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Story Archives: Before the streak
|Before the streak|
This is the 15th in a 30-part series on the top football games played in Concordia Parish.
The streak at Ferriday High began in 1953, along with the first of four straight state championship seasons.
But 1952 was also a magical year that saw the Bulldog team come up just short, falling to Kenner 21-19 in Ferriday in a Class B playoff game to decide who would be playing for a state championship.
"That was a good ball club," Robertson said. "We played a lot of young guys. Frank Brocato and Max Fugler both started off in the eighth grade. I never had any thoughts of a streak back then, we were just trying to win state."
Visions of Santa Claus took a back seat to the Bulldogs in 1952 as the Bulldogs hosted Kenner on December 12 at Melz Field with the winner advancing to the Class B State Championship.
Ferriday was led by James "Red" McNew on offense, who scored three touchdowns the week before in a playoff contest against Hanson Memorial, and Charles Fugler on defense.
"Charles Fugler was outstanding," McNew said. "He tackled with his head, so he injured himself quite a bit. But he was a really good athlete."
Kenner defeated the Bulldogs 21-19 despite the fact Ferriday had more first downs.
And a little help from the guys in stripes, according to McNew.
Late in the fourth quarter, Kenner scored the winning touchdown from about 40 yards out on a long pass.
"The officials blew the whistle and our defensive backs had stopped," McNew said. "They scored on that play. Everybody got together, and they said there wasn't a whistle. I guess nobody heard it but us 11 guys. It was a bitter pill to swallow."
Ferriday drove down into Kenner territory following the score, but was stopped on fourth-and-one when Eddie Hunter was held to no gain.
"I believe we would have went in and scored if we would have made that first down," McNew said.
Kenner beat Donaldsonville 19-6 for state championship.
"They had a real good team," McNew said. "They had an outstanding running back. We should have won," McNew said. "But I got a little attention and got a scholarship, so it wasn't all disappointing, even though losing that game was very disappointing. We had a lot of athletes on that team, most of them were really young. I think that year helped set the tone for the future."
Ferriday finished 11-3 in 1952, a season which started the same time the Mississippi River Bridge became a free bridge as the toll was eliminated.
The Bulldogs defeated Waterproof 19-6 as McNew outdueled Waterproof's Donnie Preis, who would go on to play college football at Auburn. Preis' brother, Phil, ran for governor of Louisiana in 1995 and 1999, falling short both times.
Ferriday disposed of Delhi19-7 on Thanksgiving to win the Northeast championship in their final regular season game.
McNew was named All-State and signed a football scholarship with Northwestern State. Mississippi State offered him a one-year scholarship.
"I was only 155 pounds, so I was small for a quarterback," McNew said. "But the basketball coach at Northwestern came down to the Magnolia Restaurant and signed me. He promised me I would play my freshman year."
And that he did, scoring the winning touchdown against Louisiana Tech.
McNew, who was inducted into the Northwestern State Sports Hall of Fame in 1976, was an All-Gulf States Conference as a quarterback and safety in 1955-56, McNew has the sixth-longes put return (75 yards) in school history.
McNew ran for 1,536 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, and threw for 936 more, helping the Demons win the 1953 GSC title.
McNew played baseball as a sophomore, as football players were not allowed to play baseball their freshman year. He made all-conference three straight years.
McNew signed a professional baseball contract with the San Angelo, Texas baseball team.
"It was pretty exciting," McNew said. "There was a lot going on then."
Fugler agreed with McNew that the new coaching staff was a big reason for the Bulldogs success over the years.
"Coach Robertson was way ahead of his time," Fugler said. "When he arrived it was a 360-degree turnaround times five. And that's nothing against the previous coaches. They credit Forrest Evashevski at Iowa with starting the wing T. We were running that in high school. We had Guy (Hill) and Wilburn (King) on the wing and would run the trap. The onside guard would miss his block intentionally and let the go guy free and here would come Tony Brocato to clean him out. We called it the Winnsboro T."
McNew said Robertson was the disciplinarian, while Lancaster was the motivator.
"They both could outrun all our backs," he said. "Anytime one of us got too cocky, they would make us run the 100-yard dash with them and beat us."
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