Thursday, September 20, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
Friday Football at Finley – The oldest high school football rivalry in the state – McCallie vs. Baylor – will be renewed Friday night at Finley Stadium ... 7:30 p.m. - Tickets are $10 … Pavilion ticket windows will open at 5 p.m. and the ticket windows on the North and South sides of the stadium will open at 6 ... Plenty of parking is available adjacent to the stadium.
The series began in 1905 and the 81st game will be played Friday with an expected crowd of 10,000 fans.
"Let’s play, Jeopardy"
Answer: Baylor School
Question: (editors note: with this being McCallie-Baylor week, the response from the Ridge could be interesting, to say the least … but what this writer wants to know is below …)
The Real Question: Four college football hall of fame coaches sent their sons to which Chattanooga prep school?
Bob Neyland (Tennessee), Frank Thomas (Chattanooga, Alabama), Johnny Vaught (Ole Miss) and Frank Broyles (Arkansas) all had sons attend Baylor between the mid-1940s and 1963.
In the mid-1940’s coach Neyland and coach Thomas sent their sons – Bob Neyland Jr. and Frank Thomas Jr. – to Baylor to play for coach Humpy Heywood.
Neyland and Thomas played together on the 1945, 8-2 Mid South champion Red Raider team before Neyland attended old Knoxville High School for one year (1946-47) and then returned to Baylor in the fall of 1947.
“My dad returned to Knoxville from military duty in Europe in early 1946 so I was in school in Knoxville for one year and then back to Baylor for my last two years of prep school,” said Bob Neyland Jr. who lives in the Nashville area.
Thomas played on the undefeated City championship team of 1947 (9-0) before graduating in 1948.
John Vaught Jr. was a four-year boarding student from Oxford, Miss. and played two seasons for coach Heywood; 1958 (8-2-0) and 1959 (9-1-0).
In those days Baylor played some Saturday afternoon and night games.
Thinking of Ole Miss: And with ESPN more than two decades in the future, the young Vaught probably couldn’t wait to get to a phone after the Red Raider games to see how his dad’s Ole Miss Rebels had faired that same day.
The phone calls to Oxford were usually of the good news variety for Vaught as Ole Miss was 8-2 in 1958 and 10-1 in 1959. But two of those losses came on Saturday nights in Baton Rouge against LSU, including Billy Cannon’s famous 89-yard punt return on Halloween night in a 7-3 LSU triumph.
Frank Broyles Jr. was from Fayetteville, Ark. and attended Baylor only as a freshman (1962-63).
During Baylor’s military era, the vast number of Baylor students participated in a sport in all three seasons – fall, winter and spring.
Neyland lettered in football, basketball (captain and all-area) and track and field, while Thomas lettered three years in football and soccer and also competed in track and baseball. Vaught competed in football and soccer and also wrestled two years.
No McCallie Game: None of the four sons faced McCallie in varsity football as the series was stopped from 1941-1970.
Friday at Finley - 81st Game: The series was re-started in 1971 and this year’s game is Friday night at Finley Stadium. It’s Homecoming for both schools with game time set for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Baylor has won the last four games and leads the rivalry, 42-35-3.
The One Who Played College Football: Neyland was the only one of the four legacy sons who played college football, as he was a third string non-letterman on the 1951 national championship Tennessee Vols team and then lettered in 1952 and 1953.
Playing for His Father: “In those days when coach Vaught, coach Broyles and my dad were head coaches, the players had little interaction with the head coach,” said Neyland. “The head coach coached his assistants who, in turn, coached the players.
“A few years after I graduated and was one of my father's assistants, I coached current Baylor baseball coach Gene Etter who was a running back for the Vols.”
Contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org