The 2015 Altus Bulldogs football season will linger in the hearts and minds of thousands of us who got to see it. Fortunately, for us there are thousands of photos and videos to remind us for years to come.
That is a big difference between the 1971 championship season and the 2015 championship season.
Very few images and almost no videos exist to remember that great 1971 year. That is not the case now.
Now, we not only remember the Gabe Barton kick heard round the world, we were able to see clips from every angle in Yukon that beautiful Monday afternoon.
That is one of my favorite memories of the entire year. Of course, the kick or kicks were fantastic but it was the kicks from every perspective that was wonderful. There were clips with fans adding play by play commentary. There were shaking videos of nervous players’ friends that ended up shaking so violently nothing could be discerned. There were screaming videos of proud parents. There were media videos from under the goal post. One of my favorites was Steve Marshall’s clip where he aimed the camera away from the kick and put the Bulldog fans front and center letting them reveal the kick’s outcome.
Every time I look through the pictures I have always bring back my memories of the dominance of this team.
Along with my memories and along with the dominance of this team, these champs left a paper trail in their wake. They left a paper trail of records for us all to reflect on.
I’m sure we all recall the 100 yard weaving return by Jayden Benway in the title game to Bulldogs up by two scores. Do you remember the 371 yards rushing by Taven Birdow against Del City to break his own record of 327 from his sophomore year?
Taven Birdow now holds records for career total offense, career rushing, career touchdowns rushing and most career points. Birdow also holds the single season rushing record, single season total offense, single season rushing, single season rushing touchdowns and most points in a single season. Add to that Taven holds the records for rushing and points in a single game. That is quite a paper trail.
Gabe Barton is the new record holder for career extra points and single season extra points.
Along with the longest interception return record, Benway now holds the records for most career, single season and single game interceptions.
Also, as quarterback, Benway can take a ton of pride with his teammates in engineering records for single season and single game total offense. This offense generated the most rushing yards for the season, the highest rushing yards average and the highest total yards average for a season.
There are some names left of this list that will probably be left off of these lists as long as records stand. All of these records belong to the entire team. Every one had a part in the whole of success that came to the Bulldogs. However, the names I am referring to are special.
I am talking about five special athletes. As Jayden Benway received his confirmation from the sidelines of what play the offense would use, He went under center with confidence. Every yard Taven Birdow carried the ball for came with added confidence. Sha’Quan French, Jake Vargas, Deante Harris, Tito Jones and Tyler Garcia all carried the ball with confidence.
The confidence came from their offensive line. The five names we should all recall when we reminisce of these glory days are Michael Shive, Ethan Lesley, Cameron Canchola, Jackson Herring and McCrae Stephens. Somehow these five linemen stayed healthy through the most brutal blocking attack on every snap. The line was the main reason all these records fell.
However, just like the names of the linemen who blocked for Walter Payton or Dickerson or Sayers or Emmitt Smith will ever show up in the record books, these five names will be left off of the list as well. Sure those are names from many years ago. So, name one lineman for the Vikings as they clear the way for Adrian Peterson as he leads the NFL in rushing every year.
We need to remember this offensive line and the unsung work they did every play.
All these records leave quite a paper trail. Most of these records stood for more than 30 years. Most of the records were considered by popular opinion to be untouchable before this season started. Makes me wonder if we will ever see another team as good as this one was here in Altus.
Reach Brad [email protected] ext.2076