Odessa vs Sweetwater

November 1946

The Second Sweetwater 'Touchdown'

Was a 'Gift' Ball Was Yard From Goal

Odessa American Sports Writer
Tuesday, November 13, 1945

Odessa 13, Sweetwater 12, Plenty Close that Odessa beat a ball club that played better football than it did. Sounds screwy, doesn't it? Well, that's not our opinion, but that's what the young gentlemen of the Broncho team had to say about their efforts.

We don't agree with them. After absorbing mountains of anti-flu sulfa drugs for four days, how could any one expect those l0 gallant lads, who had been under a physician's care, to turn in a better performance?

That one-point was good enough for us, fellows, and we know we speak for the rest of the 27,000 fans who are Odessa.

Those who were close-up, and that includes 11 Bronchos say the official pulled a boner in giving Sweetwater that touchdown after the blocked punt. We talked with Coach Clayton Hopkins and some of the Bronchos after the game,

"Honestly, Coach, that ball was a full yard away from the goal line," was the way J. W. Thompson put it.

And we were sure that such was the case, because of all the wonders that has occurred in a football-mad West Texas this year, San Angelo's Blondy Cross agrees that the Sweetwater touchdown was a "gift". Says Blondy***

"The punt partially was blocked. After the ball was batted around over much of the southeast corner of the gridiron, a Sweetwater tackle named Jerry Smith recovered the hide one yard from the goal stripe.

"It should have been Sweetwater first, down and one yard to go for the touchdown.

"But an official stood over Jerry Smith, saw him through apparently filmed eyes recover the ball a yard away from the goal, nudge his shoulders closer to that last stripe, then jerk the ball from where he obtained hold of it moved in across the goal stripe.

"We stood there right on top of the ball ourselves - and felt sure the official would move the ball back to where it was dead….The official suddenly came out of his bent‑over position and ruled "touchdown" . .'. it lacked a yard of being a touchdown! ... Repeat The kid recovered the ball a yard inside the field wriggled and edged his shoulders toward the goal line ----- then with the ball not over the goal tape yet jerked the ball over and placed it in the end zone…. Repeat No. 2 The official standing right over the boy, an survey should or could have seen what happened…. But he called a ''dead ball," that had been advanced two different ways, a touchdown….Sweetwater might have scored from the one-yard with legitimately first down and one yard to go….Sweetwater could nave fumbled or been thrown for some loses."

Here's what the Star Telegram's Jim McMullen said about the game:

Odessa Nips Sweetwater, 13-12, 3-AA Classic

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Sports Writer
Tuesday, November 13, 1945

SWEETWATER, Nov. 13. - By the margin of one slim, bitterly disputed point Odessa's Bronchos rode on at the top of the Texas, Interscholastic football heap Monday edging out an inspired Sweetwater Mustang eleven, 13 -12, before more than 10,000 fans on a sun-baked, crisp afternoon.

Credit Fullback J. W. Thompson with another notch of fame, as it was the, line-running, swivel-hipped lad who was the difference in the' two ball clubs for the day. J. W. plowed over for the first touchdown in the second quarter, to send his team out front and then in the third period he galloped 39 yards for the marker that gave Odessa its Victory. The all-important point after touchdown was kicked 'by Byron Townsend after the first score.

But Townsend and his 'mates had to' be at their very best to beat a Mustang team that simply wouldn't be defeated until the final, whistle sounded, A couple of lads Doil Feagan and Don Lambert, came close to matching the Performance of the truly great Thompson.

Coming events cast, shadows in the first minute of the game that Sweetwater wasn't going to be a shove-over. Odessa received the opening kickoff and on a wide lateral Thompson was thrown for an 18-yard loss back on his own five-yard marker.

J. W. managed to pick up six and then Townsend punted out of bounds on his own 47.

The Mustangs weren't able to do much with this break as Lambert gained four through center and then Sweetwater lost the ball 11 on a fumble that was recovered by Tommy Tucker on the Mustang 45.

The Sweetwater line gave up one first down and then showed surprising strength to stymie the vaunted Odessa running game. Townsend punted out beautifully on the Sweetwater 22. Sweetwater couldn't move and 'A short punt was taken by Odessa on the Mustang 38. Odessa seemed on its way but a fumble, was recovered by Feagan on his own 48 and the game revolved into a defensive affair with the Mustangs surprising even their most ardent supporters.

Odessa made its first scoring move late in the first period, cashing in for seven points on the third play of the second quarter. The move started after Lambert punted out of bounds on the Odessa 38.

Thompson plowed for one at center and then on a great spinning run at end added 11 yards and first down. It was Townsend again for two and then a five‑yard penalty was inflicted against the Bronchos. Thompson, made four of these back and then the stocky, black‑haired youth started wide to the left, cut back sharply and raced 30 Yards before he was finally nailed.

Sonny Holderman racked up three at center and Pug Gabrel added six through the middle. Thompson crashed for six on the final play of the first quarter.

'The Mustangs were penalized five on the first play of the second period, placing the ball on the seven-yard line. Thompson on two battering plunges at the middle went over the double stripe and Townsend kicked the extra point.

And that was all of the scoring in the first half, although it wasn't all of the fireworks. Late in the period, Gordon Headlee, intercepted a Mustang Pass on the Sweetwater 10 and returned it to the eight. But the clock caught Odessa before it could carry over for another score.

Sweetwater moved back into the ball game, to the surprise of the spectators, in the third period taking the opening kickoff an moving straight for six points. Lambert returned the kick from his own four to the 33 on a great run featured by some excellent. Mustang blocking.

Lambert then passed to Winston Robinson for a first down on the Odessa 49. Feagan and Lambert, aided by a 5-yard penalty, made a first on the Bronco 38 and Lambert, on two lambasting drives carried to the 27.

From the 27 Feagan weaved for seven and an aerial, Lambert to Fisher Mays carried to the 16. Feagan and Lambert collaborated to reach the seven from where, on fourth down, Lambert flipped a pass to Quarterback Shaff Degaisch for the touchdown. Lambert missed the extra point.

Sweetwater took the lead early in the fourth quarter when Odessa was thrown in a hole by a miss-judged punt that rolled to the Bronch 4-yard line, Townsend punted out short and the kick rolled back toward the goal. The ball was, batted around by several, players and finally recovered over the Odessa goal by Kenneth Timmons. Lambert again failed to kick .,the extra point.