Ferriday Coaches that have coached in the Superdome Prep Classic


  • ​​Cade, Robert - Assistant 1984
  • Dantzler, Larry - Head 1984
  • Green, Arijo - Assistant 1984
  • Layton, Steve - Assistant 1984
  • Waldon, Edgar - Assistant 1984


Ferriday state unbeaten streak stands 60 years later

By Joey Martin
 
Aug 24, 2016 


Hyram Copeland felt the normal butterflies as he slid his thin shoulder pads over his head and pulled his blue and gold No. 66 jersey over his pads.

It was his first year to play football as a junior left guard and linebacker for the Bulldogs.

Many of the steady line of Bulldog fans walking into Melz Field had never watched their beloved Bulldog team lose a game. And they were bringing expectations of another dominating season.

The much-hated Block Bears of nearby Jonesville were expected to be the next victim. After all, the Bulldogs had gone 54 straight games without a loss. The night of September 6, 1957 certainly was going to be more of the same.

“There was constant conversation about the streak,” Copeland said. “We felt some added pressure.”

Unfortunately, fans would walk home shocked and dejected that night as the visiting Bears would end a streak which still stands as the longest in the state of Louisiana.

Copeland, who served as mayor of Vidalia from 1992-2016, was part of a team that was on the losing end of a 19-7 score. It also was the first game of a season which would see the Bulldogs not win a state championship for the first time since 1953.

“They blocked two punts against us,” Copeland said. “It was one of the worst feelings I ever experienced in my life. That may sound kind of strange, but football was everything back then. You could have robbed a bank on Friday night in Ferriday. Everybody talked about the game on Saturday mornings. It was definitely one of the low points of my life. And of all people, it had to be Jonesville. But they had an excellent team. We had people booing us and throwing stuff at us. I will never forget that feeling.”

Copeland was unable to enjoy the unprecedented success of of his predecessors. But he certainly felt a part of it.

“I started watching Ferriday football in 1952,” he said. “And when I got my license I followed them everywhere. It was an amazing time. Those were the golden years.”

The players who made that streak possible appreciated it a lot more after their playing days were done.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Guy Hill, who was one of the top running backs in the state when he played from 1952-54. “Just about every boy in the school played football. We practiced real hard and everybody knew they were going to play. In 1958, LSU created the Chinese Bandits, letting their third string play first string. We were doing that before then. The thing I remember most, though, is how hard we practiced. It was rough. We didn’t really have any water breaks. And we ran a lot of sprints and gassers.”

The late Dr. Eugene Taylor was a senior on the ‘53 team.

“Here I am a 70-year-old man and I still remember those days,” Taylor said in 2006. “That tells you how important it was. I still remember some of those games like they were yesterday.”

Back in the late 1990s, Evangel began compiling a streak of 60 straight wins. But that streak was cut down to 30 after the Eagles were forced to forfeit three games for using an illegal player at the start of the 1998 season. Officially, Evangel’s winning streak is 30, going 15-0 in 1997 and ‘98.

John Curtis had a couple of 43-game win streaks, West Monroe won 42 straight and Haynesville had a 41-game winning streak, but no team has equaled the 54-game unbeaten streak.  

“I figured if anybody would break it, Evangel would be the one,” said Johnny “Red” Robertson, who, as Ferriday High head football coach from 1951-57, orchestrated the streak as well as leading the Bulldogs to four straight state championships in two different classifications.

Robertson, who was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, died in 2012 in Ferriday at the age of 88.

“I look back and remember how much I enjoyed what I was doing and sometimes wonder how we could get that many talented boys together that many years in a row,” Robertson said in 2006. “You may have success once out of every four years, I was fortunate to be part of good teams for several years. That was really special. The wins were a tribute to those boys,” Robertson said. “I was glad to be a part of something like that. There is always a chance it will be broken, but that’s what records are made for.”

Robertson was born June 28, 1924 in Shreveport, where he played football and ran track at Bossier High. As a senior in 1942, Robertson helped Bossier to an undefeated season and Class A state championship.

In was in high school that Robertson earned the nickname, “Red.”

“My hair used to be red,” Robertson said. “There were two of us who had red hair and they called us ‘the gold dust twins.’ I was running for senior president and put Johnny Robertson on my flyers. Nobody knew who that was, so I had to go back and change it to ‘Red.’ I think that’s what won me the race.”

He joined the service after graduation, and spent three years as an aircraft mechanic, mostly in Hawaii. He was discharged in February of 1946 and headed to LSU to play football.

Unfortunately, with World War II now history, thousands of G.I.s were coming home and going to college. Enrollment and rosters expanded.

LSU coaches advised Robertson to attend junior college until the ranks thinned out, but the hard-nosed athlete opted to attend Northwestern State, where he lettered four years at guard and end under legendary coach Harry Turpin.

Robertson arrived in Ferriday in spring of 1950 as a teacher only. In the fall of 1950, Robertson returned close to home to coach football at Haughton, while also starting summer classes that would eventually lead him to a Master’s degree from the University of Arkansas.

“My sister (Jacquelyn) told me since I went to college I should take up something I can make money at,” Robertson recalled. “But it wasn’t about money. I wanted to do something I liked to do. And I wouldn’t do anything different. I was very happy coaching and teaching. I could have taken a job with more money, but I may not have enjoyed it.”

In 1951, the 27-year-old Robertson returned to Ferriday to take over the football program.

“The job came open here and I came back to start coaching,” said Robertson, who has made Ferriday his home ever since. 

After going 5-5-1 at Haughton, Robertson led Ferriday to back-to-back 9-2 seasons in 1951 and ‘52, losing to Tallulah in district both years.

“Those were good ball clubs,” Robertson said. “We played a lot of young guys. Frank Brocato and Max Fugler both started off in the eighth grade. I never had any thoughts of a streak back then, we were just trying to win state.”

And he was doing it with just about all his players.

“Sometimes the second string played longer than the first string,” Robertson said. “I think it helped from year to year because we always had a lot of experience coming back.”

Robertson always made sure his team was in top shape.

“We used to run wind sprints a lot,” he said. “After practice the boys would be pooped out and I would run backwards and outrun them and make them mad.”

Robertson also positioned himself on the line during team scrimmages.

“They wanted to hit me so bad,” he said. “A lot of times I would play quarterback and start running the ball. As soon as they got close I just threw the ball up.”

“We knew better than to try and tackle him,” said Warren Enterkin, who was on every state championship team. “He was very agile and tough.”

Former high school All-American Max Fugler, who was an All-American center on the 1958 LSU national championship team, played at Ferriday from 1953-55.

“Coach Robertson was way ahead of his time,” Fugler said. “When he arrived it was a 360 degrees turnaround times five. And that’s nothing against the previous coaches. They credit Forrest Evashevski at Iowa with starting the wing T. We were running that in high school. We had Guy (Hill) and Wilburn (King) on the wing and would run the trap. The onside guard would miss his block intentionally and let the go guy free and here would come Tony Brocato to clean him out.”

Fugler said it was a special time in his life.

“Toward the middle of the run I began thinking about the streak,” Fugler said. “But every game we played was just as important as any other game. All the games were important because we were obsessed with winning. We didn’t want the streak to end. There were a number of times we came close, and it really wasn’t one person who stepped up each time because everybody realized we had to pick it up or we were going to lose.”

“We never did think about losing,” the late Manson Nelson said back in 2001. “We had some really good players.” 

Nelson also played on the LSU national championship team. 

The national record for high school teams with consecutive wins is 151 by Concord De La Salle (Calif.) from 1992-2003. Charlotte Independence (NC) had 77 from 2000-04, while Hudson (Mich.) had 72 from 1968-75.

Carver High in Picayune, Ms., won 64 straight from 1958-65.

“It was like riding a magic carpet,” said Leo Young Jr., who played on the 1953 and 1954 teams. “We had a lot of good football players. And during the latter part of the games, coaches were able to play the younger boys. The next year they would come in with playing experience. Someone like Donnie Daye played a lot when he was young and it was like that for a lot of the guys. Every year that goes by I am more and more amazed the record is still intact. It was a thrill to be a part of that. We had some wonderful coaches who knew how to get everything out of everybody.”

“I know our record will be broken in the state someday,” Fugler said. “I just hope it is broken by as fine a bunch of people as I played with.”

Frank Brocato, who started in the eighth grade and is the only person to ever start for four state championship teams, said he didn’t feel any extra pressure regarding the streak.

“There was not really any pressure to do anything back in the ‘50s,” he said. “It was a different time. The streak never entered my mind, I just went out there and played. Pressure was something that pushed us back in those days.”

Tommy Brasher, a long-time NFL assistant coach, played two years at Ferriday before returning to El Dorado, Ar., with his family as a sophomore.

“I don’t think that streak will ever be broken,” he said. “You just don’t see that many good players on a high school football team any more. And it was amazing the number we had. There were five guys sign Division I scholarships one year. That’s unheard of for a Class A team. That was a really special group and will always be that way for me.”

Hill, who finished third in a poll of the top athlete ever in Concordia Parish, was part of three state championship teams at Ferriday.

“When the streak got to about 30, people started writing about it,” Hill said. “It didn’t put any extra pressure on us. We just wanted to get to the next one. We were told it was the longest streak in the nation at the time. And everybody wanted to knock off Ferriday.”

Legendary West Monroe head coach Don Shows, who died in 2014, told the Sentinel in 2006 that he felt the state record will eventually be broken.

“It’s going to be tough for a public school to break that streak, which really is phenomenal,” Shows said. “It will probably be broken by a private school. That is quite a feat.”

Alton “Red” Franklin joined Haynesville High School in 1966 and led the Tornado to six state championships and accumulated a record of 245 wins, 61 losses, and nine ties. 

“Coach Robertson and I share one thing,” Franklin said. “We both had four straight championships.”

Franklin was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame two years before Robertson. His teams won 41 straight games.

“It’s not something you plan on,” Franklin said. “It’s just one of those things that happens. But when you get in on it, it starts wearing on you. That record will probably be broken, but I don’t think it will be anytime soon.”

Franklin has fond memories of Robertson.

“We played golf together,” Franklin said. “He has integrity running out all over him. He’s a super guy and he loved his youngsters on that football team.”

Longtime local high school football coach Bobby Marks was a senior on Robertson’s first team at Ferriday in 1951.

“Coach Robertson was a great man, and that’s No. 1 for me,” Marks said. “He just finished playing college football and he was very knowledgeable. You wanted to win for him. He was a great friend after football. He worked hard and did something that probably won’t be done again.”

Marks said one of the most impressive things about the streak is that Ferriday played a lot of teams higher up in class.

“They weren’t playing some rinky-dink schedule,” he said. “But Coach Robertson and Coach (James “Otto”) Lancaster were both really good coaches and we were very fortunate to have them.”

John Curtis High coach J.T. Curtis led his team to two 43-game win streaks.

“It is difficult because usually what happens and what makes it really hard is that you have to start playing better opponents and it becomes more difficult to maintain the win streak,” Curtis said. “I think it is even more difficult today because you have so many more non-district games and there are a lot of teams that don’t want to play you, so you have to schedule the better teams.”

Louisiana College head football coach Dennis Dunn led Evangel to 60 straight wins in the late 1990s, but that streak was cut down to 30 after the Eagles were forced to forfeit three games for using an illegal player at the start of the 1998 season. Officially, Evangel’s winning streak is 30, going 15-0 in 1996 and ‘97.

“We had the opportunity to win 60 straight games on the field, even though we had three taken away,” Dunn said. “Once you get on a roll, it’s almost as if the next senior class doesn’t want to be outdone by the previous class. It takes on a life all its own and has a snowball effect. It really helps the work ethic.”

Dunn has an interesting story of a freshman quarterback following the 1996 state championship.

“A freshman named Brock Berlin came up to me and said, ‘Coach, our class will be 60-0 when we are finished.’ I told him, ‘If you can believe it, I can believe it.’”

Berlin would be named Gatorade National Player of the Year and go on to quarterback at the University of Miami.

“He started as a sophomore and had a group of young guys with him who started as sophomores who weren’t going to be denied,” Dunn said. “Sure enough, they won 60 on the field. We didn’t talk about the streak until his last game. He came up to me, handed me the trophy and said, ‘Coach, I told you so.’ You have to have a group of kids with an unwavering belief that when they walk on the field, they are supposed to win.”

Dunn said he doesn’t see anyone in the state winning more than 54 straight games.

“There is so much parity, especially in Louisiana,” he said. “Once you get to the place where you are known as a winner, you have to schedule teams that are quality opposition. We developed a national schedule at Evangel not because we wanted to, but because we had trouble lining up games. When you play all those great east Texas teams year in and year out, it’s going to catch up to you. And as good as Louisiana high school football is - and it’s as good as anywhere in the country - I don’t see how such a streak is possible nowadays.”

Bastrop High School had a 49-game winning streak snapped in 2008 as the Rams fell to Evangel High 28-22. Former LSU and current New York Giants wide receiver Reuben Randle played quarterback for Bastrop.

“I haven’t really been keeping up with it until someone points something out,” Robertson said after Bastrop’s streak ended. “I figured it would be gone a long time ago. It does seem to make it more special the longer it stands.”

Bastrop head coach Brad Bradshaw said people would mention the Ferriday streak to him during the long run.

“It’s very difficult to keep a streak like that going,” Bradshaw said. “The pressure continues to mount and mount. You need to have pride in defeat and be a little humbled when you win.”

Bradshaw said going through the 49-game streak helps him appreciate what Ferriday did back in the 1950s.

“That’s a major accomplishment,” he said. “I never saw them, but heard about them. Those teams were amazing. I always wanted to talk to someone associated with it to see how they dealt with it.”

Ironically, when the streak began on September 11, 1953, the No. 1 song on the charts was “Vaya con Dios” (May God Be With You) by Les Paul and Mary Ford.

The Bulldogs would assemble the type of talent over the remainder of the decade that had fans, writers and opposing coaches around the state calling the school “The University of Concordia.”

“It put us in a different zone,” Fugler said.  “Coach Robertson was always driving us to get to where we needed to be and we were fortunate enough to get there.”

Warren Enterkin played on all four state championship teams.

“Coach Robertson and Coach Lancaster were such a great team,” Enterkin said. “They played football together at Northwestern and worked well together. Coach Robertson was very low-key, while Coach Lancaster was more aggressive and outgoing. Coach Robertson would walk the sidelines and talk to us, but I don’t ever remember him screaming at the officials or complaining about a bad call.”

CBS sportscaster Tim Brando called Robertson, “The Bud Wilkinson of Louisiana high school football” when he introduced him at the 2002 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Bossier City.

But Ferriday did not all of a sudden become a great football team.

In 1952, the Bulldogs, playing on their one-year old Melz Field, won the Northeast B championship, advancing to the playoffs where they beat Hanson Memorial 27-6. Seven Trailway buses filled with Ferriday supporters made the trip.

Ferriday fell to Kenner 21-19 in the Class B semifinals. Kenner would go on to win state.

Even with the loss of Red McNew and Charles Fugler, there were high expectations for the 1953 squad as 13 lettermen returned.

Max Fugler was the first high school All-American at Ferriday High, but he could have easily have been the second. His older brother Charles, who was a senior on the 1952 team, received a scholarship from Ole Miss, but opted to join the service instead of playing football in Oxford. Charles spent 21 years in the armed service, including stints in Vietnam.

“Charles was an animal,” Max said. “It helped me in following my big brother’s footsteps. I came up as a guard and when Charles left I moved to center.”

McNew went on to have an outstanding career at Northwestern.

“Red was a real competitor,” Robertson said. “He wanted to go to Louisiana Tech. I could never get ahold of (Tech coach) Joe Aillet. Finally I caught up with him on the golf course. I told him Red wanted to come up there. He told me he was too small. Red went to Northwestern and played quarterback his freshman year. In his first game, they beat Tech.”

“I think it kind of all began in 1952,” Max Fugler said of the amazing success of the next four teams. “No one thought we would go 54 games without a loss. We knew we had the talent, but Coach Robertson did a good job of never letting us look ahead. We may have beaten somebody 35-0 the year before but he would instill in us that they could still beat us that year.”

The Bulldogs would open the 1953 season against Westlake, a team that would go on to win the Class A state championship.

“The thing I remember about that game is that (Bulldog guard) Wayne Byles wasn’t around,” Robertson said. “I started looking for him, but couldn’t find him. I found out that he got sweaty working out before the game and went to take a shower. I was thinking, ‘my goodness, I have never heard of that.’”

Westlake, which defeated Ferriday 14-12 in the 1952 opener, returned most of its starters from the championship team.

Westlake scored first, but Tommy Purvis answered that score with a TD. Sophomore Max Fugler added the point-after kick.

Following another Westlake score, quarterback Bobby Glenn Harmon broke a 48-yard run to set up his own 1-yard TD plunge to put the score at 13-13.

“Bobby Glenn wasn’t very big, but he could handle the ball real well,” Robertson said.

With 49 seconds remaining, Westlake quarterback Ray Friesner, who would sign with Alabama, threw a pass 50 yards downfield that was broken up by Harmon, but the ball bounced 10 yards backwards into the arms of another Ram receiver who carried it to the Bulldog 8-yard line. Westlake would score from there and win the game 20-19.

“We were on their 19-yard line fixing to score, but we had a missed block and their linebacker met Eddie Hunter in the middle of the hole and that ended that drive,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the Ferriday team stayed overnight in Westlake and actually stayed in the homes of Westlake players.

When Westlake came to Ferriday the following year, Westlake players stayed at the homes of Ferriday players for economical reasons.

“Not only were we opponents, but we actually became pretty good friends with a lot of them,” Taylor said.

That loss would be the last defeat for four years and it would be the only time a team scored on Ferriday’s first-string defense the remainder of the year.

Longtime Concordia Parish Clerk of Court Clyde Ray Webber transferred to Ferriday High from Block as a sophomore in 1953. He played quarterback and safety for the Jonesville team and also did the kicking.

“During the summer I would practice with the Ferriday team,” Webber said. “My dad was a partner in the Ford place and he was always going back and forth to Jonesville. I really wanted to play for a winning team and I convinced him to move to Ferriday.”

Webber averaged 35 yards a punt.

“The reason for that is I never had one blocked,” he said. “I could sit back there for 15 minutes with our line.”

Harmon, who was named all-State at the end of the season, attended Waterproof school for six years before transferring to Ferriday in the seventh grade.

“The school bus to Tensas and Concordia parishes went by my house,” Harmon said. “I went to church in Waterproof. But I wanted to play piano, so I asked my parents if I could switch to Ferriday because they had music. Mr. (Forest) Griffin was the band director and he was very good. His wife taught music. At the same time, the seventh grade started pee wee football. Baker D. Newton was an English teacher and the pee wee coach. He was a real good guy and a good coach. In the ninth grade. I decided at the last minute to try out for the high school team. They had just enough equipment, I had leather headgear that was wrapped in plastic.”

Harmon said the Ferriday Quarterback Club and Mrs. Ben Green, the Ferriday High cafeteria dietitian and wife of former Concordia Parish Superintendent Ben Green, played a big part in getting everyone involved in football.

“We moved to the new school in 1951 and everyone wanted to play football,” Harmon said. “Mr. (E.W.) Horton was the president of the quarterback club for one or two years.”

Harmon also credited Dr. Pollard Coleman for helping get players who lived on the lake or farther away to practice.

“He and his wife worked at the hospital,” Harmon said. “When I was in the 10th or 11th grade he would leave a car for all of us who lived out that way to get to school. Bobby Marks and Alvin Everhart were two others. We would drive it to school and the one who lived the farthest would go home and keep the car. That was me. I would get up the next morning, go by his house and pick him up and he would drop me off at school. It worked out good for everybody because we didn’t need a ride.”

THE BEGINNING

The legendary streak began on September 18, 1953 as Ferriday blanked Winnsboro 19-0 on a wet field in Winnsboro.

“When I was in the 7th and 8th grades, Ferriday was beating people 7-0 and 14-0,” Harmon said. “We had never had much of an offense. When Coach Robertson and Coach Lancaster came in we had a lot better offensive schemes. And we had some pretty good players. I had a real good line in front of me. I don’t think I ever got sacked. The only time I remember being tackled behind the line was when a boy from Sicily Island named White caught me by surprise when I was fixing to hand the ball off. He jerked it out of my hand.”

Hill, who scored 20 touchdowns in 1953, tallied two touchdowns for the Bulldogs, while Harmon completed a 35-yard TD pass to Harvey Johnson.

“I always called Guy Hill a ‘stomping runner’ because he ran so hard and always wanted to run over you,” Fugler said.

“Winnsboro had this big ol’ boy at middle linebacker,” Robertson recalled. “I told Guy, ‘Don’t try and run over him, go around him.’ Guy hit the line and had open field around him. But he went right at that linebacker, dropped his shoulder and went right over him. He looked at me and just smiled.”

“That was just the way I ran,” Hill said.  “I had pretty good balance and I would try to run as low as I could to the ground to get up under some of those big boys so I wouldn’t be at a disadvantage.”

Hill lettered as a freshman, playing mostly on special teams although he went into the game in at halfback when the halfback pass was called because of his strong arm.

“It was a lot of fun and I thought it was just great to get a letter,” Hill said. “Just about every boy in the school played football. We practiced real hard and everybody knew they were going to get to play. In 1958, LSU created the Chinese Bandits, letting their third string play first string. We were doing that before then. The thing I remember most, though, is how hard we practiced. It was rough. We didn’t really have any water breaks. We would literally suck the sweat from our arms. And we ran a lot of sprints and gassers. We loved football, but we hated those sprints.”

Hill would later transfer to Houston.

Hill always wanted to be listed at 5-foot-10 inches when he played football at Ferriday High. But Robertson would only go as far as 5-foot-9 7/8.

“You always wanted to be bigger when they put down your size,” said Hill, who weighed about 178 pounds in high school. “I kept pushing for that little bit more.”

Hill certainly looked a lot bigger to opponents, many of whom watched the Bulldog bulldozer run right over him.

“That was just the way I ran,” Hill said. “I had pretty good balance and I would try to run as low as I could to the ground to get up under some of those big boys so I wouldn’t be at a disadvantage.”

Hill, who ran a 10.5 in the 100-yard dash, rushed for more than 5,000 yards at Ferriday High from 1952-54, scoring more than 80 touchdowns and totaling almost 500 points, leading the state in scoring for two straight years. He was part of three Ferriday teams which won 39 straight football games

“Guy was a great halfback,” Robertson said. “And an outstanding ball player. He wasn’t the type to slow up against anybody.”

Hill lettered as a freshman, playing mostly on special teams although he went into the game in at halfback when the halfback pass was called because of his strong arm.

“It was a lot of fun and I thought it was just great to get a letter,” Hill said. “Just about every boy in the school played football. We practiced real hard and everybody knew they were going to get to play. In 1958, LSU created the Chinese Bandits, letting their third string play first string. We were doing that before then. The thing I remember most, though, is how hard we practiced. It was rough. We didn’t really have any water breaks. We would literally suck the sweat from our arms. And we ran a lot of sprints and gassers. We loved football, but we hated those sprints.”

Taylor blocked a punt to set up one of Hill’s scores.

“There was a misconception that Ferriday went out and recruited all these guys,” Taylor said. “It was really the result of having a bunch of athletes who started out playing pee wee ball and coming together at one time.”

Toward the end of the third period, Frank Brocato made all three stops behind the line of scrimmage, tackling Winnsboro backs 13 yards behind the line over three plays.

Two weeks later, following a bye, Ferriday hosted Landry Memorial of Lake Charles and posted a 31-13 win in front of close to 4,000 fans.

A 42-yard kickoff return by Wilburn King and 31-yard run by Hill set up a 3-yard TD run by Harmon.

Harvey Johnson intercepted a pitchout and rambled 65 yards for another Bulldog score.

The Bulldogs posted their second shutout of the season in the fourth game, dominating Oak Grove 51-0.

Webber returned a punt 50 yards to set up a short TD run by Hill. Harmon had a 70-yard punt return for a score and also passed 63 yards to Young for another Bulldog TD.

“Leo Young and Buford Smith caught everything that came their way,” Harmon said.

“We played everybody in that game,” Robertson said. “I would have played the waterboys if they would have had uniforms. After the game I had a group of men coming at me and I am thinking, ‘Uh-oh, they are mad about the score.’ But they told me how much they appreciated me trying to hold the score down.”

Ferriday continued lighting up the scoreboard the next week, defeating Natchez Cathedral 34-13 as Hill scored four touchdowns.

A Harmon interception set up a short TD run by Hill and Johnson recovered a fumble that led to another short Hill score.

Taylor tackled Greenie quarterback Sammy Eidt in his own end zone for a safety. Don Horton scored the final TD after Frank Brocato recovered a fumble.

“We had two quick guards (Manson Nelson and Frank Brocato) who hit their quarterback before he was able to hand the ball off,” Robertson said. “They caused a lot of havoc.”

“You couldn’t hem them up in a shoe box,” Fugler said of Nelson and Brocato.

Ferriday opened Northeast District play with a 39-0 pasting of Wisner, holding the visiting Bulldogs to minus-12 yards rushing. The Bulldogs rushed for 265 yards and had 65 more through the air. Hill tallied three touchdowns in the contest.

“We played a 6-3 on defense and if they got by our two guards they had to then get by Max Fugler,” Robertson said.

Ferriday enjoyed a 66-12 rout of Block the following week at Homecoming as Gloria Brocato was crowned Queen.

Harmon scored on a 58-yard punt return and Fugler returned an interception 70 yards for a score.

Webber scored on a 4-yard run against his former school.

“They had sent word that they were going to take me out,” Webber said. “I wasn’t really worried because of the people in front of me. It was quite an experience. I can’t hardly remember anything else because everything was focused on the football game. It was great. I had never been on a winning team. Once we got to the playoffs, it was just an adrenaline rush. Coach would call us at night and make sure we were home at 9 p.m. It was a full-time job playing. If we weren’t making good grades, Coach Lancaster would tutor us.”

Ferriday reserves finished the game.

“The hardest we played was against our second team,” Webber said. “We had scout teams that took notes of other teams. Somebody would watch one person and look for some type of idiosyncrasy. A player from one team put his left foot back when they ran left and right foot back when they ran right. We knew which way they were going before they snapped the ball.”

Ferriday cruised again the following week, running over Lake Providence 34-0 in the Panthers’ Homecoming.

Harmon returned a punt for a touchdown and Webber set up another score with a 70-yard punt return.

“Our kick return was a good offensive play for us,” Robertson said. “The rules have changed where you can’t block below the waist. But we would have our line make a wall. Max Fugler was one of the most vicious blockers. He would come around and catch somebody not looking and really turn them over. We worked on our kickoffs quite a bit.”

Webber said the return was set up before the kick.

“We knew ahead of time who would run it because most of the time we would run to the wide side of the field,” he said. “We may have changed that up a few times to cross the other team up.

“Sometimes I would have to run backwards to give the linemen time to line up,” Webber said. “I saw Max tear one guy up. I just tried to stay away from the tackler long enough so Max could nail him. Max blindsided him and they had to carry him off the field.”

Harmon returned the second half kickoff 79 yards for another score for his second touchdown of the game.

The Ferriday team was rewarded by the Ferriday Quarterback Club as they traveled Saturday to see a college football doubleheader between Tulane-Army and LSU-Ole Miss.

“We went to New Orleans and ate at Charley’s Steak House,” Taylor said. “We watched the Tulane game and I sat on the Tulane bench because back then seniors could sit on the bench because they were recruiting me. Then we went to Baton Rouge for the LSU game.”

LSU lost to No. 18 Ole Miss 27-16 on Halloween night before 45,000 in Tiger Stadium.

Arch-rival Sicily Island battled the Bulldogs the following week, with Ferriday coming out on top 14-0. Ferriday rushed for 230 yards while holding the Tigers to 55.

Fugler recovered a fumble that set up a 28-yard run by Hill.

Webber returned a kick 62 yards to the Sicily Island 28. Harmon would go in from one yard out for the first score of the game.

Nelson recovered a Tiger fumble - but three straight penalties, two on scoring plays - kept the Bulldogs from capitalizing.

Sicily Island was led by bruising running back B.K. Miller.

“Raymond Peace was the coach at Sicily Island and he liked running the Notre Dame Box,” Robertson said. “That was the only school we would come up against running that offense. We had one week to work on that. It was a big advantage to them. I found the best thing to do was play three men down on the line and have five linebackers. I would put the three lineman on the line where they didn’t trap.”

Webber said defensive coach James “Otto” Lancaster would have a different man over the center each play.

“Everybody took turns running over the center,” Webber said. “Their players were running into each other and into the center because their center was being pushed back into the backfield each play.”

Ferriday posted a 26-0 shutout win over Newellton as Harmon took a handoff from Webber on a punt return and went 82 yards to paydirt.

Byles blocked a punt that was recovered by Nelson at the Newellton 22-yard line. Harmon capitalized by scoring from six yards out.

Nelson recovered a fumble on the Newellton 4-yard line and Hill took it in from there.

Ferriday won the Northeast title for the second straight year on Thanksgiving Day, defeating previously unbeaten Waterproof 14-0 before 3,200 fans.

“That was extra special,” Harmon said. “Of course I knew a lot of their players. J.D. Stockstill was really good and Doonie Price went on to play at Auburn. Clyde Ray Webber came in to hold for an extra point and he said to let him kick one of the extra points. I told him, “not this time, some other time.” 

Webber finished third in the district in scoring.

“We had to hunker down against Waterproof,” Webber said. “I ended up getting hurt. I was holding the ball for Max on the conversion and Doonie Price kicked me in the face accidentally trying to block the kick. I didn’t have a faceguard and ended up with blood all in my eye. I was bleeding pretty bad. It was a rough game. They actually had one play where when they were near the goal line the back would fumble into the end zone on purpose and both ends would come in and try to recover. It worked most of the year, but not against us.”

Waterproof attempted to punt away from Harmon, resulting in a 4-yard punt to the Waterproof 42. Harmon capped off the short scoring drive with a 1-yard run.

A 54-yard run by Horton inside the Waterproof 10-yard line in the second half went for naught after a Bulldog fumble, but a short Waterproof punt led to a 6-yard TD scamper by Hill.

“Waterproof had a Price boy who was hard to stop,” Robertson said. “If you did not get to him before he reached the line of scrimmage he would be tough to bring down. He was quick and fast. They also had a young quarterback. Frank and Max would talk to him the whole game and made him real nervous.”

Each team had a TD called back as Johnson recovered a fumble and raced 70 yards for a score, only to have that negated. Stockstill completed a screen pass to Neal Fletcher that went the distance, but was called back. Don Horton intercepted a Tiger pass at the Bulldog 10-yard line and returned it 25 yards to end that drive.

“That was a big thing beating Waterproof,” Hill said. “I remember there being people everywhere for that game. The town just shut down whenever we played. I remember after that game Dan Chase laying at midfield just disgusted. He was a really good athlete.  We won district back then, but it was always tough.”

Ferriday, which outscored its opponents 378-57 through the regular season, drew a bye in the playoffs before facing Logansport in a Class B quarterfinal contest.

Logansport, which beat Port Allen 20-13 in a first-round playoff game, had not been scored on until the final regular season game of the year. 

“I don’t know if it was the press or their coach, but this game was built up so much,” Webber said.

Ferriday rolled to an easy 30-6 win on a muddy field inundated by rain most of the week. A Logansport majorette lost her footing during their band’ performance, while a Ferriday twirler nearly went to the ground during her performance.

Ferriday finished with 300 rushing yards, while holding Logansport to 86.

“Their coach was a good friend of mine,” Robertson said. “He told me before the game that if he threw his hat in the air it meant I should slow down a little bit. Sure enough, the hat went in the air during the game.”

Fugler recovered a fumble on the first play of the game and Hill took advantage with a short TD run.

“I think that set the tone,” Fugler said. “The thing I remember about that game is that my mother was raised in Logansport and all my kin folk were coming down here to see them beat the hell out of Ferriday.”

Byles blocked a punt that Johnson picked up and returned to the Logansport 14-yard line. Purvis would take it in from two yards out for the score.

Hill would add a 60-yard touchdown run.

After a muddy first half, Ferriday came out with new uniforms in the second half as Harmon would return the kick 80 yards for a score. Webber added an 85-yard TD run.

Robertson had acquired the second set of uniforms from Louisiana College after auctioning off a bale of cotton.

“I think putting on new uniforms gave the boys more of a spurt,” Robertson said. “But they liked to play in the mud. They hit the ground sliding early in the second half. They didn’t stay clean too long.”

“When I played at Jonesville we had to buy our own socks,” Webber said. “When I got to Ferriday we had our shoes bought for us.”

Ferriday would face Hanson Memorial for the state championship two days before Christmas in Franklin, a sugar cane town on the Bayou Teche.

The Tigers were coached by Dick “Coach Mac” McCloskey, a spirited fireplug coach who would join Robertson in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame one year later in 2003.

The Tigers were 8-1-1 in 1953. The lone loss was to Waterproof and the tie was against Catholic High of New Iberia, 6-6.

Some oddsmakers thought McCloskey might outmaneuver the methodical, conservative - Robertson.  

 The game featured two players on opposite sides who would eventually become good friends in Neil Minor of Ferriday and Wayne Lancon of Franklin. Minor fell in love with Franklin and relocated there years after the title game. inor and Lancon both became pillars of their communities, as Lancor resided in Jeanerette.

Right before the game the lights went out,” Robertson said. “They stayed out about 15-to-20 minutes. We were deciding whether to play the game or not. We had gone down the night before and spent the night at a hotel. We had some cheerleaders come by and try to entice our boys to come out. Neil Minor met a girl down there, talked to her and went back down there after he finished school and married her. I didn’t know about the girls until the next day.” 

Minor also got a state championship title as the Bulldogs posted a 20-0 win for its 12th straight win.

That was something else,” Hill said of the first state championship. “But we never thought about losing. We had good players, good coaches and we practiced hard. We would carry each other in wheelbarrel exercises for 40 yards and then run gassers. We stayed in shape.”

Harmon scored on a short run on Ferriday’s first drive and Joplin blocked a punt that led to a 3-yard TD run by Hill.

Johnson intercepted a pass at midfield and returned it to the Hanson 36. Harmon would convert that turnover into points with an 8-yard TD run.

“They had a pretty powerful team,” Fugler said. “They thought they were going to run us off the field. Red Garvin and Austin Wilson were sitting in the stands with some of their fans. I don’t know if they had a lot of fun getting out from that game.”

“It was OK,” Harmon said of beating Hanson. “But it wasn’t like our rival games with Sicily Island and Waterproof.”

“Coach ‘Mac’ had fire in his eyes that night,” Lancon remembered. “He could really work himself up and he was all serious that night.”

Minor remembers the game with more than just the obligatory wave of nostalgia. He greatly admired the Franklin area and its people. Fresh out of college, he relocated here. He became an active member of social, business, boys and girls clubs and mentors young athletes. Like Lancon, he wanted his Bulldogs to win the game against Hanson that night, of course. But, unlike Lancon, he had little doubt of the outcome.

“I knew we were going to win, frankly. I just felt it in my bones,” said Minor, who went on to serve as zoning officer for the City of Franklin. “Of course, I just knew we were going to win every game we played. In fact, we did. I never played on a losing team in my life.”

Minor was with Ferriday when Robertson’s team won four consecutive state titles and he helped the varsity outscore opponents by a combined score of 62-0 in the four championship games.

“In the mid-1950s, we outscored our opponents 478-93 while notching an incredible 14-0 season record,” Minor said. “Our streak of four straight titles stood as the longest in state history for 36 years.”

Minor credits Robertson’s steely resolve and motivational virtues for the Bulldog teams that won 92 percent of their games and managed to record a four-year stretch without a single loss.  

“Coach Robertson was simply an inspiration to all of us,” Minor said. “He knew how to discipline a young man. He knew how to get the best out of him.”

Lancon was part of a heartbreaking moment in that title game with Ferriday. On the second half kickoff, with Ferriday leading 20-0, Lancon took the ball on his own 11-yard line and dashed straight up the middle.

“At midfield, I saw a clearing to my left, so I cut that way and ran to the goal line,” he recalls. “And then I looked back and saw the officials had thrown a flag. That was it.”

The 79-yard touchdown scamper down the sidelines had been nullified by a Tiger clip. Lancon said that he was so “teed off” he kicked the penalty flag “into the air.”

“You never know, but the complexion of the game might have changed,” he said. “Instead of 20-0 it would have been 20-6. Who knows, we might have regained the momentum.”

“You have to remember, we didn’t lose,” Minor said about a change in momentum. “We just didn’t think we could lose. The word lose was not in our vocabulary.”

Nelson sacked the Hanson quarterback seven times.

On the Hanson side of the ledger there were, besides Lancon, Hanson quarterback Macky Bourg, and halfback C.J. Rogers.

Bourg was arguably the greatest signal caller in Hanson history. He was named to the Class B All-State squad for two consecutive years. Ironically, it might have been him, says Lancon, who committed the clip that nullified Hanson’s only “touchdown” in the title game.

After high school, Minor played on the Gulf States Conference Championship team in 1956 at Northwestern State University. Lancon, who keeps close track of the New Orleans Saints, never played college football. But he performed splendidly in the North-South High School football classic in 1954. So did two other gridiron legends, Jim Taylor, who went on to play at Green Bay and John David Crowe, later a Texas A&M and NFL standout.

The 1953 team outscored its opponents 405-76, with Harmon and Young making All-State. 

Young attended Tulane.

“I was too small at 5-8 to go anywhere,” Harmon said.

Harmon said the Ferriday teams during that time could have been even more potent.

“Freddie Stuart and his brother Alvin moved to Baton Rouge when his parents, who ran the (Arcade) theater moved,” Harmon said. “They went to play at Istrouma. Freddie was a scatback. Had they both stayed, we would have been even better.”

Harmon received the Fudickar Award, named for Ferriday businessman John Fudickar, which goes to the most valuable player on the team.

Besides Harmon and Taylor, Wayne Byles, Kenneth McKnight, Harvey Johnson, Buford Smith and Tom Welch played their last high school games in the state championship game.

MOVING ON UP

With the LHSAA adding a fourth class in 1954, Ferriday moved up to Class A and won every game by at least 18 points until they beat Gonzales 14-0 for the state championship. Halfback Guy Hill, tackle James Joplin, guard Frank Brocato and center Max Fugler made All-State. 

The Bulldogs competed in District 2-A their first year in Class A.

“It didn’t bother us in the least,” Fugler said. “We still had many of the same players.”

“I’m not so sure there wasn’t that much a stiffer competition,” said Webber, who was a senior on the team. “The toughest game we played was against Waterproof. But it was different when we got to the playoffs. We had not seen those teams before.”

“We were wondering how different it would be in the playoffs,” Hill said. “But we just continued practicing hard. Those were some good times.”

Ferriday was without graduated seniors Bobby Glenn Harmon, Wayne Byles, Kenneth McKnight, Harvey Johnson, Buford Smith, Tom Welch and Gene Taylor.

But these were still good times for Ferriday followers, who overflowed Melz Field for each home game.

The unfortunate thing is that Ferriday’s first few games went from warm-ups for district to district games.

“We had to schedule North Caddo, which was double-A, as a non-district game,” Robertson said. “I said before the year that we would be on the bottom of the totem pole. But we always had hope. I think it actually made us work harder.”

“That was a time when Ferriday was one of the best, if not the best place in the state of Louisiana to live,” said Young, a senior on the ‘54 team. “And life in Ferriday centered around the football team. We had extraordinary community support. Every weekend or every other weekend someone was providing a barbecue or cookout for the team. Mrs. Ben Green cooked up something in the cafeteria every Monday night for the Quarterback Club. They would show film of the previous game and the coaches would make comments. They would different players each week as guests. Everybody ran their business during the week thinking about the weekend.”

On Sept. 3, 1954, Ferriday hosted a jamboree with Waterproof, Jonesville and Wisner, which drew about 2,000 fans.

Ferriday defeated Waterproof 12-0, blanked Wisner 6-0 and played to a 0-0 tie with Jonesville as no first team players competed against the Bears.

Picking up right where he left off from his junior year, senior Wilburn King went 62 yards on the first play of the game against Waterproof, but that was brought back on a penalty. Junior Tommy Purvis scored on a 5-yard run and Junior Guy Hill scored from two yards out after junior Marion Newman recovered a fumble.

Junior Manson Nelson blocked and recovered a punt to set up Ferriday’s score against Wisner.

The Bulldogs opened their season on Sept. 17 against Winnsboro, which was coming off a 21-0 victory against Lake Providence.

On the same night Rocky Marciano knocked out Ezzard Charles in the eighth round in a heavyweight championship fight, Ferriday blanked Winnsboro 38-0 under threatening skies. It was the 13th straight win for the Bulldogs.

Winnsboro finished with six yards of positive yardage on the night.

Nelson and sophomore Frank Brocato disrupted the Winnsboro offense and forced them to go from a split T offense to the single wing, to no avail.

King scored on a 2-yard run and junior Max Fugler recovered a fumble to set up an 11-yard run by Purvis. That score was set up by a pass from Webber to Hill.

Hill always wanted to be listed at 5-foot-10 inches when he played football at Ferriday High. But Robertson would only go as far as 5-foot-9 7/8.

“You always wanted to be bigger when they put down your size,” said Hill, who weighed about 178 pounds in high school. “I kept pushing for that little bit more.”

Hill certainly looked a lot bigger to opponents, many of whom watched the Bulldog bulldozer run right over him.

“I’ll never forget when we were playing Winnsboro and they had a lineman who was huge,” Robertson said. “I told Guy, ‘Now, don’t try and run over him, run around him.’ Well, sure enough Guy ran right at him and knocked him down. He looked back at me and just smiled.”

Ferriday defeated Bunkie 40-6 in its second game. Hill raced 32 yards to open the scoring and also had a 26-yard TD run in the third period.

The Bulldogs continued rolling the following week with a 47-7 win over Block. 

Fugler was unable to play because of an illness, but the first-string only played one quarter after scoring 19 points.

Hill had a 49-yard TD run, while King scored from the 5-yard line.

Hill added a 26-yard run in the first quarter which allowed the B team to finish the game. 

Donnie Daye had his first touchdown as a Bulldog.

Ferriday faced defending District 2A champion Rayville the following week and rolled to a 33-6 win. The contest was 6-6 after one period.

Rayville lost to Westlake in the 1953 state championship game.

Purvis scored on a 40-yard run on the first play of the game. Hill had an 11-yard run and Nelson blocked a kick for a safety. King had a 24-yard scoring run and returned a punt 50 yards for a score.

“Rayville wore orange uniforms,” Robertson said. “The coach at Rayville asked me if we could play our game with a white football. I said no. He said he would do something that would make me mad, but it was legal. I told him if it was legal, it wouldn’t make me mad.”

What the Rayville coach did was paint white stripes on his team’s uniforms to conform with the football.

“It looked like everybody was carrying the football,” Robertson said. “It made it tough to see who had the ball. But after the game I told him, ‘It didn’t work, did it.’”

The following week, more Ferriday fans crowded the Wisner stadium than Wisner fans as the Bulldogs cruised to a 39-0 win.

Webber had a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown in that contest. Don Horton scored on an 11-yard run.

Horton would be named most valuable player of the team at the end of the season.

“That really surprised me,” Horton said. “We had a bunch of good players and most of us started out playing pee wee football together and went all the way through junior high. We all loved playing. We didn’t really pay attention to the streak, we were just focused on the next game and our coaches helped us stay focused. We loved our coaches.”

Ferriday traveled to Shreveport the following week and faced Vivian (which would later change to North Caddo) in conjunction with the Louisiana State Fair.

The Bulldogs won 41-0 as Purvis scored on a 65-yard scamper. Hill had a 42-yard TD run.

“It was a good ballgame in the first half,” Robertson said. “At halftime I got the boys on the bus and started getting on them pretty good because they weren’t doing a thing. James Joplin was a big boy who was always scared he would hurt somebody. He went back out in the second half and hit the tackle, picked him up and threw him into the quarterback, forcing him to fumble the ball and we picked it up and ran for a touchdown. He did the same thing on the next series and we recovered another fumble. It was our game the rest of the half.”

Ferriday then defeated Lake Providence 40-13 to claim the Northeast Louisiana Class A district title.

Nelson recovered a fumble at the Lake Providence 35 and Hill went in from two yards out. Hill had a 79-yard run for a TD.

Jimmy Marks passed to Tony Brocato for the final score.

Lake Providence was the first opponent of the season to score two touchdowns on the Bulldogs and it was only the first time a team scored an offensive TD against the first team.  

“There was a problem in the line because we were getting a lot of penalties and I was trying to find out what was going on,” Robertson said. “I went out to ask the referee, and he told me, ‘I don’t have to talk to you, Coach.’”

Young said every game in district was crucial.

“You look at the playoffs now and you have some teams who have five wins,” Young said. “When we played, if you lost a game you were out. You played until you lost, and then you were gone. It was a lot more competitive then.”

Young visited Auburn because his father, Leo Young Sr., was a roommate of former Auburn coach Shug Jordan when they both went to Auburn.

“I visited Auburn on several occasions, but back then it was a nine-hour drive and I thought that was just too far,” Young said. “My dad was disappointed with that decision. The LSU head coach at that time was Gaynell Tinsley, and he was not popular at all. I didn’t want to go there. but I wanted to be in the state of Louisiana. Tulane was re-emphasizing football and I ended up going there. Right after I signed LSU brought in Paul Dietzel.”

Ferriday beat Sicily Island 53-20 the following week as Purvis got things going with TD runs of 8 and 16 yards. Webber returned a punt 55 yards for another score. 

“I should have run another back right after that, but B.K. Miller caught me because I was just exhausted,” Webber said. “I couldn’t run anymore.”

Miller scored all three of Sicily Island’s touchdowns. The win was the 20th straight.

Ferriday led 25-0 at halftime. Roger Zettler brought the crowd to its feet in the final period with a 71-yard TD sprint.

The win made the Bulldogs 31-4 over the last 35 games, with all four losses coming by two points or less. Two of the losses were to state champions. But Robertson still found reasons for his team not to relax.

“We would take films and sit down and point out things they were doing wrong,” he said. 

Newellton came in for Homecoming the next week as Jane Brown was crowned Homecoming queen. Patsy Fugler was band sweetheart.

Ferriday won 32-0 as Purvis scored from 17 yards out to start the onslaught after Neil Minor recovered a fumble. It was the first time Newellton had been shut out all year.

Hill completed a 40-yard scoring pass to Harry Panky.

“I could throw the football a long way,” Hill said. “My senior year I kept asking Coach Robertson to let me play quarterback. Jimmy Marks got hurt against Rayville and Bud Huff was the backup, but he was hurt. But Coach Robertson sent me in and I called the option and ran the ball every time. We got down to the 2-yard line and Tony Brocato wanted me to pass him the ball. I went to pass and it was intercepted. I did not want to go back to the sideline.”

“I didn’t care too much about Homecoming because they always wanted to have the boys walk out the Homecoming court,” Robertson said. “I didn’t object too much, but I didn’t see how it fit in with the program.”

Ferriday defeated Cathedral 32-14 to improve to 10-0.

That contest was played on a Thursday night in Rebel Stadium in Natchez. Admission was $1 for adults and 50 cents for students. Cathedral’s only losses on the season were to Meadville and Crosby.

The contest, which drew 2,000 fans - most from Ferriday - was tied 7-7 at halftime.

Passes to Horton and Young had Ferriday moving early, but a fumble turned the ball over. After a short punt, Webber hit Young for a 10-yard TD score.

Cathedral used the combination of Broussard to Gerald Martello to move the ball.

“That was always a hard-hitting game,” Robertson said. “Coach (Don) Alonzo always had a tough team.”

Ferriday scored three times in the third period to pull away. Young returned a fumble 40 yards for third score of the third period.

“That was a big thrill,” Young said. “That was one of the few close games we had.”

Hill said Clyde Ray Webber, who did the punting, had a slight ankle injury that didn’t keep him out of the game, but kept him from punting.

“Coach Lancaster told me I was going to punt,” Hill said. “I made the stupid mistake of saying I was not going to punt, meaning to say I couldn’t punt. He dressed me down real good. Well, the second half there it was. We had to punt and I went in there and kicked it straight up in the air. It hit the ground at the line of scrimmage and had a backspin on it. It bounced back 17 yards. That ended up punting career.”

Ferriday’s regular Thanksgiving Day game against Waterproof was cancelled because the Bulldogs were starting playoffs in Class A against Many. The contest was set for 2:30 p.m. in Ferriday. Regular Friday night games kicked off at 8 p.m.

Ferriday principal Hugh Bateman met with Many officials and it was decided to play the game in Ferriday because of more seating.

Many was coached by Julius Yellot, who played football at Northwestern with Robertson and James Otto Lancaster.

The Bulldogs won the game 40-13, but lost Frank Brocato with a broken elbow.

“I was worried about how that would affect the team,” Robertson said. “But sometimes that type of things makes the others play harder.”

Hill scored on a 22-yard run for his 20th touchdown of the year. King had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Webber scored on a 9-yard run and added the conversion kick.

Ferriday faced Westlake in the semifinals. Westlake was the only team that could boast two wins over Robertson and the last team to beat Ferriday before the 21 straight wins.

Westlake, which was led by Bennie Ellender, who would go on to coach at Tulane, defeated Oakdale 16-6 to reach the semifinals.

Ferriday principal Hugh Bateman brought in 1,000 extra bleacher seats for the contest.

The Bulldogs had outscored their opponents 435-79.

Ferriday defeated the defending Class A champions, 32-14, becoming the first team to play their second string against Westlake. It was the worst loss for Westlake in two years. The Rams were held to 30 yards rushing, the lowest ever for an Ellender-coached team.

Ferriday stopped the Rams on fourth-and-one at the Westlake 35, which led to a 16-yard TD run by King. Minor recovered a fumble on the kickoff and Hill scored from three yards out.

King, playing one of his best games of the season, had a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Meanwhile, back in Class B, Delhi defeated Sicily Island 32-12 in the semifinals. Delhi would lose in the finals to Donaldsonville.

Ferriday defeated Gonzales 14-0 for the Class A championship, becoming the first high school in the state to win back-to-back championships in different classifications. It was also the second straight year a championship game was held in Ferriday.

The visiting Bulldogs even tried a field goal in the final seconds from the Ferriday 9-yard line to prevent the shutout, but it was wide.

The contest, which was played on December 17, was the third straight playoff game held at Melz Field, as the Bulldogs won the coin toss to decide the site.

Gonzales entered the game with a 24-game winning streak.

“Hart Bourque, who went to LSU at the same time I went, was on the Chinese Bandits,” said Fugler, who played on the White Team for the 1958 national champions. “They thought they were going to beat the dogwater out of us. They just thought they had a good team.”

Webber remembers Bourque, as well.

“Hart hit me and Wilber at the same time on a punt return and wiped us both out,” he said. “He became Clerk of Court in Ascension Parish.”

Bourque knew what was on the line, besides just a state championship.

When Bourque’s Gonzales football team traveled to Ferriday on that December night in 1954, the visiting Bulldogs would be going after their first-ever state football championship.

“They had such a good team,” said Bourque, who was part of a Gonzales team that entered the contest with a 9-1-2 record. “They were way above the rest of us. And Max Fugler liked to have killed us. They had a big following and they had some hard hitters and a really good coach.”

Bourque would join Fugler and Ferriday’s Donnie Daye at LSU where they would be part of the 1958 national championship team.

But there would be no championship for the visiting Bulldogs this night, as the home team dressed in blue and orange shut out Gonazles 14-0.

Webber kicked both extra points before having an up close meeting with Bourque, who he would become friends with later.

“It was during a punt return,” Webber said. “I was crossing with Wilburn King and I went inside of him to hand the ball off and Hart laid into me. I wasn’t able to attend the victory dance.”

Ferriday High was looking to create some history of its own. After winning the Class B state title in 1953, the Bulldogs were looking to become the first team in Louisiana football history to win back-to-back state titles in two different classifications after moving up to Class A.

It would mark the second straight year a state championship game was being played at Melz Field in Ferriday. Melz Field was named after Morris Melz, who built and ran the Arcade Theater, which was originally built on First Street, but moved to Louisiana Avenue after a fire destroyed the original buidling.

After Melz’s death, he left great sums of money in his will to the town to build a new school.

Gonzales was so frustrated from not being able to move the ball in the contest that they tried a field goal in the final seconds from the Ferriday 9-yard line to prevent the shutout. It was wide.

The contest was the third straight playoff game held at Melz Field, as the Bulldogs won the coin toss to decide the site.

The home Bulldogs overcame five fumbles in the contest. 

“I try to keep things interesting in practice instead of running the same plays over and over,” Robertson said. “We started putting in new plays to give them something to work on. We tried some of them out in that game, and I think that’s what led to some fumbles. We disregarded those plays the rest of the game.”

After a scoreless first half which included a goal line stand by the host Bulldogs, Ferriday drove to the Gonzales 1-yard line in the third  period before fumbling it away.

A clipping penalty nullified a 47-yard TD run by GUY Hill in the second quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Hill, who rushed for 177 yards in the contest, went 45 yards to paydirt. Hill would finish the season with more than 1,500 rushing yards.

On the next drive, Webber scampered six yards on fourth down to the Gonzales 10 to keep the drive alive. Horton finished off the drive from five yards out.

“At halftime I tried to give them some incentive to play harder in the second half,” Robertson said with a slight smile. “Our team was in pretty good shape, even though we may not have had our first team play the entire game during the year. I was happy we could hold them at the end. That championship was just as special as the first one. It’s something we could say we accomplished by winning two titles in two classifications.”

“Winning is what counted,” Fugler said. “You never remember who came in second.”

SEEKING ANOTHER TITLE

With two straight state championships in two different classifications and a 25-game winning streak staring it in the face, the 1955 Ferriday High Bulldogs wore a big ol’ bull’s eye on their orange and blue jerseys.

“At first we really didn’t expect to win every game during the streak,” said Enterkin, a junior on the 1955 team. “As time went on, it got to be where we felt like we could win each game. Coach never let us get overconfident, though. He told us, ‘Boys, you can’t just roll your headgear out there and win. You have to go out and play.’”

The year found Robertson starting the season without his trusty sidekick James “Otto” Lancaster, who accepted the job of principal at LaSalle High in Jena.

“I knew I was losing a good man,” Robertson said. “I sure hated to see him leave.”

Johnny Emmons joined the staff in place of Lancaster.

Butch Bateman was a sophomore on the 1955 team.

“The stars were really lined up over Ferriday those years,” Bateman said. “That just doesn’t happen that often in a town this size. And then to have the kind of coaching leadership we had, it was amazing. I was an average high school football player and I was in absolute awe of the boys I grew up with and their athletic ability.”

Bateman’s father, Hugh Bateman, was the principal at Ferriday High. In 1944, he coached the football team that lost to Slidell 14-6 in the Class B state finals.

“One thing I remember talking with other people about is that Ferriday was getting trounced in the first half,” the younger Bateman said of the state championship game. “The players came in at halftime and were prepared to get a scolding. But Dad and the other coach didn’t say a word, they just sat there and stared at them. The team came out in the second half and turned things around. They played great, but came up a little short.”

Bateman’s father later became superintendent.

“Any kid coming up can tell you that if you have a parent who is a teacher, coach or connected with the school than it was different in how the kids reacted to you. But I got treated like any other student by my dad. He expected me to set the example. There were a couple of times my blue jeans were blistered from misbehaving in school. But I remember waking up early and going to school with my dad so he could fire up the boilers. He also cut the grass with those old mowers. It was an interesting era.”

And it was a tough era.

Marion Newman was a senior lineman on the team.

“It was just knock-down, drag-out all the time,” Newman said. “We had some hard practices. And we ran a lot of sprints with no water breaks. We played real football at practice. When we got through on Wednesday afternoons, Friday nights were easy. That’s what we looked forward to. It was a picnic compared to the practices.”

Newman said even during the season the starting lineup was not set.

“Nobody had a position and everybody was after it,” he said.

The only game in 1955 the Bulldogs didn’t win by more than a touchdown was a 26-20 victory over Class 2A Springhill. 

At halftime of their annual Thanksgiving Day game with Tallulah, Robertson told the starters to take a shower, put on their regular clothes and watch the rest of the game (a 47-25 victory) from the stands. 

The Bulldogs beat Redemptorist (Baton Rouge) 14-0 for the state championship.

Senior Max Fugler was first team All-American and made the All-State team along with senior Guy Hill, who was also honorable mention on the high school All-American team.

Sophomore end Tony Brocato, senior tackle Buddy Long and senior guard Manson Nelson were also named to the all-State team. 

Ferriday defeated Jonesville 12-0 in its jamboree in preparation for the 1955 season as Hill scored on runs of eight and 10 yards and blanked Waterproof 12-0 as Hill scored on a 35-yard run following a fumble recovery by Nelson. Hill also had a 65-yard scoring run.

Ferriday defeated Wisner 7-0 in the season opener as Jimmy Marks completed a 15-yard TD pass to Hill.

Marks ended the season with 22 touchdown passes, which reportedly ranked second in the nation.

“All I did was try to get it over the line of scrimmage and Guy would just run over the defensive backs,” Marks said. “Those little defensive backs didn’t have a chance. I think every pass we completed went for a touchdown.”

Marks said he did not feel any extra pressure taking over at quarterback for the ‘55 season.

“We played as much as the starters against the opposition’s starters in 1954,” he said. “We expected to play a half of each game. We never talked about the streak and the coaches never said anything. And the papers didn’t play it up until later.”

Marks has been living in Pascagoula, Ms., the past 42 years. His family had to evacuate to Mobile, Al., when Hurricane Katrina hit and returned to the Gulf Coast a few months ago.

“We went to stay with my daughter in Mobile when it hit and then we got an apartment over there while they were working on our house,” Marks said. “We always head to Mobile when a hurricane is coming but that’s the first time we got water in our house.”

The Bulldogs made it 26 straight but did not make Robertson any happier with a 26-6 win over Sicily Island, which was led by B. K. Miller and Albert Dampier. Ferriday had three touchdowns called back because of penalties and five fumbles.

Donnie Daye had a 72-yard TD run called back.

Ferriday improved to 3-0 with a 49-20 win over Newellton. Hill had three touchdowns, while Daye scored two.

Ferriday scored on the first play of the game and in every quarter.

The Ferriday band, led by Robert Lincoln, played “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” at halftime. But the Bulldogs would not need any luck.

The Bulldogs blanked Cathedral 33-0 for its 28th straight win as Hill scored four touchdowns. Henry Cooley quarterbacked the Green Wave, while Pat McDonough and Mike McDonough were the running backs.

“Playing quarterback against them was like trying to get out of a gunnysack,” Cooley said. “Manson Nelson and Frank Brocato were two of the best high school guards to ever play the game. Most of the time when I would hand the ball off on a straight dive, one of them would have their hand on my foot. And it didn’t make a difference if you go outside because that’s where Max Fugler would get you. And Donnie Daye was just fantastic. They were completely out of our league.”

Cathedral was playing on its own new field after having to use Natchez High’s field for previous contests with the Bulldogs.

“It was a wet, cold night,” said senior Tommy Purvis. “It was really miserable. We had orange and blue uniforms to start the game, but our coaches took us to the dressing room and had another set for us to put on at halftime. Cathedral was sitting in the end zone, just a-shivering. You could tell it demoralized them.”

Ferriday defeated Oak Grove 45-12 before continuing to dominate with a 45-7 win over Rayville, which was led by future LSU Tigers Dave McCarty and Billy Hendrix. 

A Newman interception set up a 68-yard scoring pass from Marks to Hill. Daye returned the second half kickoff 80 yards for a score.

Defensively, Fugler had two interceptions.

“We just played our zone and reacted to where the ball went,” Fugler said. “Frank got to the quarterback at least twice a game without any trouble.”

“It’s funny the things you remember,” Hill said. “I do remember when we were playing Oak Grove in 1954 and Don Horton was the quarterback. We ran a play where Don went to the left. I was a halfback and was supposed to block on the end, which would be the key block on the play. Well, I kind of brushed my man and didn’t block him and Don got smeared. Coach Lancaster pulled me out of the game and ate me up one side and down the other. His face was blood red and he was slobbering all over me. He sent me back in there to tell Don to run that same play again. I put that big guy on the ground and Don went 80 yards for a touchdown. Coach Lancaster called me back over and told me, “That’s the way to do it.’”

After missing the first five games of the season with a broken leg, Frank Brocato returned for Ferriday’s 25-6 win over Lake Providence.

“We just had another man come in while Frank was out and the rest of us would kind of favor that spot,” Fugler said.

The Bulldogs actually trailed after the first quarter against the Panthers.

Purvis had a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown in the contest. Hill returned a fumble 60 yards for another score.

Purvis and Long would sign with Mississippi Southern at the end of the season.

“Consequently I never learned how to play golf or tennis because I had to put so much into football,” Purvis said. “When I was at Mississippi Southern somebody put up a net in a parking lot and got a tennis racket. I slipped down and scraped my leg all up. I tried to hide it from the coaches, but one day they saw it and asked what happened. They told me if I ever got on the tennis court again I was out of there.”

Ferriday won its 33rd straight the hard way, edging Springhill 26-20.

Hill had TD runs of 41 and 7 yards.

Ferriday then defeated North Caddo (formerly Vivian) 43-19 as the Bulldogs scored  on its first four possession and six of its first seven. Ferriday led 37-0 at halftime as Sue Horton was crowned homecoming queen before 2,500 fans.

Daye had a 60-yard punt return for a score, but suffered a fractured leg returning an interception and was lost for the season.

Daye and Hill were the top two scoring leaders in the state at the time.

“I intercepted a pass and I saw Max on the other side with three guys running together and I hollered at him to block them all,” Daye said. “They ran over him and then the whole bunch ran over me right in front of our stands. In the pile-up I got all tangled up. It was really a tough time because we were on such a roll. I hated having to watch the rest of the season.”

Ferriday blanked Winnsboro 19-0 the following week for its 35th straight as Hill scored on a 5-yard run and Jimmy Marks completed a 12-yard TD pass to Tony Brocato.

Ferriday defeated Tallulah 47-25 on Thanksgiving Day in Tallulah before a near-capacity crowd that endured a steady rain through most of the contest.

Hill scored three TDs in the contest.

The Trojans and Bulldogs were renewing a rivalry that stopped in 1951 after a 33-7 Tallulah win. The Bulldog win was the first over the Trojans since 1944.

Tallulah was led by coaching legend Racer Holstead and players Stoney Williamson, Raymond Russell and Lynn Nalor.

The Bulldogs scored four touchdowns in the third period as Purvis scored on a 50-yard run, Ronnie Magoun had a 76-yard TD scamper and Hill tallied scoring runs of 24 and 25 yards, with the latter coming following a fumble recovery by Long.

The Bulldogs drew undefeated LaSalle team in the first round of the playoffs. LaSalle was led by back Ken Winberry and tackle Thomas Brady. The Bulldogs cruised to a 46-0 win as Hill totaled 331 total yards and scored four touchdowns on a muddy field in Olla.

James “Otto” Lancaster was principal at LaSalle. He took the position in 1955 after serving as Robertson’s assistant coach the previous four years.

“We rented a room for the day and Max came in and asked if I had seen the paper,” Robertson said.  “I got ahold of one and in the paper James Otto said he talked with LHSAA officials on which officials he would use for the next game. Well, that really riled up the team, and I was worried they were riled up too much. I had a hard time quieting them down after the game. The kids were really getting on him.”

Hill, who was scoring champ for the district in 1954 and ‘55, rushed the ball 15 times for 158 yards.

Ferriday scored on seven of its 10 possessions.

The win was the 37th straight for Ferriday.

Ferriday met a familiar playoff opponent Westlake in the semifinals. The Rams were the last time to beat Ferriday, back in the season-opener in 1953.

The Bulldogs pasted Westlake 53-19 as Hill went over the 2,000-yard mark in rushing and scored his 165th points of the season to put his career total at 416.

Hill was responsible for five touchdowns in the contest.

Hill moved to quarterback in the second half as starter Jimmy Marks was rested with the other starters. Back-up quarterback Bud Huff suffered a broken leg earlier in the year.

The Bulldogs faced Redemptorist in the championship game, having outscored their opponents to date by 1,724 points to 451.

On his weekly television program out of Monroe, Louisiana Tech athletic director Joe Aillet said there was no better football team in the nation than Ferriday.

Ferriday defeated the Wolves 14-0 in Municipal Stadium in Baton Rouge despite losing six fumbles. Purvis had a 69-yard scoring run. Hill added a 56-yard run as Ferriday outrushed Redemptorist 224-13 and had 58 passing yard to 23 for the Baton Rouge school.

It was the 39th straight win for Ferriday.

Fulger, Hill, Nelson and Purvis were selected to the North All-Star team and played a South team that included Billy Cannon, Gus Kinchen, Johnny Robinson and Warren Rabb. Roberston and Bill Ruple of Neville were the coaches.

Speakers for the luncheon were Oklahoma head coach Bud Wilkinson and Northwestern head coach Ara Parseghian.

Fugler, Hill and Nelson signed with LSU in front of Tiger head coach Paul Dietzel and assistant Charlie McClendon. 

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Fugler had a lot of offers as a senior at Ferriday High, some he didn’t know about until later.

“My mom had thrown a lot of them away because Abner Wimberly, who was an assistant coach at LSU, told her to,” Fugler said. “I was blessed to have a lot of offers.”

Fugler visited Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

“I really liked Darrell Royal when he was at Mississippi State, and Johnny Vaught at Ole Miss,” Fugler said. “But I was from Ferriday, so why would I go to Starkville or Oxford.”

Michigan State and Southern California were also recruiting Fugler heavily.

“I was honored, but I wanted my mother to be able to see me play,” Fugler said. “She had seen all my games up to that point, but she would not be able to see me at those places. I also loved the oilfield and LSU has a great petroleum engineering programs.”

Fugler played most of his career at center and linebacker.

“I think Max excelled more on the defensive side of the ball,” Ferriday coach Red Robertson said. “He loved being on punt return because he liked being able to get a good block on somebody.”

Fugler also saw time as a fullback as a freshman at LSU because of a fellow freshman named Doug Skinner of Minden who was so good on the line he forced Fugler into the backfield. Skinner was left behind on a road trip as punishment midway through the season and went home, never to return. Fugler was then moved back to the offensive line.

“We had to separate them because you can’t have two really good football players at the same position,” LSU head coach Paul Dietzel. “We moved Max to fullback. He had not anticipated that. But Max was very versatile and played real well. I don’t think his ability lended itself at fullback as much as an offensive lineman.”

“I was more comfortable there and glad to be back,” Fugler said of going back to center.

Not that he will forget his brief time in the backfield.

“I had never carried the ball before in my life and they put me at fullback in a freshman game and the first time I carried the ball I fumbled,” Fugler said. “I’ll never forget, Austin Wilson was there in one of the box seats and said, ‘My hero just fumbled.’”

Fugler would later score a touchdown on a short run.

“I can say I scored a touchdown before Billy Cannon,” he said with a laugh.

Cannon would go on to win the Heisman Trophy in 1959, spurred by his thrilling 89-yard punt return against Ole Miss on Halloween night.

 Fugler was on the sidelines when Cannon had his infamous 89-yard punt return that still gets replayed on Halloween nights. 

“I had just left the field because I got kicked in the groin,” Fugler said. “I couldn’t see his legs because the field is sloped and he was running on the opposite side, but I’ve watched it many times since that happened. A lot of people have told me they were there. If all the people who have told me they were there were actually at that game, there would have been five-and-a-half million people in the stands.”

  Dietzel said Fugler was an outstanding linebacker.

“He had great speed and range,” Dietzel said. “When he got to a running back he knew what to do. He was a fierce tackler competitor.”

  Fugler was named Look Magazine All-American and All-SEC.

“One of the many great things about Max was that he was a good leader and made sure everyone else played on the same level he was playing at, which was pretty high,” Dietzel said.

 ose, you better be happy about it.”

Fugler was the 10th pick in the eighth round, being selected by the San Francisco 49ers as the 94th overall player taken in the 1960 Draft.

“I knew I wanted to get into the oil business, so I wanted to play for the Dallas Texans, who later became the Kansas City Chiefs,” Fugler said. “Lamar Hunt owned them. I did not go there because they did not have an injury clause.”

Which may have been a premonition. 

Fugler’s NFL career ended in his rookie year when he tore cartilage in his knee while making a block against Cleveland.

“My foot was planted in the grass and I knew it was bad, but I didn’t think it was career ending,” Fugler said. “When you are 22 years old you don’t think like that, but two days after that I knew it. Dr. Francis Cox came in and said he was sorry. I asked him what did he do, operate on the wrong leg? He told me I was going home for good. I had torn two cartilage and the two ligaments separating them.”

“Max could have played with the big boys for a while,” Robertson said.

  

A FOURTH TITLE

When the 1955 football season ended at Ferriday High, Bulldog fans celebrated a third straight state championship after a 14-0 win over Redemptorist in the Class A finals and an impressive 39-game winning streak.

Not many figured on a fourth straight title, much less the streak continuing with the loss of stalwarts such as Guy Hill, Tommy Purvis, Max Fugler and Manson Nelson.

Doug Watkins joined Robertson’s staff in 1956 as Johnny Emmons accepted the head coaching job at Farmerville.

“Coach Robertson asked me and Donnie (Daye) to help (Watkins) move in,” Brasher said. “He said we were just loafing around, so he sent up to help the new coach. We were unloading furniture at the time. Ben Green Jr., also helped out.”

“Doug came down from Arkansas one day because he heard we were looking for a math teacher and coach,” Robertson said. “I was out on a tractor working on the football field when Mr. (Hugh) Bateman brought Doug out there after school. He told me he couldn’t figure out how anybody could be drinking coffee in the middle of the afternoon. We went down to scout a game in south Louisiana later and stopped to get some coffee. Doug said it was too strong, he couldn’t drink it. He was not much of a coffee man.”

But a returning senior who missed the final part of the 1955 season with a broken leg was determined to add to the legacy, even if he had some doubts of his own.

“We lost five or six to college on scholarships and weren’t really expecting to do as well,” said Daye, who was voted the Concordia Parish All-Time Best Athlete in a poll by the Concordia Sentinel. “But somehow or other we found a way to keep up that winning tradition.”

In the ninth game of the 1955 season, Ferriday defeated North Caddo 43-18 as the Bulldogs scored on its first four possession and six of its first seven. 

Daye was returning from a broken leg, while quarterback Jimmy Marks, fullback Brasher and linemen Frank and Tony Brocato were also among the returning players.

“Guy was such a fine player,” Daye said. “Those were some big shoes to fill.”

“We lost some good players, but we still had a good team,” Tony Brocato said. “It wasn’t as good as the 1955 team, but it was still good. Me and Frank had pretty well made up our minds that we wouldn’t get beat.”

And the streak was becoming a hot issue.

“It was something we didn’t talk about because I didn’t want to put pressure on the guys,” said Ferriday coach Johnny “Red” Robertson.

Enterkin was a senior on the 1956 team, seeking his fourth straight championship.

“I was beginning to worry if I would get out of there before the streak ended,” Enterkin said. “There was pressure. We became more and more superstitious, doing the same thing over and over. I tied my left shoe first and then my right shoe every time.”

Along with Marks and Daye returning from knee injuries, the Bulldogs also had a few players miss spring practice because of the mumps.

Daye had a 60-yard punt return for a score, but suffered a fractured leg returning an interception and was lost for the season.

Daye and Hill were the top two scoring leaders in the state at the time.

“I intercepted a pass and I saw Max on the other side with three guys running together and I hollered at him to block them all,” Daye said. “They ran over him and then the whole bunch ran over me right in front of our stands. In the pile-up I got all tangled up. It was really a tough time because we were on such a roll. I hated having to watch the rest of the season.”

Daye said getting hurt at the end of the 1955 season took some of the steam out of him, but made for more motivation for the 1956 season.

“I had a lot to prove,” Daye said. “They had put a cast on my leg and it was real tight and it started swelling up inside of it. I had two blood clots. I got a Coke bottle and broke the part where my knee was so I could move it back and forth. The doctor got mad about that and the nurses had to put another one on me and told me to leave it alone. It was tough, but I was young and it wasn’t any problem coming back. If I did that today it would take six years to recover.”

Robertson said Daye was always a hard worker.

“I was worried if Donnie would be able to come back at full strength after his broke his leg,” Robertson said. “I was worried they would keep the cast on too long and his leg would shrink up. But he worked hard when he was in the cast, doing what he could, and when he got the cast off we put him in the whirlpool and he worked even harder every day to get back to where he was.”

Robertson knew he was not only getting a top player back, but a leader.

“Donnie was a real competitor,” Robertson said. “There was no doubt in my mind once he started working he would be back ready to play. He really wanted it and the rest of the team saw that fire in him. He had a good attitude and it spread over to the rest of the team.”

Daye was able to run track in the spring of 1956 before the football season. He won the state title in the 100-yard dash at 10-flat and set a state record in the javelin, which was broken by teammate Tony Brocato the following year.

“I’ll never forget a track meet we had in Newellton,” Daye said. “They made a track out of a cow pasture by cutting it with a bushhog. I had to jump two ditches in the 220-run to stay on the track. They had some boys in overalls holding stopwatches keeping time. They had me breaking a world record in the 220-yard dash even though I was five yards behind the first place guy. In the finals, they had the guy behind me with a faster time than I had.”

Frank Brocato broke his leg in June working on an oil rig.

“I fell on a platform and my leg was just dangling,” Brocato said. “I remember telling Max and Wayne (Byles) that I probably wouldn’t play again. They took me down to LSU and put me on a weight program.”

Even with the setbacks, preserving the streak was foremost in Daye’s mind.

“We were fairly thin and lost some real good players,” Daye said. “But we made up our minds to keep it going. We played more as a first team than any other team during that streak. We just didn’t have that many folks like we did before. But we still have a good nucleus.”

“I remember the field was very muddy and they had burned it to get some of the water off,” Daye said. “They had a player who was actually named St. Amant. I knocked him out of bounds once and he slid about 30 yards in the water. He got up and said, ‘This is fun.’ I said, ‘It ain’t to me.’ They had a good team. We were just a little bit better and thought we could get it done.”

Daye was named All-State and won the Fudickar Trophy as the most valuable player on the Ferriday team. Mississippi Southern head coach Thad “Pie” Vann spoke at the Ferriday banquet and KNOE’s Harry Arthur presented the Fudickar Trophy to Daye.

Daye led the state in scoring as a senior, scoring 23 touchdowns and adding five extra points.

“Tommy Neck from Marksville went to LSU and when I met him he told me he checked the paper every Saturday to see if he had caught me,” Daye said. “I wish I could have carried the ball a little more. They carry it 25-to-35 times a game now, there’s no telling how much yardage I could have had if that would have been the case.”

Daye received scholarship offers from every school in the Southeastern Conference and Southwestern Conference, as well as a number of others.

He signed with LSU and Northwestern.

“Back then you could sign with a Gulf South Conference team and an SEC team,” Daye said. “I signed with Northwestern because (assistant) Coach (Walter) Ledet was a good friend of mine.”

Daye was one of three players who played with the LSU varsity as a freshman. He was also one of the youngest at 17 years old.

“Donnie was very quiet, not a real bombastic fella,” Dietzel said. “I always felt he was a really fine leader. He leads by his actions. He could settle down the rest of the operation.”

Dietzel said Daye was versatile.

“Donnie played so many positions fullback, right halfback and wherever we put him, he did a fine job,” Dietzel said. “He was not a Billy Cannon, but that didn’t make a difference. He gave all the effort he had in his body.”

As a sophomore, Daye was part of the Go Team (second string offense) and played running back.

Daye was put on the White Team (first string offense and defense) his junior and senior year, being moved from tailback to fullback and playing linebacker on defense.

Daye said he knew it was important for him to take the role of a leader in 1956.

“Guy was our leader the year before and I felt a strong leadership role coming back,” Daye said. “I knew we had to pick up the pieces and roll with it.”

Along with Daye and quarterback Jimmy Marks returning from knee injuries, the Bulldogs also had a few players miss spring practice because of the mumps.

Even with the setbacks, preserving the streak was foremost in Daye’s mind.

“We were fairly thin and lost some real good players,” Daye said. “But we made up our minds to keep it going. We played more as a first team than any other team during that streak. We just didn’t have that many folks like we did before. But we still had a good nucleus.”

Daye lost only six organized games from pee wee league in the sixth grade through his career at LSU. He was a part of four state championship teams and one collegiate national championship team.

His first-ever organized loss was when LSU lost to Tennessee in 1959.

“That was horrible,” Daye said. “I stood on the field and looked at that final scoreboard, thinking, something is wrong, it’s not over with. It was quite an experience. I was lucky to come along at a time to play with some mighty fine athletes who made me a better player.”

Ferriday defeated Sicily Island 31-20 in its opener, the second-closest game played by the Bulldogs during the streak, which was now at 40.

Daye had a 35-yard punt return for a touchdown and also scored on a 4-yard run for the first two Bulldog scores.

Marks, who had knee surgery during the off-season, and Tony Brocato hooked up for three touchdowns, including one covering 87 yards. But there would only be a couple of more TD passes the rest of the season, as compared to 22 in 1955.

“We didn’t throw it quite as much in 1956 because the run was our best threat,” Marks said. “And we didn’t have Guy Hill to run over the defensive backs after he caught it.”

In the second game of his senior season at Ferriday, the Bulldogs faced a Delhi team which lost to Holy Name of New Orleans for the Class B state championship in 1955 and would go on to win the Class B title in 1957.

In a miracle finish on September 14, 1956, Ferriday beat Delhi 20-13 as time expired. Delhi lost in the Class B state finals in 1955.

Ferriday trailed 13-6 at halftime, the first time the Bulldogs trailed at halftime since the Winnsboro game in 1952.

With the game tied at 13-13 and Delhi in possession deep inside Ferriday territory with 10 seconds remaining, Bear running back Bobby Leech took a pitch from Bear quarterback Buster Harrell, but was hit by Bateman when he attempted to pass it. Brasher intercepted the pass and ran 70 yards as time ran out. Brasher was carried from the field by his teammates after kicking the extra point.

“I hit him at the knees and the ball went up in the air,” Bateman said. I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing Tommy going the other way with the football. It was amazing. There were several plays in that game that could have turned it in another direction. Warren Enterkin caught a lot of passes that were critical. At that time Delhi and Tallulah were right there with Ferriday as far as having a good team. It really was a trying year.”

“Tommy was a great friend of mine and a fine football player,” Daye said. “When he got that lateral we were all running behind him yelling, ‘Run, you son of a bitch, run.’ He was slow as molasses, but he was booking it down the field with all of us behind him.”

“The ball fell right in my hands,” Brasher said. “That could have been anybody. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I guess they weren’t willing to settle for a tie. That was not the best play choice. I just caught the ball and took off with it. I had nobody chasing me. I think the quarterback and running back were kind of stunned. That was definitely one of the strangest plays I had ever been associated with.”

In Brasher’s sophomore year, he took over as starting  fullback for Purvis., while also playing on the defensive side.

“I liked playing offense and defense,” Brasher said. “I just didn’t want to come off the field. I just wanted to go out and play.”

Brasher was recruited by Arkansas, Ole Miss, LSU, Oklahoma State, Tulane, Louisiana State and several other schools.

“It came down between LSU and Arkansas,” he said.

The 42-game winning streak was tainted a bit the next week, but still alive as Ferriday and defending Class 2A champion Jena played to a 13-13 tie. It ended the longest prep football winning streak in the nation’s history.

“It was kind of a shocker and a wake-up call,” Daye said. “But we did not get beat and were determined to keep on rolling and fighting.”

Jena was led by junior halfback Jimmy Aldredge.

The Bulldogs used a blocked punt that was snagged by Enterkin at the Jena 6-yard line and taken into the end zone. Daye ran in the conversion to tie the game at 13-13 in the third quarter.

Jena moved to inside the 1-yard line in the final period, but the Bulldog defense held, preserving the unbeaten streak.

The contest was played in front of 3,000 people in Jena.

“I think that may have given us motivation to play a little harder and keep that streak going,” Robertson said.

“Jena had an option quarterback (Tommy Thompson) who was fast and a halfback (Aldredge) who was fast,” Marks said. “We had not played an option team before. They ate our lunch when they got to the outside.”

Ferriday got back in the winning column the following week with a 19-0 victory over Many.

Daye scored on two short runs.

Ferriday jumped ahead of Cathedral 28-0 the following week before Henry Cooley scored on a 3-yard run after Henry Zizzi had recovered a fumble. Cooley returned a punt 87 yards for another score.

“Coach (Don) Alonzo always had us ready to play and we fought as hard as we could,” Cooley said. “But they were that much better than us.”

One of Ferriday’s scores came after Brasher blocked a punt, which led to a 1-yard TD run by Ronnie Magoun.

“The thing I remember about that game is that James Poole could not keep his helmet on,” Robertson said. “He hit so hard that he would bust his helmet. We had to get him a special helmet. It got to where it scared me.”

The Bulldogs ran over Oak Grove 37-21 the following week as Daye scored on runs of 11 and 37 yards, while Marks and Tony Brocato teamed up on a 70-yard TD pass play. The win extended the unbeaten streak to 45.

Ferriday defeated Block handily the following week, as Daye scored four touchdowns. But the injury bug continued as James Poole suffered two cracked ribs.

Jimmy Marks, Bobby Osborn, Frank Brocato and H.L. Irvin were also injured and would miss the next game against Lake Providence.

The Bulldogs celebrated homecoming as Carolyn Rosenberg was crowned queen at halftime with a 38-27 win over Lake Providence.

Daye scored three touchdowns and added an extra point to bring his total to 105 on the season.

Brasher had an interception and Daye returned a punt for a TD.

Ferriday blanked Liberty 41-0 to bring the unbeaten streak to 48 as Marks scored three touchdowns and Frank Brocato returned to action. 

Ferriday cruised past Winnsboro 45-12 as Daye and Tony Brocato tallied two touchdowns each to set up a 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day game with Tallulah at Melz Field for the District 2-A title.

Tallulah, which was coached by Racer Holstead, had only two losses on the season - one to Mississippi Big 8 defending champion Carr Central of Vicksburg, and the other to defending Louisiana 2A state champion Neville.

Ferriday and Tallulah played to a 13-13 tie before 5,000 people. It was the 50th straight game without a loss for the Bulldogs.

Daye had a 72-yard run for a score and finished with 122 yards. Ferriday was stopped on the Tallulah 1-yard line as time expired. Tony Brocato returned a fumble 29 yards for a score.

Tallulah’s Danny Neumann proved hard to stop for the Bulldog defense.

The Trojans tied the game at 13-13 in the final period. But a strong rush by Frank Brocato, Poole, Brasher and James Graves led to a blocked PAT by Brocato to keep the game tied.

“Tallulah was always tough, it didn’t matter what year it was,” Robertson said

Marks caught a knee to his head from Neumann in the contest.

“It knocked me ‘cuckoo,’” he said. “And I stayed ‘cuckoo’ until after the game. They took me out and my 13-year-old brother (Freddy) came in to play quarterback and he had never played there. Coach asked me if I was OK and I said I didn’t know what was going on.”

Marks returned to the game and the Bulldogs drove deep into Trojan territory, but didn’t score.

“I was calling the plays and asking the other guys, ‘What do you want to do,?’” Marks said. “On defense I was asking Butch what were we supposed to do. When we got the ball back, I called time out and they said we didn’t have any more time outs and I called time out again. I asked the guys again ‘What are we doing? Donnie said, ‘Just pitch the ball back to me.’ I had to be playing with a concussion.”

Both coaches had agreed in case of a tie another game would be played the following week in Tallulah. If that game ended in a tie, the tiebreaker would be the team with the most first downs.

But it would not come down to that as Ferriday won the game, 18-13.

Tallulah would win the next two Class A state championships.

“It was nip-and-tuck the whole way,” Marks said. “Tallulah was tougher than any playoff game we had.”

With three minutes remaining in the game, Ferriday recovered a Tallulah fumble on the Trojan 47-yard line. Eight plays later, Ferriday was on the 5-yard line and Marks hit Enterkin for the winning score.

Ferriday recovered five of seven fumbles by Tallulah, including one by Osborne on the Trojan 1-yard line late in the game.

“What a great time that was,” Osborne said. “We defeated all the teams in the playoffs pretty handily, so I always felt that Tallulah was the second best team in the state. Ferriday just had a group of super athletes come along all at once. I was proud to be with them, but knew that I could not play at their level.”

In the Class A bi-district game in Olla, Ferriday blanked LaSalle 28-0 as Bateman intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards for a score.

“Butch wasn’t the star player other guys were, but he was very consistent,” Robertson said.

Daye had two TD runs and a punt return for a touchdown.

Oakdale defeated DeQuincy 20-14 to set up a semifinal battle with the Bulldogs in Oakdale.

The Warriors were led by quarterback Tyrone Doyle, considered one of the best passing quarterbacks in the state.

A Ferriday team battling the flu managed to defeat Oakdale 26-21 as Daye rushed for 129 yards and Brasher made several key plays on defense.

Ferriday scored first as Marks completed a 26-yard TD pass to Enterkin on fourth down.

Brasher scored on a short run and ran in the conversion on Ferriday’s next possession.

Ferriday scored on its first possession of the second half as Brasher ran 51 yards to the Oakdale 10 to set up a Marks TD run.

Oakdale got on the board in the third period as Doyle passed 49 yarsd to Gerald McGray and passed to Jerry Daumite on the conversion.

Doyle completed 12-of-32 passes for 204 yards in the contest.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Tony Brocato scored on a 6-yard end around. Daye ran in the conversion.

Oakdale pulled to within 26-21 with 50 seconds remaining, but Ferriday recovered the onsides kick to end the game.

Ferriday defeated St. Amant 13-0 on Melz Field for its fourth straight title and third straight Class A championship. It also marked the 54th straight game without a loss. 

“I remember the field was very muddy and they had burned it to get some of the water off,” Daye said. “They had a player who was actually named St. Amant. I knocked him out of bounds once and he slid about 30 yards in the water. He got up and said, ‘This is fun.’ I said, ‘It ain’t to me.’ They had a good team. We were just a little bit better and thought we could get it done.”

Daye was named All-State and won the Fudickar Trophy as the most valuable player on the Ferriday team. Mississippi Southern head coach Thad “Pie” Vann spoke at the Ferriday banquet and KNOE’s Harry Arthur presented the Fudickar Trophy to Daye.

Ferriday defeated St. Amant 13-0 on Melz Field for its third straight Class A title and fourth straight overall. It also marked the 54th straight game without a loss.

“St. Amant was a whole different world. I remember we stopped in Baton Rouge to eat,” Brasher said

St. Amant defeated St. Francis of Houma and then had a bye to get to the championship game.

It marked the fourth straight year the Bulldogs shut out their opponent in the championship game.

Brasher was an all-conference selection as a linebacker at Arkansas  from 1962-63. 

Brasher finished his career with 106 tackles as a middle guard. He recorded 68 tackles and five pass deflections in 1961. He had 38 tackles in 1962. Arkansas was 8-3 and No. 8 in the nation in 1961, and 9-2 and No. 6 in the nation in ‘62. The Razorbacks went 5-5 in 1963. The 1961 and ‘62 teams each earned a spot in the Sugar Bowl. He helped the 1962 unit lead the Southwest Conference in total defense (200.1) and rushing defense (90.7), and the 1961 defense lead the league in passing defense (62.9).

“Coach (Frank) Broyles was a young, energetic coach,” Brasher said. “We had a defensive coach named Jim MacKenzie who worked with Bear Bryant at Kentucky and Coach Broyles in Missouri. He was an outstanding defensive coach. He left Arkansas to become head coach at Oklahoma where he had turned things around after succeeding Gomer Jones, but after a recruiting trip one day he arrived home and fell dead. He was 37 years old. If he had lived longer he would have become a big-name coach.”

“He was a great player,” Bateman said.

 Brasher’s family moved from El Dorado, Ar., to Ferriday when Brasher was in the eighth grade.

“My dad (Ferry “Fuzzy” Brasher) was transferred here for two years,” Brasher said

Ferriday High’s football team just won its second straight state championship in 1954 and Brasher would be looking to crack the lineup as a freshman in 1955.

“It was kinda tough just coming in because that little town was pretty clannish,” Brasher said. “I just got up and went to school and kept my mouth shut.”

Brasher was about 5-foot-9, 160 pounds as an eighth-grader and grew to about 5-10, 175 the following year.

“It was a lot tougher leaving Ferriday than it was El Dorado,” said the 70-year-old Brasher from his home in Redmond, Wa. “

Brasher was part of two of the four straight state football championships at Ferriday High during the 1950s and the 54-game unbeaten streak, which still stands as a state record today.

“When you were a kid in Ferriday, your whole life was Ferriday Bulldogs,” Brasher said. “There were a lot of people patting us on the back, but we didn’t pay much attention to that.”

Brasher said he and his teammates were too busy focusing on what Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Bulldog coach Johnny “Red” Robertson and his assistants wanted them to do.

“First of all you didn’t want to get in trouble with Coach Robertson, which we didn’t always succeed in,” Brasher said. 

Brasher said Robertson’s success came from the fact he emphasized fundamentals.

“Whipping people was what he believed in,” Brasher said. “He made sure we went out to not only win, but whip our opponent. That was something I carried with me through 41 years of coaching. Another secret to his success was his ability to use his players in the best way. He didn’t have all that many plays, but he had a play for everybody. He had the end around with Tony (Brocato), who was a big guy and he wanted to get him the ball somehow. Warren Enterkin was a good receiver, so he had passes designed for him. He did a good job utilizing various people.”

Brasher said Robertson also emphasized weight lifting.

“Coach Robertson was ahead of the game in the weight program,” Brasher said. “There was no such thing as weight program in El Dorado. When I went back, I had to lift on my own at the Boys Club.”

Brasher was a college teammate of Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and former Dolphins and Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson.

After a brief stint as an assistant high school coach in Galveston, Brasher took the head football coaching job at Hot Springs High School.

He then joined the Arkansas coaching staff in 1970. Then came assistant coaching jobs at Virginia Tech, Louisiana-Monroe (1974 and 76), the Shreveport Captains of the WFL in 1975 and SMU from 1977 to 1981.

He then made the jump to the NFL in 1982 as an assistant coach with New England.

Brasher still assists Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs as a special projects coach.

The 42-game winning streak was tainted a bit the next week, but still alive as Ferriday and defending Class 2A champion Jena played to a 13-13 tie. It ended the longest prep football winning streak in the nation’s history.

“It was kind of a shocker and a wake-up call,” Daye said. “But we did not get beat and were determined to keep on rolling and fighting.”

Jena was led by junior halfback Jimmy Aldredge.

The Bulldogs used a blocked punt that was snagged by Enterkin at the Jena 6-yard line and taken into the end zone. Daye ran in the conversion to tie the game at 13-13 in the third quarter.

Jena moved to inside the 1-yard line in the final period, but the Bulldog defense held, preserving the unbeaten streak.

The contest was played in front of 3,000 people in Jena.

“I think that may have given us motivation to play a little harder and keep that streak going,” Robertson said.

“Jena had an option quarterback (Tommy Thompson) who was fast and a halfback (Aldredge) who was fast,” Marks said. “We had not played an option team before. They ate our lunch when they got to the outside.”

Ferriday got back in the winning column the following week with a 19-0 victory over Many.

Daye scored on two short runs.

Ferriday jumped ahead of Cathedral 28-0 the following week before Henry Cooley scored on a 3-yard run after Henry Zizzi had recovered a fumble. Cooley returned a punt 87 yards for another score.

“Coach (Don) Alonzo always had us ready to play and we fought as hard as we could,” Cooley said. “But they were that much better than us.”

One of Ferriday’s scores came after Brasher blocked a punt, which led to a 1-yard TD run by Ronnie Magoun.

“The thing I remember about that game is that James Poole could not keep his helmet on,” Robertson said. “He hit so hard that he would bust his helmet. We had to get him a special helmet. It got to where it scared me.”

The Bulldogs ran over Oak Grove 37-21 the following week as Daye scored on runs of 11 and 37 yards, while Marks and Tony Brocato teamed up on a 70-yard TD pass play. The win extended the unbeaten streak to 45.

Ferriday defeated Block handily the following week, as Daye scored four touchdowns. But the injury bug continued as James Poole suffered two cracked ribs.

Jimmy Marks, Bobby Osborn, Frank Brocato and H.L. Irvin were also injured and would miss the next game against Lake Providence.

The Bulldogs celebrated homecoming as Carolyn Rosenberg was crowned queen at halftime with a 38-27 win over Lake Providence.

Daye scored three touchdowns and added an extra point to bring his total to 105 on the season.

Brasher had an interception and Daye returned a punt for a TD.

Ferriday blanked Liberty 41-0 to bring the unbeaten streak to 48 as Marks scored three touchdowns and Frank Brocato returned to action. 

Ferriday cruised past Winnsboro 45-12 as Daye and Tony Brocato tallied two touchdowns each to set up a 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day game with Tallulah at Melz Field for the District 2-A title.

Tallulah, which was coached by Racer Holstead, had only two losses on the season - one to Mississippi Big 8 defending champion Carr Central of Vicksburg, and the other to defending Louisiana 2A state champion Neville.

Ferriday and Tallulah played to a 13-13 tie before 5,000 people. It was the 50th straight game without a loss for the Bulldogs.

Daye had a 72-yard run for a score and finished with 122 yards. Ferriday was stopped on the Tallulah 1-yard line as time expired. Tony Brocato returned a fumble 29 yards for a score.

Tallulah’s Danny Neumann proved hard to stop for the Bulldog defense.

The Trojans tied the game at 13-13 in the final period. But a strong rush by Frank Brocato, Poole, Brasher and James Graves led to a blocked PAT by Brocato to keep the game tied.

“Tallulah was always tough, it didn’t matter what year it was,” Robertson said

Marks caught a knee to his head from Neumann in the contest.

“It knocked me ‘cuckoo,’” he said. “And I stayed ‘cuckoo’ until after the game. They took me out and my 13-year-old brother (Freddy) came in to play quarterback and he had never played there. Coach asked me if I was OK and I said I didn’t know what was going on.”

Marks returned to the game and the Bulldogs drove deep into Trojan territory, but didn’t score.

“I was calling the plays and asking the other guys, ‘What do you want to do,?’” Marks said. “On defense I was asking Butch what were we supposed to do. When we got the ball back, I called time out and they said we didn’t have any more time outs and I called time out again. I asked the guys again ‘What are we doing? Donnie said, ‘Just pitch the ball back to me.’ I had to be playing with a concussion.”

Both coaches had agreed in case of a tie another game would be played the following week in Tallulah. If that game ended in a tie, the tiebreaker would be the team with the most first downs.

But it would not come down to that as Ferriday won the game, 18-13.

Tallulah would win the next two Class A state championships.

“It was nip-and-tuck the whole way,” Marks said. “Tallulah was tougher than any playoff game we had.”

With three minutes remaining in the game, Ferriday recovered a Tallulah fumble on the Trojan 47-yard line. Eight plays later, Ferriday was on the 5-yard line and Marks hit Enterkin for the winning score.

Ferriday recovered five of seven fumbles by Tallulah, including one by Osborne on the Trojan 1-yard line late in the game.

“What a great time that was,” Osborne said. “We defeated all the teams in the playoffs pretty handily, so I always felt that Tallulah was the second best team in the state. Ferriday just had a group of super athletes come along all at once. I was proud to be with them, but knew that I could not play at their level.”

In the Class A bi-district game in Olla, Ferriday blanked LaSalle 28-0 as Bateman intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards for a score.

“Butch wasn’t the star player other guys were, but he was very consistent,” Robertson said.

Daye had two TD runs and a punt return for a touchdown.

Oakdale defeated DeQuincy 20-14 to set up a semifinal battle with the Bulldogs in Oakdale.

The Warriors were led by quarterback Tyrone Doyle, considered one of the best passing quarterbacks in the state.

A Ferriday team battling the flu managed to defeat Oakdale 26-21 as Daye rushed for 129 yards and Brasher made several key plays on defense.

Ferriday scored first as Marks completed a 26-yard TD pass to Enterkin on fourth down.

Brasher scored on a short run and ran in the conversion on Ferriday’s next possession.

Ferriday scored on its first possession of the second half as Brasher ran 51 yards to the Oakdale 10 to set up a Marks TD run.

Oakdale got on the board in the third period as Doyle passed 49 yarsd to Gerald McGray and passed to Jerry Daumite on the conversion.

Doyle completed 12-of-32 passes for 204 yards in the contest.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Tony Brocato scored on a 6-yard end around. Daye ran in the conversion.

Oakdale pulled to within 26-21 with 50 seconds remaining, but Ferriday recovered the onsides kick to end the game.

Ferriday defeated St. Amant 13-0 on Melz Field for its fourth straight title and third straight Class A championship. It also marked the 54th straight game without a loss. 

“I remember the field was very muddy and they had burned it to get some of the water off,” Daye said. “They had a player who was actually named St. Amant. I knocked him out of bounds once and he slid about 30 yards in the water. He got up and said, ‘This is fun.’ I said, ‘It ain’t to me.’ They had a good team. We were just a little bit better and thought we could get it done.”

Daye was named All-State and won the Fudickar Trophy as the most valuable player on the Ferriday team. Mississippi Southern head coach Thad “Pie” Vann spoke at the Ferriday banquet and KNOE’s Harry Arthur presented the Fudickar Trophy to Daye.

Daye led the state in scoring as a senior, scoring 23 touchdowns and adding five extra points.

“Tommy Neck from Marksville went to LSU and when I met him he told me he checked the paper every Saturday to see if he had caught me,” Daye said. “I wish I could have carried the ball a little more. They carry it 25-to-35 times a game now, there’s no telling how much yardage I could have had if that would have been the case.”

Daye received scholarship offers from every school in the Southeastern Conference and Southwestern Conference, as well as a number of others.

St. Amant defeated St. Francis of Houma and then had a bye to get to the championship game.

Poole recovered a fumble to set up a 21-yard run by Daye.

Daye had a 50-yard run in the third period. 

St. Amant never got inside the Ferriday 40-yard line.

“If we had lost that game, it would not have been a successful season,” Enterkin said

Daye finished with 130 points on the season.  

Daye lost only six organized games from pee wee league in the sixth grade through his career at LSU. He was a part of four state championship teams and one collegiate national championship team.

His first-ever organized loss was when LSU lost to Tennessee in 1959.

“That was horrible,” Daye said. “I stood on the field and looked at that final scoreboard, thinking, something is wrong, it’s not over with. It was quite an experience. I was lucky to come along at a time to play with some mighty fine athletes who made me a better player.”

Brocato also signed with LSU, but would end up playing at Cameron Junior College in Lawton and at Sul Ross in west Texas.

Brocato went into coaching and served as football coach at Pineville, Jena, Huntington, Gloster and Slidell, where he still helps teach.

“That’s something I always wanted to do,” he said. “Coach Robertson, Coach (James) Lancaster, Coach Emmons and Coach Watkins all had something to do with that. Coaches always influence young people.”

Brocato is the only player from Ferriday High in the Louisiana High School Hall of Fame, inducted in 2004t. Brocato was inducted in 2004. Robertson was inducted into the LHSAA Hall of Fame in 1989..

“That was quite an honor,” he said. “But it could have been a lot of the guys I played with. It was a team effort. I was representing all of those teams. I think the 1955 team was probably the best, but the other three were pretty close. I loved playing with all those guys. There were really some exceptional athletes on those teams. They helped put Ferriday on the map just like Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart.”

Mississippi Southern head football coach Pie Vann was guest speaker at the Bulldog football banquet.

KNOE’s Harry Arthur presented the Fudickar MVP Award to Daye.

The streak ended in the first game of the 1957 season with a 19-7 loss to Block.

“We didn’t want to lose the streak, but when we did it took a lot off our shoulders,” Robertson said. “Everybody was pointing at us wanting to be the one to end the streak.”

The ‘57 team finished 6-3-1.

“I regret not being able to win more games that year,” Robertson said. “We didn’t play as good of ball as we did in the past.”

“I really enjoyed playing for Coach Robertson that one year,” Copeland said. “He was a great coach. If you didn’t do something right, he would get down there line up right in your face and show you how to do it until you got it right.”

It was the last year of coaching for Robertson, who was named principal of the new junior high in Ferriday. Watkins was named as Robertson’s successor.

“I really wasn’t ready to quit coaching,” he said. “But coaching was hard on my family. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity so I applied for a principal’s job. I would go and watch practice, but somebody in town would always come up to me after a game and ask what we should have done. I quit going to practice after that.”

The national record for high school teams with consecutive wins is 151 by Concord De La Salle (Calif.) from 1992-2003. Charlotte Independence (NC) had 77 from 2000-04, while Hudson (Mich.) had 72 from 1968-75.

One year after Ferriday High captured its fourth straight state championship and ran its unbeaten streak to 54 straight games, a football team was formed on the west side of town, but not a lot of people noticed. 

In 1955, Sevier Rosenwald High moved from where Auto Zone is currently located on E.E. Wallace to where Ferriday Junior High is now located. The Rosenwald part was dropped from the name and the school changed its mascot from the Eagles to the Rams.

Two years later, in 1957, a football program was started and 20 high school students signed up.

“There was a lot of God-given talent,” said Henderson Cook, who was a track star, but played only one year of football, his senior year of 1965. “We didn’t have weights or real good facilities. The first uniforms were practice uniforms and the coach painted the numbers on them. But it was competitive. I don’t think those teams could have competed with the teams like Ferriday High because of platooning, experience and fundamentals, but there were a lot of good athletes. Most of the guys’ only experience with ball was sandlot before they got to high school.”

In its first-ever football game, Sevier fell to Liddell High of Fayette, Ms., 47-7. at Sevier High. The game was played on what is now Ferriday High’s baseball field at the junior high. All Sevier High games were played on Thursday nights.

 Former Sevier player Buck Lewis said that first year was new for everyone connected with the school. It’s only other exposure to high school football came from the powerhouse across the highway.

I used to visualize playing on those Ferriday teams,” he said. “I would have loved to have played with those guys. Unfortunately, those were the times and it wasn’t about to happen. I didn’t feel cheated. You can’t miss what you never had.”

“Some of my classmates did not go to Ferriday because Blacks could not participate in sports,” said long-time Concordai Parish Police Juror Joe Parker. “We made the playoffs in football and baseball every year. In my senior year we lost to Carroll High in the semifinals. They did not have classes broken out like they do now. Playing Carroll then was like playing John Curtis now. But we had a lot of athletes come through. But once high school was over with, unless you had a mentor, that was as far as you went.”

Parker said there were exceptions, such as Chester Pleasant, who graduated in 1968 and went on to play defensive end at Northeast.

“We would hear the noise on Friday night when passing by Ferriday High and sit on the side of the highway and listen to the commentary on the radio,” Cook said. “We thought we could go inside because we didn’ know any better. When we went in they told us we couldn’t come up in the stands, we had to go to the end. That was the first and only time I went in there because I didn’t understand that. Some of the others would just watch through the fence.”

Current Police Juror Joe Parker played on the final team at Sevier before intergration took over in 1969. Parker played  from 1966-68. Julian Gray took over as coach in 1967 and was the last head football coach at the school.

Parker said he always wondered what it would have been like playing at Ferriday High.

“I used to visualize playing on those Ferriday teams,” he said. “I would have loved to have played with those guys. Unfortunately, those were the times and it wasn’t about to happen. I didn’t feel cheated. You can’t miss what you never had. “We had some guys who were the real deal, but never got a chance at the highest level,” he said.

Parker said there were exceptions, such as Chester Pleasant, who graduated in 1968 and went on to play defensive end at Northeast.

“We had some guys who were the real deal, but never got a chance at the highest level,” he said.

In 1969, President Richard Nixon included Concordia Parish in desegration orders.

In January of 1970, Sevier High became Ferriday Vocational School and Sevier High was known as Ferriday Girls High School.

“I think Sevier was on its way to becoming a powerhouse,” the late Robert Lee said. “I would have loved to have seen what would have happened.”

Concordia Parish schools did not open until Sept. 21, 1970 as appeals and teachers quitting continued the turmoil.

Judge Ben C. Dawkins threw out the separated by sex plan and ordered the Concordia Parish to use a Health, Education and Welfare desegregation plan.

Moore went on to become principal of Ferriday 8th Grade and later Ferriday Junior High and retired from the school system in 1988.

Moore’s three sons, Mack Jr., Tony and Derrick graduated from Ferriday High.

Mack Jr., went on to play professional football with San Diego and Miami.

“I don’t know if he would have gotten that opportunity at Sevier,” Moore said. “I do know it would have been tougher.”

Moore said those connected with Sevier High did not consider their athletic programs second to anyone.

“We were separate, but equal,” he said. “Those were special days.”

Those were certainly special days for a Hall of Fame high school coach who had no notions to move up to the next level, despite several offers to coach at bigger high schools.

“I never did want to be in a big town,” Robertson said. “I always wanted to live in a small town. And as far as collegiate coaching, you never knew year to year where you would be.”

One thing Robertson always had was fan support.

“We drew large crowds,” he said. “We drew people from Jonesville and Jena. We had several buses follow us at away games. The rest went in cars. There was hardly anybody left here.”

And the streak continued.

“When we started winning so many games, every team we played had a big incentive to be the one to knock us off the block,” Robertson said. “But it was kind of motivational for us. The biggest problem was keeping our guys from getting overconfident. We didn’t talk about the streak too much. I figured if we talked about it, it put too much pressure on them.”

Robertson said before his death that his wife, Jimmie, who died in 2014, was very supportive throughout his career.

“She didn’t know that much about football,” he said. “Her sister (Elizabeth Smith) was in the Tallulah pep squad. Her dad stayed on the Ferriday side, which made her sister mad and made for a family squabble.”

Robertson got out of coaching after the 1957 season when the Bulldogs went 6-2-1 and became principal of Ferriday Junior High. He later worked with the parish school board and served as director of the Shelby Ensminger Technical College.

Robertson was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in June 25, 2002 along with former LSU baseball coach Skip Bertman, former Tulane football standout Steve Foley, former McNeese State football coach Dr. Jack Doland, former Southeastern Louisiana basketball standout Queen Brumfield Nard, former jockey Eddie Delahoussaye and former high school basketball standout Nick Revon.

Ferriday Trojans
Ferriday, Concordia Parish, Louisiana

4 Time State Champions
1953, 1954, 1955, 1956

3 Time State Runner-up
1944, 1962, 1984


District Championships

2005, 2006, 2007, 2010

37 Playoff Appearances
1944, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956 ,1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015​​

50 L.S.W.A. First Team Football All-State Selections

  • 1938 Cross, Victor - End
  • 1939 Cross, Victor - End
  • 1940 Cross, Victor - End
  • 1941 Wilson, Hebert - Tackle
  • 1943 Hammett, Charles - Center
  • 1944 Speed, Horace - Tackle
  • 1944 Lancaster, Arthur - Halfback
  • 1952 Fugler, Charles - Center
  • 1952 McNew, James - Back
  • 1953 Young, Lee - End
  • 1953 Harmon, Bobby - Back
  • 1954 Joplin, James - Tackle
  • 1954 Brocato, Frank - Guard
  • 1954 Fugler, Max - Center
  • 1954 Hill, Guy - Back
  • 1955 Brocato, Tony - End
  • 1955 Long, Buddy - Tackle
  • 1955 Nelson, Manson - Guard
  • 1955 Fugler, Max - Center
  • 1955 Hill, Guy - Back
  • 1956 Brocato, Tony - End
  • 1956 Brocato, Frank - Guard
  • 1956 Daye, Donnie - Back
  • 1957 Brocato, Tony - Back
  • 1959 Poole, James - Tackle
  • 1962 Jeter, Ron - Back
  • 1964 Rabb, C.C. - Tackle
  • 1969 Fulford, Don - Halfback
  • 1969 Campbell, Robert - Guard
  • 1970 Barber, Robert - Tackle
  • 1970 Thomas, Jackie - Deep Back
  • 1972 Edwards, Jerry - End
  • 1980 Minor, Wayne - End
  • 1981 Thompson, Bobby - End
  • 1981 Henderson, Keith - Quarterback
  • 1981 Williams, Nathaniel - Running Back (MVP)
  • 1981 Johnson, Walter - Guard
  • 1982 Williams, Nathaniel - Running Back (MVP)
  • 1982 Johnson, Walter - Guard
  • 1984 Jones, James - Quarterback
  • 1984 Moore, Anthony - Guard
  • 1989 Leonard, James - Wide Receiver
  • 1991 Jones, Darnell - Running Back
  • 1991 Moore, Derrick - Lineman
  • 1994 Burns, Justin - Wide Receiver
  • 1995 Burns, Justin - Wide Receiver
  • 1995 Harbor, Roger - Defensive Lineman
  • 1997 Lawerence, Jeremy - Lineman
  • 2000 Smith, Stanley - Linebacker
  • 2007 Washington, Donrick - Wide Receiver





 LSWA Coach of the Year Award Winners


  • 1962 1A Lawrence Matulich
  • 1981 2A Jerry Baldwin
  • 1995 3A Cordell Bailey​

14-0 Productions


 Ferriday Playoff History 1981-2015


Overall Playoff Record: 28-29

​​

  • 1981 Semifinals
  • 1982 Quarterfinals
  • 1983 Bi-District
  • 1984 Finals
  • 1985 Regionals
  • 1988 Regionals
  • 1989 Regionals
  • 1990 Regionals
  • 1991 Semifinals
  • 1993 Bi-District
  • 1994 Regionals
  • 1995 Semifinals
  • 1996 Bi-District
  • 1997 Bi-District
  • 1999 Regionals
  • 2000 Quarterfinals
  • 2001 Regionals
  • 2002 Quarterfinals
  • 2003 Bi-District
  • 2005 Bi-District
  • 2006 Regionals
  • 2007 Regionals
  • 2008 Bi-District
  • 2009 Regionals
  • 2010 Bi-District
  • 2011 Bi-District
  • 2013 Bi-District
  • 2014 Bi-District
  • 2015 Bi-District



(1953-1956) 


  • Ferriday holds the record for most games (54) without a loss. They had two ties in that same time period for a record (54-0-2), while winning 4 state championships along the way. I found this article that tells the story. It is amazing.