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Football, a BHS 1945 version

There is something unique about twice-told tales. Stories that are re-told long after the event. They become so much bigger than life and are much more fun than when they happened.

Charles W. Brashear (we called him Wayman in Brownwood High School back in the 1940s) recalled some of the fun aspects of the 1945 football season. Practice was a grueling test of endurance. Brashear, now a retired Baptist pastor living in Lorena, Texas, reminded me of some of those heroes of our youth. "We had some really good athletes such as Flying Foy Dickerson, Al Langford, LeRoy Coppic, Chester Toby, Truman Donahoo, George Day and William Kemp."

The coach, Cotton Weidman, was known as a real driver. One particular day Brashear recalled they had worked from three in the afternoon, until late in the evening. That was back in the days when the players played football as it was meant to be played -- not a team for offense and a team for defense. They worked on all aspects of the game.

Brashear continued: "After a grueling practice that day, Coach Weidman had us run around the track several laps. Since we had not been allowed to have any water for almost four hours, we were exhausted and suffering from dehydration. I remember, as we ran around the track, LeRoy Coppic began striping off his pads. First the shoulder pads, then the hip pads, followed by thigh pads. By the time we reached the locker room in total exhaustion, LeRoy, soaked in sweat, came in with his jersey hanging down to his knees, and holding his belt to keep his pants from falling off. We were all about ten to fifteen pounds lighter. The coach didn't want us to have any fat on our bones."

A football coach has the worst seat in the stadium. And so it was that Charles Bell, a Daniel Baker College and Texas A&M graduate who taught Vocational Agriculture at BHS climbed up one of the light poles and stood on a kind of crow's nest contraption. From there he filmed the games with a 16mm camera for the coach to study.

"In one game," Brashear said, "my assignment on the play was to block the safety and William Kemp would get the ball on an end around. I ran straight to the safety and knocked him down. I was so satisfied that I had completed my assignment, I just sat on the spot and watched the game.

"Well, I had not anticipated that the safety would get up after I blocked him, but he did, and he lit out for Kemp, who was in the open and going for a touchdown. Before I could even get to my feet, I saw the safety had tackled Kemp on the 30-yard line."

The next week no one was less interested in seeing Mr. Bell's films of the game than left tackle Brashear. When the team gathered to watch the film, Brashear was hoping camerman Bell had missed that play. Bell didn't miss it and as they watched it over and over the coach kept asking, "Who is that guy sitting on the ground watching the game?" Fortunately for Brashear Mr. Bell was a better vocational ag teacher than a film maker. He didn't have Brashear in focus so the coach couldn't see Brashear's number. And he was not about to volunteer any information to clear up who was "watching" when he should have been "playing." (Sept. 17, 1999)


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