By Jake Chapman
History just happened. Just then… and then again… Sometimes we forget that history doesn’t always have to be “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” Sometimes history is closer than we think. Unfortunately, history is sometimes forgotten.
I have a strong sense of pride for Minden football and its history. A great sense of fear, too, if I’m being transparent. A fear that the stories of the teams and players, past and present, will be forgotten. A fear that pride in the Minden Crimson Tide will be lost.
Over the last several years I’ve seen and felt that the school pride within the Minden community has died or is dangerously close to dying. I feel a great sense of urgency, too, to keep the “Crimson Tide Pride” alive.
Over the next few segments, I intend to do that. The goal is to enlighten the community through a range of topics on the rich history that Minden football has to offer – things you may not know that will cause you to share with others. After all, that is how heritage is built and carried forward.
Anyone who has spent any length of time following Minden football has likely heard of the incredible feats of Raymond Tate, Anthony Douglas, Artha Shine and Sammy Seamster. One might even hear names like Randy Ray, Kenny Whitfield, James Britt, and Kenyon Cotton, to name just a few. Maybe only the old-timers talk about Gayle Wise, Bobby Ashley, David Lee, or Fred Haynes. Then there are names that have been forgotten like Bert Lee, Charles Lewis, Charlie Dutton, George “Red” Turner, Tom Alley, and Charlie Hennigan.
You might be thinking, “wait, you forgot so and so, or that guy.” No, I didn’t, but the Minden community has.
Over the last seven years, the only reason I’ve become acquainted with some of these names is through extensive research. In my conversations with many of you around town, I realized “no one” is talking about these guys. That is how heritage dies, my friends.
The more recognizable teams and players stand out in our memory because they’re from back in the “hay day” when Minden was WINNING, baby! Minden won football State Championships in 1938, 1954, 1956, 1963, and 1980. Minden reached the Semi Finals in 1981 and the Quarter Finals in 1985 and 1986. Minden won 75% of their games in the 1950s and 1980s!
“But Jake, you forgot about…” Trust me, I’m getting there.
Some folks remember the great 2006 revival when Minden went to the Semi Finals, and you hear names like T.Q. Mims, Greg Booker, Jamarrio Douglas, and Brandon Walker, or even names like Kay Jones, Derek Cupples, Jarome Walton, and Codera Drew from that same era of Minden football. There are guys from the early 2010s like Hunter Leppert, Jared Johnson or Turner Francis who sit at the TOP of several statistical categories.
Then there’s the 2016 Quarter Final team that, for some reason, seem to be remembered and cherished even less. Players like Tony Rivette and Zi Baker (both of whom are statistical record holders), Cameron Morgan, Kelcey Miller, and Tavarius Edwards. Of course, there is one exception from this era of Minden football – current NFL player, L’Jarius Sneed. If you haven’t heard of his extraordinary accomplishments, you’ve been living under a rock.
However, there’s something that hasn’t left me alone for some time now. These “new” guys I mentioned (and several I haven’t mentioned yet) don’t seem to get the same admiration within the Minden community as the all-time Minden greats. I don’t think there’s a singular reason for this. Maybe it’s because the Minden community perceives Minden football to not be a “winning” program anymore and the die-hard, “support my team no matter what” has died as well. However, that’s another soap box for another time. Maybe it’s because Minden hasn’t won a State Championship in FORTY-TWO years. Maybe, there’s only recollection of the losing seasons of the 1990s and early 2000s. That was 25+ years ago, by the way.
Maybe it’s because within the last 20+ years different local media outlets only give piddly recaps of games based off nothing more than a box score, and sometimes didn’t actually attend the game to cover it. As a result, maybe the story lines of the season, the players, the coaches, and the accomplishments aren’t reported like they once were, so the community isn’t as familiar or in touch. I could go on, I suppose, but you get the picture.
The current team is now only 3-6 after the 43-26 win versus Booker T. Washington, and many would consider this season to be a lost cause. However, despite the ho-hum win-loss record this season, history was made that’s worthy of being talked about in the community.
This past Friday night, two noteworthy feats were accomplished on the same play. Senior running back Daylen Robinson, had a 13-yard scamper around the left side in the third quarter that garnered him back-to-back 1,000 rushing yard seasons; that’s something that hasn’t happened since Sammy Seamster hit those marks from 1985 to 1987. If you’re doing the math at home, that was THIRTY-FIVE years ago. On that same run, “Mr. Robinson”, as it were, became the #3 all-time leading rusher, surpassing Tyrone Grider who has held that spot in the books since 1997, TWENTY-FIVE years ago. Daylen’s 133 rushing yards on the night pushes him to 2,585 for his career, placing him in the rare air behind the fabled Sammy Seamster (#1) and Raymond Tate (#2). If you’re curious about their rushing totals, stay tuned. There’s more on them in the next installment.
The point is, it’s fun to remember the glory days and all the amazing players that came through Minden High long ago. But let’s begin to make a place at the Crimson Tide table for the “new” guys, too. There are several modern-era Crimson Tiders who hold honored places in the statistical record books amongst the all-time greats. Let’s keep talking about ALL of them! If we’re not careful, they too, at some point, might be lost to history.
(Jake Chapman works with Mark Chreene on Friday nights in the fall to bring you the Minden High Crimson Tide games over the air on KASO/KBEF Radio.)
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