by Scott Wright Published: November 20, 2012
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1914: OKC dominant in selections

The 1914 All-State team was just the newspaper's second year of selecting a statewide all-star team. Five men selected All-State teams, all of which were printed, along with the consensus choices as the official selections.


Oddly, Graham Johnson of Norman was voted by all five men as the best quarterback in the state, though he ended up on the official All-State team as a fullback.

H.G. Soutar, one of the selectors, wrote of Johnson: “He is a dandy tackler, a firstclass open field runner, a good receiver of forward passes, a fair passer himself, a dandy interferer in spite of his size and calls signals to advantage.”

1924: Backfield stars easy to find

The headline said it all. In 1924, finding star power in the backfield was easiest of all.

“Backfield Sensations Far More Numerous Than Forward Stars,” The Oklahoman headline read above the All-State team.

Writer Charles J. Brill pointed to his two first-team halfbacks as proof of the idea, under the subhead “Fuquay Greatest of All.”

“The halfback positions on the first team go to Joe Fuquay of Stigler and Secrest of McAlester,” he wrote. “Here are two unpretentious athletes who, in spite of their modesty and willingness to submerge personal glory for the benefit of the team as a whole, never have entered a game from which they failed to come out heroes.”

1934: The 12th man

The 1934 All-State roster was unique compared to those before it. Twelve players were selected to the first team, which Oklahoman Sports Editor Bus Ham explained this way: “The twelfth man is an additional back. He was selected in order to keep apace of the most modern trend in this colorful autumnal sport, that of the ‘five-man backfield.'

“Since the advent of the rabbit back or tail-back — some little fellow who can run like the wind for perhaps half a ball game but cannot go at full speed all the way — almost every successful team has had two of these darting diminutives to alternate.”

1944: Van Pool finds stardom

He has been inducted into the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. His name is on the gymnasium at Northwest Classen High School, where he coached basketball teams to three state championships.

In fact, he coached basketball for 27 years at five Oklahoma City schools, but Don Van Pool got his start on the football field, where the Capitol Hill end was selected to the 1944 All-State team before going on to play at Oklahoma State.

Van Pool passed away in December of 2011.

1954: Bomber greatness

Dick Evans rose to prominence in the Midwest City backfield, earning All-State status in 1954, but that was only the start of his success as a Bomber.

Evans became Midwest City's football coach in 1978, succeeding the legendary Jim Darnell. Evans guided the Bombers to two state championships, in 1985 and 1988.


by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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