This is game No. 22 of the top 40 games featuring Concordia Parish team. Games 23 and 24 are on page 2B,

Kermit "Hart" Bourque knew what was on the line, besides just a state championship.

When Bourque's Gonzales football team traveled to Ferriday on December 17, 1954, the visiting Bulldogs would be going after their first-ever state football championship.

"They had such a good team," said Bourque, who was part of a Gonzales team that entered the contest with a 9-1-2 record. "They were way above the rest of us. And Max Fugler liked to have killed us. They had a big following and they had some hard hitters and a really good coach."

Ferriday coach Johnny "Red" Robertson, a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, was seeking his second state title in only his third year as head coach.

Bourque would join Fugler and Ferriday's Donnie Daye at LSU where they would be part of the 1958 national championship team.

But there would be no championship for the visiting Bulldogs this night, as the home team dressed in blue and orange shut out Gonazles 14-0.

Clyde Ray Webber kicked both extra points before having an up close meeting with Bourque, who he would become friends with later.

"It was during a punt return," Webber said. "I was crossing with Wilburn King and I went inside of him to hand the ball off and Hart laid into me. I wasn't able to attend the victory dance."

Webber will be officially retired at the end of this month as Concordia Parish Clerk of Court after serving since 1966. Bourque was Clerk of Court for Ascension Parish from 1964 to 2015. He died November 19, 2019 at the age of 81.

After winning the Class B state title in 1953, Ferriday was looking to become the first team in Louisiana football history to win back-to-back state titles in two different classifications after moving up to Class A.

It would mark the second straight year a state championship game was being played at Melz Field in Ferriday. 

Melz Field was named after Morris Melz, who built and ran the Arcade Theater, which was originally on First Street, but moved to Louisiana Avenue after a fire destroyed the original buildling.

After Melz's death, he left $75,000 in his will to be divided equally among black and while children for their greatest needs. The money was divided and used for Ferriday High and to help build Sevier High School.

Gonzales was so frustrated from not being able to move the ball in the contest that they tried a field goal in the final seconds from the Ferriday 9-yard line to prevent the shutout. It was wide.

The contest was the third straight playoff game held at Melz Field, as the Bulldogs won the coin toss to decide the site.

The home Bulldogs overcame five fumbles in the contest. 

"I try to keep things interesting in practice instead of running the same plays over and over," Robertson said. "We started putting in new plays to give them something to work on. We tried some of them out in that game, and I think that's what led to some fumbles. We disregarded those plays the rest of the game."

After a scoreless first half which included a goal line stand by the host Bulldogs, Ferriday drove to the Gonzales 1-yard line in the third  period before fumbling it away.

A clipping penalty nullified a 47-yard TD run by GUY Hill in the second quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Hill, who rushed for 177 yards in the contest, went 45 yards to paydirt. Hill would finish the season with more than 1,500 rushing yards.

On the next drive, Webber scampered six yards on fourth down to the Gonzales 10 to keep the drive alive. Horton finished off the drive from five yards out.

"At halftime I tried to give them some incentive to play harder in the second half," Robertson said with a slight smile. "Our team was in pretty good shape, even though we may not have had our first team play the entire game during the year. I was happy we could hold them at the end. That championship was just as special as the first one. It's something we could say we accomplished by winning two titles in two classifications."

"Winning is what counted," Fugler said. "You never remember who came in second."

 

  

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