May 16, 1996
Those recent articles on Coach Hump Daniels produced a few unexpected bonuses that I appreciate very much. Some readers had never heard of the legendary former PHS football coach and they were amazed at his great record of wins and losses. Others who remember him only hazily also were grateful for the details about his early years at Perry, high school. Still others who played under him or knew him as a teacher were pleased with the recap of some of his most successful seasons. All agreed on one point -- he was a marvelous coach and a great human being. Doing the research on him was a pleasant chore, bringing back many memories of other years to me.
George Hall, an All-State tackle on Hump's great 1944 team, remembers a game with Hominy, one of the Maroons' arch rivals. In the first half, the Bucks took a two-touchdown lead thanks in part to Perry mistakes and some lackadaisical playing. Hump strode the sidelines in red-faced silence, then ushered the team into the dressing room at halftime. "Hump didn't say a word all during that time," George says. But when it came time to go back on the field, he said to us: ‘All right girls, let's go give them the second half; too. ‘”
The Maroons, stung by that remark, received the second-half kickoff, and George continues the story: We started out with center dives from our own 20-yard line, one after another, just smashing the ball down their throats. Our quarterback, Bobby Cutsinger, loved physical contact. We marched straight down the field to score. We scored four more touchdowns and they didn't score again. In the end we won the game, 33-14, and redeemed ourselves in Hump's eyes. He was the kind of coach who could tell you what you were doing wrong in no uncertain terms in a practice session or in a game, but after it was over he'd be the first one to tell you what you did right and give you a pat on the back. He was a great coach."
Joe Williams showed me a gold plated miniature football bearing a maroon-colored letter "P" with "Harold Daniels" and "1944" engraved on one side. For years those little trophies were presented to all members of the PHS football squad by Ralph Foster Sr. and later by his son, Woody, representing Foster's Corner Drug Store. They were greatly treasured by the players because their girl friends usually got to wear them on little gold neck chains. The Fosters gave gold footballs when the Maroons won their conference championship, and silver footballs on other years. Joe tried to resurrect the tradition when he and son Jay operated the Sport Shak, but he was unable to find a supplier. The one used by Mr. Foster had gone out of business by then. Joe acquired the one he showed me at the Daniels estate sale a few years ago. It's still in the original box.
Ralph Foster Sr. also started a tradition of finely lettered scorecards for each Perry high school football season during the 1930s and continuing into the 1940s. His son, Ralph Jr., was a sterling Maroon lineman in the 1930s and went on to greater glory as an All-American tackle at Oklahoma A.& M. College, eventually winding up as a star player for the Chicago Cardinals, who later became the St. Louis Cardinals. The franchise has been in Phoenix the past few years. The other Foster son, Woody, was a sturdy lineman for some of Hump's best teams in the mid-1930s. The signboards were professionally lettered each season and bore the date, score and location of each game played by the Maroons. For a time the boards were displayed throughout the football season at Foster's store, and most of them are still kept there by the present owners, Mike and Janet Shannon, but it is impractical to display them all now. They are historically interesting and significant and I'm glad they're being retained for that reason.
Don Stoddard, another former Maroon football warrior, turned up with a PHS football program from 1950 bearing a great photo of Hump and his composite record starting with his first season here in 1931. Don also added Hump's 1951 record, which brought the totals to 150 wins, 51 losses and nine ties over a 20-year span. The printed program was handed out without charge at each home game by Donaldson & Yahn Lumber Dealers, who added this message: "Serving our 31st year as builder of fine homes in Perry and the trade area. Like Hump's record, our homes will stand for years to come."
Kenny Carmack came up with the photograph of the great 1936 PHS football team, and he also found one of the 1935 team. Pictured on it are end Bill Jensen, tackle Lavern Swart, guard Fred Peden, center Ken Carmack, guard Frank Blecha, tackle Robert "Hook" Edwards, end Paul Kehres, quarterback Earl Wilson, halfback Floyd Carley, halfback Henry Clark and fullback Kenneth Evans. George Hall provided a newspaper clipping showing the 1943 team composed of these starters on offense: end Jim Henderson, tackle Donald Mieir, guard Forrest Parker, center Jim Laughlin, guard Hubert Forney, tackle George Hall, end Raymond Bechtold, halfback Kenneth Brengle, fullback Bob Cutsinger, quarterback Bob Lynch and halfback Joe Sewell.
If you've been a follower of Perry high school football teams through the years, you can probably add the names of your own particular favorites. I remember Jack Newton was the first freshman to win a varsity football letter under Hump. Later, Jack's brother, Bill, was a Maroon stalwart. Still later, Jack's son, J.D., added more glory to the PHS gridiron legend Bill Pricer was a two-sport star as a Maroon running back and a state champion wrestler in the early 1950s, later going on to star status as a fullback and placekicker for Coach Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma University and then with the fabled Baltimore Colts. Before Bill's tenure at PHS, Geronimo Terronez was a powerful Maroon running back and a tremendous all-around athlete.
There were so many others: Mickey Ripley, Abe Sears, Gib Dolezal Kenny Russell, Tony Macias, Jack Bechtold, Bill Wurtz, Tommy Robinson, Marvin Dauman, Floyd Cook, Sid Berry, Dayle Lynch, Walt Powers, Deloral Trull, Gene Crane -- these are just a few whose names pop into my mind. There were, others, many others, linemen and backs, offensive and defensive players, who helped Perry high school stake a claim as one of the state's premier football schools. I know you can think of many of them. Their exploits would fill volumes.
My thanks to everyone who contributed photos and various bits of information to help flesh out these columns dealing with Coach Hump Daniels and some of the teams he developed at Perry high school. He started a tradition here that this community can take pride in for years to come.