A salute to people with Oklahoma ties who were part of the game day experience.
*A hero on and off the football field. Duane Wood starred in the 1950s at Oklahoma A&M and then the 1960s in the American and Canadian football leagues. Wood, a four-sport letterman at Wilburton High School, was a running back at A&M. One of Wood's collegiate highlights came during the inaugural Blue Grass Bowl in 1958 in Lexington, Ky. Wood ran for 81 yards and scored two touchdowns as the Aggies trimmed Florida State.
Wood went undrafted and started his pro career in 1959 with the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL. He joined the Dallas Texans of the American Football League as a 6-foot-1, 200-pound defensive back in 1960 and remained with the franchise after it moved to Kansas City. In five seasons with the Texans/Chiefs, Wood had 20 interceptions with 247 return yards and one TD. He returned to the CFL for the 1965 season with the Edmonton Eskimos.
Wood returned to Wilburton after the '65 season and entered private business. He also worked for a dredging service; during a work day on the Arkansas River, Wood saved the lives of three people whose boat capsized. He still resided in Wilburton when he died recently at age 74.
*Phillip Washburn served as a captain for the Midwest City High School wrestling team during the 1957-58 season. As a senior, the 157-pounder finished fourth at the state tournament, losing by decision to Richard Canterbury of Putnam City. Washburn remained an athlete after high school. He and companion Karen Ohlheiser recently climbed Mount Sneffels, a 14,000-foot mountain peak near Ouray, Colo. Washburn was a swimmer, runner and cyclist and familiar face at the YMCA in downtown Oklahoma City. Washburn, who owned a software company, died Aug. 21 at age 72.
*Joe Don Heald played football at Harrah High School in the 1990s. He went on to become an engineer. The Newalla resident died at age 38.