Golden Memories: Hawkins celebrating 1967 regional title

Published on Wednesday, 11 October 2017 22:02 - Written by PHIL HICKS,
Hawkins High School is not only celebrating homecoming Friday, but also recognizing the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Class B Regional football championship team. The HHS cafeteria will host the All-School Reunion from 4 to 9 p.m. as well as a reception for members of the 1967 team and their families from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Hawks will meet Kerens in the homecoming game at the adjacent Lowrance Field, named for legendary coach Robert “Red” Lowrance. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.


HAWKINS - The year was 1967.

Gas was 33 cents a gallon, a movie ticket was $1.25, the Beatles released “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” Texan Lyndon B. Johnson was in the White House and the Hawkins Hawks were football champions once again.

For the third time in four years, legendary coach Robert “Red” Lowrance and fourth-year line coach Winfred Shipp led the Hawks to the Class B Region III championship. During that time period the UIL did not conduct state championships for Class B schools and thus the regionals were as far as a team could go.

On Friday, members of the regional championship team will gather in Hawkins to reminisce and celebrate the 50th anniversary of that title squad. As the 2017 Hawks are hosting Kerens at Lowrance Field, a reception is scheduled in the adjacent school cafeteria for the 1967 team and family members. It is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. and continue to 9 p.m. An all-school reunion is slated from 4 to 9 p.m. at the cafeteria as well. Hawkins is also conducting homecoming activities.

After winning regional titles in 1964 and 1966, the Hawks and Big Sandy were the contenders for the District 11-B title. However, Hawkins had graduated seven seniors from the ’66 team, including six players who were either All-East Texas or All-Northeast Texas.

Still, in the Tyler Morning Telegraph “Pigskin Preview” it was stated, “Depth and lack of speed could give the Hawks problems, but if newcomers come through, Hawkins should have another potent team.”

The Preview also stated, “Lance Brown, quarterback, and Bob Lowrance, halfback, are both accomplished passers and receivers who combined for 17 touchdowns last season. Ronny Christie, a small but effective end, will be looking for a repeat performance as an all-district player.”

In was also the first year of integration as 22 players from South Side High in Hawkins enrolled at Hawkins High.

The combination of veterans and newcomers propelled the Hawks to a memorable season.

“To be honest, I really didn’t think we could win regionals that year, but the players had the right attitude,” Shipp said from his home in North Lake Brownwood. “We got a big boost from the new kids as we integrated for the first time. None of the new kids had played football, but they were very, very good athletes.”

Shipp, 78, said it was a combination that worked.

Shipp, who plans to attend the reunion, added, “A good team is not necessarily made up of good athletes, it has a lot to do with attitude. That (1967 team) had a great attitude and they were accustomed to winning.”

The Hawks were 11-1 with their only loss in a nondistrict battle with Class 2A Brownsboro.

In other games Hawkins was unbeaten, with nondistrict wins over Carlisle (20-0), New Diana (20-6), Como-Pickton (29-6), Edgewood (28-16) and Hughes Springs (20-10). District victories were over Union Grove (28-0), Harmony (13-6), Winona (44-19) and Big Sandy (21-0).

The Hawks opened the playoffs with a bi-district matchup with New Diana, a rematch of an earlier game that season. Hawkins won again, this time 38-8 over the Eagles in Gladewater.

The final game of the season was the regional championship against Aledo in Terrell. The Hawks defeated the Bearcats 14-7 for the regional title.

Aledo coach Steve Reid was also the coach of the Fort Worth Masonic team that the Hawks defeated in the regional final in 1966.

There were seven players who were members of all three regional championship teams - David Barber, Ronny Christie, David Fry, Jessie Graham, Edward Haire, Steven Mooney and Mike Pruitt.

The captains for the ’67 squad were Lance Brown, Christie, Haire, Mooney and Pruitt.

The seniors on the 1967 team were Barber, Brown, Christie, Howard Coquat, Paul Davis, Fry, Graham, Haire, Mooney, Pruitt and Willie White.

Juniors were Leothus Amos, Tommy Baker, John Boger, Eric Brown, Glenn Brown, James Clark, Gregory Davis, James Davis, Stephen Dowd, John Elliott, Danny Hammonds, Glen Holmes, Bob Lowrance, Mike Martin, Mike Myers, Eston Mooney, Elam Roberson, Ronald Rutherford, Tony Simmons and Ronnie Waller.

Sophomores were Dennis Bryan, Ernest Clark, James Ellison, David Hall, Harold Hall, Carl Johnson, Stephen Minshew, Kenny Myers, Tony Outhouse, Ivey Rutherford, Dan Sadler, Joe Thompson and Jerry Wilson.

The managers were Leonard Walton and Mark Wright.

In a four-year period, the Hawks were 36-9-1 and 13-0 in district play in 1964, 1966 and 1967.