The Redbud City: Shawnee football has a rich history

Clyde Wooldridge
Contributing writer
The 1932 Shawnee Wolves were clearly the most talented and successful team in history, winning the state championship game against the Capitol Hill Redskins, 15-0. Their record was unbelievable, scoring 262 points and not allowing a single point to their opponents all season, with 12 straight shutouts.

The Shawnee Wolves football team has a rich history that went all the way back to 1905, when it played its first game. The high school team only played two games during that first season, and it was not really organized. There were very few rules in those days and the Pack played all kinds of opponents. Its first game was in October against the Rock Island employees independent team and the high school fell, 12-0. The only other game that year was to Holdenville, which dominated Shawnee with a 30-year-old fullback. Over the next few years, they lost their first dozen games before picking up their first win in 1909, with a 23-0 victory over Sacred Heart.

Up to the 1923 season, Shawnee had a (54-59-12) record. From the 1923 season, through the 1950 campaign, the Wolves were at least one of the top teams in the entire state, posting a (176-99-15) mark. Especially significant during that period (1928-46), Ray LeCrone posted a (133-48-9) mark. That led the Shawnee News-Star to post what they believed was the All-Star team for the “Golden Age,” (1928-50). There were some great players before then and definitely many since, but the following is a summary of their All-Star team:

TAKEN FROM THE SHAWNEE NEWS STAR IN 1951

Size, speed, toughness, intelligence, and natural ability. A football player with such talents would be welcomed by any coach, anywhere. The 23-year Shawnee High School football all-star team, selected by the News-Star readers at the end of 1950, had 11 such players to truly form what was known as a “dream team.”

There was no doubt that the Shawnee all-star team, the cream of the crop from 1928 to 1950, inclusive would be a match for any similar teams in the nation. Gridiron stalwarts from 1929 through 1943, including two each from the 1931 and 1932 teams, were represented on the first eleven. Outstanding Wolfpack gridmen from 1939 through 1950 were represented on the second team, an array of talent which would give the first team a tremendous tussle.

Heading the list of stars were tackle Ed Skelton and center Mickey Parks. They were practically unanimous choices. Skelton, a terrific 198-pounder and arguably Shawnee’s greatest athlete of all time, made all-state teams three consecutive years, 1929-31.

During that three-year period under coach Ray LeCrone, the Wolves won 24 games, lost three and tied one. The 1929 team was undefeated and once tied.

Parks, a magnificent hunk of a man at 210 pounds, was the bulwark of Shawnee’s greatest team, the undefeated 1932 powerhouse. That year the Wolves won 11 and tied one, scoring 262 points, while holding their opponents scoreless.

Skelton teamed at tackle with Nelson Greene, great 188-pound warrior on the 1940 team. The Wolves won eight, lost two and tied one, and Greene was the standout. He made the all-state team.

At ends, it was doubtful if two finer wingmen than Al Hunter and Paul Graham ever stepped on a high school gridiron. Hunter, a rugged 165-pound defensive demon, was also a fine offensive performer. During his senior season, 1936, the Wolves won eight, lost two, and tied one. Graham, a spectacular all-around player at 185 pounds, starred on the 1943 team which won six and lost four.

Opposition elevens would find it easier to pierce a six-inch steel barrier than to run the middle of the all-star line which found Aubrey Anthony at left guard and Roy Stuart at right guard. Anthony, a powerful 175-pounder, plugged the middle of the 1932 line that didn’t give up a single enemy touchdown. Stuart, a dynamic operator at 170 pounds, who was as were all the members of the star team, an all-state choice. Stuart played his senior year on the 1937 team which won six, lost four and tied one.

The quartet of backs had everything. At quarterback was the triple-threat star, Jack Baer of the 1933 team. He tipped the scales at 160 pounds in his high school days, also was a starter on the 1932 team.

At left halfback was Frank Whaley, 171-pounder who played his final year on the 1931 team. Whaley could do anything asked of a ball player in his day.

Roy “Skeet” Berry was the pick at right halfback. The stocky 160-pounder was a ball-of-fire in nearly every game of the unbeaten 1929 season. He was sensational in the open field, but he had power too.

At fullback was Carl Brewington of the 1939 team which won nine and lost only one, chiefly due to Brewington’s slashing performances. The 180-pounder was also a triple-threat and a constant standout.

SECOND TEAM

Pos—Name Final Season Weight

LE—Alf Jones 1934 148

LT— Ed Thompson 1933 198

LG—Marvin Moats 1932 160

C— Vernon Newell 1938 175

RG—Thurman Walters 1931 160

RT—Bernard Wilson 1950 204

RE—Willie Ellis 1941 160

QB—Sid Clarke Jr. 1928 145

LH—Bobby Jack Stuart 1942 175

RH—Chuck Kelly 1949 160

FB—Elmer Lee Gentry 1936 180

HONORABLE MENTION

Ends: Gerald Harp (1942), Dave Richeson (1939), Kenneth Killgore (1945), Claude Poe (1932) & Harry Walden (1932).

TACKLES: Bob Faucette (1944) & C.H. Greene (1937).

Guards: Jack Reynolds (1935), O.C. Lassiter (1929), Gene Anthony (1931) & J.D. Guffey (1939).

Centers: Bill Ashby (1945) & Benny Ashby (1946).

Backs: Don Fauble (1940), Melvin Skelton (1932), Alton Romberg (1932) & Hub Shaw (1932).

With few exceptions, all these players went on to college careers, some of them were as outstanding at the collegiate level as they were in high school. Ray LeCrone’s alumni of former players probably topped the list of Oklahoma players from 1928-1946 that went on to the university level.

Going into the 2021 season, the Shawnee Wolves had played 1,156 games since that opener in October of 1905. Their record is (576-544-36), going into the 2021 season. They have captured three state championships; 1932, 1973, and 2003.

These stories appear in Volume Two of “Redbud City,” the history of Shawnee. The weekly articles in the News-Star are excerpts from those editions. All six volumes, from 1830 to June of 2021, are now available for purchase at the Pottawatomie County Historical Society. They are now open, and you may visit them, or you may order them online at their website, or by calling (405) 275-8412. Each volume is $35, but a purchase of two or more volumes can be obtained at $30 each. We are offering a special deal. If you purchase any other volume, you may obtain Volume One (1830-1929) for just $20. The six volumes contain approximately three million words and more than 1,000 pictures. Each volume is indexed with people and businesses, making it easy to find a person or entity.