“Craig was hollering down to Larry over the visitor’s crowd, ‘Waggle, Larry! Dad gum it, waggle!!’ He was as mad as could be,” Bowman chuckled. “After the game, he was still mad and asked if he could ride back to Ada with me.”
150 miles or so, 3 hours or so
So that about covers the four football trips to Idabel. Well, there was one more.
Eighty-two seventh-graders fell out for their first year of football in 1995. As seniors in 2000, they would play in Ada’s last championship game to date, but for now they were 82 bodies — 50 or so more than a normal turnout.
The young Cougars were divided into two squads. Extra scrimmages were hastily lined up. Memories fade a bit, but half the squad loaded the yellow dawgs for short hops to either Stratford or Pauls Valley.
The other half loaded up for ... you guessed it.
Enter one Richard Truitt, now-and-then shop teacher at Ada High and more importantly, the father of Jimmie, one of the 82.
“The other squad had to go over to Pauls Valley, I think. We were lucky, we got to go to Idabel. When we pulled into town, the bank clock read 110 degrees,” Truitt said.
Truitt and wife, Janet, had always supported their kids’ endeavors, and so it was that day. They followed the kid who would eventually wear No. 60 in the aforementioned championship loss to Midwest City Carl Albert, 17-7.
A side note: No one wears Jimbo's number today. Jersey No. 60 was retired four years later when Cougar No. 60 of the day, Cody Bolin, was killed in a car wreck. It remains the only Cougar jersey number ever retired.
How far was Idabel?
“The end of the Earth, if I recall,” Truitt said.
How hot was it?
“I watched the scrimmage from under the bleachers, the only shade anywhere. Somehow the seventh-graders wound up with no water. I think the bunch that played before them must have drunk it all. I guess they must have found some for them eventually. And there was this local fellow there selling pop and water to the fans out of the bed of his pickup, which was tarped and all iced down,” Truitt recalled.