‘OMAHA!!’ – A historical look at Minden Quarterbacks – part 1 of 3

By Jake Chapman

After a look at the Running Backs last time, we’ll jump right to the next largest player group: Quarterbacks

My earliest record of QB passing statistics for the Tide goes back to 1915 with Prentiss Hough, who would later be the Head Football Coach at Minden (1923-1926).  The research was very hit and miss at the position, but through the 1920s and 1930s, I noticed more consistent mention of names at QB like Joe Aycock (1923-1924) and Carlos Green (1926-1927).  Bert Lee (1937-1939) was the first Minden QB that I could find evidence of playing the position more than two seasons.  

The one-two punch of Bert Lee and O.H. Haynes, Jr. led the Crimson Tide to their first State Championship in 1938 – outscoring their opponents 406-70.  Lee’s 19 rushing TDs that year is tied for second, and Haynes’s 18 is fourth all-time.  Due to extremely sporadic reporting of statistics, Lee is only documented as passing 9 for 23, for 118 yards and 8 TDs, and 1 Interception (INT) during his three years.  Rushing, he offered 42 carries for 507 yards and 34 TDs.  I suspect all his statistics were likely more than triple those totals, but there’s no documented proof.  Lee was a three-time All-State honoree at three different positions: 1937 (End), 1938 (Left Halfback), and 1939 (Quarterback).  What’s interesting is, O.H. Haynes, Jr. made All-State in 1937 and 1938… at Quarterback – with only three documented pass attempts!  

Connie Irby was the first documented Minden QB to pass for over 100 yards in a game, in 1948.  The next year, Donald Nation set a new single game passing record with 178 yards, which was only three more yards than Irby’s mark.  In 1949, with Nation, I noticed more consistent reporting of passing statistics game-to-game. 

James McCabe was a three-year starting QB who led the Crimson Tide to their second State Championship in 1954.  He was the first Minden QB to toss for 1,000+ yards in a career despite only one, 100 yard passing game.  Just like other Minden QBs to this point, McCabe was a jack of all trades.  He had a 41-yard Punt Return TD in the 1954 State Championship game and is tied for the longest ever Kick Return touchdown at 97 yards.  

Edwin Greer was the first Tide QB to pass for over 1,000 yards and have over 100 completions in a single season.  Greer had seven games passing over 100 yards including the new record (186) in 1960.  Edwin Greer is in the Top 15 in passing with the bulk of his work done in 1960.  

“Little” Freddie Haynes was the QB through some of the worst and best of times for the Tide.  In 1961, Minden went 1-9.  Haynes didn’t throw a single TD but tossed 12 INTs.  His Junior campaign was better with the Tide going 6-4-1 and Haynes doubling the previous year’s passing yards while chunking 8 TDs and 9 INTs.  In the magical 1963 season, Haynes led the Crimson Tide to their only perfect season and their fourth State Championship – throwing for 1,124 yards, 10 TDs and 12 INTs.  Haynes also added 700 rushing yards and 11 TDs in the Championship run and was the first Minden QB to toss double digit TDs in a season.  In 1963, Haynes made First Team All-State as a Running Back, despite playing Quarterback.  Back then, the Louisiana Sports Writers Association awarded only one All-State QB.  Haynes had finished second in the voting behind Bobby Duhon of Abbeville.  However, the LSWA felt Haynes deserved recognition, so they dubbed him First Team Running Back.  “Little” Freddie Haynes set the standard for the true dual-threat QB as a career Top 10 passer and rusher in most career stat categories. Haynes’s career passing yards of 2,391 and total career offensive yards of 3,821 would stay the record at Minden High for another 25 years until the Shine and Seamster Show. 

Bobby Lyle was the first real “gunslinger” in Minden history.  Starting only one year at the helm for the Tide in 1965, Lyle slung the ball 60 more times and completed 40 more passes than Fred Haynes just two years earlier.  Lyle was the first Tider to pass for over 200 yards in a game.  He set a new school record with 14 passing TDs in a season, which would stand nearly twenty years.  Lyle set a new school record with 1,675 passing yards in a season, which would stand for forty years.  Lyle surrendered 21 INTs that year – a record standing to this day.  Like Edwin Greer, despite the bulk of Bobby Lyle’s work coming in one season, it’s good enough to land him in the Top 12 in career passing records.  A few decades later, Bobby Lyle had a grandson that would play QB for the Tide and would soar well beyond his grandfather’s accomplishments.  

With that segue, I’ll see you next time when I cover another portion of the “QB room” where the stats will really jump off the page and the “new guys” stand alone at the top of the heap. 

“What you wanna bet I can throw a football over them mountains?” – Uncle Rico

 (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.)