cj64 The junior high teams for Meadowbrook and Handley were loaded in 1959. Both emerged from their schedules undefeated going into the last game, the decider for the Group B championship. The Fort Worth Public Schools’ junior highs were divided into Groups A and B based on population, “A” being the larger schools – Rosemont, McLean, Stripling, Monnig, JP Elder, Forest Oak, William James; “B” group containing Meadowbrook, Handley, Morningside, Parker, Daggett, Riverside, Diamond Hill.
The notable players for Meadowbrook included Kendall McCook-QB, Sam Scott-FB, Tom Koebernick-HB, Danny McCoy and Reggie Wilkins-Ends, and Steve Means-line.
Handley had an All-World backfield – Ronnie Hill-QB, Scotty Locke-FB, James Aitken and Jimmy Strong-HBs. In the line they had Bobby Keener as a top performer. Hill was a superb athlete, a natural leader, and an obvious quarterback. Strong looked like Buddy Holly on steroids, was an outstanding athlete, and was full-grown and well-named. Locke and Aitken were already shaving and were also big and scary. Keener was a good guy who played mean. They should have been favored, but Hill broke his hand before the game, and Handley moved Strong to QB, and brought in Roger Kennedy to play HB. They played well, but the team was not as strong without Hill.
Meadowbrook relied on a stingy defense, the running of Scott, and the timely passing of McCook. It all worked in their favor, and Meadowbrook won with a 36-14 victory and took the Group B championship at Handley Field. Strong and Hill moved before they could contribute at EHHS. These teams were the nucleus of the first-ever EHHS District champs in 1962.
Handley came into the game (again, the last of the season, at Handley Field) undefeated and had rolled over the opposition. Meadowbrook came in with one defeat, a narrow loss to Diamond Hill, mainly due to the heroics of Diamond Hill’s Bob Maloney, who that day did a good imitation of Sugar Land’s famous Kenny Hall.
Handley featured some outstanding players – Ray Avery at center, Jimmy Hill and John Peale at ends, Ted Harris at DB, Larry Jackson at QB, Chuck Alexander at FB, and Chuck Wellington (a speed merchant) at RB.
Meadowbrook had Roby Morris at QB, Ted Moberg as the FB, Tom Shore HB, Randy Blake and Mike Liddle at ends, Wayne Templeton and Lee Roy Gast in the line. They also had several outstanding 8th graders as starters – Wayne Hardy LB, Mike Flowers at center (injured that day, replaced by Robby Rawdon), and Lloyd Grimm at flanker.
The game was hard-fought, and played mostly between the 30-yard lines, with four notable exceptions. Handley’s Alexander started the scoring when he burst up the middle for a long touchdown run. Junior High teams ran for the extra point in those days. It was stopped, and the score was 6-0. Meadowbrook countered with an equally long run, again a burst up the middle, by QB Roby Morris – score 6-6 at the half.
Early in the 3rd quarter came the game-changer. Wellington swept right and broke through and looked gone for the touchdown. As he ran free he angled toward the middle of the field. From seemingly nowhere, Wayne Hardy, showing superb hustle, caught him inside the 10-yard line and saved the touchdown. Meadowbrook held and took over on downs.
Later, in the 4th quarter, Meadowbrook ran a play that started off as one that had worked well for them all season. Morris rolled out right, looking to pass to Randy Blake who was running a down-and-out. It was designed to gain about 7-10 yards. But, this time, the first time all season, Morris pump-faked on the out, and Blake turned upfield to go long. The play had become a down-out-down. The Handley DB bit on the out, there was no help from the safety, and Morris hit Blake for a long touchdown. The score, and final score, -- 12 - 6 Meadowbrook.
Many of these players went on to EHHS and contributed to the 1962 and 1963 winning seasons. A couple of other thoughts are appropriate here to understand the dynamics of these games. First, by this time, the players all knew each other. They had played Pee Wee football, Little League, and Pony League together and against each other, had made friends, and were in no way strangers. They were also fully aware they would soon merge together into EHHS.
On the other hand, you have to understand that the rivalry was intense, on both sides. To sum up that feeling, below is a quote from Ted Harris, the outstanding Handley-bred athlete, spoken 40+ years later at an EHHS-alumni gathering over beer and BBQ:
“I played football in junior high, I played football in high school, I played football in college; and in all that time, I never hated anybody like I hated Meadowbrook Junior High!”
This Handley team contributed 5 players that started on the 1962 EHHS championship team...Jimmy Aitken, Bob Keener, Ted Harris, Ray Avery, and Max Rhodes. Also listed on that year's EH varsity squad were letterman Scotty Locke, squadmen Steve Ericson, and Larry Jackson.
We lost several potential stars to other schools: Jerry Roberts, Ronnie Hill, Charles Alexander, and Jimmy Strong