April 23, 1996
Hump Daniels came to Perry high school as football coach just before the start of the 1931-32 term. PHS had experienced losing seasons the previous two years and fans were getting restive for a winner. They picked the right man when they lured Hump away from Yale high school, where he had been winning regularly. He turned the Perry program around and established a winning tradition that lasted almost three decades.
But it wasn't an instantaneous transformation. Hump's first year here was hardly a howling success. The Maroons finished the 1931 season with a record of four wins against seven losses, but there was a glimmer of hope for the future.
Coach Daniels arrived in town shortly before September 1,1931, and held a meeting with Harold Plumer, a senior end and fullback who had been designated team captain. Gulley Walters, the manual training (shop) instructor, was named to assist Hump. Gulley was a graduate of Northwestern Oklahoma State college at Alva. He and Hump comprised the entire PHS coaching staff.
In addition to Plumer, some of the other players identified in pre-season drills were Glen Lighty, center; Gene Ley, quarterback; Glen Taylor, fullback; Torn Munger, halfback; Jack Henry, wing; Bob Powers, tackle; plus Ellsworth Choate, Nick Triplett and Harley DeVilbiss. The first game of the season was on September 18 at Ponca City. In a pre-game scrimmage one week earlier, Perry defeated Morrison, 18-0, but the game did not count in the season's record. Still, it was a hopeful sign.
On the eve of the game at Ponca City, a pep rally was held in the high school auditorium with attorney Paul W. Cress, a former standout Maroon athlete, as master of ceremonies. The Red Hots pep club helped stir up enthusiasm with Hazel Powers as the club's "Grand High" and Betty Munger as yell leader. (Hazel later married Harold Plumer, the team captain.) Prof. Leopold Radgowsky directed the PHS band in several stirring fight songs. W. Homer Hill, school superintendent, was one of the speakers. Despite that peppy sendoff, the Maroons were blanked the next day by the Ponca City Wildcats, 28-0.
Perry lost again the following Friday at Bristow, 33-6, but quarterback Ralls scored the Maroons' first touchdown of the season on a 40-yard run. Covington came to Perry one week later. Hump's squad had a brilliant first half and went on to post, their first victory under their new coach, 13-6. Tonkawa defeated the Maroons the following week, 7-0, and Enid squeaked by with a 12-6 win one week later, although The Journal sports editor said the Plainsmen were outplayed by the Maroons.
Hump's Perry team lost the next two games, to Garber, 18-0, and to Edmond, 20-6, but then won an exciting homecoming contest here with Fairfax, 13-7. Stillwater shut out the Maroons, 20-0, the following week, and Newkirk had a lopsided 40-0 win in the final regular game of the season. The local American Legion post, with Dr. A. M. Crowder spearheading the project, arranged for a post-season game with Billings to raise money for local charities. The game was sanctioned by the Oklahoma High School Athletic Association because the nationwide depression had created a dire need for projects such as this.
The 1931 Billings team, coached by Bruce Dressier, was undefeated during the regular season. They had a powerful backfield featuring D. Dupy, W. Dupy, Williams and Piper, and the highly regarded Bulldogs had posted several lopsided victories, but the PHS team prevailed, 20-0. It was another hopeful sign for the future. Bob Powers was the only Maroon selected in 1931 for the All-Northern Conference team.
It was a long season, and a losing season, for the Maroons, but a new spirit was evident at PHS and throughout the community as the town sensed their new high school football coach was a winner. Brighter days appeared to be on the horizon. More on the 1930' decade of football in the next column.