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Part Two of football stories from the '60s

Wayne Bishop looks back fondly on his time covering Lee Snider's Tigers

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This is the second in a continuing series in which Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame sportswriters Wayne Bishop and Doug Quinn look back on their time covering Broken Arrow Tiger athletics. 

...that 66 season came down to a winner-take-all show of black and golds...us and Sand Springs and star David Dlaton. We were without quarterback Charlie Wilson, but we stayed in it. They won at home, 27-19, and went on to win state. I still recall standing on the bench as the Tigers trotted off the field and into the locker room.

Steve Bruner, an ex-K9 officer, said of Buddy Gainer, who was also a rodeo clown, “He used to make me so mad. The year before when Ronny Penny was safety and I played defensive back, now 'cornerback', we would rotate and the defensive end would come back to cover my spot when they ran to the other side. Jon Kirkpatrick or Richard Holcomb could cover quite well. Buddy couldn't, so Claremore ran a delayed pass that made me look like I wasn't covering my position. But what could you do to Buddy.. He was such a nice guy you couldn't yell at him or make him move any faster.”

Former BAYB president and coach of many sports, Bruner continued, “You mentioned Johnny Marshall's boy. There was Chris and Eric. Both as fast if not faster than he was. Both played soccer, but Chris wrestled when he was younger. Thanks for reminding me of the meals we used to get, and I remember us being pretty well behaved as well. And locally, if you did something, like intercept passes, Scotty Graham of First National Bank of BA would reward you with a free dinner at Claxton's. I intercepted 4 passes against Jenks’ Pat Herald, and was eating pretty good for a while.”

Snider's success continued. Michael Little was a QB for Snider and graduated in 1969.

“I played QB under Lee Snider during the 67 football season and Richard Eddy during the 68 football season. Under Snider we were a top-ranked team all year and we played to a 28-28 tie in Okmulgee. It was the game of the week and we were ranked One and Two in the state, at the time. I think I’m right about that. That team got upset in the first round of the state playoffs. Sapulpa beat us. We probably should have won state, but we overlooked the Chieftains! Our top players on that team were Richard Spradling, Rod Randall, Billy Acree, Tommy Dark, a few names I recall. Snider left for Nathan Hale after that season, replaced by Eddy. I loved playing for Snider and his wide open offense. My senior year under Eddy we were very average - 5 wins and 5 losses as I recall. Eddy was very conservative – ‘three yards and a cloud of dust.’”

Little, who is a successful musician, was also a key member of some great basketball teams under coaches Grover Wade and David Jeffs. So were Kelly Bryson and Dennis McIntire. I coached some of those kids in a summer league and had a grand time. We went up to a rec center in north Tulsa for games.

Snider was very successful at Hale and went on to OSU as an offensive coach and then came back home to Bixby. He even mowed the grass on the Spartan Field, which is now named for him.

Richard Eddy came to BA from Vinita after Snider moved on, but it was never the same. Later, Phil Angieri was coach and Gary Harper, whose Owasso team had won a state crown. Then Rick Jones...he had won a state title at Edmond and had been successful at Union.

I, too, left, going to the Claremore Progress, then to the Tulsa World. Eventually, landed at the Oklahoma Journal in Oklahoma City. I was out of the picture here for 10 years. Then I had the pleasure of working with sooners illustrated magazine for 8 years. What a different Broken Arrow I found when I came back! It was no longer a small town! It was during my return to BA with bill Retherford and the Broken Arrow Scout (soon to become the BA Ledger) that I worked with Harper, Angieri and Jones.

We had some fine teams with Jimmy McCoy at quarterback and Craig Wagner at wide receiver. Those two also led BA to a state title in baseball under coach Steve Dunlap in unprecedented fashion.

Also about that time, school officials started talking about the unspeakable...buiding a new stadium out by the high school. We had been playing on Kirkland Field by what used to be the high school—and late North Intermediate. For as long as most residents could remember, our kickers had been aiming for Buck's tree in the south end zone. It had been placed there to keep balls from getting out of the field and to the business to the south. Players had to locker at the high school, then be bused over to Kirkland. Earlier, they used to locker in a pre-fab just west of the band room—which was also a pre-fab. It also served as a weight room.

I used to take photos of and keep stats while walking the sidelines. One night I recall walking with my first born, David, hand-in-hand. I took him with me...he was a toddler at the time...because my wife worked at nights. On this Friday night, a storm blew in after the kickoff. It started raining and hailing so hard that David and I took shelter under the metal bleachers.

But things don't stay the same, and soon I was on a committee to plan a new stadium. I wanted an elevator to the press box (lol).  Union had built a new stadium, but no elevator and a lot of steps! Union was just a one-building school way out in the country for years. We did not play them. When they grew to our class, we dominated. The Tigers were almost beaten one year when the Redskins were driving to what would been a winning score. Then Steve Kyler, whose dad was the local PSO executive, made a great interception to preserve the win. That was the last time in several years that BA had beaten Union.