Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The 1947 Okmulgee (Okla.) High School Bulldogs

I am working on a very special project. I could use some help from anyone, particularly those in Okmulgee, Okla., who may know anyone or they themselves attended Okmulgee High School.

As some background, a couple days prior to the passing of my father, Dick Hull, on April 19, 2011 at the age of 81, Dad asked me to write a book about his most proudest accomplishment, winning the Oklahoma State football championship in 1947. So this project is something I'd like to complete this year to fulfill what I consider as my Dad's final request.

The Bulldogs did lose a couple games that year, yet still qualified for the post-season. Interestingly, in the opening round of the Class A playoffs, Okmulgee tied Wewoka, 7-7, but Okmulgee advanced because the Bulldogs had more penetrations into the "red zone", that is inside the 20-yardline. Starting left end Andy Musgrave, a childhood friend of Dad's, tells me Okmulgee got inside the 20 four times, as opposed to Wewoka's one. Yes, this was in the days before overtime.

The same thing happened in the state semi-final game against Ponca City. It was a 7-7 ballgame. Musgrave told me both clubs had three penetrations in the red zone, but Okmulgee got to advance to meet Frederick in the championship game because the Bulldogs had more first downs, 12-8.

In the state title game, Okmulgee defeated the Bombers, 14-6, to win the first-ever championship for Okmulgee High School. By the way, the game, played at Owen Field in Norman, was broadcasted live on KOMA Radio in Oklahoma City. The play-by-play announcer was a very young, talented sportscaster who had just graduated that spring from the University of Wyoming, Curt Gowdy. He, of course, went on to fame as one of the very first TV play-by-play men for NBC. He later was the host of ABC's "American Sportsman," a popular show produced by one of Gowdy's friends, Roone Arledge.

(more of this kind of stuff, I promise, in my book)

(Doesn't Dad look tough?) He's in the lower left. Andy Musgrave is the second one from the right.

Dad said if I got the scrapbook his mother, my grandmother, Geneva Hull, put together about Dad's three years on the varsity football team, there would be lots of notes he and Grandma wrote about the championship team.

This scrapbook is an excellent resource for me, but I could use some help from anyone, especially anyone still alive who was one of Dad's teammates. For example, in the photo above, I've labeled which one is Dad. Mr. Musgrave has helped me identify the rest of the players in this photo.

In the photo below is a scanned image of the photo of dad and Coach Edgar Brady holding the State Championship Trophy taken when they returned to Okmulgee, along with a clipping from the Okmulgee Daily Times that is a photo of dad, who was the team captain and starting center (at 154 pounds!!)in a single-wing offense.

Also in this photo is a 60- day free pass given to all the members of the football team by the town movie theatre for winning the state championship. Mr. Musgrave wrote me: "The local theater manager invited us all to the Orpheum Theater to view the regular movie, then played the Championship game film and called us all to the stage and presented the 60-day free pass to all 3 local theaters, the Orpheum, the Inca and the Yale. (I saw more movies that 2 months than all I have seen since.)"

I am asking anyone with any sort of knowledge about, stories (true ones, please) or any more information they'd like to contribute to my project to please email me, jrhull@surewest.net.

I will personally make contact with them and then arrange for a telephone interview.

I have lots of photos and copies of the old game programs of the Bulldogs from that championship season and will be putting them into my book. Anyone who also has a photo or two to contribute is welcome to do so.

I thank you in advance for your help with this important project.

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