Okay, I admit it, I like sports. I even have sports withdrawal pains when the season is over. My favorite spectator sport is football. Basketball runs a close second, but it is sort of like cake and pie. I like them both, but I like pie a little better. I like both football and basketball, but I like football a little better.
I started playing football in the fifth grade. I fell in love with it then and still love it. I didn't say I was good at it, but I enjoyed playing and I enjoy watching it. From little kids flag football to pro football, I particularly like watching Texas Tech and, yes, I am a Dallas Cowboys fan. But my favorite sport is high school football, and what could be more exciting than Seminole Indian football?
Like all sports nuts, I like to reminisce about games of the past and share my memories with others. What I am about to share with you of Seminole football may be glossed over by my eagerness as a fan. This is the way I recall it. If it is different from what you remember forgive me. I am a sports nut.
I remember, way-back-when, watching Ricky Green burst through the line of scrimmage and sprint for about 85 yards for a touchdown in the closing moments of a district rival game, (I think it was against Roosevelt), and if memory serves me correctly it was the winning touchdown.
This was back when the Seminole fans sat on the east side of the stadium with the setting sun glaring in our faces. I remember the run vividly. Green came right down the east sideline next to the hometown fans headed for the north end zone, with the home town fans screaming their encouragement. I don't think I've ever heard the Seminole fans make more noise.
I remember two hundred pounder, Chris Jones, slamming into the line of scrimmage for about eight yards per play against another rival.
Who can forget the tremendous performances Toby Shane gave us to cheer about? It was an amazing display of speed and power. He was unstoppable. In the playoffs his senior year, I believe he averaged over 300 rushing yards per game.
We were going against Monahans at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa. Monahans' first year coach, who was coming off a class 2-A state championship win the year before, was quoted as saying, "We know what we have to do to beat Seminole. We've got to stop Toby Shane. And we will stop Toby Shane!" His statement might be listed as "famous last words," because when the smoke cleared, Toby had gained 355 yards rushing (as I recall), and the game ended with Seminole kneeling on the football four times on Monahans' one yard line rather than score again. It was a total blowout victory for Seminole.
Our hopes for a state championship this year were dashed when Aledo beat us by three points, but, as I recall, Shane had over 300 yards rushing in this game, as well.
This was a big taste of the "agony of defeat," and it ain't sweet, but it didn't totally offset the thrills Shane had given us all year long.
A positive note which came out of this loss was a letter to the editor written by a visitor at the game who claimed no connection with either team. In this letter he lauded the sportsmanship of both teams. The like of which he said he had never seen before.
He singled out Seminole, who, after such a devastating defeat, lined up behind the Aledo players with their helmets removed in a show of respect, as Aledo joyfully played their victory song! This was true sportsmanship! It made me proud to be from Seminole!
We must mention the pinpoint passing of Jacob Burtch, (completing passes for 900 yards before throwing his first interception as a freshman). In my humble opinion, only injuries to himself and his teammates kept Jacob from being the top quarterback in the State of Texas.
And there was the excitement Jarod Adams gave us when he got the ball in his hands. One fan said, "It's so exciting because every time he touches the ball he has a chance to score!"
This was true, whether by pass, handoff, pitch out, kick return or interception, if Jarod Adams had the ball, the fans were poised to leap to their feet in frenzied glee as he dashed first one way and then another on a serpentine course looking for an opening. Even when he reversed his field and went 20 yards in the wrong direction it only added to the drama. He might lose yards on one play, but more often he would end up changing directions, setting up his teammates for some vicious blocks and scampering for a long gainer. This happened many times and we fans came to anticipate it.
Forgive me for reverting back to my childhood for a comparison to Jarod's running style, but I knew of a college running back with the same style. He is now deceased, but his name was Wilford White. They called him "Whizzer White," (not to be confused with a better known Byron" Whizzer" White who was famous in football and was a Supreme Court Justice).
Wilford "Whizzer" White was a running back for Arizona State College (Now University) from 1947 - 1950. He averaged over 150 yards rushing per game, and was the school's first All American. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears of the NFL in 1951. He, had a famous son, his namesake, Wilford Daniel White, who is better known to Texas sports fans as Danny White who quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys from 1976 to 1989.
Jarod's running style reminded me of Whizzer White's. You never knew which direction either one was going to go. This was likely a source of consternation for their opponents as well as their own coaches, but give them a little blocking and they knew where the goal line was and how to get there.
There was a comment about White, which I recall from my youth. It seems he was making one of his zigzag runs around in the backfield when the other team's best tackler dove at him and missed. Falling on the ground he just lay there. His coach ran screaming to the sideline yelling, "Get up! Get up and chase him!" The would-be tackler responded, "Why bother coach, he'll be back by here in a minute!" This might have been said of Jarod.
There have been many gritty displays of courage from Seminole football players which are worthy of note. Such as Jacob Burtch limping onto the field against Midland Christian after his dad, coach Chris Burtch, asked if he could throw one more pass. He did, and with pinpoint accuracy for the touchdown which gave us a one point victory. And there was Tanner Moore hobbling eight yards on a severely injured knee to get a first down for his team.
I don't want to offend any player by leaving their name out of this list, they are all important, but, obviously, I don't have room for all of them in this article. These are just a few which stand out in my memory.
I feel I must include my all time favorite high school football play. It involved Eric Boyd, an outstanding quarterback, whom I consider among the best. In my opinion, he was exceptionally good at knowing when to throw the ball and when to tuck it in and run.
This particular game was not a victory for the Indians. We were playing Canyon, a school and team which was considerably larger than ours. They were always good and were walking in tall cotton this season, having not even been scored on all year.
It was in the third quarter (as I recall) and Seminole was hanging tough. I believe Canyon was ahead 14 to zip, but, at least, we weren't being blown away.
On this particular play, Eric took the ball, and after faking a pass he tucked the ball in and headed for the right side of the line with his left guard pulling and coming down the line of scrimmage to escort him.
The linemen on the right side did a fantastic job of holding their blocks and opening up a hole for Eric, but the Canyon linebacker saw the hole opening and zeroed in on Eric with blood in his eye. You could almost see his lips curl up in a sneer, and hear his unspoken words of what he was about to do to poor Eric.
Just at this moment, big number 74, our 250 pound guard turned the corner with a full head of steam. I think the collision might have registered on the Richter Scale. Our big guard met their linebacker in full stride and literally wiped him out. The poor kid wound up flat of his back with number 74's sweaty body draped all over him while Eric turned on the after burners and sped 65 yards into the end zone without so much as being touched by a Canyon player.
Now, this is football! Canyon may have won the game, (I think the final score was 14 to 7, but I'm not sure), What I do know is Canyon could no longer brag no one had scored on them! You see why I like sports? These memories are mine forever.
Oh yeah! That big number 74! He just happened to be my grandson, Kelby Hunt! If you think I was proud, you're right! After all, I like sports. Go Seminole!