Tonight, under the bright lights of Hightower Memorial Stadium, the senior members of the Altus Bulldog football team will take the field for the last time in the regular season.
To label this group as special or memorable would be a writer showing a shortage of word choices. Those are the easy, common adjectives to choose.
A better description for this group would be to call them program changers. Last year’s seniors were the group that this program needed at the time to redirect a failing program. They bought into the new style and standards being brought about by a new staff. That senior group dug into a new direction for the program and led by example, showing the classes behind them how to work.
This year’s seniors relied on the previous group for assurance that what the program was trying to become was necessary and could be trusted.
So, we thank last year’s group for laying the surface down for this year’s bunch to blaze a trail of record setting achievements.
Team records have alredy fallen to this group, and more will fall before the year is done.
Individual records have been obliterated and more will fall before the year is done.
Several more records are close to falling.
The AHS school record for team rushing yards is 3,894 set in 2001. This team already has 3,387.
The AHS school record for average rushing yards per game is 319.4 set in 1995. This team averages 376.3 yards per game.
Add the passing yards for the year, and this 2015 version of Bulldogs football has 3,984 total yards with a minimum of two games remaining. The old record, which has stood for 44 years, was set in 1971 by the only state champions in football that AHS boasts. That old record was 5,087.
The AHS school record for average total yards of offense per game was also set by that 1971 team at 390. This year’s team averages 442.7 yards per game.
This team was, and still is, close to breaking the school record of fewest fumbles lost in a year. That record was set in 1993 at six fumbles lost. The fewest turnovers committed by any Altus team in a year was set by that 1993 team at 10.
This team currently has 10 turnovers. They are tied with that 1993 team with only six fumbles lost. They are also tied with the 1975 team with only four interceptions thrown.
That stat, probably more than any other, should cause any fan’s eyes to pop.
Several individual records have been achieved by this team. Jayden Benway is lurking in the secondary with 18 career interceptions. He needs two to tie Byron Paul from 1974-1976.
Taven Birdow, who owns most every AHS rushing record already, sets a new career mark every time he carries the ball. He is only 27 yards from breaking his single season rushing record of 1,796 yards.
Enjoy the night seniors. You have certainly been a blessing to the school, community and in the hearts of the fans.
It’s senior night for the Altus Bulldogs, the program changers.
Reach Brad Gilbert@482-1221 ext. 2076