This was a big deal in 1962. The picture of Max Rhodes published in our yearbook was the icon for our season. Our sports program had just joined the "big boys" in 4A-5 two years earlier and this was our 3rd year competing in 4A (Texas' largest districts then). The first 2-seasons were lackluster, although we managed to hold our own in both seasons by not being blown completely off the field.
Like the Longhorns have always been the team to beat in Texas, Ft. Worth Paschal was the team to beat in Ft. Worth. It was a large, well established school of about 4000 students. EHHS was a small upstart by comparison having only 1250 students, a 2-year old 4A program and in 1962 entering its 3rd season in the league.
Paschal had gone pretty far in the Texas State playoffs in the previous 2-seasons, reaching the quarter or semifinals one or both of those years. Our Highlanders had shown well against Paschal both of those first 2 seasons, holding them to a 0-6 result in 1960 and to 2-14 in 1961 when Paschal fielded its best team. We weren't blown off the field either year.
But something came together that year that neither we nor the local sports press really understood. We put a good, if unremarkable team on the field that refused to lose. We had a heck of a time scoring points but we put together a defense that was one of the best in Texas that year. That's no hyperbole. Entering the playoffs at the end of the season we were undeniably one of the top 16 teams in the great State of Texas.
Even if our offense was anemic, in most of the games it was good enough to score at least one more point than the opposition. And that is how this game ended--a one point edge, 8-7, opened the door to the Highlanders' first district football championship 48-years ago. The difference was the fine hands of Max Rhodes who caught both the touchdown pass and the 2-point conversion. Bravo Max.
Images of a special homecoming edition of the school paper are distributed around this post and show a number of interesting things; one of them being where the 1961 and 1962 Highlanders were attending school and some of them who had married just after graduation.
April 9, 2011 Update: Some terrific pictures contributed by a friend of ours,
Sis – Boom – Bah