Young leads inaugural All-State team
The first Daily Oklahoman All-State team was published on page 12 of the Dec. 7, 1913, edition of the newspaper under the headline “Highschool stars well distributed.” Tulsa quarterback John Young was named the team's captain. “Young, without a doubt, is the best highschool player ever turned out by the east side. With him as quarterback, the backfield formation where the four backs crouch in line for direct passes, would be the most effective,” the story on the selections read.
There was little doubt in the minds of the selectors who would be the quarterback on the 1923 team. Enid's Lynwood “Bus” Haskins had earned the honors as the state's top player in 1922 and repeated the next year. Haskins was one of two repeat entries on the team, joining Brown of Ardmore. Brown, whose first name wasn't listed, made the team at end though he played most of the season at halfback. Haskins played at OU in 1926 and 1928.
Capitol Hill takes two
There was no official state champion in 1933, but Capitol Hill reaped the benefits of being the “mythical” state champions. The Redskins had two players named to the 11-player team due to being considered the unofficial champions. The first was Bruce “Red” Long, a center. The other was Crusty Barton, named by Oklahoman sports editor Bus Ham as the team's captain. Capitol Hill “blew in like a wild oil well in Oklahoma City's front yard and was still on a tear when the gridiron schedule played itself out,” Ham wrote.
Hitting the hardwood
Bartlesville's Tom Cordell was an end on the 1943 All-State team after helping the Bruins upset Tulsa Rogers with a fumble recovery late in the game. Instead of pursuing football, though, Cordell went on to play basketball at Duke. He played in 19 games for the Blue Devils' 1946 Southern Conference championship team, helping Duke go 21-6.
The headline on The Oklahoman's 1953 All-State team read “All-Stars Are Big, Rugged: Husky Prepsters Hit 190 Average.” The All-State team that year was the biggest to date, averaging 190 pounds on the 50-man, two-team roster. That average was boosted greatly by a couple of players — 255-pound lineman Lou Boudreau of Shattuck and 260-pound Earl Johnson of El Reno. Outside of those two, the heaviest player was 220 pounds. In comparison, last season's All-State team averaged 210 pounds and the heaviest player was 293-pound Cayman Bundage of Douglass.
North of the border
After a college career as an All-American at Oklahoma, Tulsa Washington 1963 all-stater Granville Liggins went on to a long career in the Canadian Football League. Liggins helped the Calgary Stampeders win the 1971 Grey Cup before being traded to Toronto in 1973 and winning team MVP honors for the Argonauts in 1976. Liggins remained in Canada after his playing career and lives in the Toronto area.
Claphan goes on to star
Sam Claphan wasn't the lineman of the year in 1973 after starting on both sides and averaging seven unassisted tackles per game for Stilwell, but he went on to have the best career. Claphan played in 87 games over seven seasons with the Chargers after being drafted, then released, by Cleveland. After his playing career, Claphan was an assistant coach at Carl Albert before going back to Stilwell as an assistant. He eventually took over as head coach. Claphan died in 2001 at age 45.
Purcell's Kelly Nemecek set a then-national record with 18 field goals in 1983, and his 31 career field goals were second nationally. Heritage Hall's Jimmy Stevens is the current record-holder with 50 career field goals and is second with 22 field goals in 2005.
In 1993, Travis Hartfield was an all-stater at linebacker. He was more well-known for his offensive exploits, though. He threw for more than 1,600 yards and ran for more than 1,000, combining for 43 touchdowns and helping Watonga to the Class 2A title. This season, Hartfield's nephew, also named Travis Hartfield, threw for around 1,500 yards and ran for more than 1,100 in helping Watonga to the Class A playoffs.
Four players from the 2003 team went on to see regular-season action in the NFL, playing a combined 184 games entering Sunday. Kingfisher's Curtis Lofton leads the way with 73 while Bethany's Chris Chamberlain has played 59, Edmond Santa Fe's Reggie Smith 45 and Jenks' Phillip Dillard 7.