One tough hombre

 

Art Cantrelle getting ready for the inaugural WFL campaign in 1974

Art Cantrelle getting ready for the inaugural WFL campaign in 1974

Art Cantrelle was one of the stable of running backs that Birmingham Americans Head Coach Jack Gotta unleashed on the WFL in 1974. While each back had his own skill set that he brought to the Ams, be it speed or moves, there was one universal truth that could be said about #22, Art Cantrelle, and that is was that he was the toughest. As a matter of fact, Jack Gotta called Cantrelle the toughest of all of his players. “If I ever had to go into battle, I can tell you, I wanted Art Cantelle on my side” Gotta intimated back in a 1998 interview. “He was as tough as any player I ever coached.” Cantrelle also had quickness and could find a hole and pick up chunks of yardage as well as the tough yards. The LSU product played in the CFL before coming to Birmingham. In 1974 Cantrelle was one of five backs who regularly carried the ball, gaining 504 years in 120 carries and 6 touchdowns. In 1975 when the Ams became the Vulcans, Cantrelle, while splitting duty with Johnny Musso, was the leading ground gainer in the abbreviated ’75 season, gaining 814 years on 201 carries and tallying 10 TDs. He also caught caught a total of 39 passes for the 2 seasons and added 2 more scores. Cantrelle, while gaining the respect of his coaches and teammates was also a favorite of the Birmingham fans.

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