Red River’s First Football Team

RRPJ-First FB Team TOP-18Feb23

 

High School football did not come to Red River Parish until after World War II. The team was planned in 1949. It played its first season in 1950. They played their home games at the Fair Grounds in what is now the rodeo arena.

On the schedule in 1950 were games with Winnfield, Benton, Bossier, Farmerville, Princeton and Haynesville. There are several surviving members of that first team but only one resides in the parish. He is Peter Drake, a member of the Coushatta Town Council.

That team was at Springville High School. The building is still in use today as the Lawson Child Development Center and is part of the Springville Education Center campus.

Drake told The Journal he was in the 8th grade in 1950 when the team started. He was young, but he could play. Drake said, “There was no age limit, if they were in school they could play. Some of the boys went off to war in Korea and then played on the team when they came back. Some were in their 20s, but since they were in school they could play.”

SHS had a band and cheerleaders who performed at the games at the fairgrounds. The Head Coach was John B. Moss and the Assistant Coach was L. Johnson.

Drake said, “We traveled in an old school bus to away games. Our driver was Ike Bogan, the first and only bus driver. Every day he would run a route from East Point to Springville to unload students. Then he made other routes until he had picked up all the students. There was only one bus so the driver made several trips. Than the routes were repeated to take children home in the afternoon.”

Ike Bogan was the first driver and Drake said, “He started driving when he was 16. Leroy Fay was the second driver and he started when the school got a second bus.”

“That bus had no modern conveniences like air conditioning or heat.” Drake said, “The windows were not made of glass, just open holes covered by a canvas curtain that could be used to block the rain,” said Drake. “And there were no padded seats. An iron bench ran down the middle and there was one on each side. They weren’t padded. We just sat on the metal.”

With this article is a picture of Springville’s 1952 team from the book The Legacy of A Spring, A Village, A School and a Tiger. Drake told The Journal that photo was from the third year the team played. Drake is #0 in the photo.

Notice the old style football uniforms. Drake said, “We made our own uniforms. We bought sweat shirts and dyed them and then we cut up felt hats to make the numbers to sew on.” Drake added, “The helmets had no face masks and we wore real lightweight shoulder pads.”

Other than Drake, he identified surviving players as Mack Henry Turner, Cleo Cole and James Drake. He said, “They have all moved away. I am the only one left here in Coushatta.”

 

 

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