Mar 17 2008
08:18 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers, Getting right to the story where we left off last week...


"As I said, I did get to play a little in a few games during that '58 season, but I don't think it's fair to pen the whole 2-8 record on me. Coach was always trying to make a football hero out of me by mostly putting me in when we were way behind, and it was usually late in the third or fourth quarter. I think he was always hoping that I would lead the team back and win the game. If he did think like that, then we were thinking the same thing. Some of the negative thinkers thought it was because he didn't want any of his starting ends to get hurt when the game was lost. Not me, I was always a positive thinker, at least I was when I would think, which wasn't very often."

"Let me use the Dayton game as an example of my playing time. We played Dayton on their home field and that game took a bad turn from the start. They opened the game with a real short kick to us and Jim Polston, who was on the front line, caught the ball and made it to our 45 before being hit by one of those big Dayton linemen. That Dayton lineman didn't really tackle Jim. What he did was lift Jim and the ball up on his shoulder, and head down the field toward our goal. Now, I was sitting there, hanging out on the end of the bench, trying to figure out if it was legal to score by carrying a player with the ball over the goal line or not. It turned out I didn't have to worry about that as that big old lineman ran out of gas around our 10 yard line, stumbled and fell. I wonder if Jim would be in the Tiger record books today as the only player to be carried 45 yards with the ball and score for the other team if that lineman hadn't ran out of gas. From time to time, over the years, I would bring that play up with Jim since he always enjoyed talking about the good old days, but he didn't seem to like to talk about that play. Things didn't get much better and by half-time we were down by 25.

"At the half, Coach Tom came into the locker room and gave us the only half-time pep talk that I can still remember every word of. What he said was, "Boys, all I can say is if you keep on playing like you have been playing it will be 50 to nothing at the end of the game" and with that he walked out of the locker room. Now I thought a lot about that pep talk over the years and decided that Coach Tom must have been a math major, and not a physiology major, because the math ended up being almost right, but the physiology didn't work at all."
"Early in the fourth quarter, down by about 42, and with lots of players banged up, Coach once again gave me a chance to be a football hero. The problem was, the quarterback, Johnny Falls was still a little peeved at me from that first game, and he was also tired of being sacked right and left in this game. The first play that Johnny called, once I was in, was the old 88 jump pass to the left. This was my big chance seeing how I was the left end, well it was almost my big chance. See Johnny had hardly gotten a pass off all night without being sacked by those great big Dayton linemen. He told me he was through with being sacked and said for me to just go out about 5 or 10 yards and he would throw a long incomplete pass, and that's what I did, and that's what Johnny did. Now on that play, I was wide open, all of the Dayton players had gone after poor old Johnny. If I could have jumped about thirty feet in the air and caught that ball, I would have scored and been a football hero that day. I wonder if that's why Coach called it an 88 jump pass. On the next play our center, that I will refer to as M.M. (notice that I'm using fictitious initials to protect the guilty center,) and also for myself from getting killed by M.M. for bringing this up, but you said it, and not me. Anyway, M.M. said he was tired of all this stuff, and was going to get in a fight with someone on the next play and get tossed out of the game. I knew that you could go out swinging in baseball, but in football? That game is also about the only time I ever saw James Leffew get mad. James wanted to win and didn't care much for plays like a long incomplete pass. Know what, it didn't matter if James got mad or not, and Coach Tom was wrong about the score as it ended 45 to nothing. Guess Coach wasn't a math major after all. He must have been thinking about the Harriman game that we lost 52 to 0, thanks to a player on the Harriman team by the name of Charlie Wyrick. Turned out that Charlie was half-brother to both Jim Thorpe and Speedy Gonzales. I think he must have worn out two pair of shoes that night running up and down the field and never got a speck of dirt on his uniform, and neither did many of us since you can't tackle what you can't catch."

That is all for this week, next week we will have the final chapter from "The Mystery Writer"....Until next week.......Ray

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