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|Bulldogs advance past Mansfield|
This is the seventh in a 30-part series on the top football games played in Concordia Parish.
Ferriday fans may have been a bit down on their Bulldog team after their beloved team lost to Vidalia in a close contest on October 26, 1962.
"That was the roughest game of the year," said former Bulldog All-State running back Dennis Jones. "They tore five jerseys off of me. But (Viking quarterback) Butch Wiggins was past the line of scrimmage on their touchdown pass play. It showed up on the film. But it was one heckuva game."
But the Bulldog fans had plenty to cheer about the following week as Ferriday upset Class A No. 1 LaSalle 20-9 at Melz Field.
Fullback Ronald Jeter scored two touchdowns, while tailback Dennis Jones, returning from an injury, started the scoring with a 37-yard run. George Fields added the conversion kick.
A touchdown and safety gave LaSalle an 8-7 lead in the third quarter.
Jeter, who finished with 100 yards on the night, scored the final two touchdowns of the night.
"I think that game really got us clicking," Jones said.
Ferriday defeated defending state champion Tallulah 27-0, then beat Winnsboro 13-0 on a muddy field to win the district title.
That set up a first round Thanksgiving Day contest against a very good Mansfield team at Melz Field, which is the No. 24 game on the list of Top 30 games played in Concordia Parish.
Ferriday entered the contest with a 9-1 record. Mansfield was 7-3, but the Wolverines played three schools at least a class larger than them
"A lot of people thought we weren't supposed to win that game," Jones said.
But win the Bulldogs did, defeating the Wolverines 13-6 to advance in the playoffs.
Jones rushed for 138 yards, setting up two short touchdown runs by Ronald Jeter.
"They called us the 'J Boys" and 'Inside and Out,'" Jones said. "We took a lot of pride in that. That was a hard-fought game. Everybody played hard in that game and we played together as a team."
Joe Webber, who missed most of the season with a foot injury, but returned for the playoffs, played wingback after playing halfback in the Wing T the previous year.
"We didn't have the team they had back in the '50s, but everybody hated us and we took the brunt of those teams being so good," Webber said. "I really enjoyed playing for Coach (Lawrence "Moose") Matulich. "He was serious, but he also got along real well with all the boys. He had a great personality."
Ferriday beat Basile 35-14 on the road in the second round, but lost to Catholic-New Iberia 13-0 in the game to decide who would advance to the Class A state championship game.
"Those were some good times," said Jones, who would injure his foot in the second game of his senior year in 1963 and miss six games, but still make all-district. "There are a lot of great memories."
Matulich left Ferriday in 1964 and ended up coaching and being the school principal at Pearl River High Schoo for many years.
Matulich passed away last year at the age of 89.
Bruce Matulich said winning was always important to his father, but what came first with him was helping all his players and students become the best that they could be in life.
"I know personally that many of his players over the years really looked up to him and even some saw him as the father they never had," Bruce said. "He had that effect on just about everyone he touched in his 40-plus years in the field of education. Ferriday always had a special place in dad's heart and I know the people of Ferriday will remember him well and with a smile."
Bruce said his dad was an outstanding coach and leader.
"I would say all the students he came in contact with, he was fair, he treated everyone equal and they all knew that he was as only wanting the best for them," Bruce said. "That is a big reason he made such a good school principal at the end of his career, he never played favorites and treated everyone with respect. He always felt that kids deserve a second chance when they screwed up and never let their past mistakes taint how he would treat them in the future if they were doing their best."
Bruce said his dad had the following quote on his wall for many years.
"THE REAL LEGACY OF A COACH IS NOT THE GAMES HE WON, BUT RATHER THE MEN HE MADE."
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