Share “All-State facts: The 8s”

By Scott Munn Published: December 4, 2012


A culmination of players from Oklahoma City high schools joined forces and won a mythical state championship. That team had four players as All-State selections: end M. Eugene Meister, fullback Earl W. Hendricks and halfbacks Roy J. Garner and Carl E. Schlabach. Garner starred for the Oklahoma City team, which beat Ponca City 12-0 for the title. Meister had a touchdown run wiped out by a “15-yard” illegal procedure penalty  — which was 10 more yards than today's rule. The Oklahoma City 11 handed Ponca City its first loss in two seasons. The first names of All-State picks Gassoway of Stillwater and Hoffman of Shawnee could not be found in The Oklahoman's archives.


Okmulgee had two players on the All-State team, end Fred Cherry and guard George Hoffman. It was the first time in several years a single school had more than one player on the All-State squad. ... Johnny Soergel of Central was listed as an All-State halfback, although he played most of the season at fullback. According to Oklahoman reports, the Cardinals did not have a player who could play fullback better than Soergel.


The '38 Oklahoman All-State team featured 44 players for the first time And, for the first time, these teams actually played a game, followed by a banquet. Every player chosen by The Oklahoman's committee, which included high school principals, automatically qualified for the coaches' All-State game in August 1939. The Oklahoman game was played in December 1938. ... How much bigger are kids of the 2000s compared to the 1930s? Oklahoman writer Arthur Edson noted in 1938 how 12 of the 14 linemen chosen All-State were “at least six-feet tall.”  Buel McDowell of Hugo was the biggest at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds; 70 years later, in 2008, the biggest lineman on the All-State team was Brandon Webb of Owasso at 6-4 and 320 pounds. ... The 1938 All-State team included Glenn Dobbs of Frederick. He went on to star at tailback for Tulsa University in 1940, 1941 and 1942. The All-American would later coach at TU.


This team was loaded. Eddie Crowder of Muskogee. Billy Vessels of Cleveland. Tom Catlin of Ponca City. Enough said.


The 1958 team was generally regarded as one that was lighter on talent than previous All-State clubs. Melvin Skelton was named Coach of the Year after guiding a scrappy Cushing team to the Class A state championship. The unheralded Tigers were not predicted to win the Northern Eight Conference championship, but they did and then ripped off three consecutive playoff victories. The coupe de grace was a 9-7 upset of Ada in the state title game. Skelton was joined on the All-State list by Cushing fullback Ronnie Harmon and quarterback Val Reneau. ... Gary Webb, a center from Putnam City, was described as a “tremendous blocker, has real good speed.” Webb would eventually become the first football coach in Putnam City West history. He later became the school's principal.


John Carter of Northwest Classen was named Lineman of the Year, though he could have been the 1968 Back of the Year. The all-purpose player lined up at several positions on both offense and defense. He regularly rotated between tackle, nose guard and linebacker on defense. Offensively, he topped the Knights with 66 points. Carter rushed 223 yards, passed for 92 and totaled 286 receiving yards. ... The Oklahoman named Bob Copeland of Wilson and Richard Dunlap of Ada as honorary All-State members. Copeland, an offensive lineman and linebacker, died a week after he was injured in an early season game. Dunlap died in a car wreck a week after the season ended; he topped the Cougars with almost 1,000 yards. Ada lost to McAlester in the Class 2A state championship game.

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