Remember when? Star Wars and Saturday Night Fever opened in theaters, gas was 65 cents per gallon, the Dow Jones Average closed the year at 831, the first Apple computer went on sale, the NASA space shuttle made its first test flight, Jimmy Carter was elected President, Notre Dame was the NCAA Football Champion, the Eagles debuted Hotel California and Elvis died. And in Bellville, Texas, the Bellville Brahmas Football team was ranked the number one Class 2A team in the state by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine to start the season.
Remember that? It appears most people remember the national events, but few remember the 1977 Bellville Football Team. Most people still remember the 1960 Brahma Football Team that lost to Denver City in the State Finals, but forget when Bellville made its second run for a State Championship in 1977. Hopefully, most who read these next few series of articles will learn a little about that 1977 Team and the people and places involved 40 years ago.
Before I get started, it may help to explain how this all came about. As a member of the BellvilleSports.com broadcast team, we do a lot of traveling during the year to the away football games, and that time is usually spent reminiscing about the past football teams, and what we will discuss at the game coming up that night.
Bruce White had asked us to write some articles for the 2017 season, and Ed Marcinkiewicz has written all of them so far. Since I played on that 1977 team, Bruce asked if I could write something about the team since it is the 40th anniversary of that season. I admitted my memory wasn’t that great anymore, but I would do some research to refresh it and put some words down on paper.
Little did I know that such vivid memories and emotions would be rekindled, and that my mind would wish to go back in time and change the outcome of that final game. However, I know that you can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again. So, as I rewind the clock back to 1977, I invite you to join me in this journey and maybe stir up an old or create a new memory of that historic football season.
The 1977 Brahma Team entered the 1977 season as the number one ranked 2A team in the state in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine. In other polls, the team wasn’t ranked as high, but was mentioned as one of the top teams. They were coming off a 10-2 record in 1976 that saw the Brahmas defeat the Dayton Broncos on a rainy night to win Bi-District 7-6, and lose to the Anahuac Panthers 16-14 in Regional play at Tully Stadium in Houston.
Their only other loss that year was to the Katy Tigers. From that 1976 team, there were thirteen returning letterman, of which eleven eventually played in 1977. The team ended the season with 14 wins and 1 loss, with that first loss in the State Championship Game in Waco to the Wylie Pirates by a score of 22-14.
The roster from the final program of the Class AA Championship held in Baylor Stadium in Waco listed the following twenty five players, shown below with their jersey number, position, weight and classification:
The 1977 coaching staff was comprised of men who were not only great in the X’s and the O’s, but great motivators and role models. Athletic Director and Head Coach Doyle Parker was assisted by Defensive Coordinator Don Krumrey, backfield coach Archie Seals, line coach Buddy Luce, Freshman coach Cliff Jones, eighth grade coach Jerry Fuchs and seventh grade coach Randy McMullin. Assisting the coaches and team were the capable group of managers; Wade Pierce, Buddy Slovak, C.W. Walk, Lowell Jacobs, Mike Williams and Ron Sontag. The statistician for the team was Karen Cloyd.
The 1977 season officially started on August 3, 1977, as the issuing of equipment took place at the high school gym. After that, two-a-day practices started. One thing I personally remember is the strange smell driving to those early morning practices and on the practice field when the dew was heavy and the wind was easing up from the Mill Creek bottom. The smell I am referring to is that of the gamma grass hayfields which were located just west of the High School off FM 2429, also know as Gamma Grass Road. To this day, that smell still reminds me of those days on the practice field.
On August 6th at 8:00am, the Bellville Quarterback Club hosted the annual Kickoff Breakfast with Texas A&M Assistant Coach Dan LaGrasta as the guest speaker. LaGrasta was the offensive line coach at A&M as an assistant to Emory Bellard. The Brahmas opened play with a controlled scrimmage against Barbers Hill on August 18th, and the team looked impressive according to newspaper reports.
Barbers Hill was the defending Class A State Champions from 1976. The next week the Brahmas traveled to East Bernard for their second scrimmage of the season. East Bernard ended up winning the Class A State Championship in 1977, so the controlled scrimmages were a great warmup for the season. One effect the two tough scrimmages had was some nagging injuries to several starters on the team. And with as many as seven players starting both ways, keeping the remainder of the team injury free was very important.
Next up for the Brahmas was non-district play against five tough foes, the first against the defending Class AA State Champions, the LaGrange Leopards. Next week we will review the non-district schedule, with the district games to follow and then the run through the playoffs to complete the review of the 1977 season. If any of my teammates, coaches or others have anything they would like to add, please contact me at Steven@bellvillesports.com.