Army Lore – 5

Off to a Good Start

In the old news clipping, they had taken one look at him as the teams warmed up. The Sonner Coach turned to an Assistant and said well we do not need to concern ourselves with him. Because of the dislocated shoulder, Ed Pillings (AAA Trainer) had taped his upper arm to his chest. Thus he was able to only move his arm
from the elbow down. Although the exact number of catches is not remembered nor the number of yards he had returning kickoffs, he played the entire game; both sides of the ball against Oklahoma. What he does remember about the game is Bud Wilkinson coming into the locker room after the game to pat the Army Team on the back; something never seen before or since.

When he picked up his shirt and sock roll, Roy Cooper handed him an orange and white jersey with number 32 on it. As a Plebe
he was not eligible to play varsity ball so he was surprised to be told to report to the A Squad. He was going to be Jim Brown of Syracuse. On his first play from scrimmage, behind B Squad blocking he took the handoff and ripped off 8 yards. Returning to the huddle, he was feeling good, until Colonel Blaik uttered those words dreaded by every Army B Squad Player– Run it again. This time he barely took the handoff when he was smashed to the ground by Dick Stephenson. Years later as an All American and member of the NCAA Hall of Fame he would still remember that hit.

The Houston heat was oppressive, more like Beast Barracks than a late fall afternoon. As the game progressed more and more of it was played in Army’s end of the field. With the score tied and a minute to play, Army blocked the field goal attempt. Now, with less than a minute, Army was 76 yards from a score. There was no television coverage but there was a feed directly into Academy. As the pass was launched, the Army halfback could be seen alone, arms
outstretched, running under it. Suddenly the feed went black. The uproar from Thayer Hall could be heard across the river. There were some who did not believe. When the score was announced, it was 14 -7 Army over Rice. It was a Great Team.

With 2 out and 2 on base he faced a Navy Legend. He struck Roger Staubach out, earning his second A with Star. He would go on to win a third with Star.

Leading 14 to zero it was 4th Down, on their own 38. The play had been sent in. They were operating out of the Texas Wishbone and he saw that the middle was clogged with defenders. He checked off to a slant pass to his wide open split end. Ten men momentarily stiffened, for if the play failed, each knew they would all be in for punishing comments. Number 51 snapped the ball, as he raised up to pass Coach Tipton nearly swallowed his cigar; but then was to never say a word as Donnie took the pass for 61 yards to the 1 yard line. The Army defense led by numbers 83 & 67 dominated the field. Number 40 piled up yards resulting in a 41 to 0 score. Glynn Mallory a 150 player, Class of 61 enjoyed the humor when Mrs. Tipton ordered Crab Cakes that evening in Annapolis.

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