By JOHN INMAN
Last week’s column was devoted to Heavener and Jenks meeting in a football playoff game on Nov. 30, 1961, but this one goes a little more in depth about Heavener, in general, after talking to some of the players.
Of course, every Heavener player remembers the game because he was there and experienced it, but what they remember most was how much bigger the Trojans players were, compared to the Wolves.
“My most vivid memory is of pre-game warm-ups. We had a traveling squad of probably 30 some guys. The biggest amongst us was probably John Titsworth who was around 180 or so at the time,” said the quarterback, John Council. “We were warming up thinking we were really something, in the semi-finals of the state playoffs, at Jenks High School near Tulsa, average team weight around 150 or 155 pounds. Suddenly the locker room door opened on the Jenks side of the field and I swear, the field tilted in their direction. I had not seen guys that big ever. I believe they outweighed us at least by 20 pounds per guy.”
“I thought they were the Green Bay Packers running on the field,” end Jim Scrivner said, while lineman Chuck Hudlow added, “It was a disappointing loss, but we certainly knew we had been beaten by a better, albeit, bigger team. Our season was one to remember, though. It was the highlight of my youth just to be apart of it.”
Halfback Mickey Wynn echoed Hudlow, “I remember that four of their defensive linemen weighed about 1,000 pounds! We were outmatched physically.”
“We lost in the game, as often happens in life, but every one of those men became winners,” said standout guard Homer Jones, who had been moved by coach Bob Collins from playing in the backfield only a year earlier even though he tipped the scales at just 165 pounds.
“Jimmy Gore (fullback) was sick and unable to play, so it changed up our backfield. Jenks was at full strength. However, we hung with them until late in the fourth quarter and they just wore us down,” said Ray Gaskin, who recovered a Jenks fumble in the first half that led the to the Wolves’ only touchdown in the 20-8 loss.
Gore confirmed that he had been sick. “What stands out most in my mind is the fact that I had been sick with the flu, in the hospital a few days prior to the game.” But still, he went. “I was picked up and taken back to Heavener to ride the bus to the game. I was still feverish, so didn’t recall too much (after I got there).”
“I remember a pass play to Mickey Wynn. When I looked down the field, all I could see were the big D-lineman guys for Jenks. I had great faith that Mickey would be where he was supposed to be, so I just threw the ball in that direction. After the 200-plus pound Jenks lineman got off me, I was very gratified to see that the play had worked for a pretty good gain,” said Council. “I would not have wanted to face Coach Collins if I had been picked off.”
Council wound up completing 3 of 6 tosses for 44 yards. Quarterbacks that season hit just over 42 per cent of their passes (35 of 83) for 11 TDs, not bad for a team that had 3,585 yards rushing, at a seven-yards-per-carry average. As Council’s primary target, Scrivner had four of the TD catches.
Jones explained, “The football story is a good one, but the most important aspect of this story is about young football players becoming young men and their success later in life. I don’t have the time to provide all the accomplishments of many of those guys. It’s remarkable.
“Our daily lives revolved around each other, and, of course, football. We were physically tough, not in a mean sense, but also morally and intellectually strong, traits that came from our parents, and from growing up in a small town.”
“The whole town of Heavener got caught up in the fall football season, and I believe everyone, not just the players, enjoyed it all,” Hudlow added.
Until next week’s time-out …