The cool air had begun to settle on the November night when the Wildcats played their first playoff game since 1969. These team members weren’t born when Woodrow lost to the eventual state champs, Wichita Falls, by a small margin in the state quarter-finals at Cobb Stadium, which is now the site of Infomart, built by Trammell Crow ’32.
To fill our side of the stadium, thousands of Woodrow fans had driven more than 20 miles across Lake Ray Hubbard (named for the Lakewood oilman) to Rockwall, Cadillacs, BMWs, vans, pickups and several chartered buses.
Members of the successful but not play-off bound teams of the ’70s such as Tim Harshbarger ’76, James LeCour ’76, Bruce Wheeless ’77, Greg Turner ’77 and All-American Joe Shearin ’78 rooted for the injustices they suffered by playing much larger schools. Cheerleader Reagan Florey ’75 was wearing his jacket, as were former cheerleaders and drill team members Liz Oliver Vilmar ’77 and Jody Oliver Teesdale ’77.
The boisterous fans began to silence the Rockwall crowd as Woodrow jumped to an early lead. As it became apparent the Wildcats could beat the Yellow Jackets, the Woodrow fans roared, led by John Paul McCrumbley, ’71, a star of the ’69 team who went on to play for Texas A&M and Buffalo. As he stood on the sidelines, he grabbed a megaphone and whipped the crowd into further frenzy.
And then there was principal emeritus Wayne Pierce who came to Woodrow in the early ’60s and retired in 1987. He was way up in the back, trying to avoid the spotlight. It didn’t work, because he was surrounded by former students immediately. And, of course, he remembered every name – no joke!
Speaking of principals, Robert Giesler, in his fifth year at Woodrow, joined the cheerleaders as Rockwall pulled ahead by two. Then the Wildcats began to rally.
“I have never seen such a scrappy team,” said Pierce, who beamed as if he was coaching Don Meredith again.
Alas, the clock ran out on our way to a field goal. A few key (and possibly undeserved) penalties blocked the path as well. The most emotional game Woodrow had played since its last-minute comeback over Hillcrest in 1986 was over.
But the fans didn’t leave. They rose up as one when the alma mater was played. They gave a heartfelt standing ovation to the players who had carried their dreams so far.
Last month, those players were recognized in All-District selections. Named to the first team: Tony Beck and Greg Ellis, offense; Mike Gonzales, defense; and Kyle Boettcher, kicker. Second team: Donovan Arwood, offense; Felix Brown, Clay Drury, Miguel Hard and John Weaver, defense. Brian Bessner, Anthony Black, Armando Delgado, Troy Harper, Chris Hernandez, William Pringle, Matt Waddill and Kevin Witherspoon received honorable mention. Greg Ellis, who is being courted by college recruiters and exceeded Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown’s ’84 records, was named offensive player of the year. Felix Brown (no relation) was named sophomore of the year.
News & Notes
Junior Lise Hensley has been selected as a Congressional page for Rep. Martin Frost. Her appointment runs from Jan. 26 – June 5. She will continue her studies during mornings at the House Page School in the Library of Congress, while working on the House floor in the afternoon.
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