Rainy Night

Football fans turned out big despite stormy conditions for the Huntington-ACCS football game in 1980.

This is game No. 26 of the top 40 games featuring Concordia Parish team.  

It was a dark and stormy night.

The setting was Huntington Stadium on Lake Concordia on October 15, 1980. The host Hounds, with a 5-2 record, were welcoming former Huntington coach Bobby Marks and his 6-1 Adams County Christian School Rebels, whose only loss was to Jackson Prep.

Marks led Huntington to a state championship in 1971.

“That was the worst game I have ever been involved in,” Marks said. “They had to hold the football down for the center so it would not float away. I remember looking across the lake and seeing lightning in the sky. It was lightning on both sides at the same time. We really should not have played it.” 

Marks, now 88, would lead ACCS to its first-ever state championship in 1982.

Huntington had never beaten a Bobby Marks-coached team going into the contest. Marks would end up without a loss against his former team as the contest ended in a 0-0 tie. 

The closest a Hound team came since that tie was in 1992 when Gerald Vaught, a member of that state championship team, coached the Hounds and saw his team fall to Marks’ AC team 13-12 in the last minute.

“It was really hard for me to play against Huntington,” Marks said. “I have a lot of great  memories at that school. And people did not realize how really good they were.”

Two of the best “poor-mouthers” in the business were at their best the week before the game. 

Joe Meeks, in his third year at Huntington, talked about how his team was outweighed an average of 50 pounds per man. Meeks died in 2019 at the age of 86. 

Marks was talking about having nine starters injured, including 290-pound guard John Frazier.

But Meeks was without Daryl Daye, the leading rusher in LISA Northeast District, who injured his knee two weeks earlier. And Hound lineman Sam Ferguson would leave the game with an injury after several tackles.

“The banter between Meeks and Marks was classic,” said former Hound player Allen Poole. “There were a lot of storylines. But the weather was the main topic. They agreed at half to not play overtime if tied due to being a non-district game and both coaches were lobbying that if the field was dry and on and on. The game should have drawn a huge crowd but it rained all week it seemd like and poured most of the game.  

“One of my favorite quotes from Meeks was something to the effect was that the huge gate will help us to pay for medical bills our kids will have from playing ACCS and how it is like playing an all star team. Playing in an absolute mudpit was wild.”

ACCS junior Bo Swilley, who would go on to a standout career at Northeast Louisiana, also had extra adrenaline as a Ferriday resident.

“Huntington was always tough,” Swilley said. “They had a good bunch of kids and were in the playoffs every year. It’s one of those games where you marked it on your calendar and played as hard as you possibly could because of bragging right.”

Swilley, now pastor at Community Chapel Church of God in Natchez, was just recovering from a broken hand.

“But for obvious reasons I wanted to play,” Swilley said. “I remember how bad the weather was. It was sloppy and dirty. But was a a good, clean game. The hitting was hard, but we respected each other.”

Swilley said the poor conditions made it difficult for the Rebels.

“We were a running team and we had two really good tight ends in Jeff Maher and Glen Harrison, who was awesome.”

The Rebels threatened in the first quarter when Dickie Kimball scampered 83 yards to the Hound 10-yard line, as Hound coaches, players and fans screamed after Kimball stepped out of bounds early on the play.

“The one play that I remember was an ACCS player swept around the left end and Steve Gunter and I didn’t hit him because he was clearly out of bounds,” Poole said. “But the official had been knocked down and didn’t see it.  He kept running and 80 something yards later, Robert Pearson chased him down from behind and we held.”

ACCS was stopped on the Hound 3-yard line.

“The referee fell down and went totally under the water,” Marks said.

With less than a minute remaining in the game, Terry Dillon attempted a 42-yard field goal on fourth down. The kick was straight, but short.

Huntington’s deepest penetration came in the third quarter when they drove from their own 38-yard line to the AC 17. But the Hounds turned the ball over on a fumble.

Huntington took over on one possession on their 44. Huntington quarterback Ricky Guida completed two passes to Pug Irwin and Bake Turner ran the ball to the 27, but the Hounds came up short on fourth and six on an incomplete pass.

Both teams were disappointed not to play the game on a dry field.

“We had four fumbles over five plays,” Marks said. “I still don’t know why they didn’t call that game.”

 

 

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