‘Monsters of the Midway and Ball Hawks’ – Another (limited) historical look at Minden’s Defense – part 2

Of all the position groups I’ve covered over the last eight articles, this one gives me the most unease because I assume you’ll read this and think, “he forgot about so-and-so, or the time I did ‘x’!”  It’s not intentional.  I relied upon what was documented.  Naturally, I couldn’t rely on one’s memory recall because those legends grow exponentially over time.   Often, if a defensive player was mentioned, it was usually in grouped fashion without accompanying stats and sometimes consisted of only one sentence in the entire article. 

October 7, 1963 – “…the Tors got the ball up to the 40, but the Tide defense, led by Willie Hubbard, Charles Giddens, Roger Anderson, Jimmy Woods, and Bobby Hale stopped the invaders in their tracks…”

I was overjoyed if I read the following:  

September 28, 1986 – “Cornerback John Lyons led unofficially with 11 stops while fellow corner (Carlos) Lewis had seven along with Monster Jerry Kemp.  (Shannon) Cornelius added eight stops of his own and the fumble recovery while (Billy) Flournoy contributed five stops to go along with his two interceptions.  Mark Woods was the only lineman with as many stops, totaling eight.”

The earliest mention of total game defensive stats that I could find was in 1956 when Jimmy Campbell made ten tackles.  That was the only game’s worth of defensive stats reported for any player that season.  The reporting continued in this fashion for another two decades.  From 1979 to 1981, several games’ worth of player defensive stats was reported.  There were still several holes, but the article highlighted a few players’ tackles and sacks for the game, much like the 1985 excerpt above.  During these seasons, I was able to piece together a few players’ season defensive statistics, albeit.  Then from 1982 to 2014, it was back to “catch as catch can” with minimal love for the Defense.  

In 2014, lead man of the KBEF/KASO radio broadcast, Mark Chreene, began sporadically receiving defensive stats from the coaching staff.  Then in 2015, we began tracking player and team defensive stats full time using this medium.  

Only thirty times in Minden history has a player racked up 15+ tackles in a single contest.  Two players account for a third of them – Anthony Douglas (1980-1981) and Willie Stanley (1981).  Only four times has a Tide defenseman had 20+ tackles in a game.  Douglas accounts for half of them – one of which is the record (23).  The other two in that exclusive 20-tackle club are Willie Stanley (1985) and Dare Lott (1965).  Fourteen times Anthony Douglas logged 10+ tackles in a game. Close behind him is Zi’Kerrion Baker (2014-2016) with twelve and Willie Stanley, Cameron Morgan (2014-2016) and Bobby Britton (2017-2019) each with ten, 10+ tackle games.  

Jamarrio Douglas set the record for sacks in a game with 5 in 2006 versus Natchitoches.  A little lagniappe – Anthony Douglas’s tackle record also came against Natchitoches in 1980.  There have only been three instances where 4 sacks have been logged by a Tider.  David Botzong did it twice in 1979.  The only other player with 4 sacks in a game is Tyrese Lane (2021).  Players getting 3 sacks in a game has occurred only thirteen times with the aforementioned “Monster” Jerry Kemp hitting it twice. 

As for the ball hawks, the earliest record of a player snagging at least 2 INTs in a game was Tinsley Connell in 1922.  Thirteen players have had at least two games with at least 2 INTs, but only Dale Kirkland (1968-1970) and Dionisio Myles (1991-1992) have done it three times.  Fred Haynes (1961-1963) accomplished this feat four times with three of them happening in 1963.  However, there are six players knotted at the top with the record of 3 INTs in a game.  The earliest to swipe 3 INTs in a game was another Haynes – this one was O.H., III in 1959.  Dale Kirkland did it in back-to-back games in 1970.  The most recent was in 2016 in a playoff game by Leonardo McCarter.  

Of course, if there was a turnover forced by the defense, there was equal opportunity to gain yardage to benefit the offensive unit – ideally resulting in points.  The record for the longest INT returned for a touchdown (TD) was in 1931 with Wallace Hanna returning an intercepted ball 95 yards “to the house.”  In 1974, Wilbert Allums broke that record when he snagged a pass and “made a house call” from 98 yards out.  With 98 of the 100 yards spoken for, one would think that the record for the longest INT return would run out of real estate to claim.  With time expiring in the final regular season game, and with the playoffs on the line, Isaiah Thornton intercepted a pass three yards deep in the Tide end zone and returned it all the way for a TD to win the game and send the Tide to the playoffs in 2021.  We logged it as a 103-yard return.  However, according to the National Federation of High Schools statistician’s manual, the official yardage for any return is measured from goal line to goal line.  Therefore, Thornton’s game-winning INT for a TD is now recorded as 100-yards.  

Fumble returns were also reported frequently, especially if they resulted in a TD.  Gerald Couch snatched up a loose pigskin and rumbled 20 yards for a score in 1932.  To my knowledge, this is the first reported fumble returned for a TD.  In 1966, Phillip Thomas set the high mark for the longest fumble returned for a TD with an 81 yarder.  In 2017, Jalen Moore got close but was one yard short.

While we’re speaking of returns, I’d be remiss if I didn’t cover special teams.  The earliest record of a big kickoff return by Minden was in 1917 by Prentiss Hough.  It was returned for a TD, but unfortunately, neither the return yardage nor the yard line where Hough received the kick were reported.  The record of a 97-yard kickoff return for TD has been accomplished twice but occurred fifty-two years apart.  Tide Swiss Army Knife QB, James McCabe, made the run in 1954, and then in 2006, Taurus Henix equaled the McCabe mark.  

The earliest long punt return recorded was in 1922.  Ratcliff (first name unreported) retuned a Shreveport High (Byrd) punt for 40 yards.  There is a three-way tie for the longest punt return – two of them resulted in a TD.  In 1968, Robert Clark received a punt and ran 85 yards before being stopped short of the goal line.  The next year Steve Lee called Clark’s 85-yard bid but raised the ante with a touchdown on homecoming.  Then in 1986, Billy Flournoy slashed and dashed his way to the end zone for 85 yards as well.  

We’ve covered a great deal of info this go-round.  So, forget what I said about this being the second of two articles on the defensive unit.  Next week, we’ll go for three as I cover season and career defensive record holders.

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