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Growing Up in Arlington in the 1940s and 1950s (Part 2 of 2)

The Year of the Colt

In the 1951 season, our starting lineup was Leon Duffey and I at the ends, Larry Hufford and Grover Cribbs at tackle, Bill Walker and Big Jim Harris at the guards, and Pet Murray at center. Larry DaVault and Bob Kirby were at the halfbacks, and Rusty Gunn was at fullback. Ray Glasgow was the quarterback, as he had been for the last two years. The newcomers to that starinng group were Duffey, Walker, Kirby, and Harris. Harold Hill and Randal Redmond platooned for Murray and Duffey on defense and had all been on the previous 1950 squad and were more than capable of filling in for our loss of personnel through graduation. The rest of us had been pretty well tested the previous two years, and we set our sights on winning each ballgame, one at a time.

Well, we continued to win each Friday night and everything went along pretty good with our closest call at Weatherford with the Weatherford Kangaroos who we beat in a hard-fought football game 14 to 0. Weatherford was in 3A that year and had a good ball team. The Terrell Tigers rode into town on the train with a long memory from the year before and blood in their eyes. You talk about learning humility; we got a big dose of humility that night. We were soundly defeated by the Tigers in front of our fans on our own home field. That hurt.

After that loss we felt terrible all weekend. We had been soundly beaten by a team that we had beat the year before. I guess what goes around, comes around sooner or later. Monday afternoon following that loss Coach Workman told us something that has stayed with me all my life whenever I hit a rough spot as we all do. He said, “Everybody gets knocked down, the trick is getting up.” Well, that pretty well put the Terrell game behind us, and the rest, as they say, “is history.” We went on to win the district and roared into the playoffs beating Olney in bi-district. We then defeated the Winters Blizzards in the regional game on their home field. The next game was the quarter finals against Pleasant Grove at Dal-Hi Stadium in Dallas. We won that ball game pretty handily and got ready for what was to be our toughest test so far in the playoffs. We were to play the Anson Tigers in the state semi-finals at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth. We won and were going to the “Big Show,” the Class 2A State Championship game against the LaVega Pirates.

We had lived the dream and now we had to make it come true on a cloudy, windy afternoon in Waco, Texas. Well, you all know what happened that afternoon in Floyd Casey Stadium on the campus of Baylor University. It was Gunn over left tackle into the end zone with Walker, Hufford, and Duffey clearing the way. Gunn kicked the extra point and that was it. Gunn’s two-yard touchdown run was the biggest and most magnificent run in the annals of Colt football. The Arlington Colts became the Class 2A State Champions.

I guess that I should also mention that we played a pretty good defensive ball game that day. I remember thinking right after we scored in the second quarter, “That’s the ball game.” There was no way we were going to let anyone cross our goal line on this day. We shut out one of the State’s highest scoring teams that year 7 to 0.

A lot has been said about that ball team over the years, but the one thing that has been overlooked was what made that team what it was, and that is LOVE. We loved the game, we loved Friday nights, we loved to win, we loved each other as only teammates can, and above all we had an undying love for Coach Mayfield Workman just as he had for us. There is not a one of us who wouldn’t try to run through a brick wall for him to this day, and I suspect some of us would make it. We were mainly a group of overachievers that he had made to believe in ourselves, just as he believed in us. He molded us into a team that had our eye on the prize and were not going to be denied that day in Waco.

Life Goes On

It was a bittersweet victory in some ways as I experienced a sad moment after returning to school following the Christmas Holidays that year when I realized that it was all over. No more camaraderie with your teammates, no more Friday night lights, and the fact that we would all soon be going our separate ways, but it all worked out in the end. I entered Arlington State College and played ball there. Others went to different schools and went on with living just as I did. But that group remains joined with a common thread that bonds us together now just as it did then when we became a Band of Brothers who lived the dream and made that dream come true.

Hopefully the Colts will soon win another state championship and I hope I’m still around to see it, but there is one thing they can never take away from that 1951 team: We got there first!

On November 30, 1955, I again became one of the luckiest people on the face of the earth when I married one of the Roebuck sisters, Sandra. And again, I’ve been lucky over the years in that she hasn’t killed me—yet. I’ve managed to survive so far, but all in all the years have been good to us. We have two children, Sam and Jennifer, who both live here, and three grandchildren, Clint and Allison, who are twins, and Luci, who is a UT grad and is now working on her Masters Degree in San Marcos.

It has been a good life and thankfully most of it has been spent in this town. Thomas Wolfe once wrote a novel which he called “You Can’t go Home Again,” but in the memory of my mind when my thoughts drift back to the sidewalk Coke box at Terry Brothers Drug Store, the ten cent hamburgers at Rockyfellers, the old mineral well that stood at the intersection of Main and Center, playing softball, and the swimming pool at Meadowbrook Park, I am home again, at least for a while, unOl I sadly realize Arlington will never be that way again. I guess that’s the price of progress.