All the news that's fit to print.

In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Plowboys Open Season at Hawley Friday

Gary Shaw runs for yardage in Thursday's scrimmage with Forsan.
Are you ready for some football? Ready or not, the Plowboys officially open the 2018 season with an away game at Hawley Friday evening. They have had a short preseason because of the early start of classes at Roscoe and haven’t had as much practice time to develop as other schools, but that’s a problem they also had last year, so they’ll just have to work through it.

The Plowboy offense looked strong in the scrimmage with Forsan at Plowboy Field on Thursday afternoon. With Jayden Gonzales out with a foot injury, Barrett Beal took the reins as Plowboy quarterback and looked sharp. He has a good arm and good receivers with Brandon Lavalais, Jose Ortega, and Junior Martinez, and his line gave him enough time to find his receivers and throw.

The Plowboy defense looked good at times, but still needs work and more solid tackling against the run. Forsan had a couple of big backs who managed to break some tackles for long gains.

The Plowboys outscored Forsan 3-1 during the scrimmage, but afterwards when the teams played regular rules with the clock running, Forsan came from behind to eke out a 15-14 win.

The Plowboys will learn a lot about their progress when they face off with Hawley Friday evening. The Bearcats are a 2A Division I school coming off a year in which they advanced to the area finals and finished with a 3-1 district record and 8-4 overall. They have six starters returning on both offense and defense and are picked to finish second in their district this year. They will be going with a new quarterback, Dylan Frazier, who was a running back last year. Players to watch according to Texas Football are Frazier, RB/LB Colton Marshall, and WR/DB Ethan Davis.

Kickoff at Hawley is at 7:30pm.

Brandon Lavalais catches a Barrett Beal pass for a touchdown.


Jose Ortega                                     Brandon Lavalais
Two Plowboys, Jose Ortega and Brandon Lavalais, have been named to the Abilene Reporter-News Preseason 2018 All-Big Country Super Team. The team comprises players from all classes in the Big Country. Along with the first team on both offense and defense, there is an additional list of Players to Watch.

Ortega, a 5’8”, 170-pound, senior, makes the team as a punter. The Reporter-News notes that “Ortega, a second-team Class 2A All-BC pick last year, punted 32 times for a 38.3 average. He also was a second-team All-BC Super Team pick as a defensive back.” He is also listed as a Player to Watch as a defensive back and as a wide receiver on offense.

Lavalais, a 6’0”, 190-pound, senior, makes the offensive team as a wide receiver. The Reporter-News notes that “Lavalais had eight TDs and 1,003 yards receiving last year for the Plowboys.”

It’s good to see they’ve been noticed. Let’s hope they live up to the hype and then some!

The Reporter-News Preseason Super Team is listed online here. Their preview for the Plowboys is here.



Ned LeDoux.
Country singer/songwriter Ned LeDoux, son of the late Chris LeDoux, will make his debut performance tomorrow evening at the Lumberyard. Like his dad, he is from Wyoming. He got his start as the drummer in Chris LeDoux’s band, Western Underground, and when Chris died in 2005, Ned continued to tour with the band and began to sing his dad’s songs. Now he has started doing his own songs and last year produced his first full-length album, Sagebrush.

Singles include “Brother Highway,” “Some People Do,” “A Tribute to Dad,” “By My Side,” and “Forever a Cowboy.”

For reservations or more information, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



The moon in this morning's western sky
It’s been another week of relentless heat in the big country, and, as is normal for this time of year, each day is pretty much the same as the day before. This week was no exception as skies were sunny and either clear or mostly clear.

Temperatures varied hardly at all. Since last Thursday, maximums have ranged from 97°F to 99° and minimums from 72° to 76°. The high came on Friday and the low on Sunday morning. And there hasn’t even been a hint of a chance of precipitation.

The outlook through Saturday is for more of the same. Highs will range from 96° to 98° and lows from 74° to 75° with winds from the south or southeast. On Sunday, temperatures cool slightly as we move into September with highs of 94° for both Sunday and Monday along with a 20% chance of rain.



Funeral services for Georgia Pieper Borders, 89. were held on Monday, August 27, at Roscoe First Baptist Church with Pastor David Draper officiating. Burial followed at Roscoe Cemetery with arrangements by Cate-Spencer & Trent Funeral Home. 

She passed away on Friday, August 24, at Mitchell County Nursing & Rehab.

Georgia was born on September 25, 1928, in Stanton to Marion and Naomi (Solomon) Yell. She worked for City of Sweetwater and RS&P Railroad for many years before retiring. She was a member of Roscoe First Baptist Church.

She is survived by two sons, John Pieper and wife Nancy of Flower Mound and Donnie Jones and wife Eva of Denton; two daughters, Barbara Evans and husband Steve of Hamlin, and Dale Metcalf and husband Jeff of Denton; grandchildren, Austin B. Pieper, Avery Pieper, Karrah Medlin and husband Zack, Chad Jones, Britt Pieper, Sonya Bowman and husband Ricky, Randy Pieper, Adam Evans and wife Elizabeth, Brad Mayfield and wife Brook, Colby Mayfield and wife Alyssa, Jeffrey Metcalf, and Rachel Metcalf; great-grandchildren, Grayson Hayes Medlin, Alex Massey, Austin Pieper, Michael Massey, Cyera Pieper, Steve Eldred, Brittany Elliott, Natalie Evans, Hazel Mayfield, Pieper Mayfield, Brock Mayfield, Caysen Mayfield and Maelynn Mayfield.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Marion and Naomi Yell; husbands, Rueben Barnett Pieper and Jack Borders; step-sons, Stanley Pieper and Terry Pieper; and two sisters, Sherlyn Driggers and Narvell O'Bannon.

Pallbearers were Brad Mayfield, Colby Mayfield, Adam Evans, Austin B. Pieper, Randy Pieper, and Britt Pieper.

The family would like to thank Georgia's caregivers, Tammy Bradshaw and Carolyn Levens, for taking such good care of her.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

RCISD School Board Sees New Programs, Technology

RCHS instructor John Cox beside the school's new CNC router.
After its regular meeting Monday evening, the RCISD School Board was treated to a tour of the school’s latest initiatives and technology, and I was invited along. Improvements have been made and are still underway as the school enhances existing programs and has established two new ones, Edu-Make It and Edu-Weld, which will expand its STEM offerings to provide students with marketable skills and certifications. These two are divisions within a new company, Edu-Maker. 

In the ag building on Ninth Street by the bus shed, robotics instructor John Cox showed some of the new facilities and robotics equipment that students will be able to use in developing their programming skills and becoming more competitive in robotics competitions.

He also explained the school’s new Edu-Make It equipment that uses CNC (computer numeric control) technology. Students use AutoCAD software to design three-dimensional projects on the computer. Then, when finished, they send the design to one of the CNC machines that precisely reproduces the design on the desired material, whether it be wood, plastic, metal, or acrylic. 

The 3-D printers produce plastic objects, the CNC router works with wood and acrylic and the plasma cutter performs tasks on metal in much the same way as a cutting torch but with far greater precision. Students who learn to design using AutoCAD software can receive AutoCAD certification, which six students have already done and others are working on now.

3-D Printers.
Superintendent Kim Alexander told Board Members that the school with its equipment and expertise is ready and willing to act as a commercial enterprise to provide anything these machines can produce to customers who want or need it. Examples include signs, plaques, and wall hangings but can include machine parts and other objects of just about any shape or form.

After the tour of the robotics and CNC technology at Edu-Make It, the School Board went to the old Nitzsche blacksmith and welding shop on Broadway to see the other half of the school’s newest initiative, Edu-Weld, which provides students with comprehensive welding skills and certifications that meet national industrial certification standards. Certified students can perform high-demand welding tasks for needs in farming, ranching, oil and gas, wind energy, and other industrial activities.

Edu-Weld instructor Jessie Arguijo explains the program to Board Members.
Edu-Weld’s instructor, Jessie Arguijo, showed Board Members around the new facilities and explained both the equipment and the program. Besides instructing and training students, he is qualified to supervise their professional certification exams and provide business leadership for Edu-Weld commercial services at both the Broadway location and at mobile welding sites. He has extensive professional welding experience, gained at such companies and industries as STIC, Driver Pipeline, Watkins Co., ATI, Ref-Chem, Amerada Hess, and Lufkin-G.E.

The program’s curriculum emphasizes hands-on welding skills training, supplemented by computer-assisted simulation technology. Along with other students, Edu-Weld students take college courses and research projects and generally earn Western Texas College Associate’s Degrees along with their high school diplomas. They can earn their welding certifications in a number of areas via the AWS (American Welding Society), recognized by all industry sectors. These will assure them opportunities for higher salary potential, stronger employment demand, and better career stability.



Fans will get a chance to see the 2018 Plowboys in action tomorrow, August 23, starting at 5:00pm, when they scrimmage the Forsan Buffaloes at Plowboy Field. Forsan is 2A, Division I, and with the new alignments are in District 3-2A-DI with Stamford, Hawley, Ozona, and Winters.

The Buffaloes have 5 starters on offense and 6 on defense returning from last year’s team, which was 3-7 overall and 0-4 in district. Players to watch are QB Kobe Richardson, who was a running back last year, and running back Dylan Kligora.

The Plowboys will be playing without quarterback Jayden Gonzales, who re-injured a foot that he initially broke earlier this summer in a work-related accident. He is due to have surgery on it Friday and will be out four to six weeks or so. In his absence, sophomore Barret Beal will be the Plowboys’ quarterback.

In their scrimmage with Ozona on Saturday, the offense played well, but the defense still needs work. Part of the problem against Ozona was that the Plowboys prepared for the spread while Ozona ran a wing-T.

This will be the Plowboys’ last scrimmage before they open the season next Friday night, August 31, with Hawley in Hawley.



Sunday's sunset shortly after the shower.
On Sunday afternoon about six o’clock, a thunderstorm seemingly came out of nowhere and rained for twenty or thirty minutes. I had just finished watering my garden and returned to the house, and suddenly I heard this loud noise, which at first I thought must be something wrong with my air conditioner. But then I realized it was rain falling on my metal roof. 

I wound up getting .56”, which was enough to create a big puddle in the driveway. Later on, I found out the shower was pretty localized and that many areas outside town got no more than a sprinkle and some not even that. Kenny Landfried recorded an official .34” at his home in east Roscoe. Although the rainfall hasn’t been extensive the last couple of weeks, it has been enough to turn all the yellow grass in town green, and on the weekends I notice that lawn mowers are being used again. I’ve even been bitten by two or three mosquitoes.

Other than that Sunday shower, though, the weather this past week was typical for August. Highs were in the mid-nineties, lows in the mid-seventies, and skies sunny and partly cloudy. The high for the week was Friday’s 97°F and the low Sunday morning’s 69°.

The forecast is for more of the same. Today’s high should reach 95°, increasing to 98° tomorrow and 100° Friday, with the weekend highs and beginning of next week in the upper nineties. Lows will be in the mid-seventies, and there is no rain in the forecast.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Roscoe Schools See Enrollment Increase

The 2018-19 school year has started, and, as of Monday, the total enrollment at RCISD was 641, 30 more students than last year. The largest growth this year is in high school and junior high.

Here are this year’s figures compared to the previous three years:

                            Grades              2015          2016        2017       2018
Elementary        pre-K - 5           365             347          358         348*
Junior High        6-8                    118             123           121           148
High School        9-12                  135             134           133           144
Totals                  pre-K - 12         618            604           611           641

* This figure includes the pre-K students who have enrolled but not yet attended their first class because 4-year-olds begin next Monday, August 20, and 3-year-olds the following Monday, August 27.



City Manager Cody Thompson addresses the Council at yesterday's meeting.
At its monthly meeting at City Hall yesterday evening, the Roscoe City Council took care of routine business and heard the City Manager’s report on the proposed tax rate for the coming year and the awarding of a state grant to replace an old sanitary sewer line with a new one.

City Manager Cody Thompson reported that the property tax rate will be lowered slightly to balance it with the increased property valuations for the coming year so that the amount of money brought in will be the same as this year’s. This year’s tax rate was .791344 per $100 valuation, and the proposed rate for the coming year is .751180, or roughly .04 less per $100 valuation than this year. Public hearings for the proposed tax rate will be announced in the next ten days or so. The Council will also meet for budget workshops later this month. The water, sewer, and trash pickup bill may increase about $3 per meter per month next year.

Thompson also reported that the City has been awarded a state grant of approximately $288,000 of which the City will be responsible for about $13,000 of that amount, or about 5%, and the state the rest, or about $275,000. That money will be used to replace the sanitary sewer line that runs from the I-20 service road in south Roscoe all the way to Second Street between Main and Cypress Streets. The new line will be 8" instead of the current 6", which will make for better flow. The State will make an on-site visit with the City next Tuesday at 3:00pm.

The City/County seal coating of City streets is now complete.

The West Texas Wind Festival will be on Saturday, October 20, this year. The City has still not booked a musician for the free concert but will do so in the near future.

The City Council approved the bills paid by the City in July.



Jessie Marth
Roscoe’s oldest citizen, Jessie Marth, celebrated her 104th birthday on Thursday, August 9.

She was born on August 9, 1914, near Waxahachie in Ellis County and came to Roscoe with her family during the depression.  She married Rudolph Marth on December 19, 1934, and they were together until he passed away in 1982.  They had two children, Donald and Frances.

In addition to her duties as a farm wife and mother, she is a member of the First Salem Lutheran Church.  She was the first woman to serve on its Church Council and taught Sunday School for many years. She is a past member of the Friendship Club, the Home Demonstration Club, and the Bridge Club, and has served as a 4-H leader.  She also volunteered at the Roscoe Care Home.  She made quilts and afghans for each of her children and grandchildren. She also had the privilege of drawing plans for and having two homes built, one in 1950 and the other in 1970.

Here’s wishing her many more happy, healthy, and fruitful years!



Hannah Ward won a silver medal at last year's National FFA Agriscience Fair.
Roscoe FFA members Hannah Ward and Caleb Boren have been named national finalists this year to compete at the annual National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, October 24-27. They will compete in the Animal Systems category in Divisions 3 and 5 of the competition.

This will be Hannah’s second trip to compete at the National FFA Agriscience Fair in Indianapolis. Last year, she was a silver medalist with her project in Division 1 of Animal Systems.

To qualify, FFA members working as individuals or teams in grades seven through 12 are required to conduct a scientific research project pertaining to the agriculture or food science industries and win their state’s FFA agriscience fair.

Their selection was made by more than 20 agricultural teachers, state leaders and college professors from throughout the U.S., who recently met in Indianapolis to determine what FFA members and teams will compete for top honors in the 2018 National FFA Agriscience Fair.

First-place winners in each state have qualified for the national pre-qualifying judging. The panel of judges reviewed entries and selected a maximum of 12 in each category and division to move on to the national competition.



Burger supper in the Cafetorium at last year's Plowboy Preview.
The annual Plowboy Preview hamburger fundraiser will be held at the Roscoe Collegiate Cafetorium starting at 6:00pm tomorrow, August 16. Burger, chips, and drink will be $7.00. Also, the First Financial Bank of Sweetwater will be serving watermelon.

Then at 7:15pm, the Cheer Pals will perform at Plowboy Field, followed by introductions to this year’s football players, coaches, cheerleaders, cross-county team, and band.



This Sunday, August 19, the Lumberyard offers country music fans a double treat, the West Texas Steel Guitar Association followed by Canadian singer Corb Lund and his band.

From 1:00-5:30pm, some of the best steel guitar players in the state will be playing on the small stage when the West Texas Steel Guitar Association meets at the Lumberyard. The event is open to the public, and there is no charge to attend. The kitchen will open at 11:30am and food and drinks will be available for orders.

Corb Lund
Then from 7:00 to about 9:00pm, Western singer/songwriter Corb Lund from Alberta, Canada, will make his first appearance ever at the Lumberyard. This event will require the purchase of tickets.

Over the years, Lund has released nine albums, three of which are certified gold—Five Dollar Bill, Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer, and Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! In addition, his album Cabin Fever debuted at No. 1 on the Canadian Country chart.

He and his band, the Hurtin’ Albertans, tour regularly in Canada, the United States, and Australia and have received several awards in Canada and abroad. They are currently on their five-month “Western Destinations Tour,” and Roscoe, Texas, is one of their stops.

Popular Corb Lund songs include “The Truck Got Stuck,” “Roughest Neck Around,” “Cows Around,” “Hard on Equipment,” “I Wanna Be in the Cavalry,“Bible on the Dash” (with Hayes Carll). Corb's song "S Lazy H" was recently featured on Part 5, Ep. 1, of the Netflix Original Series The Ranch.

For reservations and more information, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



As planned from the outset, the 1995 Plowboys are the last in this series of great Roscoe football teams of the last hundred years. Limiting the teams covered to four is not to suggest that these were the only great teams Roscoe has ever had. There are certainly others, especially teams, such as the 2007 Plowboys, whose only loss of the year was to the eventual state champions. But football season is almost upon us—the first scrimmage is this weekend—so it’s time to return to the present. Maybe we can do more next year.

Jason Alexander (11) runs as Nathan Hartkopf (68) and Andy Gomez (42) block.
Unlike the 1982 Plowboys, who were an unknown quantity before the season began, the preseason 1995 Plowboys were already seen as something special, and despite the ‘94 team’s failure to make the playoffs the year before, were ranked ninth in the state in the AP’s 1A Top Ten preseason poll. They were loaded with talent, size, speed, and experience. Of the six returning offensive and eight defensive starters, four had made the previous year’s all-district team, and six others the second team. Several were also members of the Plowboy track team that had won state the previous spring, and the offensive and defensive line averaged over 200 pounds. They also had a new head coach, Robbie Tindol, who came from Andrews, where he had been an assistant, and was eager to prove his ability.

Despite their state ranking, their first big hurdle was just making the playoffs, which only two teams in the district could do, and there were other outstanding teams in District 11A—Robert Lee, the defending champs, ranked number 6 in the AP Top Ten, and Sterling City, whose victory over Roscoe the previous year had knocked them out of the playoffs. Bronte was also improved and expected to make a run.

The team also had a tough pre-district schedule with all five opponents from class 2A, including their season opener with Winters. The Blizzards were ranked sixth in the AP 2A preseason poll and were a very good team that would eventually advance to the state 2A quarterfinals.

Thus, no one was surprised when Winters won 21-13. Even so, it was a hard-fought game and one in which the Plowboys could have done much better if they hadn’t had so many turnovers, six to be exact, three lost fumbles and three interceptions. Winters had only one lost fumble, and all three of their touchdowns came on passes from quarterback John Belew to his favorite receiver, John Biddix. The Blizzards opened the scoring early in the second quarter, but the Plowboys tied the game 7-7 in the third on a short Jake Freeman run. Winters then scored twice to go up 21-7 before Freeman ran in again in the fourth quarter to make it 21-13. Coach Tindol had lost his first game as a head coach, but his Plowboys had been competitive throughout, playing tough against a formidable foe. However, that didn’t stop them from falling out of the top-ten rankings that weekend.

The level of competition was much less the following week in Hawley as the Plowboys rolled over the Bearcats 47-0. In that game Andy Howard had 2 touchdowns, 2 field goals, and 3 extra-point kicks for 21 points, while Jim Watts, Gabriel Galvan, Freeman, and Tommy Nash all had a touchdown. The defense, led by Jerry Chavira and Norman Hartkopf, held Hawley to 25 rushing yards in 20 attempts.

Alexander (11) with ball as Justin Tomlin (20) and Shawn Davis (30) block.
The result was similar the next week when the Plowboys destroyed Forsan 55-0 at the Roscoe Homecoming. The following Monday, the Plowboys were back in the state rankings at number 10.

Then in the match-up with Baird in Baird, the Bears surprised the Plowboys. After Roscoe went up 7-0 in the first quarter on a 12-yard Jason Alexander run, the Bears scored three times in the second to lead at halftime 21-7. However, the second half was all Plowboys. The defense held the Bears scoreless the rest of the game, and in the third quarter the Plowboys scored on Howard’s 7-yard run, followed by his extra-point kick to narrow the score to 21-14. Then in the fourth quarter, Beau Barnes hit Jim Watts with a 20-yard touchdown pass and tied the game at 21. On the Plowboys’ next possession, Howard kicked a 30-yard field goal and the Plowboys won 24-21. It was a close win but enough to move the Plowboys up to number nine in the state rankings.

The next week the Plowboys finished their pre-district schedule with a solid 21-7 win over a good Albany team. They led at halftime 14-0 on a 20-yard run by Alexander in the first quarter and a 2-yard plunge by Freeman in the second. In the third, Alexander scored again to put the Plowboys up 21-0 before Albany scored their lone touchdown. For the most part, Roscoe’s defense shut down an Albany offense that had been averaging 33 points a game. The Plowboys were now 4-1 in their contests with 2A teams and ready for district play.

Their first district game was a 45-0 blowout of Water Valley, a team that came into the game with a 4-1 record. The defense was superb, allowing the Wildcats only one first down and 9 total yards. Chavira led the way with 18 tackles, including three for losses. On offense, Alexander ran for 3 TDs and gained 243 yards on 28 carries. Roscoe moved up to number seven in the state rankings.

The second district contest was in Bronte with the Longhorns, who were coming off a 21-12 loss to sixth-rank Robert Lee and needed a win to stay in contention. Unfortunately for them, they never even came close as the Plowboys won decisively 38-8. Alexander scored on a 24-yard run less than three minutes into the game, and by halftime the Plowboys were up 24-0 on three Alexander TDs and a Howard field goal. Bronte’s only TD came with 3 seconds left in the game.

The Plowboys had now achieved a record almost identical to that of the 1994 Plowboys. But at the same point the year before, the Plowboys’ season had foundered when they lost first to Sterling City and then to Robert Lee, knocking them out of the playoffs and ruining what had up to then had been a promising season. This year, they were determined not to let that happen again.

The game with Sterling City was in Roscoe with both teams 2-0 in district play, but the outcome wasn’t even close as the Plowboys made up for their previous year’s 33-27 loss by completely destroying the Eagles 57-0.

The Plowboys were now 7-1 overall and 3-0 in district and ready for Robert Lee, 6-0-1 overall and also 3-0 in district. The Plowboys were ranked seventh in state and the Steers sixth. The Roscoe-Robert Lee game had decided the district championship for the past three years, and the Steers’ 33-0 win over the Plowboys the previous year was still on the minds of many of the players.

The showdown that everyone had been waiting for all year had arrived, and a large crowd of Roscoe fans drove to Robert Lee to see the game. Things went bad for the Steers shortly after the opening kickoff as their quarterback left the game with a concussion, while the Plowboys scored twice. The first was a 19-yard pass from Beau Barnes to Shawn Davis in the end zone, and the second was a 21-yard Alexander run. Howard kicked both extra points and the Plowboys were up 14-0 before the end of the first quarter. Robert Lee narrowed the score to 14-7 in the second, but the defense held them the rest of the game. After a scoreless third quarter, Howard kicked a field goal early in the fourth to extend the Plowboys’ lead to 17-7 to end the scoring for the evening. Roscoe’s offense totaled 320 yards to Robert Lee’s 83, and the defense allowed the Steers only four first downs.

Plowboys on sideline show off their trophy.
The Plowboys, now the district champs, moved up to number 6 in the rankings. Their final regular season game was with Garden City on a cold, windy night in Roscoe. The game was never in doubt as the Plowboys were up 21-0 by the end of the first quarter and 42-0 at the half. The final score was 49-16 with all Garden City’s points coming against the subs in the fourth quarter.

As District Champs, the Plowboys got a bye the first week of the playoffs and then played Munday the following week at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene. Munday, the runner-up in District 9-A, was no match for Roscoe as the Plowboys scored on their first eight possessions to win the game 55-12. Barnes carried the ball just three times in the game and made three touchdowns.

Next was the Region II-A semifinals at Tarleton State in Stephenville with Hico, undefeated at 9-0-2 and ninth-ranked in state. The Plowboys scored on the first play from scrimmage when Alexander ran 30 yards for a touchdown to put Roscoe up 7-0. Early in the second quarter, Hico scored on a 33-yard pass to narrow the score to 7-6, but that was the high point of the game for the Tigers. They fumbled the next time they got the ball and on the next play, Barnes hit a 40-yard TD pass to a wide-open Davis to increase the lead to 14-6. And on Hico’s first play after the ensuing kickoff, their quarterback threw a pass that Alexander intercepted and led to his second 30-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-6. At that point Hico fell apart, and by halftime the Plowboys led 35-6. They then went on to win the game 48-12.

Roscoe’s state quarterfinals game was against Crawford in the same stadium in Stephenville where they had played Hico. Crawford had finished the regular season at 8-1-1 and ranked eighth in the state. They had plenty of experience, making the playoffs five of the previous six years and the last year had made the state finals but lost to Thorndale.

In a game played in bitter cold and a high north wind, Crawford scored in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead, but after that it was all Plowboys, who scored twice against the wind in the second quarter to go up 14-7. Crawford got close enough to try two field goals that quarter but missed them both. Then, in the fourth, the Plowboys scored again to win the game 20-7. Roscoe’s three touchdowns were scored by Davis on a 40-yard run, Watts on a 26-yard pass from Barnes, and Howard on a 1-yard run.

The state semifinals game was played in Andrews with Sudan, which had eliminated Wink 27-12 in the same stadium the week before and was playing in its fourth straight semifinals game. The Plowboys jumped out to a quick start when Alexander returned the opening kickoff 68 yards to the Sudan 24. They then drove the ball down to the one, where Freeman punched it in to put Roscoe up 6-0. That ended the scoring until three minutes before the half when Barnes hit Davis on a slant over the middle, and Davis raced 43 yards untouched to put the Plowboys up 14-0. Sudan came right back, though, and drove for their first TD to make the halftime score 14-6.

In the third quarter, Howard kicked a 27-yard field goal and Alexander scored on a 3-yard run to increase the Plowboy lead to 24-6, but Sudan answered to make it 24-13. In the fourth quarter, both teams scored a TD to make the score 31-20. Then, with time running out, a Sudan pass was tipped, and the ball fell into the arms of 295-pound lineman Jerry Chavira, who rumbled 43 yards for the first touchdown of his life. His teammates mobbed him in the end zone, and the Plowboys were penalized for excessive celebration, but the play was an exuberant conclusion to a solid victory. The Plowboys had made the State Finals for the first time since 1982.

Jerry Chavira (77). Nathan Hartkopf (68), and Jason Alexander (11).
Sportswriters around the state weren’t giving Roscoe much of a chance against Thorndale, their final opponent. After all, the Bulldogs (15-0) had won state the previous year, were on a 31-game winning streak, and had been ranked number one overwhelmingly for the entire year. They had blown through the playoffs, winning every game by over 40 points until the previous week when they had beat Overton in the semifinals by only 20, 39-19. On the week of their game with Roscoe, the Class A All-State Team had been named. The Offensive Player of the Year was Twone Simmons of Thorndale, and the Defensive Player of the Year was Chad Schwarz from Thorndale. So, it wasn’t surprising that the consensus was that the game would be another easy victory for Thorndale.

That’s not the way it turned out, though. The game was played in Brownwood on a cold day before a crowd of 8000. The first half was scoreless but thrilling as both teams missed golden opportunities to score, and Thorndale, with a season average of 52 points a game, had yet to make a point. On the fifth play of the second half, Roscoe took the lead when Barnes pitched out to Alexander, who scooted around right end, broke three tackles, and raced 47 yards for the score. Howard kicked the extra point, and the Plowboys were ahead 7-0. But Thorndale came to life on their next possession. From their own 37, they drove into Plowboy territory, where their quarterback completed a 36-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good, and the game was tied, 7-7.

Then in the fourth quarter, Thorndale had a 4th-and-5 from the Plowboy 33. They ran a fake punt that made 6 yards and kept the drive alive. Eight plays later, after two unsuccessful attempts from the one, they scored on a quarterback sneak and went up 14-7 with 6:55 to play. The Plowboys had two possessions in which they were forced to punt but got the ball back with 1:07 left on the clock. Barnes completed a 21-yard pass to Howard for a first down at the Thorndale 48. But two plays later a Thorndale back intercepted a Barnes pass to kill the Plowboys’ final threat and won the game 14-7. The Plowboys had lost but were in the game until the end, earning them well-deserved respect from everyone who had seen the game, which was later voted the Game of the Year in Class A.


Jerry Chavira went on to play college ball at SMU, where he was a three-year starter. Jason Alexander played two years at Hardin-Simmons and then transferred to A&M to become a dentist. Jake Freeman and Andy Howard also played at Hardin-Simmons, and Marcial Saenz played at Howard Payne.

AP All-State First Team: Jerry Chavira, offensive lineman. Second Team: Nathan Hartkopf, offensive line; Jason Alexander, running back; Andy Howard, kicker; Jerry Chavira, defensive line. Honorable Mention: Brannon Barnes, linebacker; Shawn Davis, linebacker.

All-South Plains Team: Player of the Year, Jason Alexander. Jerry Chavira and Norman Hartkopf, offensive line; Shawn Davis, linebacker; and Andy Howard, kicker.

11A All-District Offense: MVP, Jason Alexander. Linemen: Jerry Chavira, Nathan Hartkopf; Wide receiver: Jim Watts; Running back: Jake Freeman; Kicker: Andy Howard. Defense: Co-MVPs: Jerry Chavira, Norman Hartkopf; Backs: Jake Freeman, Justin Tomlin; Secondary: Jason Alexander; Andy Howard, Jim Watts.

Second Team Offense: Center: Jeffrey Hardy; Linemen: Steven Acebedo, Marcial Saenz, Quarterback: Beau Barnes; Return Specialist: Andy Howard. Defense: Lineman: Marcial Saenz; Linebackers: Steven Acebedo, Shawn Davis; Secondary: Andy Gomez.



Rain east of Wastella on Friday. (Photo by Pete Porter)
For once, the meteorologists were right, and the Roscoe area was blessed with some rain and cooler weather this past week. As always, amounts varied depending on location, but over a five-day period starting last Wednesday and ending Monday afternoon, almost everyone got something. The official amount for the city, recorded by Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried, was .59” on Wednesday, .16”  Friday, .72” Sunday, and .32” Monday for a total of 1.79”. Many others reported two inches and more. Of course, it’s been so dry this year that we could certainly use more, but what we got has made a big difference and is greatly appreciated.

During those five rainy days, the heat wave we’ve been having this summer was left behind, and temperatures were cooler than they’ve been for the past couple of months. The highs were 90°F on Thursday, 82° Friday, 89° Saturday, 78° Sunday, 77° Monday, and 92° yesterday. Lows were similarly cooler, ranging from 64° to 69°. Those days were an enjoyable break from the seemingly relentless heat we’ve otherwise experienced this summer.

The forecast is for a return to more normal summertime weather. Today should be sunny with a high of 95°, tomorrow 96°, and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday all 95° with lows returning to the mid-seventies.

On Sunday, the forecasters are currently giving us a 40% chance for rain, so maybe we’ll get some more.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Plowboys Prepare for 2018 Football Season

Morning practice at Plowboy Field on Monday.
Since Monday at 6:00am, the 2018 Roscoe Plowboys have been engaging in early-morning practices as they begin preparing for the 2018 football season. When school starts tomorrow, though, they’ll have to practice in the afternoon heat. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate, at least for the next few days, as the forecast is for cloudy weather and highs in the 80s.

They’ll be playing in the toughest district in the region this year, but Head Coach Jake Freeman and his assistants will have them ready to compete for another playoff run.

It won’t be easy, though. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, the state’s premier publication for high school football, is picking the Plowboys to finish third in District 7-2A DII behind Albany and Hamlin. Here is their predicted finish:

     1. Albany
     2. Hamlin
     3. Roscoe Collegiate
     4. Cross Plains
     5. Haskell
     6. Baird

(Roby was initially in the district but has since dropped varsity football for the year for lack of players.)

The Plowboys return 18 lettermen and 8 starters on both offense and defense. Texas Football lists the following as players to watch: WR/DB Jose Ortega, WR/DB Brandon Lavalais, QB Jayden Gonzales, LB Nick Limones, OL Rey Martinez, WR/DB Junior Martinez, WR/DB Ryan Highsmith, QB/WR Barrett Beal, LB Jacob Rainey, OL/DL Coltin Watts, OL John Herrera, OL/DL Adrian Lomas, WR/DB Tristan Baker, WR/DB Jaythan Coale, LB Jordan Blain, and OL Roman Garza.

The article also notes that Roscoe is led by WR/DB Jose Ortega (398 yards, 5 TDs rushing and 783 yards, 11TDs receiving, 104 tackles, 5 INTs).

Keeping with his philosophy of scheduling tough pre-district games, Coach Freeman has lined up another group of strong opponents to test the Plowboys’ mettle and hone their skills before beginning district play. Here’s the 2018 varsity schedule:

Date               Opponent            Site                   Start Time
Aug. 18          Ozona**             San Angelo        10:00am
Aug. 23          Forsan**            Roscoe                 5:00pm
Aug. 31          Hawley                Hawley                7:30pm
Sept.  7           Stamford            Roscoe                 7:30pm
Sept. 14          Miles                   Roscoe                 7:30pm
Sept. 21          Munday              Munday               7:30pm
Sept. 28          OPEN
Oct.  5            Gruver                Plainview             7:00pm
Oct. 12           Hamlin*             Roscoe                 7:00pm
Oct. 19           Albany*              Albany                  7:00pm
Oct. 26           Haskell*             Haskell                7:00pm
Nov.  2           Baird*                 Roscoe                  7:00pm
Nov.  9           Cross Plains*    Cross Plains         7:00pm

     ** = Scrimmage
       * = District Game
    The September 14 game with Miles is Mum Night.



This is the third in a review of four of the great Roscoe Plowboy football teams of the last century. The first was the 1922 team two weeks ago and the 1945 team in last week’s Roscoe Hard Times. Next week will feature the 1995 Plowboys.

Greg Althof (78) tackles Union Hill ball carrier in 1982 State Finals.
Some great football teams achieve their success on the backs of one or two superstars who stand out above all the rest. The 1982 Roscoe Plowboys were not one of those teams. Instead, they were a group of good athletes who by coming together as a unit went farther than anyone expected they ever would, and in doing so exemplified the idea of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

No one knew at the beginning of the season just what kind of team they would be. The 1981 Plowboys had finished with an 11-1 record, going undefeated the entire season until losing their bi-district game to Aspermont. But that team had been led by quarterback Mark Denman and a solid offensive front made up mostly of seniors like Danny Hunter, Todd Bollinger, Greg Hernandez, Zahn Aljoe and Simon Aguilar. Their graduation left several holes to fill. The 1982 Plowboys had six returning starters on offense and five on defense, but they lacked an experienced quarterback and many of the players were playing in new positions.

The pre-season pick to win the District 7A North Zone was Forsan, followed by Roscoe, Klondike, Sands, Roby and Loraine in that order. Although Roscoe was a 1A school, Head Coach Troy Kennedy, whose Assistant Coaches were Johnny Martin and Frankie Young, had decided to toughen up his team with a pre-district schedule of all 2A opponents.

The Plowboys opened the season at home with a shutout win over Rotan, 18-0. In that game, Britt Pieper threw for one TD, while Russell Graham and Rudy Guzman ran for the other two. The defense stood out the entire game, and a lineman, Greg Althof, was named the outstanding player of the week.

The following week they lost their first game to Jim Ned 14-12, a game they could have won. The Plowboys played well on both offense and defense, totaling 310 yards to Jim Ned’s 218, but they committed five turnovers, four fumbles and one interception, to Jim Ned’s one lost fumble. Even so, they were ahead 12-6 with less than three minutes left in the game, but a blocked Plowboy punt rolled out the back of the end zone, giving the Indians a safety to cut the lead to 12-8. After a 5-yard penalty for illegal procedure, the Plowboys had to kick from their 15-yard line with the Indians starting their final drive on the Plowboy 42. With time running out they drove inside the Plowboy 10 and with only 14 seconds left, they completed a touchdown pass to win the game 14-12.

The defense was impressive the following week in shutting out Hawley, which made only six first downs the entire game. The score was 0-0 at halftime, but Rudy Guzman scored twice in the third quarter, Wes Williams kicked both extra points, and the Plowboys came away with a 14-0 victory.

The Plowboys then lost their second game 16-0 to undefeated Bangs. Once again, the halftime score was 0-0 with both defenses dominating, but in the third quarter, the Dragons sacked Pieper in the end zone for a safety and moved ahead 2-0. Then in the fourth quarter Bangs got two touchdowns, the second one coming shortly before the end of the game.

Guzman was injured in the Bangs game and was unable to start against Spur, so Coach Kennedy moved Pieper to halfback and put freshman Matt Denman in at quarterback. The move turned out to be a good one for the Plowboy offense, and when Guzman returned, Denman remained the quarterback and Pieper a halfback. Denman showed his ability in the first quarter with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Craig Raughton, but then Spur scored twice in the second quarter to lead at halftime 12-6. In the third quarter, the Plowboys regained the lead 13-12 on a 15-yard Guzman run and a Williams extra point, and then iced the game in the fourth on a Denman run and another Williams kick to win 20-12. Despite his injury, Guzman got extensive playing time and led all rushers with 131 yards in 18 carries. Roscoe finished its pre-district games at 3-2, but the team was getting better with each game as it gained experience.

Matt Denman (11) carries the ball as Ruben Herrera (67) blocks.
The Plowboys’ district opener was with Loraine, and no one was surprised when the Plowboys easily defeated them 47-0.

Their second district game was a different matter. Forsan was 3-1-1, and the game was in Forsan. Whoever won would likely be zone champion and in good shape for the playoffs. As expected, the game was a thriller for all four quarters with the lead changing hands six times. Forsan jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Plowboys took the lead 7-6 on their next possession. It didn’t last, though, and Forsan was up at halftime 12-7. The second half was no different as the two teams continued to exchange the lead. Late in the fourth quarter, the Plowboys were ahead 22-18, and in desperation, Forsan tried a trick play, but safety Craig Raughton wasn’t fooled and made an interception that killed the threat. The offensive line had its best game of the year, opening holes all evening, and Rudy Guzman rushed for 233 yards and 3 TDs on 31 carries.

The next game was with Sands in Sands. The Mustangs came into the game with a record of 7-1 with their only loss to Forsan, so the Plowboys couldn’t take them lightly. When the Sands coaches saw the film of Roscoe’s win over Forsan, they decided that the way to beat the Plowboys was to stop Guzman—and that they did. But with Guzman stopped, the Plowboys gave the ball to Pieper, who scored both touchdowns in a 14-0 Roscoe win. In blanking the Mustangs, the Plowboy defense started a string of six shutouts that wouldn’t be broken until the state quarterfinals seven weeks later.

The Plowboys also expected a tough game with Klondike, but on the Plowboys’ first possession, Pieper ran 47 yards to put Roscoe up 7-0. Then on their next possession, he went in from the six and the Plowboys were ahead 14-0 before the first quarter was half over. Klondike never recovered from that quick start, and Roscoe went on to win the game in a rout, 34-0. Pieper scored four touchdowns and Williams the other on a 36-yard pass from Denman. Outstanding players for the game were Nathan Richburg, Britt Pieper, and Wes Williams.

The following week the Plowboys took care of Roby as expected, winning 45-0. The game was the last on the regular schedule, which the Plowboys finished with a record of 8-2 overall and 5-0 in zone play. The team probably set a record by never allowing a point to be scored against them in any of their five home games.

The zone playoff the following week was with Sterling City in a game played at Colorado City. Like Roscoe, the Eagles were 8-2 on the year with losses only to Rankin and Eden. They had a 6’4” 230-pound running back and a strong defense, and in the week leading up to the game, sportswriters considered the two teams evenly matched. However, that’s not the way the game turned out, as the Plowboys destroyed them in a laugher 39-0.

The bi-district game in Clyde against Gorman turned out pretty much the same way. It was also a shutout and a rout with a final score of 47-0.

The next game was with Iraan for the Regional Championship. Both teams seemed a lot alike. Both had big lines and strong defenses, and both had only two losses on the year. Both were also coming off a bi-district game in which they had shut out their opponents and easily won, as Iraan had defeated Fort Hancock 27-0. Iraan had three straight shutouts, and the Plowboys five.

The game was played in Andrews on a cold day with a strong north wind. Roscoe jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, the first TD on a 31-yard pass from Denman to Russell Cravey and the second on a 5-yard Denman run after a pass interference call on Iraan. In the third quarter, Iraan put together a long drive and was threatening to score, but Pieper recovered a Brave fumble at the Plowboy 31. Roscoe then moved down the field with Denman running the ball over from the 20. Williams kicked the extra point, his third of the day, and the Plowboys were up 21-0, an insurmountable lead with the way the defense was playing. Neither side scored in the fourth quarter, and the defense came away with another shutout. After the game, Coach Kennedy’s greatest praise was for his linemen, both on defense and offense, who were essentially the same players on both sides of the ball: Wes Williams, Nathan Richburg, Darren Kight, Ruben Herrera, Allen McIntire, Greg Althof, and Danny Richburg.

Rudy Guzman (25) runs past two Wink Wildcats.
Next up was the State Quarterfinals game with Wink, their toughest foe yet. The Wildcats came into the match-up undefeated at 12-0 and fresh off a surprising 39-13 takedown of Eden, a previously undefeated top ten team. The contest with Roscoe was pitted as one of Wink’s offense vs. the Plowboys’ defense. Wink’s Ron Rasco, a 185 lb. tailback, was averaging 195 yards per game and the team had been running up big scores all year. Roscoe’s defense, on the other hand, had shut out its last six opponents, unscored upon on since the Forsan game.

The contest, played in Colorado City, turned out to be a tight, defensive struggle that wasn’t over until the game’s final play. In the first quarter, Wink went up 6-0 on a 5-yard Rasco run, breaking the Plowboys’ shutout string. However, when they lined up to kick the extra point, the center moved the ball slightly forward before snapping it, and Russell Graham hit him. Wink was penalized five yards for illegal procedure. On the next play, the center did it again, Graham hit him again, and Wink was penalized another five yards. They then gave up on kicking the point and instead tried a pass that fell incomplete, so the score remained 6-0.

In the second quarter, the Plowboys recovered a Rasco fumble at the Wink 2-yard line, and on the next play, Pieper ran the ball into the end zone, Williams kicked the extra point, and the Plowboys took the lead 7-6. At the time, no one imagined that that would end the scoring for the game, but it did, as both sides mounted drives in the second half, but neither could make it to the end zone. Turnovers hampered both teams in the hard-hitting contest, as the Plowboys lost 4 fumbles, and Wink lost 3, along with a critical interception late in the fourth quarter, which saved the victory for the Plowboys. Wink was at the Plowboy 29 and driving when one of their receivers broke into the open with a clear path to the end zone. Rasco threw him a pass, but Craig Raughton made a spectacular interception and returned the ball to midfield. By the time Wink got the ball back, time had almost run out, and, after four desperation passes fell incomplete, the game was over. Wink went home, and the Plowboys moved on.

The State Semi-Final was played in Stamford with Knox City, who beat Follett 20-6 in their quarterfinal game. The game was another defensive struggle as the Plowboys racked up another shutout while scoring enough points to win the game. Late in the game with Roscoe ahead 6-0, the Plowboys drove deep into Knox City territory before being stopped. Rather than try for a first down, Coach Kennedy called for a field goal, something the Plowboys hadn’t tried all year. Wes Williams obliged, though, the kick was good, and the score went to 9-0, putting the game out of reach for the Greyhounds.

The Plowboys had now made it to the State Finals. Their opponent was Union Hill, an east Texas team that had just defeated Bremond 20-6 in the semi-finals, breaking Bremond’s 29-game winning streak in the process. Bremond had won state the year before and had been ranked number one in the state all season, so Union Hill, still undefeated, came into the finals confident that they could win it all. Like Roscoe, they relied heavily on their defense.

In the game played at Weatherford, Union Hill scored in the first quarter when their defensive end intercepted a pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead. The game then continued as another defensive struggle, as neither team could complete a drive. Roscoe’s line opened holes and their backs raced through but could never break any long runs because of the speed of the Union Hill secondary. The Union Hill offense had no better luck with the Plowboys, and the 7-0 score stood until late in the fourth quarter. The Plowboys had just held Union Hill once again, but time was running out, and Coach Kennedy called for an all-out attempt to block the punt. The attempt was unsuccessful, and, worse, the Plowboys were called for roughing the punter, which gave Union Hill a first down and allowed them to keep the ball. They continued their drive, and with two minutes left in the game their quarterback scored on an 8-yard run to put them up 13-0, the game’s final score.

Roscoe won the battle of statistics with 153 total yards to Union Hill’s 116 and 9 first downs to Union Hill’s 8, but the Plowboys’ four turnovers were a deciding factor in the outcome.

The '82 defensive Plowboy line against an unidentified opponent.
That game ended the season for the Plowboys, but in making the state finals they went farther than any Roscoe team had ever gone before. Their defense had not allowed a single point to be scored on the home field, and it had put together six consecutive shutouts and a total of ten on the year with three of those in playoff games. They also set a playoff record by allowing only 19 points in their six playoff games.

Greg Althof and Craig Raughton were first-team all-state, Greg as an offensive tackle and Craig as a defensive back, and Britt Pieper made the second team as a defensive back. All three were also all-area, with honorable mention going to Ruben Herrera and Nathan Richburg as offensive linemen.

Several of the team members went on to play college ball. Nathan Richburg started for three years at Texas Tech, and Greg Althof, Jeff Althof, and Darren Kight all played at Angelo State, while Matt Denman played at McMurry.

Even more remarkable and a tribute to Troy Kennedy is the number of players who went on to coach at one time or another. These include Wes Williams, Greg Althof, Darren Kight, Jeff Althof, Craig Raughton, Nathan Richburg, Matt Denman, Leroy Morales, Kevin Reed, and Kevin Loranc.

Next: The 1995 Plowboys



RCISD starts the 2018-19 school year tomorrow, Thursday, August 9. This includes the high school, elementary school, and Early Childhood Center, except for 3-year-olds, who start on August 20.

Drivers are urged to drive with care, especially just before school starts and after it lets out, since many town kids walk to and from school.



Cheer Pals entertain crowd at previous Plowboy Preview.
The annual Plowboy Preview will be held at Plowboy Field next Thursday, August 16, with a hamburger cookout starting at 6:00pm, with burger, chips, and drink. Then at 7:30, this year’s football players, coaches, cheerleaders, and band will be introduced in front of the east stands.



Summer clouds in a hot August sky.
The past week has been a continuation of the hot, dry weather we’ve experienced practically the entire summer. High temperatures continued in the 96°-99° range with Friday’s 99° the highest. Lows were also above average, ranging from Thursday’s low of 76° down to Monday’s 70°. And there wasn’t even a threat of precipitation all week. Today will continue that trend with partly cloudy skies and an expected high of 98°—but all of that is about to change.

Starting tomorrow, the forecast high is 90°, followed by steadily cooling weather—a high of 87° on Friday, 83° on Saturday, and only 81° on Sunday and Monday. And all those days come with good chances of rain as the jet stream dips all the way down to the Gulf. The forecasters are giving us a 30% chance of precipitation tomorrow and 40% Friday, followed by 60% for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Surely, out of all that we should get something!

Here’s to cooler, wetter weather in our near future!


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Great Roscoe Football Teams: 1945 Plowboys

Ready for the big game: Bobby Emerson, Alton Green, Lynn Williamson, Gene Witherspoon.

This is the second in a review of four of the great Roscoe Plowboy football teams of the last century. The first was the 1922 team in last week’s Roscoe Hard Times. Next week will feature the 1982 Plowboys.

With all the Plowboy teams that have advanced to Regional or farther, some readers may wonder why the 1945 Plowboys, who lost their bi-district game, are included in this series. The reason is that they may be the best Plowboy team of all, despite that bi-district loss, which was the result of a perfect storm of bad luck.

Their coach, Gordon Wood, who was at Roscoe for two years, is considered by many to be the greatest high school coach ever. He coached for 42 years and won more games than any other coach in the history of football, 396 to be exact, and his record includes nine state championships—two at Stamford and seven at Brownwood. In 1971, he was asked in an interview which team was the best he ever coached, and his answer was the 1945 Roscoe Plowboys.

No Plowboy team before or since has played before larger crowds than Coach Wood’s team did that fall of 1945. The war was finally over, the soldiers had come home, and everyone was eager to return to normal life. High school football surged in popularity, and the Plowboys’ success grew as the team won one big game after another.  

Wood, who had joined in the Navy in 1942, received his discharge late that summer and landed the coaching job in Roscoe, along with teaching three math classes and driving the bus. He inherited a team loaded with talent. Its captains were 152-pound halfback Walter Maloney, whose running style one sportswriter described as “poetry in motion,” and 270-pound tackle J. T. Lyday, who was the fastest lineman on the team. Other standout players included Alton Green, Harold Haynes, Jackie Nemir, Bobby Emerson, Gene and Don Witherspoon, Harold Duvall, Lynn Williamson, and Douglas Buckner.

Coach Wood built his offense around Maloney, who often passed as well as ran with the ball. And the Plowboy defense was also formidable, as it later proved time and time again. The team scrimmaged Sweetwater twice and according to Wood “beat them pretty good.”

1945 Plowboy Backs: Harold Haynes, Don Witherspoon, Alton Green, Walter Maloney, Jackie Nemir. (Click to enlarge.)
The season began with the Plowboys dominating their opponents, beating Hamlin 67-0, Stamford 20-6, and Hobbs 30-0. Their first district game was with undefeated Roby, which already had district wins over Snyder and Rotan and had yet to be scored upon. Fan interest was such that the game was moved to the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater to accommodate the anticipated crowd, and even though the game was played on a Thursday night, over 2000 people attended.

The result was another Plowboy runaway win with the final score 29-0. There was no scoring in the first quarter, but then Maloney broke loose in the second and third quarters, scoring four touchdowns on runs of 32, 7, 62, and 33 yards. He also kicked 3 extra points. After his last TD in the third quarter, Coach Wood sent in the substitutes. Roby made only one first down the entire game.

Next up was Colorado City, a preseason favorite along with Merkel to win District 8-A. Like Roby, they were also 2-0 in district when they played the Plowboys, and a crowd of 2500 showed up for the game in Roscoe. The Wolves jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but the Plowboys went ahead 12-7 on the last play of the half. Then they ran away with the game with three third-quarter scores. Colorado City got another TD in the fourth, but the final score was 30-13, and the Plowboys remained undefeated.

The following week the Plowboys beat Rotan 30-0, pushing their record to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in district play. Next on the schedule was the Merkel Badgers, the match-up the whole Big Country had been waiting for. Merkel had won Regional the year before, and many expected them to repeat. (Back then, Regional was as far as Class A teams went. State Championships were reserved for the larger schools.) Like Roscoe, the Badgers were undefeated in district, and it was almost certain that whoever won the game would go on to become the District Champs.

The Badgers’ star running back was Billy Wayne Frazier, who had led the nation in schoolboy scoring the year before with 246 points, and sportswriters promoted the upcoming contest as Frazier vs. Maloney. Maloney was leading the state in scoring with 117 points. Added incentive for Roscoe was Merkel’s victory over them the previous year for the Plowboys’ only district loss.

Interest was great enough that Hardin-Simmons offered the use of its field as a crowd of between 3000 and 4000 was expected. Merkel declined, however, preferring to play the game on their home field. As it turned out, though, their field wasn’t big enough, as between 4000 and 5000 showed up, packing the stands and sidelines.

The much-anticipated game began with a bang. Don Witherspoon received Merkel’s kickoff and handed the ball to Maloney on a crossing pattern at the 15-yard line. Maloney then made a spectacular run up the middle to the 40 before cutting back to the right and into the clear for an 85-yard touchdown that electrified the crowd. He then ran for the extra point, and the Plowboys were up 7-0. Merkel came right back with a 57-yard drive and a touchdown pass to Frazier to narrow the score to 7-6. They held the Plowboys for the rest of the half and scored again in the second quarter to lead at halftime 12-7. However, in the third quarter, the Plowboys put together a drive ending with an 8-yard Maloney run. He passed to Witherspoon for the extra point, and the Plowboys took the lead 14-12. In the fourth quarter both teams made long drives, but neither was able to score, and the Plowboys hung on for a two-point win.

Roscoe then took care of Loraine 54-0 and Snyder 44-0 in their last two games to wrap up the district title.

Coach Wood then made what he called one of the dumbest coaching decisions of his career. Roscoe had an open week before the bi-district game, and Anson, the undefeated winners of District 11-A, did, too. It was proposed that they play one another as a warm-up for the playoffs, and Coach Wood accepted the challenge. So, that Friday evening the game was played at Hardin-Simmons stadium in Abilene before a crowd of 4000. In a hard-fought contest, the Plowboys won 14-0 with Maloney scoring both touchdowns, giving him 187 points for the year, more than any other high-school player in the state. Unfortunately, in the fourth quarter at the end of a long run, he tore his Achilles tendon, an injury that takes weeks to heal.

That injury was just the first thing that went wrong for the Plowboys. The following Monday, J. T. Lyday and Alton Green were in a car involved in a head-on collision. Lyday, the team’s co-captain and best lineman, had to have nine stitches over one eye, and Green, a 190-pound fullback and one of the best defensive players, had a torn-up knee. Also, that same week, the flu bug hit the school, and several starters caught it. On the Wednesday before the big game, only eight players showed up for practice, and on Friday, only twelve suited up for the game—and some of them were not 100%.

Even so, the bi-district game with Monahans wasn’t decided until late in the game. The fourth quarter began with the score still 0-0, but 118-pound quarterback Jackie Nemir scored on a 15-yard run, and the Plowboys took the lead 6-0. Monahans then finally put together a long drive for a touchdown to tie the score at 6-6. Then, right before the end of the game, the Plowboys punted and a Monahans player returned it 57 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good, and the Lobos won the game 13-6. It was an unfortunate ending for a team that had so much talent and promise. Coach Wood said that on any other week the Plowboys would have easily beat them.

1945 Plowboy Line: Arnold Hunter, Harold Duvall, Bobby Emerson, Gene Witherspoon, Douglas Buckner, Lynn Williamson, J. T. Lyday, Jimmy Ford (Click to enlarge.)
Walter Maloney went on to star at Texas Tech and afterwards served in the Navy, where he played for the Navy football team. Upon returning to civilian life, he was offered to coach the Washington Redskins, but since a pharmacist made more money at the time, he declined, saying he had a family to care for. He was later named a member of Gordon Wood’s All-Time Football Squad, made up of players Wood coached during his long career. 

Alton Green went to ACC, where he captained the Wildcats’ only undefeated team ever, and in 1950 he signed with the Green Bay Packers. He was later inducted into the ACU Athletic Hall of Fame. J. T. Lyday, also a member of Gordon Wood’s All-Time Team, went to Baylor but suffered a neck injury and never got to play college ball. Harold Duvall got a scholarship to play for Texas A&M but transferred to Texas Tech after one year and played there for a year. Others on the 1945 Plowboys may have played college ball, but these are the ones I know about. Quarterback Jackie Nemir died of a kidney ailment the year after graduating from Roscoe. And, in an ironic twist, Billy Wayne Frazier, Merkel's big star in 1945, moved to Roscoe a year or so later and lived here for the rest of his life, working for Nolan County, Precinct 1, which is Roscoe's precinct.

Coach Wood went on to be named Texas Coach of the Year in 1955 and 1969 and runner up for Coach of the Year in 1959 and 1970.
Sources: Coach of the Century: An Autobiography of Gordon Wood, as told to John Carver. Plano: Hard Times Cattle Company Publishing, 2001; Gordon L. Wood interview with Fred Carpenter in Brownwood on July 18, 1971 (Audio file at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech in Lubbock); the 1946 Gleaner, and several articles from the Sweetwater Reporter (Portals of Texas website) and Abilene Reporter-News ( from the fall of 1945. Thanks to David Maloney for his help in providing information along with several links to online articles.  

Next week: The 1982 Plowboys


The Texas High School Coaches Association released its 2018 Pre-Season Poll last week, picking the Plowboys as Region II's fifth-strongest team. There are four districts in Region II, Class 2A, Division II, each with six teams, for a total of 24. District 7-2A-II is considered the region's strongest district with four teams in the top ten: Albany, Hamlin, Roscoe, and Cross Plains.

Here are the pre-season rankings of Region II's top ten teams, along with last year's records, and the numbers of the coaches' prediction points:

                                           2017     Points

            1. Albany               13-1        39
            2. Wellington       13-2        37
            3. Hamlin             10-3        32
            4. Windthorst        6-6        17
            5. Roscoe                6-5        16
            6. Santo                  7-5        14
            7. Menard              9-3        13
            7. Munday             9-4        13
            9. Memphis           6-5        12
          10. Cross Plains      6-5        10



The Dirty River Boys
The Dirty River Boys, a band from El Paso that plays what they call “outlaw folk American,” bring their show to the Lumberyard Saturday night. The band is highly energetic, and their music varies from blue grass to southern rock. In addition to the usual guitars, fiddles, and drums, expect to hear also mandolins, harmonicas, banjos, and the Cajun box, along with three- and four-part vocal harmonies to tightly written songs. The band has released two albums, The Science of Flight (2012) and The Dirty River Boys (2014).

Their latest single, “Mesa,” is listed in the current issue of The Rolling Stone as one of the 10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week.

Other singles showing the band's sound and range include “Down by the River,” “Raise Some Hell Tonight,” “Skate and Destroy,” and “Boomtown.”

For reservations and more information, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



Summer clouds over Roscoe yesterday.
Although there were three days in the past week with highs of 99°F or above, the week still felt like a bit of a break from the relentless heat of the week before. The week’s high came on Sunday at 101°, but then on Monday a cold front moved in, dropping the high to a more tolerable 90°--and yesterday's high was only 89°.  There was also some thunder along with a light shower Monday morning, but the rain didn’t amount to much, just enough to make a few small puddles. My rain gauge showed .14”, but Kenny Landfried’s official total for Roscoe was only .06”. The low Monday night dropped to 71°, yesterday 68° and this morning was a cool 66°, the coolest it's been since June 4, almost two months ago.

The upcoming week will see highs in the mid-nineties, 94° today, 95° tomorrow, 97° Friday, 95° Saturday and Sunday, and 97° next Monday and Tuesday. Skies will be sunny or partly cloudy, and lows will be in the low to mid-seventies. Winds will be from the east-southeast today, and from the south-southeast or south in the days following. We are now in August, when every day is pretty much the same as the day before.

There is a 10% chance of rain on Sunday and a 0% chance on all the others, so any relief from the drought in the near future is highly unlikely.



Services for Kenneth “Kenny” L. Hope, Sr., 55, were held at 2:00pm Friday, July 27, at Bethel Assembly with Rev. Carter Edmondson officiating. Interment at Roscoe Cemetery followed. He passed away July 24 at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene.

Kenny was born September 12, 1962 in Borger to the late Kenneth and Mary Ann (Taylor) Hope. He married Belma Galvan August 6, 1980, in Sweetwater. He was employed by Gemini Wind Services as a Lead Technician, had lived in Nolan County for 40 years, and was a member of Bethel Assembly. He loved his wife, his grandkids, camping and fishing, farming and driving a tractor, and climbing wind turbines. He was a patriot, loved President Trump, traveling and sightseeing, finding rocks, and watching baseball and Plowboy football.

He is survived by his wife Belma of Sweetwater; children, Kenny Hope, Jr., and wife Melissa of Roscoe, Kassie Bromley and husband Brandon of Sweetwater, K.C. Hope and wife Amber of Roscoe, Kallie Hope of Sweetwater, and Matt Hope and wife Crystal of Seymore; brothers, Donny Hope and wife Linda of Pampa and J.W. Hope of Borger; sisters, Debbie Lusk of Seymore, Valarie Thompson of Houston, Willie Gordon and husband Jeff of Breckenridge, Judy Kent and husband Jerry of Potts Camp, Mississippi; uncle, Gerald Hope of Sweetwater; sixteen grandchildren; in-laws, Jesus and Mary Alice Galvan of Roscoe; brothers-in-law, Josh Boston and wife Delma of Roscoe and Jesus Galvan of Roscoe.

He was preceded in death by uncles A.C. Hope, Erasel Hope, and Ted Hope.

Pallbearers were Kolton Hope, Kolby Hope, Blake Hope, Justin Conley, Bo Young, and Daniel Bromley. Honorary pallbearers were Matt Hope and Zech Welch.


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