The 1920 Regular Season
In the inaugural year of the UIL Football Playoffs there was very little structure in place to help determine which teams should be considered as playoff contenders. The rules only stated that to qualify as a contender for the state championship, a team must play 5 different opponents within it's particular section before a certain date. At the time the state was divided only into 4 large Sections, roughly correlating to the four Regions the state is divided into today (Section 1-West Texas, Section 2-North Texas, Section 3-East Texas, and Section 4-South Texas) and schools of every size were lumped together to compete for one single state title. Only the teams that were undefeated after playing the minimum 5 different opponents would then be eligible to move on in a series of elimination games which would determine an undisputed champion for each Section. The matchups were set up week-by-week by a committee of the UIL. The problem they quickly found was that there was a huge disparity in the quality of opponents that various schools played in order to meet the 5 different opponent criteria. Many schools simply refused to play the higher quality teams. The process ended up being drawn out much longer than the UIL expected, resulting in the 1920 State Finals not being played until mid-January 1921. Throughout the season of 1920 the UIL sent out official press releases updating the progress of the teams around the state and listing the number of undefeated teams remaining in each section.
UIL Press Release October 9th, 1920 FOOTBALL SEASON OPENS WITH RUSH
Thirty-two High School Games Reported; Many Lop-Sided Scores
By Roy B. Henderson
Physical Director, University Interscholastic League
Austin, Tex. Oct. 9 - The high school football season opened with a rush of games last week. Thirty-two games were officially reported to the newly established bureau of interscholastic football results, formed under the auspices of the University Interscholastic League. Practically every section of the state is represented in these reports, from Hereford vs. Farwell on the New Mexico line of the Panhandle to Mount Pleasant vs. Clarksville in the extreme northeast, and from Bishop vs. Robstown in the coast country to Greenville vs. Commerce in the more thickly populated black land area of North Texas. As may be expected in early season games, a large number of lop-sided scores are reported. Grapevine, for instance, defeated Arlington Heights 56 to 6. Navasota defeated Hearne 59 to 7, while Polytechnic won from Diamond Hill with the big end of a 59-0 score, and Greenville won over Commerce 53 to 0. On the other hand, there were three tie games in the week's reports, Hereford and Farwell standing 13-13 when the whistle blew, while Alice and Mathis as well as Bishop and Robstown played through the four quarters to a scoreless tie. Reports so far do not indicate that any particular style of play is peculiar to any particular section of the state. In all sections it is found that end runs and line bucks are used with most frequency, while forward passes are being liberally used by a large number of teams. Seven of the thirty-two teams reporting had their players all examined by a physician at the beginning of the season with a view to excluding players who, due to one defect or another, physicians think should not be allowed to participate in such a strenuous game as football. It is hoped that this precaution will be taken eventually by all high schools in the state. There has been only one serious accident so far reported. Tate of Marble Falls had his left leg broken in a game with Burnet. The following scores in the order of team standing are those of officially reported games and cover practically the first week's schedule, although many of the larger cities did not begin their regular schedules until Oct. 9, too late for inclusion in this report: Greenville 53, Commerce 0 Greenville 18, Rockwall 0 Abilene 7, Merkel 6 Abilene 28, Big Spring 6 Paducah 52, Quanah 0 Grapevine 56, Arlington Heights 6 Houston South End 33, Alvin 0 Yorktown 39, Runge 0 Plainview 38, Floydada 0 Amarillo 34, Canadian 0 Sinton 25, Taft 0 Athens 27, Kaufman 0 Humble 20, Cleveland 0 Taylor 21, Bartlett 0 Marshall 40, Atlanta 7 Cleburne 14, Polytechnic 0 McAllen 13, Mission 0 Clarksville 12, Mount Pleasant 0 Lone Oak 7, Wills Point 0 Giddings 7, La Grange 0 Calvert 6, Navasota 0 Bonham 6, Leonard 0 Mexia 14, Teague 6 La Porte 13, Goose Creek 6 Pecos 13, Fort Stockton 6 Sabinal 12, Pearsall 12 Tyler 13, Palestine 12 Navasota 59, Hearne 7 Polytechnic 59, Diamond Hill 0 Bishop 0, Robstown 0 Alice 0, Mathis 0 Hereford 13, Farwell 13
UIL Press Release October 30th, 1920 KICK-OFF CARRIED FOR TOUCHDOWN IN FOUR SCHOOL GAMES
Spectacular Playing Features Week's High School Football
Austin, Tex. Oct. 30 - Spectacular plays were numerous in high school football this week, as reported to Roy Henderson of the University Interscholastic League Bureau. In four different games a touchdown was made from the kickoff, Rhome of Cleburne in the game with Meridian, Alred of Beaumont in the Sour Lake contest, Lipscomb of Ennis in the game with Corsicana State Orphan's Home, and Waddell on the Eagle Lake team against Yoakum all starring in this manner. Many remarkable long end runs were also made, resulting in touchdowns, notable ones being Williams' dashes in the San Antonio game between Brackenridge high and Peacock College, and those of Cade of Dallas Bryan high and Self of DeLeon. In the Austin - Houston battle, Prater's kicking of the water-soaked, mud-covered ball was sensational in the extreme and kept the play constantly in Houston's territory. Of the more than two hundred teams represented in the bureau, only twelve that have played two or more games, have kept their goal lines uncrossed. They are: Bryan, Haskell, Childress, Comanche, Georgetown, Honey Grove, Austin, Belton, El Paso, Galveston, Mercedes and Wichita Falls. Three other teams have this record, but they have participated in only one game - Brownsville, Mason and Van Alstyne. There were 70 games reported this week and the fact that there were only two accidents shows that the teams are as a whole, properly equipped in the matter of pads and protections. One Harrisburg player had his collar-bone broken and Herry of LaGrange suffered a fractured hip. The teams of the state stand as follows: Won five, lost none: Abilene, Beaumont Won four, lost none: Bryan, Corpus Christi, Eagle Lake, Greenville, Haskell, Sherman Won three, lost none: Clarksville, Calvert, Childress, Corsicana, Cleburne, Comanche, DeLeon, Dallas Bryan high, Georgetown, Honey Grove, Marshall, Miami, Stephenville, Sinton, Brackenridge high of San Antonio Won two, lost none: Austin, Amarillo, Belton, El Paso, Electra, Galveston, Humble, Mercedes, Mexia, Mineola, Plainview, Reagan, Winnsboro, Wichita Falls, Yorktown Won one, lost none: Brownsville, Burnet, Mason, Van Alstyne, Nacogdoches Won five, lost one: Hearne Won four, lost one: Floresville, McKinney, Waxahachie Won three, lost one: Eden, Hillsboro, Gatesville, Tyler, Weatherford Won four, lost two: Polytechnic Fort Worth Won two, lost one: Caldwell, Cisco, Denison, Forney, Harrisburg, Hubbard, Kenedy, LaGrange, Strawn, Temple, Terrell, Taylor, Waco Won three, lost two: Gilmer, La Porte, Marlin, Main high of San Antonio Won two, lost two: Jacksonville, Merkel, Normangee, Navasota, Smithville Won one, lost one: Athens, Bishop, Bonham, Denton, McAllen, Pharr, Pecos, Paducah Won one, lost two: Beeville, Farmersville, Giddings, Ennis, Leonard, Masonic Home, Taft
UIL Press Release November 7th, 1920 INTEREST IN HIGH SCHOOL RACE PICKS UP IN HOME STRETCH Abilene Leads-Scholastic League Ready To Finance Title Game
The entire state is getting excited over high school football this year, according to reports to Roy Henderson of the University Interscholastic League Bureau. Not until this year has it been possible to show the relative strength of the teams and it is disappointing in some sections to see elevens dodging games with the evident purpose of making a big showing with large scores and no defeats. The percentage method is the most satisfactory way to decide the strongest teams but unless a school plays a truly representative schedule in their section they will not be considered in the final reckoning by the bureau. There is much talk and cry for a championship tournament. The league can see only one way in which this could be done. For the remainder of the season all teams should play games in their section only. The teams that are showing strength should be matched against each other and a real attempt should be made to determine the sectional champions. Then it would be an easy matter to arrange games between the northeast and northwest champions and the southeast and southwest winners. If this is done the league will guarantee to finance the final game. Few accidents occurred last week but Nelson De Mange of Pharr-San Juan died of complications arising from injuries received in the McAllen game. Witts of Henrietta had a leg broken, Turner of Cisco received a broken nose and a Wills Point player suffered a fractured collar bone. L.M. Fertsch, superintendent at Hereford, sustained a broken leg while standing on the side line watching his team play Farwell. One of the Hereford players missed his tackle, striking Fertsch violently. Seventy-one games were officially reported this week. The standing of the teams still in the running: Won six, lost zero: Abilene Won five, lost zero: Bryan, Corpus Christi, Eagle Lake, Yorktown, Greenville, Marshall Won four, lost zero: Amarillo, Childress, Cleburne, Clarksville, Electra, Haskell, Miami, Stephenville, Sherman, Brackenridge of San Antonio Won three, lost zero: Beaumont, Comanche, DeLeon, Dallas (Bryan Hi), Mercedes Won two, lost zero: Forney, Belton, Galveston, Plainview, Wichita Falls, Winnsboro Won one, lost zero: Brownsville, Decatur, El Paso, Orange Won seven, lost one: Hearne Won five, lost one: Hillsboro, Waxahachie Won four, lost one: Denison, Gatesville, McKinney Won three, lost one: Waco, Weatherford, Uvalde, Tyler, Sabinal, Sinton, Smithville, LaGrange, Hubbard, Honey Grove, Georgetown, Edna, Corsicana, Floresville Won four, lost two: Gilmer, La Porte, Polytechnic (of Fort Worth), Main High (of San Antonio)
UIL Press Release November 20th, 1920 FEW CHANGES OCCUR AMONG LEADERS IN HIGH SCHOOL RACE
Houston, Greenville, Orange and Marshall Eliminated During Week
Austin, Tex, Nov. 20 - With a very few exceptions, the week just closed has been uneventful in the University Interscholastic League high school football race. The leading teams are maintaining their relative standing because weaker teams have been played. The two most important games that have a direct bearing upon the race were the Bryan - Houston and Waxahachie - Greenville contests in which Houston and Greenville were eliminated. Beaumont put Orange out of the running and Marshall lost her chances for the championship by her defeat at the hands of Forest High at Dallas. The coming week promises better results as many of the leading teams are scheduled to meet each other. In many localities too much importance is being attached to the standing of teams as shown by the percentage table. With the present system of schedule-making the percentages cannot show the true relation between the teams. Some teams with 1.000 per cent do not show as much real strength as some of the teams as far down as the 0.600 percenters. Few accidents were reported this week. Edmundson, quarterback for Harrisburg in the Humble - Harrisburg game, suffered a broken collarbone. A member of the North Side, Houston team sustained a broken left arm in the game with La Porte. The most serious accident reported recently occurred in the Alvin - South End, Houston game, when Tommy Rice of the latter team fractured his skull in tackling an Alvin player in the open field. Rice is now on his way to recovery. Rice was not wearing headgear when this accident occurred. Abilene, Bryan, Corpus Christi and Cleburne lead the standing with seven won and none lost. Beaumont, Eagle Lake and Electra have won six and lost none.
UIL Press Release December 2nd, 1920 TITLE MUDDLE CLEARED UP IN THREE SECTIONS May Be Possible to Award High School Football Championships
North Texas Doubtful
Ten Teams Still Undefeated. Few Games Still to Be Played Austin, Tex, Dec. 2 - The following report is based on officially-reported high school games reaching the Interscholastic League Bureau early this week. The situation in District No. 1, has cleared up satisfactorily, and it seems now that a genuine championship may be declared in that district. Abilene eliminated Plainview, Miami was eliminated by losing its last game, Amarillo and Electra have arranged a game for next Saturday, and the winner will play Abilene later. Section No. 2, due to a lack of uniformity in the schedules arranged, presents the situation of six teams which may be called real contenders for the championship in that district. At a conference in Fort Worth November 26 the following schools were represented: Cleburne, Sulphur Springs, Waxahachie, Bryan High (Dallas), and Sherman. It was hoped that a unanimous agreement might be reached for elimination, but due to the fact that Fort Worth and Clarksville were absent, and Waxahachie dissented from the plan to drop all teams which had suffered a defeat in the season, a unanimous agreement could not be reached. The teams having played widely divergent schedules and the showing made by Waxahachie having been so strong, the winner among the so far undefeated teams of the proposed series will still have a cloud upon its title to championship in this district unless Waxahachie is taken on and defeated or given an opportunity to participate in the elimination. Two Leaders in Section 3 In Section No. 3, Houston Heights defeated Beaumont, thus leaving Bryan and Houston Heights the main contenders in this district. In Section No. 4, Uvalde's late reports show unmistakable strength, and Uvalde should be given a chance at the winner of the Corpus Christi-Brownsville game to establish a clear title in this district. The bureau has consistently refused to undertake a state championship series but has intimated that with proper cooperation such a series might be played this year. Exceeding its best hopes at the beginning, it now seems possible to declare undisputed champions in at least three districts. In the following standing of teams, those teams that have played less than five different high school teams are not considered: Ten Are Undefeated Abilene, Amarillo, Bryan, Clarksville, Cleburne, Corpus Christi, Dallas (Bryan Hi), Electra, Houston Heights and Sulphur Springs - 1.000 per cent Waxahachie - 0.900 per cent Marshall, Beaumont, Brownwood - 0.875 per cent Uvalde, Temple, Eagle Lake - 0.857 per cent Tyler, Sherman, Plainview, McKinney, Mercedes, Corsicana, Childress - 0.833 per cent Paris, Humble, Haskell, Gatesville, Comanche - 0.800 per cent Hearne, Hillsboro - 0.778 per cent Greenville, Bremond - 0.750 per cent
UIL Press Release December 12th, 1920 STATE BASKET BALL TOURNAMENT PLANS
Interscholastic League Reports On Football Results
Austin, Tex. Dec. 12 - The past week has witnessed among high schools of Texas a shifting of athletic interest from football to basket ball. The Interscholastic League has undertaken a state basket ball tournament to decide the championship among high schools in the state, and it is expected that this season will develop more than ordinary interest in this report. The league's bureau of football results closes the season's work with this report. A title to state championship has not been established, and it will not be advisable to attempt further games looking to this end, since the season is so far advanced. It may be said, however, that Abilene has clearly won the championship in that section of the state, and Corpus Christi has done the same thing in the southern coast region and Rio Grande Valley country. The winner of the Bryan-Houston Heights game will be undisputed champion of East Texas, while Cleburne, Clarksville and Waxahachie remain in the northeast section. In all 239 teams have participated in the more than 600 games reported, touching 4,302 players. Only twenty-three accidents have occurred, one of them resulting in the death of Nelson De Mange of Pharr. This is an average of one accident to every 187 boys taking part. In addition to the fatality, eight collar bones were broken, five legs, two arms, three wrists, one hip, one nose, one skull and one boy had two ribs broken. In following up the accidents it has been found that many of them could have been prevented had proper protections been used. Interest is Stimulated. The bureau of high school football results, established this year by the University Interscholastic League, has developed an efficient organization which has accomplished results far exceeding the expectations of those in charge. It has served as a clearing house for results, each team being furnished each week with the result of every game reported. These results have been compiled, serving as a sort of barometer of the strength of the various teams. This service on the part of the Interscholastic League has operated to knit closer together all public high schools as well as to emphasize clean sportsmanship and the importance of eligibility rules. Reports from all parts of the state declare interest has been greatly stimulated in football and that this has been the most successful season ever experienced. This has been the first time any systematic effort has been made to collect data regarding injuries received in football games, and the statistics that follow show that accidents have been very few, refuting the statement made so many times that football is brutal and dangerous. The Final Standing Considering all teams that have played as many as five different teams, the following is the final standing of teams: Abilene, Bryan, Corpus Christi, Cleburne, Houston Heights, Clarksville - 1.000 per cent Waxahachie - 0.900 per cent Electra, Marshall - 0.889 per cent Brownwood, Beaumont, Dallas Bryan High, Eagle Lake - 0.875 per cent Mercedes, Sulphur Springs, Temple, Amarillo, Corsicana - 0.857 per cent Childress, McKinney, Plainview, Paris, Sherman, Tyler - 0.833 per cent Humble, Gatesville, Haskell - 0.800 per cent Hillsboro - 0.778 per cent Uvalde, Kenedy, Greenville, Fort Worth Central, Bremond - 0.750 per cent Austin, La Grange, Masonic Home, Weatherford - 0.714 per cent Gilmer, Hearne - 0.700 per cent Comanche, Denison, Navasota, Taylor, Smithville - 0.667 per cent Calvert, Ennis, Polytechnic - 0.625 per cent Marlin, Galveston, Waco, Taft - 0.600 per cent Hubbard - 0.571 per cent Farmersville - 0.556 per cent Mathis, Mineola, Honey Grove, Harrisburg, Bertram - 0.500 per cent Beeville, Reagan - 0.444 per cent Terrell - 0.375 per cent Athens - 0.333 per cent Alvin - 0.142 per cent
The 1920 Playoffs Despite the UIL initially giving up on being able to crown a State Champion in football as was reported in their final press release of the season on December 12th, the various disputes and obstacles were eventually overcome, undisputed Section champions for all four Sections were agreed upon and a playoff tournament consisting of two semifinal matches between the four Section winners and a state championship game were finally played, albeit, much later than originally planned.
1920 Section Champions Section 1 - Abilene Section 2 - Cleburne Section 3 - Houston Heights Section 4 - Corpus Christi Miller
Sectional Championships Section 1: Abilene 54, Electra 10 Section 2: Cleburne 19, Comanche 0 Section 3: Houston Heights 7, Bryan 6 - December 11, 1920 (at Rice in Houston) Section 4: Corpus Christi Miller 6, Brownsville Hanna 0 - December 4, 1920 (at Brownsville)
Abilene vs. Cleburne - December 17th, 1920
GRID CHAMPIONSHIP IS WON BY CLEBURNE
Abilene Defeated 28 to 20 In Sensational Game
Cleburne, Tex., Dec. 17 - One of the hardest fought games seen on the local gridiron was played this afternoon between Abilene High and Cleburne High, the victory going to Cleburne by a score of 28 to 20, giving Cleburne High the North and Northwestern Texas championship. More than four thousand people witnessed the game. Both teams played sensational football throughout, but the Cleburne offensive proved too strong for the visitors. When put to the test their defense stopped the vicious onslaughts of the Abilene backs. In the last quarter Cleburne, to all appearances, scored another touchdown, but Referee Aix and Umpire Goodman ruled that one of the Cleburne players was in motion toward Abilene's goal. Two sensational plays were made, one by Smith when he took a pass from Captain Rhome and ran sixty yards for a touchdown in the first minute of play, immediately following, Poindexter ran forty yards for Cleburne's second touchdown. Abilene followed by making two touchdowns and two goals, tying the score 14 to 14. For Cleburne, Smith, Rhome, Poindexter, Hinton, Richerson and Bicknell played stellar ball, while Sell Sellars, Captain Dillingham, Murphy and Nolan were most consistent players for Abilene.
Houston Heights vs. Corpus Christi - December 25th, 1920
HOUSTON TEAM WINS GRID CHAMPIONSHIP
Heights High Victor Over Corpus Christi By Small Margin
Houston, Tex., Dec. 25 - The Houston Heights High School football eleven won a brilliant game from the Corpus Christi High eleven here today by a score of 7 to 6. The Heights eleven are champions of Section 3 of the Interscholastic League and the Corpus Christi eleven are champions of Section 4. The game was said to have been one of the hardest fought games ever staged in Houston by high school teams. About 2,200 people witnessed the game this afternoon. The field was in good shape and Corpus Christi was not without its rooters, many Central students being seated in the visitor's stand and cheering for them. During the first period neither side scored, although the line plunging of the Heights team kept the ball in Corpus Christi territory a large part of the time. The game was called several times during the period while officials ordered the crowd back. Corpus Christi tried but one forward pass during this period and it failed completely. The second, third, and fourth periods were filled with action. Corpus Christi battled hard for its single score. No casualties were reported.
State Championship Game Where: Clark Field (Austin) When: January 8th, 1921
Cleburne 0 - Houston Heights 0 (TIE)
State Teams Play Scoreless Game Houston Heights and Cleburne Battle for Championship Austin, Texas - January 8th, 1921 - Cleburne and Houston Heights in their contest for the high school football championship on Clark Field this afternoon played to a scoreless tie. The field was muddy and rain fell during the entire game. During the greater part of the contest the ball was in Cleburne territory. For Cleburne, Smith and Rhome stood out in the back field, while Bruder, captain for the Houston team, distinguished himself as a ground gainer. Bicknell, left tackle for the Cleburne eleven, suffered severe injuries and was taken from the field on a stretcher. No arrangements have been made to play the game over.