1968 football team headed to Coalgate Athletic Hall of Fame

Photo submittedThe 1968 Coalgate High School football team will be be among the 2017 inductees into the Coalgate Athletic Hall of Fame. Team members include, from left to right: (front row) Coach Donald Mike Mayer, Eddie Anglin, Frank Shores, Gary Wilson, Tommy Loudermilk, Bill Larecy and James Carl Prince; (second row) Wesley Sallee, Jerry Speer, George French, Philip Cody, James McClellan and Fred Larecy; (third row) James Tekubie, Larry Casey, Steve Hudson, James Page, Wayne Blue and Billy Jim Tarron; (fourth row) Gary Vaughan, Lynn Crow, Keith Foreman, Dennis Sprouse, John Paul Anderson, Neil Salmon, Coach Gene Davis.The 2017 Hall of Fame banquet is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, May 27, inside the Coalgate High School gymnasium.

COALGATE — Following are several quotes from members of the 1968 Coalgate High School football team as they harkened back to their glory days. The 1968 Wildcats will be inducted into the Coalgate Athltic Hall of Fame during a banquet scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, May 27, inside the Coalgate gymnasium.

“There have been some outstanding teams in Coalgate’s history, and the 1968 football team was certainly one of the best. As good as the offense was, the team was even better on defense, as it led the state in all classes in opponents scoring. In 12 games this team posted six shutouts, allowing five teams to score once and had only one team, Okmulgee Dunbar, to score twice against us. There wasn’t a weak link on defense, but it was led by Billy Larecy at middle linebacker. What I loved the most about our team were the guys that played on it and the men who coached us. No doubt there were players on the team that were better than others, yet it’s hard for me to pay special recognition to any individuals, as every player on it could be counted on to perform his very best, and each player was respected by his teammates. Coach (Donald Mike) Mayer and coach (Gene) Davis pushed us to our limits, making us accountable to each other and ultimately creating a chemistry within us, like no team that I ever played on. Nearly fifty years later, there are few days that pass that I don’t think of this team or one of my teammates that played on it. I feel honored to have played for coach Mayer and coach Davis, and I’m very grateful that the fans of Coalgate picked this team to be recognized and placed into the Hall of Fame.” — 2015 Hall of Famer PHILLIP CODY.

“That team was one of the best memories of my life. This was a total team effort, and I was just the benefactor of a tremendous offensive line and backfield teammates that made my job easy. I have the greatest respect for coaches Donald Mike Mayer and Gene Davis for their leadership in guiding us to such a successful season.” — 2016 Hall of Famer FRANK SHORES.

“It is a great honor for us to be recognized for that tremendous season. It was a total team effort, and I was glad to be a part of it. I know there have been many great teams at Coalgate, and I want to wish others the same honor to be bestowed upon them someday as what has happened for us.” — Tackle JAMES CARL PRINCE.

“Wow! What a great honor, and a lot of good teammates made this happen. We had two great coaches in Mayer and Davis, and they prepared us each week. I am just so glad that I was a part of that great team.” — Fullback TOMMY LOUDERMILK.

“It was about time, and I don’t mean to sound conceited. No, I was really thrilled that we were honored as the first football team to be inducted. I wish I would have worked even harder, but it must have been pretty good as we won 10 games and lost only the last game by one point to Okmulgee Dunbar on their field.” — Tackle JAMES MCLELLAN.

“We never thought we were that good; we thought we had to be better. The sled was lighter when coach Davis was not on it, and he was a true drill sergeant to go along with his military background. Also, no one ever cut short their trip to the North Pole. That pole on the north end of the field was where we started many laps around the field and helped us win our games, as we were better conditioned than our opponents.” — Tackle JIMMY PAGE.

“The game of football teaches us a lot about life when we are young and easy to impress. The lessons I learned in football at Coalgate HS were to work hard, play to win and support your teammates. In my professional work, these lessons have carried me a long way in a very successful career. My sincere thanks to coach Gene Davis and our unforgettable coach Donald Mike Mayer. They both taught us well.” — Middle Linebacker BILL LARECY.

“We played for the school, our families, and our heroes who were former Wildcats that played before us.” — Quarterback EDDIE ANGLIN.

“That is just an amazing accomplishment. It was a real privilege to have played on that 1968 team.” — Guard GEORGE FRENCH.

“Wonderful memories!! I was like most players in that I didn’t care much for practice, but oh, did I love those Friday nights. Donald Mike and coach Davis made practices very difficult so that playing both ways was never a problem for us on game days. We took away other teams’ willpower in the fourth quarter by running the ball down their throats.” — Tight End and Punter STEVE HUDSON.

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.