Tigers Past and Present in the NFL

corsicana-tigersCorsicana has produced 15 players for the NFL. Listed are those that played at least one full season in the pros.
Danny Colbert was born in Corsicana, but played his high school ball at South Oak Cliff High School. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1974 and played three seasons there as a corner back/defensive back.
Rondy Colbert (not sure if the two are related) was born in Corsicana and played high school football for Houston Sterling. He was drafted in 1975 by the New York Giants, playing two seasons for them before moving over to the St. Louis Cardinals in his final year, 1977. Rondy played CB for both teams.
David Hawthorne is a former Tigers alumni who started his pro career in Seattle (2008-2011) is currently playing outside linebacker for the New Orlean Saints (2012-present).
Brian Hicks (born in Corsicana) played at Burkburnett High School and was drafted in 1998 by the Washington Redskins. He played three seasons for the ‘Skins (1998-2000) and his final year was in Tennessee with the Titans. Hicks played running back.
A throwback to the early days was Jay Hornbeak who was born and raised in Corsicana, playing his high school ball there before moving on to college for the University of Washington. He played one season in the NFL for the Brooklyn Dodgers as a half back and QB.
Steve Howell was born in Corsicana but finished his gridiron days for Waxahachie and Baylor University before shifting gears as a fullback for the Miami Dolphins from 1979 to 1981.
Probably one of the most notable players before recent times was none other than “The Bear” Hershel Ray Jacobs. Jacobs was Corsicana through and through before playing college ball for Navarro Junior College and Howard Payne University. He played in the old AFL (before the two leagues combined) for the Denver Broncos (1963-1966), Miami Dolphins (1967-1968) and Boston Patriots (1969). Jacobs played defensive tackle.
Bethel Johnson was born in Corsicana and played high school ball there. He was picked in the second round by the New England Patriots in 2003 as a wide receiver and spent three seasons with the team before splitting time with the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings in 2006. He was on the practice squad of the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans in 2007 and finished his career with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. Johnson also has two Super Bowl rings from his playing days with the Patriots.
William (Bill) Jones, Jr. was born in Abilene and played high school ball for Corsicana. He played in the NFL as a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1990-1992.
Danzell Lee was born and raised in Corsicana. He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1987 and the Atlanta Falcons in 1988 as a tight end.
Danieal Manning was also born and raised in Corsicana. He is currently in his seventh season in the NFL. Manning started out with the Chicago Bears (2006-2010) and is now playing for the Houston Texans (2011-present) as a free safety.
Felton Prewitt is another Corsicana native that played center for Buffalo Bisons of the All-American Football Conference in 1946. The team was renamed the Bills in 1947 and Prewitt played with them until 1948. In 1949, his final professional season, he played with the Baltimore Colts.
Little known Donnie Sommer was born in Corsicana and played high school ball for Bellaire High School. He played one season in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills in 1987 as an offensive tackle.
Billy Yates played his high school ball for Corsicana even though he was born in Ft. Worth. Yates played offensive guard from 2003 to 2010 for the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns. He, along with Johnson, has a Super Bowl ring while playing for the Patriots in 2005.
Next is Louis Vasquez, a guard for the San Diego Chargers from 2009 to 2012. He is currently playing this season for the Denver Broncos. Louis was also born and raised in Corsicana.
Former Corsicana and Baylor alumni Jay Finley played one season (2011) in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.

MLK Day Event Coming Up Soon, Jan. 20th

Hopefully the weather will be clear on Jan. 20th in order for the annual MLK Day Parade from Bunert Park to take place. Pictured is a scene from the 2009 celebration day. More details will be coming, so check back often.

Hopefully the weather will be clear on Jan. 20th in order for the annual MLK Day Parade from Bunert Park to take place. Pictured is a scene from the 2009 celebration day. More details will be coming, so check back often.

January 20th marks the day of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration across the nation. The event is also celebrated locally in Corsicana, with a gathering on the morning of the event in Bunert Park, which features songs, presentations and a guest speaker.
After the morning session a parade forms and marches from the park, traveling west on E. 6th Ave. towards the Martin Luther King Community Center where more celebration day activities take place, including local school children reciting Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech.
In the evening a special ceremony is usually held at one of the local churches and all of the public is invited to attend and participate.
More details will come as soon they are released, so check back often in order not to miss out on this important historical event.

Fake Field Goal Tally Brings Win

A display commemorating the 1963 Corsicana Tigers football team in currently on display at the Corsicana Public Library.

A display commemorating the 1963 Corsicana Tigers football team in currently on display at the Corsicana Public Library.

Today we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Corsicana Tigers 1963 State Championship in football. On this day in 1963, the Tigers defeated Pharr-San Juan Alamo at Patti Welder Stadium in Victoria for the Class 3A State crown.

The following is the report given about the game by then Corsicana Daily Sun sports editor, Talmadge Canant. This is what he wrote:


Valley Opponents Fail To Achieve Any Penetrations

By Talmadge Canant

Sun Sports Editor

Corsicana Tigers reign as Texas champions in Class AAA football!

The Navarro County Bengals reached the apex of their ambitions Saturday in the mud and cold of Patti Welder Stadium in Victoria, beating Pharr-San Juan Alamo, 7-0.

They out-defensed the defense touted as the best in the state, and shut out the Bears, 7-0 in as rugged a title battle as you could expect to see, anywhere.

The Fake

A neat bit of deception brought Jim Acree’s hard-fighting outfit its victory, when a fake field goal attempt in the early minutes of the second quarter turned into a 17-yard scoring pass from Rankin Koch to Jim Hagle. A few seconds later, Ricky Libal did, indeed, kick the ball – through the uprights to put the last nail in the coffin encasing the Pharr Bears, although they still had 9:15 left to play the first half.

You can honestly call it nothing but smart, clean, hard football that the Tigers used to turn back the bid from Rio Grande Valley. First downs and yards gained rushing belonged to the Bears, but everything else, including the scoreboard, belonged to the rampaging Tigers of Navarro County, the only undefeated, untied football team left in the state of Texas in 1963. The Bengals have 14 game scores to prove it.

True to its reputation, the Pharr eleven played tremendous defense against rushing. Probably no team this year has held Corsicana to as few ground yards as did the losers Saturday. The official statistician gave Corsicana but 26 yards (net) in the running game, while the losing Bears logged 129 steps on the turf, most of them between the 30 yard lines.

No Penetration

Not so much as once did the swift Bruins make it inside the Corsicana 20 in possession of the football. The touted come-from-behind offense of the losers never got a chance to operate in the game, although it was giving it a good try as the final count-down ended.

As usual, Corsicana lost the coin-toss, and the Bears from far Pharr chose to receive the kickoff, and defend the west goal. Richard Cortez ran Donnie Denbow’s kick out to the 30, and from there the Bears started a march. Johnny Champion’s third-down, 16-yard jaunt to the Bengals 49 opened a few eyes, and then he ripped to the 43, where each side drew five yard penalties on succeeding downs. Two plays moved the ball only to the 40, and Quarterback Johnny Warden’s fourth-down chunk was picked off on the 8 yard line by Chick Whistler, who slipped and slithered his muddy way back upfield to the Tiger 27, where the officials pinned a 15-yard late-hit penalty on the Bears, out the Tiger 43. Corsicana’s first offensive drive crossed midfield on another penalty, fizzled on David Robinson’s loss back to the Tiger 46.

Great Punting

Jim Hagle, who kept the Bears in the hole all day with his soaring punts, booted dead at the 15, and it was returned to the Bear 23. Four plays later the Bears had to punt, out to the Corsicana 42, and Corsicana, getting but 2 yards in three plays, let Hagle boot again, this time to the Bear 16, where the ball died.

Three plays later, the first of two Pharr fumbles occurred, when Sam Cooper jarred Jeff Champion loose from the ball and recovered on the Pharr 29.

Jim Hagle bobbled it away in return on the next play and the Bruins recovered on their own 26 and Corsicana still did not have a penetration.

Punt Blocked

Champion, the leading ground gainer of the game with 67 yards on 21 assignments, and Fullback Jody Powers each could get but two yards on consecutive tries at the tremendous Tiger line, and on third down Powers took the direct snap for a quick kick. Tackle Sam Cooper barreled through and blocked the boot. Ivie was there to fall on it and give Corsicana the ball on the Burin 26.

Hagle got nothing but trouble in a try at the line, then hit up the middle for 8 yards.

He got only one on next down, however, and into the game came Rankin Koch, the holder, and Ricky Libal, the kicker, for the field goal try from the 17 yard stripe. The tee went down and Koch called for the ball.

As it came back, Pharr rushed eleven men at the kicker. Koch stood up, took a step or two to his left, and lofted a lazy pass into the flat between the hash marks and the sideline to Jim Hagle, who was over there unnoticed and a lone. Hagle took it on the 12 and ambled over the line, not having to hurry it at all. Then Libal got back there and really did kick this one, making it 7-0 with 9:15 left to play in the first half.

Halfback Richard Cortez ran the kickoff out to his 43, and the Bruins reeled off a first down on the Corsicana 47. The Tigers allowed Champion 8 yards in 2 plays, stopped him cold on the third try, and the Valley boys decided to gamble on Jody Powers’ buck on fourth down, but he met a Tiger wall and was downed a yard shy, and over it went, on the Corsicana 37.

Corsicana, which found the Pharr defense against ground plays the best it has met this year, had to punt on third down from its 42, and Hagle’s boot to the Bear 24 was hauled in by Julio Ayala, and the Bears set up a sideline corridor for him. It worked very well, almost too well, and Hagle came over to make the stop on the Corsicana 40, a tremendous tackle that jarred Ayala out of bounds. Pharr had its opportunity then.

Champion hit to the 37, but Cody Sherrard broke into the PSJA backfield and dumped Quarterback Warden for 5 yard loss. Then Warden threw one of his infrequent passes to Burl Tanner, a sideline toss to the Corsicana 28, a first down.

Corsicana dug in, then. Champion got just 1 yard. “Boxer” Hernandez got 2, and Champion got 1. Whatever fourth down play Warden planned was fouled when Johnny Nelson hit him for a loss back to the 28 and Corsicana took over on downs. Gary Roman ran out the clock then, until halftime.

Corsicana received the second half kickoff, was forced to punt after netting 1 yard in three plays. Hagle, who kept the PSJA eleven back in the shadow of its own goal posts all day with his booming kicks, booted to Cruz Cantu on the Pharr 25, he returned to his 35, but on of his mates clipped and the ball went back to the 20. Corsicana forced PSJA to punt, on fourth down. It was short, to midfield, and the Bears drew another 15 yarder to their 35, as Corsicana took over the ball.

Roman tossed two incomplete passes, Corsicana drew a 15 yard penalty to its own 46, and Hagle boomed a 43 yard punt dead on the Pharr 11. Pharr drew a penalty of half the distance to the goal then, for unnecessary roughness, to the 5 ½ yard stripe.

Force Punt

Warden pulled them out of a hole with a sweeping power run, using everyone but the water boys for interference. It got out the Bears 27, but a five-yard penalty ruined the Bears and Hagle took their punt on his 37, running it back to his 46.

Again, Bear defense and a five-yard assessment prevented Corsicana gaining a first down, and Hagle booted again 43 steps to the 4, and Cantu returned to his 8.

Seitz gained 9 in three tries, but the Bears didn’t care to gamble for 1 yard on fourth down from their 17, and they punted dead on the Corsicana 38.

Robinson got 2 in 2 tries, and Roman then hit Donnie Denbow with a first down toss to the Bear 43, a 17-yarder. Hagle his for 3 as the third ended, made it to the 34 in 2 carries, and then made it a successful fourth down gamble for first down on the Bear 30. Pharr turned on the defense then, and on fourth down Roman’s pass to Nelson was complete but too short on the 25.

Warden fumbled the first play and Bruce Butler fell on it then, on the Bear 29.

Rhoads ran for 1, Roman was set back for a 5 yard loss to the 34 by Rudy Canche, who penetrated, and Roman then hit Johnny Nelson for 9 yards to the 25 on third down. Then Ricky Libal came in with the tee, and his kick for field goal was about 10 yards short, with 7:43 left in the ball game.

Big Intercept

Warden went to the air again, from necessity – the Bears couldn’t get out of their own end of the field. He tried to throw behind Hagle, but the Tiger went up into the air and hauled in the ball on the 30, rambling down to the 1 before being hauled in.

Then PSJA demonstrated why it is called a defensive giant. Its line charged through and set Roman back to the 8 on first down. Hagle hit right guard and gained three of it back, but Corsicana was penalized back to the 10.

Roman then tossed in the right flat to Rhoads, who made a fine catch near the sideline near the goal, but the official ruled he stepped out of bounds before going over for the TD. With fourth down and 1 to go, Hagle dove over the top of the pile, but when they unpacked the players they spotted the ball shy of the goal by a thin margin, and Pharr owned the ball on downs.

In three plays the Bears gained just one yard, and had to punt out to the Bear 33, where there was a fumble of the catch and they all played hulley-gulley with the ball before Raymond Gonzales came up with it on the Bear 33. There the clock showed 4:48 left in the game.

Warden tossed to Halfback Joe Garza for a first down on the Bear 45, and Garza got to the 48 in two carries against a stubborn Tiger line. Warden on a bootleg made nothing, and on fourth down he was swamped trying to run end back on his own 45. Two minutes and 32 seconds remained.


Hagle hit the middle twice for 1 yard and the Bears, suddenly time-conscious, called time out after each one. Roman didn’t gain at the middle, and the Tigers drew 5 yards to the 48 for too much time in the huddle. Hagle punted to the Bear 5 and the Tigers killed it there with 1:18 left to play.

Powers ran for 4 and Warden circled right end for a first down on the 19 with 36 seconds left. Warden threw a screen pass to End Burl Tanner and he took 18 seconds to run to the Bear 28, where the Tigers drew a roughness assessment to the Bears 35.

Champion ran out to the Bear 42 and the crowd burst on the field, thinking the game was over. But one second remained on the clock, and officials ran the crowd off the field. Then Warden circled left end on a power sweep and out of bounds on the Tiger 42 on the last play of the game.

Then the crowd, and joy unrestrained, took over on the Tiger end of the field. On the other end, things were subdued and quiet.

The Corsicana Tigers, after four straight trips into the state playoffs and three bitter disappointments, had made it into the throne room, on the eve of their entry into the Class AAAA category. The Pharr Bears, for the second time in the finals to represent the southern bracket, had fallen to the northern champion, this time Corsicana.

It was a game of contrasts, and sports scribes made much of the fact that Pharr got the most first downs, and the most yards rushing. This has happen several times this year. The Tigers give ground grudgingly in the middle of the field, give it up hardly at all in their own end of the field. But the record speaks for itself.

Too Much Defense

The Bear offense simply could not cope with the Corsicana defense. It never crossed the Corsicana 20 in possession of the football. Its two best drives, if you can call them that, went to the Corsicana 24 and 37, where the Tigers halted both, one on downs and one on a fourth-down pass gamble that the Tigers intercepted. In the second half, Pharr never got across the 50 except on the final play of the game. Corsicana could not run its outside plays, the speedy Bear linebackers turning back their efforts in that direction and forcing the Tigers to run inside. But the touted Bear defense was lacking against passing, and this the Tigers exploited, at the right time.

Corsicana played almost errorless football. Two pass interceptions made the Bears dubious of their own air game later on in the contest. Blocking of the Pharr punt also disturbed plans of the losers.

Hagle’s punting was superb, and it rocked the Bears back time after time, on their own goal line. It greatly restricted PSJA’s operations.

Again, and finally, it was a team victory for Corsicana. Coach Jim Acree, in his familiar blue shirt, substituted freely, especially on defense, playing a total of 27 players at one time or another.

Corsicana’s line play, particularly on defense, was at its best. Tackles Cooper, Ivie and Graham were never better, and Pharr found it out. Guards Wood and Smith held their own, though Wood’s ankle was rehurt in the game. Stover’s snaps were right in there in difficult situations; Ends Denbow, Nelson, Maxwell and Henson made it hard on their opponents. Guards Cody Sherrard and Bill Allison made all kinds of tackles on defense, from the middle position. Bruce Butler’s name at linebacker popped up often. Rankin Koch, playing behind Roman at quarterback, made the winning toss deliberately and surely, faking well on the snapback and making sure of his target.

GAME POSTSCRIPTS – The estimated crowd in Patti Welder stadium was 5,500, according to Victoria officials …. There had been heavy rain in Victoria earlier in the week, and light drizzle the day before, but Corsicanans ran out of the mist 50 miles north of the game site, and no rain fell during the game. The field was slippery in the middle, firm outside the hash marks …. Jim Hagle received a gash across his nose in the closing minutes of the game, but a doctor who attended him said it was not a serious hurt …. At the halftime, the Pharr contingent took the field first, occupied so much time with its band and pep squad, that the Tiger band didn’t get to finish its show before the players came back on the field …. Pharr brought a live mascot onto the field, a small brown bear. We thought the Texas Interscholastic League had banned live mascots in high school? …. Corsicana’s Tiger “doll” was much in evidence on the sidelines …. It was a wonderful performance by Corsicana, and a fine game, but after the finish at Arlington, nothing could be more nerve-wracking.


Corsicana  0  7  0  0  -  7

PSJA           0  0  0  0  -  0

Scoring summary

First Quarter – No scoring

Second Quarter – Corsicana – Hagle, 17-yard pass from Koch; Libal, point kick.

Third Quarter – No scoring

Fourth Quarter – No scoring

Game statistics

First Downs: CHS 4, PSJA 9

Net Yards: CHS 26, PSJA 129

Yards Gained Passing: CHS 84, PSJA 44

Passes completed: CHS 6 of 8, PSJA 4 of 12

Passes Intercepted By: CHS 2,  PSJA 0

Opp. Fumbles Recovered By: CHS 2, PSJA 1

Punting: Corsicana 7 for 41.1, Pharr 6 for 25.3 yards

Penalties: CHS 7 for 43 yards, PSJA 8 for 79 yards.

Starters – Corsicana – (Kicking off) Joe Smith, Chick Whistler, Johnny Nelson, Don Ivie, Cody Sherrard, Ronnie Rhoads, Bill Allison, Roger Goldsberry, Marc Maxwell, Sam Cooper and Donnie Denbow.

Pharr – David Facile, Louis Sternberg, Gus Dankiefs, Jesus Vela, Johnny Warden, Jeff Champion, Fred Seitz, Eddie Graves, Armando Garcia, Phil Hetrick, Jody Powers.

Officials – Barney Welch, referee; Taylor Wilkins, umpire; Jim Neville, field judge; Emil Mamilaga, head linesman.

Jackson Bears win 1953 State Championship over the Abilene Woodson Rams, 19-0

(Editor’s note: The following was taken from the pages of the book ‘Remembering the Past with Pride – State Championship Football for Blacks in Texas 1940-1969 – 4A, 3A, 2A, A, authored by Walter E. Day, who coached the Jackson High Bears to three state championships, eight district titles, three semifinals and two bi-district titles. This is his recount of the Bears 1953 State Championship game.)

The 1953 State Championship game was played on Tiger Field, the first championship game played in Corsicana since 1932, 21-years ago when the Corsicana Tigers won the title to the University of Texas Interscholastic League on penetrations over the Masonic Home Mites of Fort Worth following a scoreless tie.
However, in 1948, Navarro Junior College met Wharton Junior College on Tiger Field in the State Championship of Texas Junior College Conference. Wharton beat Navarro decisively.
You may recall we had been very unlucky in calling the toss of the coin in arranging for the quarterfinal and semifinal games, being required to play Victoria Goss in Victoria in the quarterfinals and Huntsville at Huntsville for the semifinals.
The conference to arrange for the State Championship game against Woodson of Abilene was held in Hamilton, somewhat of a midway point between Corsicana and Abilene. Walter F. Cotton, Principal, Leroy Campbell, Assistant Coach and Walter E. Day, Head Coach, represented Jackson High School, while Donald Grace, Head Coach, Ervin Garrett, Assistant Coach and Eddie Frank Green, Principal, represented Woodson High School of Abilene.
It was decided to let Campbell, Assistant Bear Coach, call the toss of the coin, which he did and won the toss for the game to be played in Corsicana.
The Athletic Committee of the Chamber of Commerce sponsored a pregame ticket selling campaign.
As we defeated Victoria, 28-0, in the bi-district and Huntsville, 12-7, in the semifinals, Abilene was defeating Midland Carver, 14-8, in the bi-district and getting by Weldon High of Gladewater, 13-6, in the semifinals.
Abilene came to the championship game with a very impressive record and outstanding football players in Robert and Louis Kelly and Charles Gulley. However, I think the difference in the two teams was that Abilene could not match our speed, ability and prowess. They were completely outclassed and yet they had us scoreless in the last quarter.
As the beginning of the game we were not getting with it because of our hard fought game against Huntsville the week before.
I think we were more impressive on the defense, in that we held them scoreless and kept the ball most of the time.
Abilene was unable to seriously threaten the Bears and did not advance the pigskin into Bear territory until the second half and then against substitutes.
Our big offensive gun, Claude (Pam) Purdy, was kept closely in check, apparently they had scouted him very well as they bottled him up pretty good. William (Sonny) Collins carried the brunt in the early portion of the game while Donald Ware was a continued threat for the Bears.
Hosea Jackson scored the first touchdown in the first quarter on a left end run from the one-yard line to culminate a 57-yard drive. Purdy’s PAT was missed, striking the goal post, bouncing back into the playing field. The second touchdown came in the second period to end a 90-yard drive that began late in the first period. Pam Purdy scampered over from the 23 at right end and William Collins ran the ball over for the PAT to give the Bears a 13-0 margin that ended the first half scores. Donald Ware intercepted a Woodson pass and returned it 15-yards for a touchdown.
During the halftime intermission, the rival bands vied in intricate formations, marches and exhibitions that brought well-deserved applause from the appreciative audience.
There were several hundred enthusiasts who braved the chilly blast on Tiger Field to see this titular melee. Many others with advance tickets declined to use them because of the cold weather and the rush of the approaching Christmas season.
In summation, this 1953 State Championship team of the Jackson High Bears was undefeated, tied once by Corpus Christi Coles. This team averaged 36 points per game while holding their opponents to 3.5 points per game. We held seven teams scoreless, including two of their state playoff opponents, defeating Victoria, 28-0, in the bi-district and defeating Abilene, 19-0, in the State Championship.

Here is the article from the big game as it appeared in the Dec. 19th Corsicana Daily Sun article by Paul Moore, Sun Sports Editor:

Bears Win State Championship Here Friday Night

Jackson High’s Ground Game Pays Off While Tight Defense Stops Best Efforts of Woodson Rams Eleven

By Paul Moore

Sun Sports Editor

Jackson High School Bears Friday night won the championship of the AA Negro Interscholastic League of Texas. They defeated a stubborn, scrapping but outclassed Woodson Ram eleven from Abilene to win, 19-0.

Rams Outclassed

The West Texans could not match the prowess, speed and ability of the 1953 champions of their class, although they held the winners scoreless in the last quarter as many replacements were used and contested stubbornly for all yards allowed the victors.

During the half intermission, the rival bands vied in intricate formations, marches and exhibitions that brought well-deserved applause from the appreciative audience.

Weather Cold

Several hundred enthusiasts braved the chilly blasts on Tiger Field to see the titular meice, while many others with advance tickets declined to use them because of the cold weather and the rush of the approaching Christmas season.

Sensing a championship after many years and bounding back from their tough ball game in the semi-finals at Huntsville last weekend, the proteges of Coach Walter Day and his staff did not wait long before turning in the score that later proved the winning of the long-sought championship.

Fine Defense

The Bears, however, were more impressive on the defense, blanketing the efforts of the Rams and keeping the ball most of the time. Abilene was unable to seriously threaten the Bears and did not advance the pigskin into the Bear territory until in the second half and then against replacements.

Cluade Purdy, the spearhead and running for the Bears in previous games, was watched pretty closely – the West Texans having apparently scouted him well.

Ball Luggers

But the local crew presented a couple of ball carriers who did exceptionally well – in fact, equaled or surpassed Purdy as the Rams watched Purdy. William Collins carried the brunt in the early portion of the game while Donald Ware was a continual threat for the Jacksonites. L.B. Keith, guard and R.B. Green, tackle, were outstanding for the local contingent. Ira Black, guard, and Delmon Lyons, tackle, did well for the Rams, although Charles Gulley, back and line-backer on the defense was the outstanding performer for the losers.

First Touchdown

H. Jackson scored the first touchdown in the first quarter on a left-end run from the one-yard line to culminate a 57-yard drive. C. Purdy’s attempted placement kick for point after struck one of the goal posts, bounding back into the playing field.

The second touchdown came in the second period to end a 90-yard drive that began late in the first period. C. Purdy scampered over from the 23 at right end and William Collins ran the ball over for the point after to give the Bears a 13-0 margin that ended the first half scores.

The Rams’ coach must have corrected some of the errors of his crew at the ahlf intermission, for only one marker was tallied in the second half.

Ware Intercepts

Donald Ware intercepted a Woodson pass and returned 15 yards for a touchdown. A determined defense had given the Rams the ball on downs on the six-yard line seconds before the interception. Abilene had previously recovered a fumble late in the second to nullify another Bear scoring threat.

Woodson advanced the ball past mid-field in the fourth period, aided by penalties and a couple of passes against the reserves.

This victory brought the scores for the year for the Bears to 458 points to 46, winning 12 and tying one game.

This is the second important victory of the year on Tiger field for the Jackson contingent. The Bears copped the district title on this gridiron against the Dunbar team of Temple, 53-0, in the Chocolate Bowl several weeks ago.

Game stats and starting lineups – from the Corsicana Daily Sun article on Dec. 19, 1953

Score by Periods

Jackson 6 7 6 0 – 19
Woodson 0 0 0 0 – 0

First Downs: Jackson 21, Woodson 6
Gained Rushing: Jackson 327, Woodson 103
Lost Rushing: Jackson 11, Woodson 12
Passing: Jackson 2-5-32-1-0, Woodson 4-18-24-1-0
Punts: Jackson 2-26.0, Woodson 6-31.0
Penalties: Jackson 7-55, Woodson 2-10
Fumbles: Jackson 4-3, Woodson 2-2

Starting Lineups
Jackson – Johnny Bonner and C. Holt, ends; R.B. Green and R.C. Jones, tackles; L.B. Keith and George Stewart, guards; Vern Carroll, center; Thomas Fields, quarterback; C. Purdy and H. Jackson, halfbacks; William Collins, fullback.
Woodson – Clarence Bryant and Freddie Bell, ends; Delmon Lyons and James Bennett, tackles; F.L. Stevenson and Ira Black, guards; James Tate, center; Robert Kelly, quarterback; Y. Reazor and Charles Gulley, halfbacks; Louis Kelly, fullback.

Despite turnovers, Tigers prevail 14-13 winners over Graham

The Corsicana Tigers played in a hard, hard fought battle against Graham on Saturday, Dec. 14, 1963, but the Bengals emerged on top, 14-13, to advance to the state championship game to play Pharr-San Juan Alamo.
Both Corsicana and Graham traded touchdowns in the first quarter of play, with the Tigers striking first on a 56-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gary Roman to receiver Donnie Denbow to make it 6-0.
Graham countered a while later on a 16-yard scoring run by Billy Ingram, which capped off a 75-yard drive for the Steers to even it up at 6-6.
The score remained tied until the third quarter when Graham’s Neil Edwards ran in for a 66-yard touchdown and after Fred Gough kicked the extra point, the Steers held a 13-6 lead.
The Tigers took the game right down to the wire and with only 00:33 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Jim Hagle jumped in the end zone from one-yard out to make it 12-13.
According to the newspaper account, The Tigers were behind on penetrations and trailed by one point, so everyone on hand at the stadium and within hearing distance of a radio knew what had to take place.
Corsicana Coach Jim Acree sent in the play. The ball was snapped and Roman faked a handoff to Hagle into the middle and the massed weight of every lineman and linebacker fell on him, but the ball was still in Roman’s hands and he took a couple of steps to his right, spotted the opposition going after Hagel and skipped wide to his right for the two points.
Canant wrote, “He could almost have trotted and made it.”
At that point, according to the article, Roman launched the ball into orbit once he crossed the goal and there was silence in the east stands and bedlam in the west ones.
The Tiger defense held their ground and the rest … is history.
Starters for Corsicana were Joe Smith, Johnny Nelson, Cody Sherrard, Ronnie Rhoads, Bill Allison, Roger Goldsberry, Marc Maxwell, Sam Cooper, Donnie Denbow, Jim Wood and Chick Whistler.
Graham starters were Johnny Mills, Danny Wood, Freddy Gough, P.D. Shabay, E.A. Gresham, Buddy Ponder, George Hays, Mike Lochner, Leslie Lasater, Gordon Nees and Terry Collins.

Score by quarters
Corsicana 6 0 0 8 – 14
Graham     6 0 7 0 – 13

First Quarter
Corsicana – Roman to Denbow 56-yard passing play, Libal point after wide to left.
Graham – Billy Ingram 16 run, kick blocked.
Second Quarter
No score
Third Quarter
Graham – Neil Edwards 66-yard run, Fred Gough kick.
Fourth Quarter
Corsicana – Jim Hagle one-yard run, Roman two-point run.

First Downs – GHS 10, CHS 12
Net Yards – GHS 110, CHS 133
Passing – GHS (5-12-61-0-0), CHS (10-24-135-3-1)
Punts – GHS 6-37 yards, CHS 4-39.8 yards
Penalties – GHS 4-47, CHS 4-40
Fumbles Lost – GHS 1, CHS 2

Jackson High Bears advance to state championship game with win over Sam Houston, 12-7

(Editor’s note: The following is an excert from a book written by former Jackson High School Bear’s coach, Walter E. Day. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the 1953 PVIL 2A State Football Championship game the Bears team was a part of.)

Semi-Finals (Saturday, 12-12-53)
Most people were thinking we wold meet Orange for the semi-final game but Huntsville defeated Orange 7-6 in their bi-district game played in Orange on a Thursday night.
For the second time around, we met the school officials from Huntsville, Texas to arrange for our semi-final game, but for the second time we lost the flip of the coin. The meeting was held in Buffalo, Texas. Coach Johnny Roberts, “The Blond Blizzard: was one of the representatives from Huntsville attending the meeting.
Johnny Roberts was a very good coach and quite comical especially when we would be at the Texas High School Coaches Clinic, but he took care of business when he was opposite coacing. The semi-finals game against Sam Houston of Huntsville was played in Sam Houston State Teachers College Stadium. We won the game (a hard fought game 12-7.)
I would think this Sam Houston team of Huntsville was about the toughest game we had played all season. Sam Houston scored first, and took a 7-0 lead early in the ball game. The Bears came back and scored in the first half when Claude (Pam Purdy, All State and Co-Captain), took a pitch out from Thomas Fields and then passed to Jeff Davis who made the catch between two defenders for a touchdown. The extra point was missed and Huntsville led 7-6 at the half.
Midway through the 3rd quarter, Pam Purdy put the Bears ahead, taking a Huntsville punt on his own 47 and threading his way for a touchdown. The point after was again missed. Late in the game Huntsville drove to the Bears 4-yard line where the Bears held them and time ran out. If I am correct, we had only ten men on the field.
On defense, Jimmie Ford, Curly Holt, Aubry Washington, Maurice Grant and Jimmy Heron were outstanding, while Donald Ware, Sonny Collins, Vern Carroll, T. Fields, Hosea Jackson were making contributions on offense.
The game was played on a partially muddy field.
John (Buck) Oliphant, an All State back for Huntsville was a threat all night. John attended Prairie View A&M College and was all Southwestern and later became a coach at E. E. Worthing High School, Houston, Texas where I also had the opportunity to work on the staff with John one year prior to becoming coach at I. M. Terrell High School in the Fall of 1961.

On this day in Corsicana Tiger football history – December 7, 1963

After being down by seven at the end of the first quarter of play, the Corsicana Tigers scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and held the McKinney Lions scoreless the rest of the game for the win to advance to the semifinals against Graham (winners over Dumas, 13-0) next Saturday, December 14, 1963.

Gary Roman, an all-district senior captain, made a tremendous asset to this year’s team by directing the Tigers to many touchdowns, according to his yearbook football bio for 1963-64.

Gary Roman, an all-district senior captain, made a tremendous asset to this year’s team by directing the Tigers to many touchdowns, according to his yearbook football bio for 1963-64.

McKinney’s only touchdown came on a one-yard run by James Craig, with kicker and backup quarterback Gary Hardin making the extra point try.
Corsicana scored their first touchdown of the second quarter on a Gary Roman seven-yard run and Ricky Libal added the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
The Tigers Jim Hagle, who was busy all night long on both offense and defense, scooted in from a yard out with 5:22 remaining in the half to put Corsicana up for good, 14-7.
Starters for Corsicana in the game were Joe Smith, Chick Whistler, Johnny Nelson, Don Ivie, Cody Sherrard, Ronnie Rhoads, Bill Wilson, Roger Goldsberry, Marc Maxwell, Sam Cooper and Donnie Denbow.
McKinney starters were James Tinsley, Steve Williams, Danny Doyle, Jack Ellis, Kenneth Gibney, Mike Cain, Roy McDearmon, Ronnie Smith, Charles McKissick, Neil Crockett and James Craig.
Game stats
First Downs: Corsicana 11, McKinney 19
Net Yards Rushing: Corsicana 99, McKinney 92
Passing: Corsicana 1-4-11-0-0, McKinney 6-15-105-2-0
Punts: Corsicana 7-33.4, McKinney 1-43
Penalties: Corsicana 4-40, McKinney 4-37
Fumbles Lost: Corsicana 0, McKinney 2

It’s time to get into the Christmas spirit!

It’s time to get into the Christmas spirit!

The City of Corsicana and downtown merchants want to share their Christmas spirit with you starting Friday, December 6, from 5-6 p.m. starting with the lighting of downtown, sponsored by the Parks & Recreation Department and Main Street Program.
The event kicks off at 5 p.m. with music and singing, Santa will make a special appearance for the occasion bringing treats for the kids and the “young at heart!”
Visitors will also be treated to free street tacos and beverages and to mark the lighting ceremony, a fireworks display will be presented!

Get there early to get your picture made with Santa in Pocket Park. The photography studio of Memories by Melissa is offering two 4×6 photos for $15 prior to the start of the event from 3-5 p.m.

The Corsicana Acappella Choir will perform beginning at 5 p.m. (Hey! I was a member back in the day … anyways)
Downtown shops will stay open later and offer discounts to customers.

Some of the shops that will be open past regular business hours are:
The Ark (204 N. Beaton)
Artistic Edge Hair Salon & Spa (214 N. Beaton)
Blackmon Antiques (207 N. Beaton – 15% off purchase for the day)
The Children’s Shop (112 W. Collin)
Double Trouble Duds (201 S. Beaton)
Harvie’s (112 E. 5th Ave.)
Luci Blu (318 N. Beaton)
Merchant’s Antiques (320 N. Beaton)
Shall We Dance Fitness Studio (106 W. 6th Ave. – complimentary coffee plus tour the tea room)
This and That Antiques (108 N. Beaton)
Vintage Farmhouse (103 S. Beaton – 10% off w/donation of new toy or canned foods)
Wally’s Party Factory (100 S. Beaton)

Don’t forget there are places to eat afterwards at Napoli’s and Fiesta Grill.

This will be a great time to reminisce the good old days of shopping downtown, visiting and talking with old friends and making some new ones and coming together as a community, so despite what the weather may be, let’s all bundle up and have a great time supporting all of our downtown merchants and the City of Corsicana.

Saturday night will be another great evening as the annual downtown Christmas Parade and Parade of Lights takes place.

The parade will start around sundown (between 5:30 and 6 p.m.) starting at 3rd Ave. and 13th St. with this year’s Grand Marshall … Santa Claus. Following the parade everyone is invited to venture over to Community Park for the lighting ceremony.

More details later this evening …

The annual Corsicana Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6, starting at sundown!

The annual Corsicana Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, starting at sundown!

Corsicana My Hometown Photo Contest


Corsicana My Hometown is pleased to invite our community to the First Annual My Hometown Photo Contest. The contest will be open to the general public throughout December 2013. Offical deadline for the contest is January 1st, 2014, 11:59 PM. We encourage everyone to participate. It will be a lot of fun reviewing and voting on submitted photos in January 2014, after the official contest deadline. All ages are welcome to participate and every participant can submit up to 3 photos.

To add a bit of an incentive, we can announce that the 3 most popular photos (for voting details see below) will be awarded cash prizes!

Outlines and Rules for the Contest

  • Official Start of Contest is December 2nd, 2013
  • Submission per email
  • Each participant can submit up to three (3) photos, but only one (1) photo is necessary to enter the contest for a chance to win one of the prizes.
  • Photos should be from the current year (2013), or at least recent (no historical photos).
  • Photos MUST be related to Our Hometown, Corsicana and photos should meet common sense regarding decency and avoiding offensive materials/subjects. Photos that do not meet these standards will be disqualified and excluded from the voting process.
  • If a participant submits more than 3 photos, only the first 3 pictures (in chronological order) will be entered into the contest.
  • Official deadline/end of the Contest is January 1st, 2014, 11:59 PM CST

Where and How can I Submit Photos for the Contest

Submission per email ONLY! Please send your photos (either as attachment or inline pictures) to

Please submit your name and phone number with the email, so we can easier notify you in case you win one of the prizes!

We don’t set requirements for photo resolution or quality but, obviously, the higher the resolution and the better the quality, the better the chances for the photo to win a prize.

Voting on the Photos

After the deadline of the contest, all qualifying photos will be posted in the Corsicana My Hometown Group on Facebook. While this is a “Closed Group”, everyone is welcome to join. If you are not a member of the group yet, only requirements to join are that you have a Facebook account and that you request to be added to the group.

The voting on the photos, and consequently determining the winners of the contest, will take place through Facebook “Likes”. All members of the group can browse through the photos and “Like” one or several individual ones, as they see fit. The time period for voting will be set after January 1st, 2014. After the voting deadline, those 3 photos with the most Facebook “Likes” win First, Second and Third Prize respectively.

Cash Prizes

There are three (3) Cash Prizes:

  • First Prize: $100, for the photo with the highest number of Facebook Likes
  • Second Prize: $50, for the photo with the second highest number of Facebook Likes
  • Third Prize: $25, for the photo with the third highest number of Facebook Likes

Legal Disclaimers

By submitting one or several photos with the purpose of participating in the Corsicana My Hometown Photo Contest, the participant is acknowledging that he/she has read, understood and accepted the following legal disclaimers:

  • The Corsicana My Hometown Board can amend the rules of the contest at any time as they deem necessary.
  • Exclusion/disqualification of photos from the contest lies in the sole discretion of the Corsicana My Hometown Board. No reasons need to be given for excluding certain photos from the contest.
  • Upon entering the contest, participants guarantee that submitted photographs are their own work and that they hold and own copyrights to any and all submitted photos.
  • By entering the contest, participants also expressly agree to the following release of copyright for their submitted photos:
    I (the participant) grant permission to Corsicana My Hometown and its Affiliates to use photographs taken by me for use on websites or other electronic form or any media, including print, or in other manner desired, without notifying me. I request that credit is given to me whenever possible. My submission of the photos releases client name from any copyright infringement. I hereby waive any right to inspect or approve the photographs or electronic matter that may be used in conjunction with them now or in the future, whether that use is known to me or unknown, and I waive any right to royalties or other compensation arising from or related to the use of the photographs.I hereby agree to release and hold harmless Corsicana My Hometown and its Affiliates from and against any claims, damages or liability arising from or related to the use of the photographs, including but not limited to any re-use, distortion, blurring, alteration, optical illusion or use in composite form, either intentionally or otherwise, that may occur or be produced in production of the finished product. I have read this release before entering the contest, and I fully understand the contents, meaning and impact of this release.