running backs to ever play for the high school when Harold ‘Billy’ Ransom passed away last week at age 81.
Ransom, who came to Beverly High from Danvers during the spring of his sophomore year in 1948, formed a dynamic 1-2 backfield punch with teammate Sandy Kessaris. Together, they led the 1948 BHS squad to the school’s first unbeaten and untied season and were later both inducted into the initial Beverly High Athletic Hall of Fame class in 2003.
“Sandy was a year older than Billy; they were both outstanding,” said Al Cloyd, who graduated from Beverly High in the Class of 1950 along with Ransom. “That was one of the best teams Beverly ever had (scoring 253 points while allowing just 20 all season).
“Billy was at our 60th reunion at the Danversport Yacht Club in 2010 with some of the other guys on the football team. He was a good classman, and we had a great time that night.”
One of Ransom’s many highlights came on Thanksgiving Day 1948, when he took the game’s opening play 88 yards for a score en route to a 38-0 whipping of archrival Salem in the 50th playing of ‘The Game.’
Ransom was a three-sport star; in addition to his gridiron exploits, he was a center fielder for the Panthers’ baseball team while setting state track records in both the 50 and 100-yard dash.
Paul Weir was one of Ransom’s closest friends, both in high school and throughout his life. Weir was a football teammate (tight end/linebacker) and classmate.
“We had lost contact for 10-12 years,” said Weir. “I got married and Billy had a couple of scholarships to college. He went in the Marines and served in the Korean War, but we ran into each other at a ski shop. We talked, began skiing together ... and did it up until five years ago when his legs gave out.