Home Sports-Free Parkway, Haughton off to good starts in 2013 football season

Parkway, Haughton off to good starts in 2013 football season


Jerry Byrd


After the first two weeks of the 2013 football season, Parkway and Haughton are the only unbeaten teams in Bossier Parish. Both of them have scored more than 100 points in a couple of blowout victories.

Parkway rolled past Calvary Baptist 55-13 and Marshall, Texas, 62-19. Haughton beat Woodlawn 49-8 and Benton 52-14.

The only other Bossier Parish team that has won a game is Airline, with a 46-0 romp past Bossier High in its opener before a 24-10 loss to Ruston last week.

Bossier High, Benton and Louisiana New Tech (Plain Dealing) are 0-2. But either Benton or Louisiana New Tech will break into the win column this week, because they go head-to-head.

Parkway plays Texarkana, Ark., and Haughton plays Minden this week.

The safest bet you can make about this football season is that no high school team will do what the Homer “Iron Men” did in 1957 – the first season of my sports writing career.

One of the first games I covered was a 6-6 tie between Homer and the Bossier High Bearkats on Sept. 27, 1957. The Homer squad consisted of only 18 players.

In some games that season, only 17 players dressed out. Late in the season, the number grew to 20 after an August dropout rejoined the team on the condition that he sit out three games for missing two-a-day practice sessions. Twelve of the 18 Iron Men received college scholarships – four to LSU, one apiece to Tulane and Texas A&M, the others to smaller schools.

The Homer coach was Glenn Gossett, who was later head football coach at Northwestern State.

“If you put it in fiction,” Gossett recalled of the “Iron Men” more than 20 years later, “it wouldn’t sell. But I don’t know of another high school team that captured the public’s imagination the way that group of kids did.”

In 1957, Homer High’s enrollment (94 boys) was small enough to qualify for Class B, which was then the state’s smallest football classification. But a proud tradition dating back to the oil boom days of the 1920s made such a drop unthinkable.

Homer won only two games in 1956, turning in the worst overall record in a district that produced state champion Minden. With Gossett, who had been an assistant coach for two years, replacing Audis Gill as head coach, prospects for the 1957 season didn’t appear to be much better. The team had no depth.

Because he didn’t have enough players for an intra-squad scrimmage, Gossett asked principal Hugh Whatley to arrange for a bus to take the Pelicans to Class B Cotton Valley. “Don’t go to Cotton Valley,” Whatley warned him. “You’re going to get some people hurt, and you’ll have even more problems.”

When Gossett insisted on making the trip, Whatley reluctantly provided the bus. But hie prediction came true. Three Pelicans were injured in the scrimmage, the most serious injury being a dislocated knee that sidelined center and linebacker Ray Weaver for the first two games of the season.

The already-crippled Pelicans had another setback in the season opener with Class 3A Ouachita. A shoulder separation sidelined halfback Sammy Camp, who was expected to be the team’s top offensive threat. But Homer scored a 13-6 victory.

The “Iron Men” won the district championship over defending state champion Minden, and went all the way to the state finals before falling to Morgan City, 19-7.


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