November - 1964
50 Years Ago
Week after week the Highlands Owls football team lined up against strong, determined competition in District 15-AAAA.
When Jefferson won the game on Nov. 21, Highlands and MacArthur became district co-champs and Jefferson took third place in the district.
San Antonio Express - Sunday, Nov. 22, 1964
Thomas Jefferson linemen declared open season on the Highlands Owls Saturday night and shot down the District 15-AAAA playoff representatives, 22 - 16, in the finale of the regular season in Alamo Stadium.
Three goal line stands and some murderous line blocking paved the way for Jefferson's victory, which shook the Owls roost just before the state playoffs open.
Benefitting from the outcome without stirring from their firesides were the MacArthur Brahmas, who moved into a tie for the district championship with the Owls, though the latter had a state playoff berth already cinched.
A pair of long marches, each of 73 yards, brought Jefferson touchdowns on time consuming drives with quarterback Dennis Niemeyer scoring on a 2-yard plunge and tailback Howard Smith on a 5-yard smash.
Fittingly, the second Mustang touchdown went entirely to the linemen, as Eddie Harrell led a four man wave through to block a punt attempt by Greg Fehrehkamp, and Randy Anderson fell on the ball in the end zone for a Mustang touchdown.
This completely offset the usual fireworks of the Owls, with fleet James Armstrong again lighting the fuse for two tallies. Armstrong raced 85 yards with a kickoff return to pull the Owls back into the contest shortly before halftime, and then he took a 30 yard pass from Robert Alvarez in the end zone for the second.
All conversion attempts were good. Howard Smith kicked twice for the Mustangs and Niemeyer ran for a pair of points. Alvarez passed to Greg Ekis for the extra points after each Highlands touchdown.
Saving factor in the victory was Jefferson's ability to plug up the holes in the clutch, having stopped Owl drives at the Mustang 5, 10, and 23 yard lines when the Southsiders threatened to take command as they have done in three other district games when they rallied from the short end of the count.
At the outset Jefferson halted the Highlands drive at the Mustang 5 yard line as Pat O'Connell, Larry Luckett, Eddie Harrell, Ronnie Thompson and Myron Short established their strength. This was reflected at game's end with Jefferson having an extra 100 yards rushing, and having rushed Alvarez off his feet on passing attempts to throw him for six losses and cause other tosses to be off target.
Once they got the feel of the game Jefferson rambled 73 yards in 11 ground plays to score early in the second period. Niemeyer did the honors after John Mosley, who led all ground gainers with 121 yards on 15 carries had spearheaded the drive.
The blocked punt gave Jefferson a second score with 2:11 left in the first half, but the cheers of 6,116 fans switches from cheers to groans - or vice versa - 12 seconds later when Armstrong raced 85 yards with the return kickoff. That brought Highlands within striking distance, 14 - 8 at the half.
Jefferson drove right in after taking the second half kickoff, bruising 73 yards, and the battle to hold the 22 - 8 lead was on. Both the clock and the Mustang Linemen were double tough with the 30 yard pass to Armstrong being the only letdown.
Howard Smith had 88 yards on 18 carries and Niemeyer 47 hards on 12 for the victors. A.D. Arnic sped 101 yards on 11 carries to pace Highlands, and Fred Bey had 41 yards on 9 carries. Armstrong got 20 yards on 6 trips, and caught two passes for 25 yards net in addition to his kickoff return.
Highlands went down like champions - swinging. The Owls brought a host of pass patterns out of the classified files to show the assorted scouts in the stands, and kept the fans heated by moving to the 10 and 23 yard lines before surrendering the ball.
Highlands finished with a 7-2-1 record for the year and 4-1 in league play. Jeferson was 6-4 and took third place with a 3-2 mark.
INCOMPLETE PASS - Fred Bey (22) drives for, but is unable to catch, a pass early in the first quarter of the Highlands-Jefferson game at Alamo Stadium. The action came as Highands had possession.
San Antonio Express - Tuesday, Nov. 24, 1964
San Antonio Express - Sunday, Nov. 22, 1964
What a difference a year makes.
On Friday night Coach Warren Wyble leads his Highlands Owls onto the Alamo Stadium gridiron at 7:45 p.m. to meet Coach Harry Lander and the Burbank Bulldogs in the bi-district round opening the state Class AAAA high school playofffs.
Spirit and determination have been the cornerstones for each team which went into the 1964 campaign rated as logical candidates for a second division finish.
Yet here are the Highlands Owls representing District 15-AAAA with a squad showing just four lettermen, and Burbank as the kingpin of District 16-AAAA after a dismal opening in which they lost two and tied one in their first three games this year.
Despite the presence of 15 lettermen in the Burbank locker room, the Bulldogs weren't expected to bite -- only growl!
After all, Burbank had failed to win a game in 1962, and last season the Bulldog worksheet showed 2 victories, 7 losses, and a tie. The Bulldogs had scored only 82 points to 131 for the opposition. It would have been hard to get enthusiastic over prospects even if the entire squad had returned.
This was to have been a rebuilding season for Highlands. The Owls had won eight straight games last year, then lost the district title to Robert E. Lee and lost the finale to Jefferson for an 8-2 season. Graduation stripped the lettermen, and Coach Roy Wallace moved into administration work.
While there was not a great deal of difference between the techniques employed by Wallace and Wyble, who was shifted from Fox Tech to Highlands by the San Antonio Independent School District, still there were changes in defensive strategy and numbering system to be mastered by the inexperienced players. Things did not look rosy for the Owls either.
Some Southsiders even mumbled when Wyble ws named coach of the Owls, pointing at his 1963 record at Tech of 1 victory 8 losses and a tie, with only 67 points scored to 278 for the opposition.
Such gripes completely overtook a little mentioned fact about the 1962 season -- the year the Brackenridge Eagles roared to the state championship. Wyble's Fox Tech team had a 7-2-1 record for the regular season in 16-AAAA that year and Brackenridge was 7-3. Of course the Eagles lost their games in non-district play and came through in the playoffs, but the Brackenridge success story overshadowed the job that Wyble had done with a small Fox Tech team.
"Yep, this is the first time I've had a team in the playoffs," said Wyble, "We almost got there in 1956 at Tech, but we had two ties charged against us, and Alice only had one tie. I thought we would beat Alice, for we had the ball on their three-yard line late in the game."
"But right then Clyde Garcia got a cramp in his leg and we had to take him out. We just didn't have any reserve strength at all, and all season had prayed that nobody got hurt. Well, with Garcia out, we didn't score, and that was the story of another season," he added.
Landers is having his first winning season as head coach, taking over at Burbank when Wallace moved to Highlands just before the 1962 year. (And how is that for an oddity, each man replacing Wallace at the respective school). His total for two years was 3-15-2 before coming up with the 7-2-1 season this time around.
The running punch of Jimmy Hall and David Brannon plus the passing of Larry Cowan has brought the Bulldogs 171 points to 114 for the opposition.
Highlands was 7-1-1 going into the Saturday night game with Jefferson, with 140 points to 92 for the opponents. Quarterback Robert Alvarez can call on a balanced attack that includes himself running and passing, plus the speed of James Armstrong and Mark Hasson and the power of A.D. Arnic.
The playoff experience will be new to the teams, and their coach, but well deserved.
Tickets for the contest go on sale Monday morning at the four downtown sporting goods stores, C. & S., Potchernick's, Wright's, and American. They will also be available at Big M. Shopping City and at the school board offices.
Prices have been set at $2.50 for box and observation deck, $2 for reserved, and $1.50 general admission. Students will have the entire east side of the stadium.
Winner of the game advances to the quarterfinal round against the winner of McAllen and Waco Richfield.
San Antonio Express - Wednesday, Nov. 25, 1964
HIGHLANDS STAR - Fullback A.D. Arnic will be one of the leaders for the Highlands Owls' attack when they play Burbank in an AAAA bi-district game Friday night at Alamo Stadium.
Both the Burbank Bulldogs and the Highlands Owls expect to be in perfect physical condition for Friday's Class AAAA bi-district football showdown at Alamo Stadium.
The Owls, representing District 15-AAAA, finished with a 7-2-1 record, losing only once in district play.
Burbank also finished with a 7-2-1 scorecard, but the only blemish on its District 16-AAAA record was a 14-14 tie with Harlandale.
"We finished our hard work Tuesday," the Bulldogs' head coach, Harry Lander, said Tuesday night. "Now we just take it easy until Friday."
Lander only has light workouts on tap for Wednesday and Thursday.
"We don't plan to do anything different for this game. We just plan to run at 'em. I feel we are stronger than they are but they probably have a little better speed than we do."
"If we can contain their big boy, James Armstrong, we feel we can do all right."
Lander said halfback Jimmy Hall, who has been bothered off and on by a torn muscle in his knee, will be ready for Friday's encounter.
"We still tape his leg from his thigh to his foot for every game. In spite of the injury, he's had a pretty good season. He's averaging just under 100 yards rushing a game and most of our opponents are keying on him. That's enabled us to have pretty good luck with our other big back, David Brannon.
Highlands coach, Warren Wyble, in his first year as head coach at the school, also expects his squad to be in perfect shape for Friday's meeting.
"We're in real good shape physically and I hope mentally," Wyble said Tuesday.
Armstrong and quarterback Robert Alvarez are the guiding lights behind the Owl offense but Wyble says, "From time to time all of our kids have done an outstanding job. It's really been a team effort."
"We plan to do just about the same thing we've been doing all season and just doing a real good job of it," he said.
"We know Burbank has two good runners in Brannon and Hall. They both do a real good job and not only that, they can throw the ball some, too. We'll have to really get up and hump it."
The winner of Friday's game moves into the regional round against the winner of the McAllen-Waco Richfield game, also scheduled for Friday.
Football and Basketball
San Antonio Express - Friday, Nov. 27, 1964
Six schools open their 1964-65 basketball season Friday night as San Antonio quintets break from the Thanksgiving holiday.
MacArthur, Lee, Jefferson, Harlandale, Marshall and Highlands will be making their first appearance of the season.
Highlands visits the McCollum Cowboys (0-1) at 4 p.m. in order not to conflict with the Owls' bidistrict football game against Burbank Friday night. All other contests are at night.
Two Cinderella teams of high school football start trying to obtain a glass slipper that fits as the Highlands Owls and the Burbank Bulldogs start the climb toward the Class AAAA state championship Friday.
The winner of the 7:45 p.m. game at Alamo Stadium advances to the quarter-final round against the winner of the McAllen and Waco Richfield game that will be played in Waco.
For the losers midnight strikes, and the golden carriage that was to transport them along the championship highway turns back into a pumpkin.
Neither team was well regarded at the outset of the season by either forecasters or coaches. During the Texas Coaches Assn. convention last summer a vote of the coaches in the two districts pegged each of these teams as no better than a fourth-place squad.
Yet both defied the form chart, bulldozing their way to identical season records of 7 victories, 2 losses and a tie.
Burbank won the district 16-AAAA championship outright, nipping Brackenridge by a half-game and keeping the Eagles from the state playoffs for the first time in three years.
Highlands had to share the District 15-AAAA title with the MacArthur Brahmas, each having a 4-1 league record. But the Owls advanced to the bi-district round on the strength of a 22-15 triumph over MacArthur when those clubs met head on.
Gave Eagles Sendoff
In the only other trip Highlands has made to the state playoffs, the Owls bowed to Brackenridge in 1962 when the Eagles started their march to the state championship. Brackenridge also figures slightly in this contest. The Eagles have been the only mutual opponent. Highlands thumped Brackenridge, 38-13, in the opener and Burbank prevailed, 13-6, in the clutch.
The steadily improving Bulldogs have won seven straig...ht games since a dismal start when they lost their first two and tied Harlandale, 14-14, in the third contest. Each was a district victory.
All of Burbank's defeats were in nondistrict games. McAllen won by 39-17 and Austin Travis by 21-0 before Burbank became organized into a functioning ball-control club.
Highlands took it on the chin from Victoria, 34-0, in the second game of the season and didn't lose again until the Owls had sacked up a playoff berth. Then Jefferson pinned a 22-16 defeat on the Southsiders in the finale. Highlands also played a 0-0 draw with Central Catholic.
The game offers the classic example of the quick striking Owls against the more methodical offensive system of Burbank.
James Armstrong, the swifty who has scored all five of the Highlands touchdowns in the last two games, can break apart any contest if he gets running room. Mark Hasson and Fred Bey divide offensive duties depending on the spotting of Armstrong at tailback or wingback and power is supplied by fullback A.D. Arnic.
Quarterback Robert Alvarez thus has speed and power on the ground to supplement his quick throwing arm.
......The article continues with 3 paragraphs about Burbank players......
Supplied With Tackles
Tackle play becomes a dominant part of a ball-control contest. Highlands offers Rod Hays and Gerald Whitesides to stop the slants of Hall. .......Two more paragraphs about Burbank......
Highlands averages 176 in the offensive line with Ray Waugh at center, Jake Henshaw and George Cook at guards, Hays and Whitesides at tackles, Don Corson and Jack Martin at the ends.
A crowd of 14,000 is expected, with plenty of space available in the 24,000 seat stadium. Box and observation deck seats are $2.50, reserved seats $2, general admission $1.50. The entire east side is for students.
BIDISTRICT RIVALS - Fred Bey of Highlands, left, is likely to see much service as a ball carrier Friday night when the Owls and the Burbank Bulldogs clash at Alamo Stadium for bi-district supremacy. David Brannon, right, presumably will be just as busy in the interest of the Bulldogs.