I guess I got carried away, and before I knew it I'd told about beating Victoria in the first game of the '53 season. Now, Victoria Junior College was no joke. It was located in Victoria, Texas, a city at least twice the size of Brenham. The Victoria Pirates played in a separate conference, one made up of schools with more access to talent than tiny Blinn. Although our '52 record looked a little better than theirs, it didn't take into account the caliber of the teams we had each played during our regular schedule. Not to take anything away from my fellow Buccaneers, but I don't think we could have beaten New Mexico Body and Fender University if they'd spotted us two touchdowns.
But for some reason we got it together for that game. Maybe it was because we didn't want Victoria to think of us as "chump of the week," and have them yawning on the other side of the scrimmage line. Though their team was considered far above ours, we still planned to show up for the game and introduce them to the ferocity of the underdog. I think it was the John Wayne movie that pumped us all up. We'd gotten into town about two hours early. Well, what do you do with 30 football players? Leave them sitting on the bus? So Frank Butler, who was the coach then, somehow managed to find the owner of a movie theater in town and he opened up and showed us a film. It was Red River, and when it was over we all walked out in the fall sunshine feeling big and tough and slapping each other on the shoulder.
Earlier that year, I'd broken my right shinbone rodeoing, and when we were in the dressing room the trainer was taping a protective covering on it, and Tommy Cuba, our good tackle, looked over and said, "You better take that off. All you're doing is giving them a target to shoot at."
I ripped that tape loose and threw it in the corner. We were that fired up.
We played them off their feet. I took a lick on that right leg in the third quarter and had to be carried off the field. My mother was there and she nearly went into cardiac arrest because she didn't know what was the matter with me. I was back on the field two plays later. We were that fired up.
Going into the fourth quarter they were leading 7-6. We'd missed the PAT. Getting arrogant, the Pirates tried to drive on us instead of simply hanging on to the ball and running the clock down. With two minutes to go they fumbled on their own 40 and we recovered. From there we drove the ball down to their nine, where we stalled. Bobby Lynch, our fullback, punched it into the line for no gain and then Shorty McGinty, a really good halfback, had two tries at them, but it did us no good.
L.M. Killough, our quarterback, called time and went over to the sidelines to talk to Coach Butler. I'd gone over to the sidelines myself. I was standing just a few yards from where Coach Butler and L.M. were conferring. I had my helmet pushed back and I was getting a drink of water when I heard the coach say to L.M., "Throw the ball to Giles."
Well, what that remark did was send a shiver through my soul. To begin with Giles didn't want the responsibility of catching the pass that meant victory or defeat. Secondly, I'd noticed that the Victoria players were getting a little irritated about this bunch of upstarts trying to steal a game from them.
When that time-out wound down, we came back into the huddle and L.M. looked over at me and said, "It's on you."
If there'd been a bus out of town, I'd of taken it.