I wonder if young people know how to write a letter nowadays.

Wow, I just realized I used the young people thing that I used to roll my eyes at so many times.

The reason for my question is because last week I received a letter from Liz McNew.

An actual letter. It was fun opening up a personal letter for a change.

Liz and her husband, James "Red," McNew have lived in Shreveport since 1989.

Liz was writing about how much she enjoyed reading about Max Fugler in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

If they had a hall of fame for great high school athletic boosters, Liz would be the first inducted.

Liz also sent me a clipping noting that Bobby Glenn Harmon made All-American in 1953, the first year of Ferriday's four straight state championships.

And what a team that was. 

Former Heisman Trophy winner John David Crowe of Springhill was second team, for goodness sakes. Crow won the Heisman in 1957, running tailback at Texas A&M.

Also on the team from Louisiana were Jimmy Taylor of Baton Rouge and William Hendrix of Rayville.

I always thought Max Fugler was the lone high school All-American from Ferriday. I appreciate Liz setting me straight.

That 1953 Ferriday team outscored its opponents 405-76, with Harmon and Leo Young making All-State. 

Harmon said the Ferriday teams during that time could have been even more potent.

"Freddie Stuart and his brother Alvin moved to Baton Rouge when his parents, who ran the (Arcade) theater moved," Harmon said. "They went to play at Istrouma. Freddie was a scatback. Had they both stayed, we would have been even better."

Harmon received the Fudickar Award, named for Ferriday businessman John Fudickar, which goes to the most valuable player on the team.

Harmon alternated with Red the year before.

Red went on to a spectacular career at Northwestern State.

He was actually named as one of the Top 100 Football Players in Demon Football History a few years ago.

"Red and Buddy certainly deserved making the team," said former Ferriday High coach the late Johnny "Red" Robertson, who was also nominated for the team and is in the Northwestern State and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fames. "They were both leaders. Their natural ability put them in front."

McNew was all-Gulf South Conference playing quarterback and safety at Northwestern in 1955-56. McNew had the sixth-longest punt return (75 yards) in school history.

"I am certainly honored," McNew said from his home in Shreveport after he was named to the team. "I was lucky enough to play on some good teams."

McNew ran for 1,536 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and throwing for 936 more, helping the Demons to a GSC title.

"I still have some real good friends from those teams," McNew said. "I can tell you that there were a lot of good players who didn't make that team."

McNew, who is now retired from doing appraisal work, has three children who were raised in Ferriday and three grandchildren - two girls and a boy.

McNew attended a banquet and celebration at the beginning of the season for the top 100 players and received a lot of memorabilia, most of which he passed on to his grandson, Matthew, who is the daughter of Mindy McNew Baldwin.

"He is a real good football player," McNew said. "They have a real good football program out there. And he really got a kick out of it when I was honored."

Matthew certainly carried the torch for the family. He helped lead Lake Travis in Austin, Texas to the state championship game before signing with Ohio State.

Lake Travis, the alma mater of current Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, finished the year at 13-3, falling to Allen in the Class 6A state title game.

Lake Travis went 15-1 in 2016, defeating The Woodlands 41-6 for the 6A state championship.

In his senior season this year, Matthew completed 315 of 441 passes for 3,842 yards and 44 touchdowns, having only six passes intercepted.

He rushed the ball 76 times for 425 yards and nine TDs.

Matthew injured his knee on a quarterback keeper in the Cavaliers 28-14 Class 6A semifinal win over Katy in the Alamodome in San Antonio. 

Matthew practiced three days the following week and was lined up at quarterback against football power Allen in the 6A state championship game on December 23.

On the Cavalier's first play from scrimmage, Matthew went back to pass and his knee buckled, and he was forced to miss the rest of the game. 

Getting back to the clipping, the newspaper story about Harmon noted that Harmon was "inadvertently overlooked in the squad list."

The story went on to say -- and yes I made sure Tony Byrne got a copy of this -- "It was a regrettable error that led to Natchez High's Byrne gaining all the prominent notice in the headlines."

Not that Tony was not worthy.

I asked Tony if Natchez High ever considered playing Ferriday because I knew the Bulldogs played Cathedral in the 1950s.

"As far as I know there was never any talk of it," Byrne said.

Byrne said during the latter part of the 1953 season his legs began feeling weary.

"We did not have a whirlpool, but Coach (Johnny) Robertson at Ferriday made his own," Byrne said. "Coach (Red) Parker took me over there to use it. It was almost like a swimming pool. We had a great relationship with those guys. I hung around Max and Clyde Ray (Webber) and others

Byrne is the only person to win a scoring title in football and basketball in the former Big Eight Conference, which was comprised of all of the big schools in Mississippi.

In 1953, Byrne tallied 192 points, scoring a record 32 touchdowns as a senior.

In 1954, as a senior, Byrne led Natchez to its second straight league championship, scoring a record 716 points.

Allen Brown, who lives on Lake St. John, is making a big push to get Byrne inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

The sad thing is that Byrne in the MSHOF is something that shouldn't need pushing.

That is way long overdue.

Kind of like receiving a personal letter.

And, for the record, Liz has sent messages on Facebook updating me on Matthew.

And, also for the record, my wife and son get on me all the time about my texting typos. Get me a phone with a regular keyboard and I will gladly remedy that problem.

But just call me old school

Thanks for making my day Liz.

And congrats, Bobby Glenn Harmon -- the "other" Ferriday All-American.

   

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