Winnfield Tiger Football

1920 - 1929
A Comprehensive Narrative History of Tiger Football
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SCHOOL RECORDS and Top Individual Rushing, Reception, Return and Kicking Performances
Team Top Ten Standards of Excellence (and not)
Program Milestones
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Winnfield High School Football 1920-1929


The Tigers Prove They Can Play With Anybody 
Key Rule Changes During the Decade: 
1922 -   Try for PAT introduced. Ball brought out to the 5-yard-line, allowing try for extra point by placekick, drop kick, run or forward pass.
1922 -   Prior to 1922, substitutes could enter the game at any time at the discretion of the captains. Beginning in 1922, players withdrawn during the first half may not return until the second half. Players withdrawn during the second half may not return to the game.
1926 -   A penalty of 5 yards and loss of down for incomplete forward passes after the first one in a series.
1927 -   Goal posts moved 10 yards back to the end line.
1929 -   Try for PAT moved from 5 yard-line to 2 yard-line 
Summary of the Decade of the 1920s     
     Winnfield consistently fielded top high school football teams in the 1920s. More precisely, the Tigers consistently finished among the top five schools of north Louisiana when it came time to select teams to play for the state championship.  And though by modern day standards, to be among the top five best football teams in north Louisiana is good, in the 1920s that was not good enough to ever make the playoffs. That was because of the playoff structure that existed in the 1920s and on into the 1930s. In those days, a north Louisiana representative was selected to face a south Louisiana representative for the state title. The team from each of those regions of the state that was selected was the team that had posted the highest winning percentage. Strength of schedule did not factor into the equation. Winnfield scheduled the toughest teams and though they consistently posted winning seasons, they would repeatedly post a slightly lower winning percentage than other teams, thus missing out on a playoff spot.  The rub was that on occasion the team selected to represent north Louisiana would have posted a higher winning percentage while playing teams of lesser quality than Winnfield had played. Simply put, Winnfield’s 9-1-0 seasons were great, especially when those nine wins came against stiff competition. However, if another team went 10-0-0 (no matter who they played) they got the playoff berth. That happened time and again to the Tigers in the 1920s.    
     Brother Stokes guided the Winnfield High School team into the 1920s, serving as head coach through the 1923 season.  His teams of the early and mid 1920s, along with the strong teams of the late 1920s, firmly established a foundation of winning football by teams from Winnfield. Those who followed high school football in the 1920s certainly knew about Winnfield High School. So strong were the Tiger defensive units of the decade that there are only seven recorded games in which an opponent scored more than two touchdowns against the Tigers.  There were 38-recorded shutouts during the decade and 12 games where the opponent scored only a single touchdown. The argument that football was a low scoring game in those days does not hold when you consider what Winnfield did offensively during the decade. The Tigers scored over 80 points in two games, and scored over 50 points in eight other games.     
     During the decade, Winnfield played all takers and were hardly ever “out” of a football game.  That is borne out by the fact that only seven losses were by a margin of 7 or more points.  In essence, Winnfield proved they could compete with anybody. The irony is that the Tigers didn’t play in a single playoff game during the decade and thus didn’t have the opportunity to compete for a single state title.     There was one person who was as much of a central figure in Winnfield High School football during the 1910s and 1920s as anyone and he wasn’t a player, a coach or affiliated with the Winnfield school system in any way in an official capacity.  That person was Frank Moss.  Football programs don’t just run themselves.  It takes a lot of work to keep up with football players and their equipment, either during a game, during practice sessions or during down time.  “Old Frank” Moss, an African American, provided utility services to the football program at Winnfield High School from its inception, through the years of the Depression and on into the 1950s. He provided “general help”, whether that be bringing water to the football players or keeping up with equipment.  When Tiger football began in 1909, Frank Moss was 22 years old.  He was well into his 70s when he attended his last game.    
   Away from the football program “Old Frank” shined shoes and worked at the L & A Railroad dept as a freight warehouseman.  He was the father of nine children. An article that appeared in a 1948 edition of the Winnfield News –American said this about Moss, “Frank Moss probably has seen more local football games than any man in Winn Parish, and he undeniably holds the records for carrying the most buckets of water to hot, thirsty players.  Always a favorite of coaches and players alike, he has traveled with the teams on out of town trips, applied bandages to the injured athletes, carried equipment and has performed innumerable other errands for "the boys." The article went on: Commenting on his 45 years in Winnfield, Frank said, "Everyone really has been nice to me since I've been here.  The people are always good, and no one has ever done me any harm.  This is a good town, and I surely have enjoyed all these many years that I worked for the football teams."  

Key Players/Coaches of the 1920s

Lionel Boone (1921-1922, C)     Honorable mention All State center in 1922. Was one of eight centers to     receive votes from the Expert Panel voting on the pre-1960 All-Tiger team. Placed sixth among the fan     vote in the All-Century poll.  Benny Parker (1922-1923, B)   Arguably the most valuable player of the one-loss 1923 squad. Was a     second team All State selection at back in 1923. 

Grady Newton (1923-1924, G)     Guard on the 1923 and 1924 squads. Earned first team All State     honors at that position both years.  Ranked in the Top Ten at guard by the Expert Panel voting in the     All Century Poll of 2000.  

C. J. Gilbert (1925-1926, E)      Tiger end on the 1926 squad. Third highest vote getter at the end     position as voted on by the Expert Panel for the Old-Timers squad.  Later starred at Louisiana Tech     where he was that school’s first four-sport letterman.  

A. T. Drewett (1925-1927, Back)     Honorable mention All State in 1926 and 1927 at running back. Was the second-highest vote getter by the Expert Panel voting at running back for the Old –Timers team on the 2000 All-Century poll and was the top vote-getter at  the running back position by the fans at large voting in the same poll.

John Sowers (1926-1927, G)     First team All State guard on the 1927 squad. 
Clebe Maxey (1925-1928, G)     Four-year starter at guard.  Honorable mention All State his senior season. 
Maxey was the sixth-ranked guard by the Expert Panelist voting on the 2000 All Century Poll for the Old Timers squad.

Garfield Gimber (1925, 1928, C)     Four-year starter at center from 1925 to 1928. Was the fourthranked center in the pre-1960-era as determined by the Expert Panelist voting on the 2000 All-CenturyPoll for the Old Timers squad.  Honorable mention All State at that position both his junior and senior seasons. 

Kenneth Teegarden (1925-1928, E)     Four-year starter at end from 1925 to 1928. Namedhonorable mention All State in 1926, 2nd Team in 1927 and 1st team in 1928. Top vote getter at the end position by the Expert Panel voting on the 2000 All-Century Poll for the Old Timers squad. On the powerful 1928 squad (9-1-0) he rushed for five touchdowns, caught one touchdown pass, returned a blocked punt 25 yards for a touchdown and booted four extra points.  

Percy Dortch (1926-1928, B) Three-year starter at running back from 1926 to 1928. During the 1928season he scored three rushing touchdowns and returned a punt 40 yards for a touchdown. Earned 3rdteam All State honors as a sophomore at fullback and 2nd team honors his junior season. Ranked in the Top Ten by the Expert Panelist voting on the 2000 All-Century Poll for the Old Timers squad. 

Gabe Durham (1926-1928, QB) Three year starter at QB.  First player to rush for 4 TDs in a single game, that coming against Mansfield in 1928. All total he rushed for 11 TDs during the 1928 season,with his 66 points being the second highest for the season and the second highest for a player from thepre-1950 era. His 11 rushing touchdown total stood as a school record for rushing touchdowns in a single season until the 1971 season. Was the 6th-ranked quarterback from the pre-1960 era as voted onby the Expert Panel voting in the All-Century poll of 2000 and one of five players to receiver votes at kick returner by the Expert Panel.  Ranked third as a kick returner by the fans. Honorable mention All State quarterback in 1928.  One of only four Tiger quarterback to receive votes in All State balloting.  

Frank Brewer (1927-1928, B)     Tiger running back on the 1927 and 1928 squads. Honorable mention All State his junior season and 2nd team his senior season. He was the leading scorer on the1928 team. Brewer ended the season with 69 points which is the highest single season scoring totalfrom the pre-1960 era. During the 1928 season Brewer rushed for 9 touchdowns, had a 75 yard kickoff return for a touchdown and had a fumble return for a touchdown. His total for rushing touchdowns in1928 is tied for second-most in the pre-1950 era. He added three more points on extra point conversions. Ranked No. 5 at running back by the Expert Panelist voting on the All Century Poll for  the Old Timers Squad.  Received one first place vote from that group. 

Joe Grigsby (1927-1928, G)     Earned honorable mention All State honors at guard in 1928. Ranked in   the top ten at guard by the fans  voting in the All-Century poll.             

Byron “Chuck” Skains (1927-1929, T & QB)     One of the most talented and versatile players of the era.  Earned honorable mention  All State honors as a sophomore at the guard position and then was moved to the tackle slot his junior season on the vaunted 1928 squad.  He earned 2nd team AllState honors at that spot.  Due to heavy graduation losses after his junior campaign he was moved to the quarterback slot his senior season. He scored a touchdown from the defensive side of the ball hissophomore season when he returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.  His junior season he bootedeight extra point kicks. He is one of the most well-thought of players from the pre-1960 era asevidenced by his second highest vote total at any position by the Expert Panelist voting on the 2000 All-Century Poll for the Old Timers Squad. That total was achieved at the guard slot where six of the seven panelists gave his a first place vote for the guard slot.  He was the third ranked tackle by the Expert Panel and also ranked in the top ten of the quarterback position by the Expert Panel.

Teal Calhoun (1928-1929, B)     Broke his way into the lineup as a junior on the senior-filled 1928 squad that ended the year with a 9-1-0 record. During his junior campaign he scored six rushing touchdowns      and returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown to end the year with 42 points. That made him       the fourth highest scorer on the 1928 team, but that total was the eighth-highest single season total of       the pre-1950 era. He was the go-to guy in 1929  when he again scored 42 points by way of five rushing touchdowns and a 45 yard punt return for a touchdown.  He scored four rushing touchdowns against Olla, making him, Gabe Durham (1928) and Hovey Harrell (1932) the only three players of the pre-1950 era to accomplish that feat. Calhoun ended his career with thirteen total touchdown, which is tied for the fourth highest total from among player who played prior to 1950. 

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Key Season, 1923 (9-1-0)
Opponent                 Results
Bernice                      W, 64-0           
La College (fr)           W,   7-0                       
Warren Easton           L,     0-7                      
Wisner                      W, 25-0           
Jonesboro                  W, 13-0           
Natchitoches              W, 88-0           
Dubach                      W,   7-0           
Haynesville                W, 12-0           
Minden                      W, 10-0                                                                   
Ruston                       W, 10-0 
     Though sparse, there is information about the 1923 and the 1925 teams. Thankfully, information about the 1923 team has been preserved because that team was considered to be Brother Stokes’ second best team. The roster of the 1923 team included the following players: Linemen     (RT) Herbert Wasson (RG), Grady Newton (C), Colvin Drewett (LG), John Sowers (LT), McBride Wasson  Backs  (RE) Royce Holcomb (LE), Percy Custer (RH), Leo “Buck” Sowers    (FB), Bennie Parker (LH), Tom Grigsby (QB), Robert Morris Fletcher  Reserves: Justin Colvin, Rudolph Mosley, Sam Wood, Colen Coker, Garfield GimberRobert Stack, Wenzil Neal, Glen Anderson, Grady Rogers      
     The 1923 team played a full ten game schedule and almost duplicated the feat of the 1919 team who shut out all of their opponents.  The 1923 team shutout 9 of their 10 opponents. Also, like the 1919 team, the 1923 unit didn’t just win with defensive - they could score points, too.  During the 1923 season, the Crimson Tigers recorded the second highest point total scored in a single game during the 20th century when they beat Natchitoches 88-0. The opponents on the Tigers schedule were no pushovers either. Included in the nine wins were victories over Haynesville (12-0), who would win the state championship the following year, Minden (10-0), who had been the state runner-up two years earlier and Ruston (10-0), who won the state championship in 1925.  
KEY GAME : The only opponent to score against the 1923 Tigers was the powerful Warren Easton Fighting Eagles, who was also the only team to defeat Winnfield that year.  Warren Easton won by a slim 7-0 margin in a game played at mid season. Warren Easton was arguably one of the strongest high school programs in the state during the 1920s, sending two of their teams to title games in that decade. The only other schools to send multiple teams to the title game in the 1920s were Haynesville and Rayville. Warren Easton won the state title in 1921, and lost to Homer in the 1928 game. Mr. Leo “Buck” Sowers, a member of the 1923 team, gave the following account of the season in a 1988 interview for The Enterprise -  “Winnfield opened the season against the Louisiana College freshman team, or at least they were supposed to be a freshman team.  They (Louisiana College) only had eight freshmen. One newspaper reported that Winnfield played the college’s second team.  In the Warren Easton game, Bennie Parker (Winnfield’s MVP) was ejected from the game.  Warren Easton designated one player to hit Parker to provoke a fight.  Warren Easton had a strong replacement but Winnfield’s loss of Bennie Parker was a fatal blow. 
          The Dubach game was played in mud and water.  Minden sought to outsmart Winnfield and gain a win on a forfeit.  (1923) was the first year that high school teams were required to have numbers on the players’ jersey.  It was late in the season and Winnfield had not yet numbered each player.  When Winnfield learned about Minden’s sneaky trick, Coach Stokes, team members, and town supporters hurried to the third floor of the high school building to get the Home Economics girls to make and sew numbers on the back of the jerseys.  The girls gladly agreed to help.  Those dirty, smelly old jerseys were washed thoroughly, and then numbered.  Ruston was keyed to knock Winnfield off the pedestal.  They had a choice of playing Winnfield on the school’s grassy turf or the city’s field, which was primarily clay and sand.  They chose the city field.  They also tried something sneaky.  In those days, players wore stockings for a more neatly dressed appearance.  Ruston left their stocking off and greased the legs of all of their ball handlers.  Winnfield soon resorted to smearing the greased legs after each tackle with sand and dirt.”      
     In describing his team’s star, Mr. Sowers spoke of Bennie Parker in the following way; "He had an uncanny ability to determine the point where the opponent would direct their play.  He would move into the defensive line (at the point he thought the ball was going) thus forming an eight-man line.”    
     The 1923 team scored 236 points to set a new school record for most points scored in a season.  The 9 wins bettered, by two, the previous high for most wins in a season.  Both records exceeded the school records set by the 1919 team for points scored (220) and games won (7).    
     The 1923 season would be Coach Stokes’ last season during his first tenure as head coach of the Winnfield High School football program (he also guided the Tigers during the 1933 and 1934 seasons). Complete season results for four of Stokes’ first seven seasons are not available; those being the 1917, 1920, 1921 and 1922 seasons.  However, in the biographical account of Alwin Stokes’ life that appeared in the book Winn Parish, Louisiana - 1852 -1985, his son reported that Coach Stokes compiled a record of 37-7-1 (.833) during that first tenure and there is no reason to dispute that claim.  What is known is that Coach Stokes’ teams of 1918, 1919 and 1923 combined for an 18-1-0 record, with the only loss of those teams being the 1923 loss to Warren Easton.  It is also known that his first team, the 1917 team, lost to New Orleans in what was claimed to be the state championship game.  Finally, since records of the Winnfield - Bolton series are known, Stokes’ 1920 through 1922 teams compiled a 2-1 record against the Bears. That leaves only twelve games unaccounted for during his first tenure, games in which Brother Stokes apparently went 7-4-1.  If Stokes’ gaudy .833 winning percentage isn’t impressive enough, consider these numbers.  During his first seven years as head coach, his teams outscored the opposition by a 1,502 to 210 margin.  That means his teams obviously played outstanding football on both sides of the ball, averaging over 33 pts. per game and giving up an average of 4.66 points per game.  Make no mistake about it, Stokes molded boys into football players.  During his first seven years, a total of twelve of his players were named to an All-State team.  That is the most All-State players any coach produced in the twentieth century. But, Brother Stokes was more about relating to his players than he was about numbers.  In his biographical account of his father, George Stokes wrote this, “Stokes believed that sports and outdoor activities made good men.”  Stokes’ replacement as head coach for the 1924 team was Bruce Smith.  Narrative accounts of the games of the 1924 season have not been located.  What is known is wins Colfax (44-0), Dubach (65-0) and Natchitoches (14-0); and losses to Jennings (6-3) and Bolton (19-0).  The 1924 team also played Ruston, but results of that game  are not known.       
     1925 (3-2-6)     The 1925 team posted the fewest wins of any team of the 1920s, winning only three games.  That team also posted the most ties of any season as they tied six, to go along with their two losses. Offense was hardly the strong-point of the 1925 team because all six of the ties ended 0-0.  In their two losses they were shutout as well, dropping a 0-12 decision to Jennings and a 0-39 blitz by Bolton.      
     In their three wins, the Tigers scored a total of 44 pts. That was all of the points the team scored all season. But, they only gave up 65 points during the season. Besides the 51 points allowed in their two losses, the only other team to score against the Tigers was nearby Dodson, who scored two touchdowns in a 25-14 loss.       Winnfield’s final opponent of the year was their oldest rival, the Bolton Bears.  Bolton was clearly the strongest team the Tigers had faced all year. The Bears traveled to Winnfield via train with only one loss on their record, that being to the Ruston Bearcats, a team Winnfield had played to a 0-0 tie.  Bolton was the only school to score on Ruston in 1925 and the Bearcats were later declared the state champions.  To their credit, the Tigers could lay claim to having held the state champions scoreless in a 0-0 tie.     
     Even though Bolton was bigger and faster than the Tigers, Winnfield stayed close by allowing only two first-half touchdowns. However, the Tigers never seriously threatened to score in the game and Bolton scored four second-half touchdowns and went on to defeat the Tigers 39-0.    
     Playing the game of "ifs and buts”, had the Tigers pushed over a single score in each of their six ties they would have ended the year with a 9-2-0 record.  A record like that, to go along with eight shutouts would have given the team one of the most impressive records in school history.  However, the truly great teams are good on both sides of the ball.  The fact is, the team didn’t score when they needed to and, had they not had outstanding defensive play, could have just as easily ended the year with a 3-8-0 record.  In the end, let the record speak for itself.     
     1926 (--)     During the 1926 season, Winnfield played a virtual "Who’s Who” of north Louisiana high school teams and threw in the Normal College freshman team for good measure.  Winnfield’s four wins came against the teams "they were supposed to beat”.  Those included Olla, Natchitoches, Glenmora and Jena, who the Tigers defeated by a combined score of 167 to 15.  They tied the Normal freshman team in a game played on the Normal athletic field.      
     The toughest teams on the Tigers schedule included Haynesville, Ruston, Minden and Bolton.  Not only did the Tigers lose all of those games but they were shutout by all of those teams except Ruston.  Winnfield met Haynesville, who had been crowned state champions just two years earlier, on their home turf. The headlines in the local paper pretty much summed up the game: “Winnfield Boys Out-played, Out-Weighed and Out-Experienced By Haynesville.” Winnfield was defeated 26-0 by Haynesville in a game in which they never seriously threatened to score.   
KEY GAME:  The next week the Tigers entertained Ruston, the reigning state champions.  In a game the local papers described as "the best football game that has been played on the local gridiron for many years” the Tigers played the Bearcats so closely that the final outcome was in doubt until the closing minutes of the game.  Ruston scored first in the opening quarter but missed the PAT, leaving the score at 6-0.  In the second quarter, Winnfield not only held Ruston scoreless, but also managed a touchdown-producing drive of their own.  Winnfield missed their PAT as well, leaving the game all tied 6-6 at the half.  Neither team was able to score in the third quarter despite penetrations by both teams inside the 10 yard-line.  Late in the fourth quarter Ruston took the lead with a game-deciding touchdown, scoring with less than three minutes to go in the contest to take a 13-6 win. 
      After the loss to Ruston, Winnfield reeled off three straight wins to up their record to 4-2-1 for the season.  The third of those wins came against the Jena Giants, who was playing that school’s first season of football.  In that game, the Tigers scored 61 points and pitched a shutout.     
     In the final two games of the season, Winnfield faced Minden, who had played in the 1921 title game, and their old rival Bolton.  Against Minden, the Tigers gave up two touchdowns but couldn’t find a way to score at all, suffering their third loss of the season.  That moved their record to 4-3-1 for the season.    
     Winnfield closed out the season with a game against Bolton.  That game was played on Thanksgiving Day in Alexandria.  Winnfield had faced eight opponents and allowed only 66 pts. Almost half of those points (26 pts.) came in the 26-0 loss to Haynesville.  Heading into the 1926 season, the seventeenth season of Tiger football, the most points any Tiger team is known to have given up in a single game is the 46 pts. allowed to New Orleans in the 1917 season.  Since that game, only one opponent had scored 30 or more points. That opponent was the Bolton Bears and that score had come in the 1925 season when the Bears defeated Winnfield 39-0. As the 1926 Tigers prepared to end the season, they had no reason to anticipate the whipping Bolton would give Winnfield to end the 1926 season.  Though the papers said that the score was "no indication of the strength of the two teams” it is hard to disguise the spanking that Winnfield took that day, as the Bears defeated Winnfield by a score of 71-0.  That would be the largest margin of defeat by a Winnfield team  during the entire century and the second most points allowed by Winnfield in the same period.     
     The 1926 season concluded the tenure of Bruce Smith as head coach of the Tiger football team.  In three years he compiled a record of 18-8-7 (.540).  He had no spectacular teams.  In fact, each of his teams ended the season at or just above the .500 mark.  Coming on the heels of the dominating teams of Alwin Stokes, maybe some people view the teams of Bruce Smith as sub-par.  The fact is that the program’s streak of non-losing seasons likely was extended to 10 years.  That streak could be longer if the results just prior to the 1917 season are ever uncovered.  It is known that Brother Stokes posted seven straight winning seasons between 1917 and 1923.       
     1927 (--)     Bruce Smith’s replacement at head coach was Jimmie Horton, a former Centenary College grid star. By 1927, there were 65 high schools in Louisiana fielding football teams.  Winnfield High School was, of course, one those schools.  An experience-laden Winnfield team composed of 23 schoolboys greeted Coach Horton.  Of that bunch, fourteen had started at least two years and eleven were 18 years old or older.  For all practical purposes, Coach Horton inherited the 1926 football team, as only three lettermen were lost off of the 1926 team.  Otherwise, 19 of 22 lettermen returned and they were all good football players.    
     Returning starters in the backfield included seniors James Gimber (RB), Arnett Garriss (RB) and Jack Gilstrap (RB).  Those seniors were joined by a strong group of juniors in Gabe Durham (QB), Percy Dortch (RB), Tot Hyde (RB) and sophomore Henry Brewer (RB).      
     This was easily the most talented backfield a Winnfield team had ever produced in terms of the sheer number of quality athletes.  The juniors of the bunch were the backbone of the backfield.  Before their careers were over, the three juniors would put on an offensive display unlike that ever witnessed at the school.  Their effort over the next two years would be remembered well into the century.    
     The team wouldn’t have to live and die by their so-called “skill players.”  Talent in the backfield is no good if those backs have nowhere to run.  That would be of little concern to Coach Horton because there were four ends and eight interior linemen returning that had lettered the year before.  Those included seniors Irby Meredith (T), A. T. Drewitt (T), John Sowers (T), Julius Anderson (G) and Orville Dickerson (C).  But, most of the linemen came from the underclassmen ranks, including juniors Kenneth Teegarden (E), Alton Pope (E), Clebe Maxey (G), Garfield "Hap” Gimber and sophomores James Price (E), Roy Morgan (T) and Byron "Chuck” Skains (G).     
     In 1927, Winnfield scheduled the perennial powers of the time, including Haynesville and Ruston who had combined to win three state titles in the 1920s.  Winnfield also added the reigning state champion Byrd Yellow Jackets to their schedule.  The Shreveport-based Yellow Jackets soundly defeated Bolton by a score of 23-0 the year before to win the state crown.  That was the same Bolton team who defeated Winnfield 77-0.      
     The Tigers opened the 1927 season against Olla and easily won that game by a score of 55-0.  They needed a relatively easy opening opponent because after that game they played arguably the three strongest teams in north Louisiana in Haynesville, Ruston and Byrd in consecutive games.         

KEY GAME: First up would be the Golden Tornado from Haynesville. The game was played on a Friday afternoon in Winnfield with what the papers called, "the biggest crowd that ever witnessed a football game in Winnfield,” in attendance.      

     The game was a defensive struggle from the outset.  By the beginning of the fourth quarter, neither team had scored.  Then, as close games are often decided, Winnfield took advantage of a Haynesville turnover.  One of the biggest stars of the era, Winnfield's Byron "Chuck" Skains, caused a fumble, which was picked up and returned 30 yards for a Winnfield touchdown.  Skains missed the point after touchdown kick, but Winnfield jumped to a 6-0 lead with only minutes to go in the game.  Haynesville took the kickoff and returned it to their own 35 yard-line.  All the Tigers had to do to preserve the win was play good defense.  If only the game of football were that easy.      

     Haynesville got into immediate scoring position when they took the ball 38-yards down the field on a run from scrimmage, after which15 penalty yards were added on for tackling out-of-bounds.  Three plays later Haynesville was in the end zone and they made the important point-after-touchdown to take a hard-fought 7-6 win over the Tigers.  The loss dropped Winnfield’s record to 1-1-0. 

      Winnfield had no time for a letdown as they faced their second biggest test of the season the next week when they played the Ruston Bearcats.  This game turned out to be a test of which team was the best "mudder.”  Playing on what the local paper called "a sea of mud", neither team could mount an offensive threat, resulting in a 0-0 tie.      
     Arguably the toughest opponent of the year came in the fourth game of the season when the Crimson Tigers traveled to Shreveport to play the defending-state-champion Byrd Yellow Jackets. That game was witnessed by 3,000 spectators at the C. E. Byrd Stadium.  The contest started as most fans expected with Byrd scoring two first-quarter touchdowns, giving Byrd an early 12-0 lead.  That lead held up until halftime.  The second half of the game would be much different as the Tiger offense finally came to life. Winnfield quickly scored two touchdowns and converted both extra points to take a 14-12 lead. However, Byrd scored late in the third quarter to go up 18-14 and it was that second-half touchdown that was the difference in the game as the Jacket’s four-point lead held up until the game ended.       Winnfield actually "scored" the game-winning touchdown in the third quarter when they recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown, only to have the score nullified because the referee unintentionally blew his whistle, thus killing the play.  Though Byrd won the game 18-14, both teams made 10 first downs and, as the Shreveport newspapers account of the game stated: "The unusual fighting attack that the visitors launched in the second half came as a surprise both to the fans and the Jackets.”       
     Winnfield had proven they could play with anybody.  In successive weeks they had faced three of the strongest teams in the northern section of the state and had tied one and lost two of those games by a combined total of 5 points.  But for key breaks, they could have won all three.
     The Tigers won all of the remaining five games, winning the first four games after the Byrd game by a combined score of 125-0.  Those four opponents weren’t exactly cream puffs, though Dodson (33-0) and Arcadia (32-0) weren’t the strongest of foes.  But, Jonesboro, who the Tigers defeated 28-0, was three years away from their first title game appearance and Minden, who the Tigers blanked 32-0, had already competed in a title game in the early 1920s.  The Greenbacks of Minden offered the Tigers a chance to test their abilities against the toughest opponent they had faced since the Byrd game.  The local paper offered the following pre-game build-up:  "A record-breaking crowd is expected here for the Minden-Winnfield High School football game Friday afternoon.  A special train will bring the Minden fans and the local business houses will close during the hours of the game.”       
     After the Minden win the Tigers improved their record to 5-2-1 and appeared to be much stronger than the Winnfield team who started the season. Blame the Tigers 0-2-1 record against Byrd, Ruston and Haynesville on what you want: a poor game plan, poor execution or just plain bad breaks.  Though the Tigers now seemed to have a team as good as anyone, the fact is that they didn’t get the job done early in the season when they needed to.    
     The Crimson Tigers closed out the season by beating Mansfield by a closer-than-expected score of 13-7.  That win gave the Tigers a final record of 6-2-1.  Considering the quality of Winnfield's opponents and the manner in which the Tiger's disposed of the teams they did beat, the 1927 football is arguably one of Winnfield's better teams of its era.  The 4 and 1 point losses to Byrd and Haynesville respectively, coupled with the 0-0 tie with Ruston will always keep the 1927 team from being considered among Winnfield’s great teams.  That is unfortunate and, to some degree, unfair.  In spite of a good, but seemingly unimpressive, overall record of 6-2-1, the 1927 Tigers were but 7 points shy of a perfect 9-0-0 record.  The six wins came by margins of 55, 33, 32, 32, 28 and 6 pts       
     At the end of the season the teams with the highest winning percentage were selected to continue on in the playoffs, since high schools weren’t divided into districts yet.  Winnfield's "predicament" is best described in a local newspaper article of the time.  The Winnfield newspaper stated, "The present rules, permitting the various teams of the state to make their own schedules, makes it possible for any fairly good team to arrange a light schedule with a bunch of weak teams, and, by going through the season undefeated, claim the division and State championship.  This is clearly demonstrated now with Oakdale and Bastrop's percentage rating, but whose schedule is generally admitted to be much weaker than many other teams of the state.  The present system is unfair to towns like Shreveport, Alexandria, Minden, Haynesville, Homer, Winnfield, Ruston, Arcadia, Lake Charles, Morgan City, Bogalusa, Baton Rouge and Warren Easton (New Orleans), who consistently put out strong high school football teams (and play tough competition).  Bastrop has not played as difficult a schedule as Winnfield or Shreveport.  Neither has Bastrop disposed of their opponents by such impressive scores as Winnfield.  Winnfield beat Minden 32-0, Minden beat Haynesville 2-0 and Bastrop only defeated Haynesville 13 to 7.  On comparative scores, Minden rates about equal to Bastrop and Winnfield beat Minden 32-0."    
     Winnfield principal M.P. Rogers attempted to schedule a game against Bastrop at the end of the season but was unsuccessful.  Therefore, Bastrop was selected as the north Louisiana representative for the 1927 title game by virtue of the fact that they had the highest winning percentage of any north Louisiana high school.  Bastrop won that title game by a score of 19-0 over Bogalusa.    
Key Season, 1928 (9-1-0) 
Opponent                              Results
JONESBORO                         W, 50- 0
Dodson                                   W, 27- 0
RUSTON                                W, 32- 0    
Mansfield                                W, 62- 6
Bolton                                     L, 6- 7
Oak Grove                              W, 19- 7                
Minden                                    W, 13- 0            
BUNKIE                                W, 71- 0
OAKDALE                            W, 87- 0   
LA. NORMAL (Fr)                 W, 19- 0     
     Let it be said from the outset - one of the best football teams in the history of the program was fielded in the 1928 season.  Every so the often, the program has been fortunate to pull together all the ingredients of a championship team in one season.  Those ingredients include (among other things) experienced and talented players, leadership, determination and good coaching.  The 1928 team had all of that.      
     All of that success came in spite of the fact that the program faced yet another coaching change coming into the season.  After guiding the Tigers only one season, Jimmie Horton stepped down after the 1927 season and was replaced by Zollie Bennett, another Centenary College football star.  Bennett was greeted by the largest turnout of boys to ever play football at Winnfield, numbering around 35.      
     The schedule was somewhat lighter than it had been in previous years.  Gone were Byrd and Haynesville, but, Winnfield still scheduled Ruston, long time rival Bolton, as well as nearby rival Jonesboro and the always-tough Minden Greenbacks.  The Crimson Tigers picked up three new opponents in the Oak Grove Tigers, the Bunkie Tigers and the Oakdale Warriors.      
     To say that the returning players for the 1928 season were an experienced bunch is simply not saying enough about the amount of playing time the returning lettermen had.  Any player that has played in a game has gained some "playing experience.” The 1928 bunch of boys had done more than that.  The nucleus of the 1928 team had no less than eight boys who had been starters for not one, but two years.  So, they had not been starters in a game - they had been starters in as many as twenty games. Those eight players were coming into their senior season.  They knew what it took to compete for four quarters.  But, they had more than just game knowledge.  For their time, they were as talented a group as has ever worn the red and white.    
     When you examine the 1928 backfield what you find is talent, depth and experience - a coach’s dream backfield.  Included in the senior-filled group were three-year starters Gabe Durham (QB), Tot Hyde (HB), and Percy Dortch (HB).  No Winnfield team has ever had three seniors with as much game experience as those three.  That group had made up the starting backfield of the previous two Winnfield teams.  Junior Teal Calhoun alternated at the halfback position and would end up scoring seven touchdowns in the high-octane offense that the 1928 team possessed.  But, the talent and experience didn’t end there, not by a long shot.  Senior Frank Brewer rounded out the starting backfield and he entered the season as a two-year starter.  All he would end up doing is lead the team in scoring and in the process, set an individual scoring record that would last over 40 years.  Coach Bennett had the luxury of having three other players who weren’t just bench-warmers who could step in at running back position. Reserves included Pete Fuller, Elmon Fletcher and Ben Beville.  Those three would combine to score over 60 pts. for the Tigers.  The Tigers had power, speed and skill in those eight players who made up the Tiger backfield.  Opposing teams would not shut out this scoring machine.  When these boys got near the goal line they scored.  That is, when they had the occasion of having to score from near the goal line.  The term "scoring position” took on a new meaning with this bunch.  They were a threat to score any time they had the ball.    
      Winnfield was equally loaded across the line.  Both starting ends from the season before returned.  Kenneth Teegarden, who had earned All-State honors as a junior, was entering his senior season with three years of playing experience.  The other starting end would be junior James Price, who was in the middle of a three-year-starting-career at Winnfield.      
     The interior linemen were, in a word - “awesome.”  The best of the bunch was tackle Byron "Chuck” Skains, who was entering his junior campaign.  He had played in the line since his freshman year and was arguably the most talented lineman to ever play for the Tigers up to that point in time.  He was so well thought-of by his teammates that he was selected as a team captain, an honor rarely bestowed upon an underclassman.  Teegarden was selected as the other captain of the team.  Returning in the center spot was senior Hap Gimber, a two-year starter at that position.  The other two-year starter and only other senior in the line was guard Clabe Maxey.  As a unit, Skains (T), Maxey (G), Gimber (C) and Teegarden (E) had held down the right side of the line for the past two football seasons.  They knew how to play together as a unit     Rounding out the starting linemen slots were juniors Ed Grigsby and Roy Morgan, who alternated at guard, and Huborn Boyett at the left tackle position.  But, since the Tigers would have the opportunity to play a lot of players, Cornelius Martin at center, and Bill Machen at tackle got in more than the normal amount of playing time for a reserve.      
     When you take into account the key reserves of the team, the 1928 team clearly had the most talented top fifteen or eighteen players to ever wear the red and while up to that point.  Rightfully so, expectations ran high for a successful season.  Few were disappointed.    
     Winnfield began the season against Jonesboro with bragging rights on the line.  Frank Brewer set the tone for the season when he scored on the first play from scrimmage.  From there the Tigers never let up.  On Jonesboro’s next series Teegarden recovered a fumble five yards away from pay dirt and Brewer scored on the very next play.  Brewer also returned the second half kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown, contributing to a 50-0 shellacking of Jonesboro.      
     In the second game of the season Winnfield faced nearby Dodson.  The Panthers put up a surprisingly strong defensive effort and "held” the Tigers to 27 pts.  However, Dodson never seriously threatened to score, so Winnfield managed a hard-fought 27-0 victory.  Kenneth Teegarden was the leading scorer for the Tigers, tallying two touchdowns.  He was running for what would have been his third touchdown of the game when the final whistle blew, which, according to rules of the time, ended the play.  The win moved the team to 2-0-0 for the season. 

KEY GAME:  The third game of the season had Winnfield playing what the local paper called "the only big game of the football season scheduled to be played on the Winnfield gridiron.”  Ruston was the opponent, and it was reasonable to expect that this would be Winnfield’s toughest opponent.  Both teams came into the game with undefeated records.  Prior to the game, it appeared the game would decide the North Louisiana representative for the state championship because the victor would certainly be in a position to go undefeated through the remainder of the season.  Winnfield had a 1-2-2 series record against Ruston coming into the 1928 contest. Despite all of the build-up, the game was never close.  In the first ten minutes of play, Winnfield blocked two Ruston punts, resulting in two Winnfield scores.  Then, early in the second half, Winnfield again used the punt to score. Winnfield held Ruston short of a first down on the first series of the second half, forcing them to punt near their own goal line.  Percy Dortch, Tiger return man, fielded the ball at the Ruston 40 yard-line and carried the ball the full distance, giving the Crimson Tigers a three-touchdown lead.  Later in the quarter, Teal Calhoun intercepted a Bearcat pass and returned it for another 40-yard touchdown.  The final touchdown of the game would be one of the most impressive runs of the entire season when Frank Brewer raced 60 yards through, "the entire Bearcat eleven”, so the local paper said.  The win gave the team a 3-0-0 record.    

    If expectations were high before the season began, they were at a fever pitch now.  Writing in the New Orleans States, legendary sportswriter Harry Martinez wrote, "In trouncing Ruston by such a decisive margin, Winnfield declared themselves as probably the strongest team in the state at this time.  Coach Bennett’s gang handled the powerful Ruston eleven like paper, and at no time was Coach Rush’s (Ruston coach) aggregation a factor.  Before the game, Ruston was rated a formidable foe.  Winnfield looks more than ever like the team to beat for the title, even at this early date.” 

      Winnfield had an open date following the big Ruston win and it was needed.  Several players were nursing nagging injuries, though none were thought to be serious.  This was no time to ease up, though.  The Crimson Tigers would be facing the Mansfield Wolverines in the fourth game of the season.  Mansfield had surprised Winnfield the year before; with the Tigers eking out a hard-fought 13-7 win.      
     Mansfield was well prepared for Winnfield.  Mansfield scored first, jumping out to a 6-0 lead early in the game.  Those were the first points scored against the Tigers in the 1928 season and the first time they had trailed in a football game.  Any concerns about Mansfield were soon erased, however, as Winnfield scored ten unanswered touchdowns (or 62 unanswered points, if you will).  Gabe Durham, the Crimson Tiger starting QB, scored four touchdowns himself.  Three long touchdowns were scored by Teal Calhoun, who according to a newspaper account after the game, was “a young kid who is rapidly developing into a star.”  Using subs freely, the Winnfield Crimson Tigers ended the game with a 62-6 victory, enabling them to notch their fourth win of the season against no losses.  In four games, the Crimson Tigers had scored 171 pts., for a 42.75 ppg scoring average, while only giving up one touchdown.  The Crimson Tigers were on a roll.   

KEY GAME: Looking ahead, Winnfield had two opponents in the remaining six games that offered the biggest obstacle to an undefeated season.  They faced one of them the following week when they met their biggest rival, the Bolton Bears.  Bolton was enjoying a banner year themselves.  Both Winnfield and Bolton had been considered strong contenders for the state championship since the season began.  However, Bolton was coming off their first loss of the season at the hands of Lake Charles, so, they were desperate.  The Winnfield boys were focused as well.  According to the local paper, "Coach Bennett has not allowed the boys to be blinded by their wonderful success this season, but has kept them in trim for each new game.”  There would be no doubt, however, that this was the biggest game of the year for both teams.    The game was played at Bolton and was declared "Homecoming Day” by Bolton.  The Bears were reported to be making "extensive preparations” for the game.  S. M. Brame, principal of Bolton High School, even went as far as mailing letters to alumni of the school, asking that they return for the game.  Winnfield fans were just as prepared.  Several buses were chartered to transport fans to the game.  The game was billed as “one of the strongest bids for the state championship”, according to the local paper.  And, the newspaper article continued - "the Tigers are ready.”  The Alexandria Towntalk reported that “one of the largest crowds to ever attend a high school football game” in Alexandria was on hand for the Saturday afternoon game.  The game turned out to be as close as people predicted.  The first quarter came to a close with neither team mounting a serious scoring threat.  Then, in the second quarter, Bolton scored the first touchdown of the game on a series of line plunges.  They also tacked on the all-important extra point.  That 7-0 lead would hold up until halftime. As a result, the Tigers went into the locker room with no points on the board for the first time all season.    

     Winnfield took the second half kickoff and promptly drove down the field, mainly due to the success of Frank Brewer’s pinpoint passes.  After successfully completing two passes to Percy Dortch, Brewer kept the ball himself on an 11-yard run.  Brewer then completed a 25-yard pass to Teal Calhoun, who took the ball all the way down to the Bolton 15 yard-line.  That is where the series ended for the Tigers, however, as the Tigers were forced to turn the ball over on downs after Bolton put up a brick wall.      

     Winnfield was held scoreless through the first three quarters, allowing Bolton to hold onto their slim 7-0 lead as the fourth quarter began.  In the final quarter it was a turnover that helped the Tigers to finally get on the scoreboard.  On the first play of the fourth quarter Bolton fumbled near their own goal line and the ball was recovered by Kenneth Teegarden.  After three line plunges, Frank Brewer carried the ball over for the first Winnfield touchdown.  The Tigers attempted to run for the extra point but were held by the Bears.  As a result, Bolton still maintained a slim 7-6 lead, with plenty of time on the clock.      

     Winnfield held Bolton on the next series and took over with what would likely be time for one last drive.  The Tigers did drive down the field as the end of the game neared.  Again, taking advantage of the passing arm of Frank Brewer, the Tigers moved into Bolton territory.  A pass from Brewer to Percy Dortch, who was streaking into the end zone, was knocked down by the Bolton defender.  With the ball on the Bolton 40 yard-line, Winnfield tried two more passes on third and fourth down, but both fell incomplete.  Much to the satisfaction of the returning alumni, Bolton managed to hold onto their lead until the clock ran out..      Showing little respect for the Bolton defensive effort, the local paper instead attributed the Bear win to one thing - "luck." With the loss, the Tigers’ record dropped to 4-1-0.  The loss put a serious damper on the Tigers title hopes because of the unrealistic need to go virtually go undefeated each year to get into the playoffs, since the primary criteria used to select playoff participants was winning percentages.  If the Tigers won the rest of their games, the highest winning percentage they could post was .900.  Typically, it took a 1.000 winning percentage to get into the playoffs.

      The Crimson Tigers had two more road trips before closing out their season with three home games.  The first of those away games took the Tigers to Oak Grove.  The team left Winnfield at 8:00 a.m. for the Friday afternoon game, scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m.  This would give the local boys time to rest after the long bus ride.  It turned out to be a much longer trip than expected.  While in route to Oak Grove, the bus in which the Tigers rode developed engine trouble, stranding the Tiger team.  They eventually got the bus going, but they would take eight hours to drive to Oak Grove, arriving one hour late and forcing the game to begin at 4:00.    
     The Tigers gave a sluggish performance in taking a 19-7 win over Oak Grove. Winnfield had two long runs for apparent touchdowns called back in the first half, but finally got a touchdown from Frank Brewer in the second quarter to give the Tigers a 6-0 halftime lead. That’s the way the score stood until Calhoun and Dortch each scored fourth quarter touchdowns.  Oak Grove scored a single touchdown late in the fourth quarter but that was not enough as the Tigers ended a long day by taking a 19-7 win over Oak Grove.  Those would be the last points scored against the Tigers in the 1928 season, though there were still four games remaining on the schedule. The Crimson Tigers had faced their sixth opponent of the season and moved their record to 5-1-0.  The touchdown that Oak Grove scored was only the third touchdown Winnfield had allowed all year.                  
     The Crimson Tigers traveled to Minden for the last road trip of the season.  The Tigers scored two touchdowns in the game and notched their fourth shutout of the season.  The Minden defensive line proved to be stronger than expected.  Nevertheless, the Tigers moved to their record to 6-1-0 by defeating the Minden Greenbacks 12-0.     After playing four straight road games, the Tigers ended the season with three straight home games.  With six wins under their belt, they had a chance to tie the school record for wins in a season by winning all three.  That alone stirred enthusiasm among the Winnfield players and fans alike.  And if no other high school in north Louisiana finished with an undefeated record (meaning they had a higher winning percentage than Winnfield), the Tigers would be a strong contender for a playoff spot.  So, Winnfield still had plenty to play for.    
     The first of those three home games would be played against Bunkie.  The local account of the game pretty much says it all - "The game between the Winnfield Crimson Tigers and Bunkie played on the local field Saturday afternoon turned out being a foot race with the Tiger ball carriers showing their heels to the visitors all afternoon with the resulting score of 71-0.”  The local account of the game went on to say, “The visitors saw almost as much of the Tigers backs as they did of their faces during the two hours of play, for the home team players were sprinting for the goal line during the entire game.  The Tigers’ starting line-up was made up of next year’s prospects and, if Saturday’s game is any indication, the Crimson Tiger squad will have one of the greatest scoring machines in our high school conference next year.”  But forget about "next year.”   The 71 points scored by the team against Bunkie upped the team’s total for the season to 279 points.  The most points ever scored by a Tiger team in one season had been the 236 points scored by the great 1923 team.  So, that scoring record fell to the wayside in the Bunkie game, and with two more games to play, the 1928 team only figured to add to that total.     
     Winnfield played Oakdale the ninth game of the season.  As for the game itself, the Tigers had no reason to think they would have nearly as easy a game as they had against Bunkie.  Oakdale came into the game with an 8-3 record on the year.  The pre-game write-up in the local paper reported, "The Tigers are expecting the Warriors usual aerial attack which has netted them consistent gains in every game.”  The article went on to say, "In last Saturday’s game with Jennings, the Warriors made 50 yards on four straightforward passes in 45 seconds.”  In those days, the passing game was almost unheard of, so Oakdale’s passing attack gave some cause for concern.  Little did the Tigers know that by the end of the game, they would record the second highest score in a single game that any Winnfield High School team would post during the entire twentieth century.      
     The Tigers scored 13 touchdowns and added 7 extra points and a safety in rolling to an 87-0 victory.  Seven different Tigers scored touchdowns, with five players scoring multiple touchdowns, including: Gabe Durham (3), Loville Fuller (2), Elmon Fletcher (2), Teal Calhoun (2), and Frank Brewer (2).  Also tacking on single touchdowns were Kenneth Teegarden and Ed Grigsby.  The 87 points the Tigers scored upped the season total to 366 points, 130 more points than had ever been scored.  Their 40.6 ppg scoring average was easily the highest average ever posted by a Tiger team.      
     After the regular season ended, Coach Bennett wanted one more game for his Tigers.  The Tigers found a willing taker in the Louisiana State Normal freshman team.  The game was held on a Saturday afternoon on the Tigers’ field.  Billed as “Appreciation Day”, the school asked all business owners to close for the game.  Coach Bennett wanted to attract a large crowd and reported that proceeds from the game would be used to buy letter sweaters for the Tiger lettermen.  Not many would attend, however, and it wouldn’t be because of their lack of appreciation for their Tigers.  The game was played in a driving rainstorm during the last week of November.  In the game, the Tigers "plowed and flounder(ed) their way through a sea of rain, mud and slush”, according to the local paper.  The Tigers did notch their ninth win and eighth shutout of the season in the 19-0 win.    
     Winnfield had faced ten opponents and beaten 9 of them, but had come within two points of a perfect 10-0-0 season, what with their 7-6 loss to Bolton.  They recorded eight shutouts, while giving up only three touchdowns all season.  Only Mansfield, Oak Grove, and Bolton had managed to cross the goal line against the Tigers.  Prior to the 1928 season, only two Winnfield teams had scored more than 200 points in a single season, including the 1923 team (236 pts.) and the 1919 team (220 pts.).  The 1928 Winnfield team totally eclipsed both those totals, breaking the school record by nearly 150 points, or an average of 15 points per game more than any other team had ever scored.  In 10 games, the 1928 Crimson Tigers amassed 385 points, making them the first Winnfield team to score over 300 pts. in a single season.  The 1928 Tigers were never shutout and only two teams, Bolton and Minden, held the Tigers to under three touchdowns in a game.  The Tigers had it all - a potent scoring attack and a smothering defense.  As is true with all winning programs, the Tigers went into every game believing they were going to win the game.  Maybe what was even more important, the opposition went into most games thinking the Tigers were going to win the game too.  That kind of belief system on both sides of the field is what a winning program breeds.      
     Tiger fullback Frank Brewer ended the season as the team’s leading scorer.  During the ten-game season he scored at least one touchdown in every game he played.  He sat out Winnfield’s 62-6 win over Mansfield and the team’s 19-0 win over Louisiana Normal, both times because of injuries.  Brewer scored 69 pts. in the 1928 season, and the individual scoring results from the Bunkie game are not known. The newspaper account of Winnfield’s 71-0 win over Bunkie does say that, "Brewer and (halfback, Elmon) Fletcher were easily the offensive stars of the game.”  So, he likely added to his point total in the Bunkie game.  Even when you only consider the 69 pts. Brewer is credited with, this was a remarkable scoring feat.  Individual scoring in the early era of football was not like it is in modern day football.  In that era, it was common for the single-season scoring leader to score in the 40s, 30s or even 20s.  To put Brewer’s numbers into perspective, prior to the 1950 season (the first 41 years of Tiger football) only two other Winnfield players scored 50 or more points in a single season.  More impressively, it wouldn’t be until 42 years later (1971) that an individual player would score more points in a single season than Brewer, when Jerry Keen shattered Brewer’s single-season scoring record by totaling 126 pts.      
     Winnfield ended the season with a .900 winning percentage, which was good but not good enough.  Homer High School had the highest winning percentage in north Louisiana, ending the season with an undefeated record.  That 1.000% winning percentage edged out Winnfield and, as a result, the Pelicans were selected as the north Louisiana representative for the state championship game.  Making their first of what would be eight championship game appearances in the twentieth century, Homer defeated always-powerful Warren Easton 26-12 in the 1928 title game.  That win gave the Homer Pelicans a perfect 11-0 record on the year.  Except for the loss to Bolton, the Tigers could have ended the season with the same record.  It was not to be.    
     Kenneth Teegarden repeated as end on the All-State team.  The New Orleans States, which picked one of the All-State teams each year, said, "Teegarden, who is also captain of the Winnfield eleven, is an exceptionally brainy player.  He calls signals from his end position, did the punting, is a sure receiver of passes and couldn’t be circled.  Fortenberry and Teegarden on the terminals of a college team would end any coach’s worry about ends.” Byron "Chuck” Skains was selected second team All-State and the Baton Rouge State Times selected Frank Brewer as fullback on their second team.  Brewer was also selected to the New Orleans States All-State team.  Also receiving honorable mention on the All-State team selected by the States were Clabe Maxey, Ed Grigsby and Hap Gimber.  Teegarden, Skains and Brewer were invited to attend the annual Tulane banquet in New Orleans to honor a select group of high school football players.  The local paper reported, "This honor is only extended to those high school football players whose record is outstanding and in whom the University is especially interested."  The Lions Club of Haynesville sponsored a football game on Christmas Day of 1928, pitting an All-Star team of Louisiana against an All-Star team of Arkansas.  Both Kenneth Teegarden and Chuck Skains were selected to represent Louisiana in that game.      
     The Tigers didn’t play for a state championship in 1928.  That's not because they were not good enough.  Very few teams have the opportunity to play for a championship title.  It takes a certain amount of skill, good coaching, lucky breaks and good solid execution to make it all the way to a title game.  Except for one game, the 1928 Tigers were far superior to every opponent they faced.  In any season, teams with powerful offenses or staunch defenses are impressive to watch.  The 1928 Tigers had both.  The team was full of individual stars, but probably the key to their success was that they had played together as a unit for almost three full seasons.  All of that is a testimony to what it takes to develop a winning team.  The1928 team was not just a good team - they were a great team.  The 1928 Winnfield team is certainly one of the best teams in Winnfield history.     
     1929 (3-5-0) - Winnfield entered the 1929 season with their fourth head coach in four years when Maxwell Crowe took over the head coaching duties at Winnfield High School.  Despite the turnover in the coaching ranks each year since 1926, one thing had remained constant - Winnfield continued to produce winning football teams.  The Tigers had gone 4-4-1 in 1926; however, the program had a combined record of 15-3-1 during the 1927 and 1928 seasons. Jimmie Horton, the head coach in 1927 produced a team that posted a 6-2-1 record.  Then, Zollie Bennett took over the program in the 1928 season and led that team to a 9-1-0 record.  Of course, much of the credit for the success of the 1926 to 1928 seasons was a group ten or so players who had made up the nucleus of the team during each of those three seasons.  The 1928 team had 20 lettermen on the squad when the season began.  Of that group, ten were graduating seniors and they were one of the most gifted and experienced groups of seniors to ever play for the Tigers.  Any coach would be concerned after losing that much talent in one graduating class.  However, Coach Crowe had ten returning lettermen, including nine seniors. He also had another new addition to the team that would help him as much as anything.  Crowe talked Rev. Stokes into helping him coach the football team.     
     Coach Crowe’s most pressing concern was in the backfield and end positions, where eight of the ten departing seniors had played.  To compensate for those losses, he made his boldest move at the quarterback position.  Crowe moved the decorated Byron "Chuck” Skains, one of the most gifted linemen the school had ever produced, from tackle to quarterback to take advantage of his speed. This account of the move was reported in the Shreveport Times at the end of the season - "In 1928, Skains was picked as a tackle on the All-State team.  This season, needing backfield men, Coach Crowe shifted Skains behind the line and the youngster reached heights, not as a spectacular starter, but as a fine football player, one of the best of the year.  He is first down the field under punts, tackles fiercely, and handles passes well.”       
     Teal Calhoun, the third leading scorer the season before, returned and would play his senior year at one of the halfback positions.  Juniors Dudley Shell and Willie Reid would fill the other halfback position.  Shell tells the story that Coach Crowe was the first coach to “allow” him to come out for football, as the previous Tiger coaches had to him that he was too small.  He would prove over his junior and senior seasons that you can’t necessarily judge a high school football player by his size.      
     William Machen, who had played tackle the season before in a reserve role, was moved to the fullback position for his senior year.  Though the Tigers lost Kenneth Teegarden at one of the end positions, senior James Price had already logged two years of playing experience at the other end position.  Henry Brewer, senior reserve end from the season before also returned.  Brewer and Byron "Chuck" Skains were elected captains of the team.    
     The picture was much brighter in the line, even with the relocation of Skains and Machen.  The Tigers had only lost two linemen from the season before, that being center, Hap Gimber and guard, Clabe Maxey.  Cornelius Martin had shared some of the center duties with Gimber and would be back to fill that position on a full-time basis during his senior campaign.  Ed Grigsby, another senior, who had received Honorable Mention All-State accolades at one of the guard positions the season before, would return at that slot.  Earl Powers, Joe Grigsby and Frank Cox, all underclassmen, shared duties at the other guard position.  Senior lettermen Roy Morgan and Huborn Boyett, both experienced linemen, would be expected to handle the tackle positions, with sophomore Robert Turner and junior Cody Beville assisting in a support role.  In the end, Coach Crowe would have nine or more seniors on the field at most any given time.  You need senior leadership on any football team and Coach Crowe had it.  He would need all of that experience because the 1929 Crimson Tigers faced their usual tough schedule, which had the 1929 team taking road trips to Ruston, Haynesville and Lake Charles.  They would play the Bolton Bears in Winnfield, but the Bears always gave the Tigers fits.  Rounding out the eight game schedule were dates with Olla, Dodson, Oak Grove and Winnsboro - all home games.    
     The way the 1929 season started, spectators must have thought that this would be yet another powerful Winnfield squad. The Crimson Tigers opened the season with a 51-0 shelling of Olla-Standard, with  Teal Calhoun scoring three touchdowns for the Tigers.      
     The following week the Tigers traveled to Ruston to play the always-tough Bearcats. A crowd of approximately 4,000 turned out to the Ruston stadium according to published reports.  A slow drizzle fell throughout most of the game, putting a damper on both team's offensive schemes.  With the score tied 0-0 in the fourth quarter Ruston got the biggest break of the game when the Ruston quarterback ran what the local paper called “an old trick play” and raced around right end for the lone score of the game. In the end, Winnfield played its usual tough defensive game and, but for one play, held the Bearcats in check.  In football games, one play can make a difference, however, so the Tigers went into the third game with a 1-1 record.    
     The Crimson Tigers began a three-game home stand by reeling off back-to-back wins over Dodson (44-0) and Oak Grove (32-0).  With the two wins, the football program had won 17 of the past 19 football games, recording 14 shutouts in those 19 games.  For the 1929 season the Tigers record stood at 3-1-0 and the team was scoring at a 32 ppg clip.  All of that was about to end, however, as the Tigers would not win another game or even score another point the rest of the season.  In fact, in contrast to the success of the Tiger program in the 1920s in general, and in the previous 19 outings in particular, the fortunes of the program were about to change for years to come.  That would be seen throughout the 1930s, 1940s and most of the 1950s.  If you wanted to find a turning point in the program, the fifth game of the 1929 season would be that turning point.  That is when the losing began not only for the 1929 season but for the program in general. That is dramatically shown by contrasting the success of the 19-game stretch prior to that point in the program (17-2-0 record and 650 points scored) to the relative failure of the 19-game stretch that began with the fifth game of the 1929 season (6-13-1 record and 130 points scored.)    
     The four-game losing streak that marked the end of the 1929 season began with a close 6-0 loss to Bolton, followed by a 32-0 pasting by Haynesville. The game was played in a drizzle, which slowed play.  At least that is what the papers said. If the Haynesville attack was slowed, Winnfield didn’t want to play them on a dry field.  The Enterprise summed up the game like this, "The Golden Tornado of Haynesville, ran, passed and did everything known to the football world today to defeat Winnfield High School 32-0.”   As predicted, later that season Haynesville defeated Jennings 13-7 in the 1929 Class A title game, giving the Tornado their second of fourteen titles they would garner in the twentieth century.      
     Winnfield closed out the home portion of their schedule two weeks later when they dropped a  close 6-0 decision to Winnsboro Wildcats.  In preparing for Winnsboro, Coach Crowe shuffled his lineup considerably.  To shake things up, Crowe moved Chuck Skains from quarterback to end, and replaced Skains at quarterback with Dudley Shell.  James Price, who Skains replaced at end, was moved to the right guard position, replacing Frank Cox.  Despite his effort to shake the team up, Coach Crowe’s lineup changes did not pay any dividends.  The loss gave the program three straight losses and extended their scoreless streak to twelve quarters.  That was the longest losing streak the program had ever produced and matched the longest shutout string, tying a shutout string of similar length suffered by the 1926 squad.      
     Winnfield closed the season by traveling on Thanksgiving Day to play Lake Charles High School. They did so without Chuck Skains, Teal Calhoun and Ed Grigsby who were not available for the game because of injuries or illnesses to family members (as was the case with Skains).  As expected, Lake Charles shutout Winnfield, leaving the Tigers with a 3-5-0 record, their first losing record in four years.      
     The 1929-1930 school year marked the first time that “numerals” were awarded to football players. Those players who had played in half of the quarters played by the team during the season continued to earn letters.  Those players who participated in as much as one quarter, but fewer than the minimum required to earn a letter, earned a "numeral.”  Two numerals in a career counted that as one letter.  When a player earned two letters he received a silver award, and for the third letter he received a sweater.                 

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