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Brownwood Bulletin Horizons 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

All-American SECRET Lake Brownwood resident Carl Smith honored in 1955, but hardly anyone knew Mike Lee | Special to the Bulletin


he highest honor of his multisport athletic career at Goldthwaite High School remains a mystery to Carl Smith. Even some 57 years later. “The best I can remember,” said Smith, a Brownwood resident for 45 years, “Coach (Ray) Stanley called me out of class in the hallway one day after the (1955) football season. He said something like, ‘Well, I guess you were a better football player than I thought.’ Then he gave me this certificate.” The certificate, accompanied by a letter, proclaimed Smith had been selected to the 1955 National High School All-America All-Star Football Team by the Wigwam Wisemen of America. Smith’s selection was approved, the certificate stated, on Dec. 22, 1955. Other than Stanley presenting him with the certificate in the hallway with no one else present, there was little recognition for Smith making the All-America team. There was no announcement at the school, no school assembly and no article in the local newspaper. The school received a copy of the AllAmerica certificate that was displayed in a trophy case in one of the hallways during the 1950s. But the school’s copy of the certificate, like most of the trophies from that era, have been packed up and stored elsewhere. “There just wasn’t as much made of that stuff back then as there is today,” Smith said. “I’m sure I said something to my friends about it, but other than that, I don’t think anybody knew anything about it.” What baffles Smith is that he didn’t even make the all-district football team during his senior season of 1955. “The whole thing is still a mystery to me,” said Smith, now 74 and living at Lake Brownwood. “To this day, it’s still very much a surprise to me. How they came to that conclusion about me as a football player, I don’t know.” As a junior in 1954, Smith began Goldthwaite’s season as a halfback. When starting quarterback Bobby Elliott went down with a knee injury in the second game, Smith took his place and enjoyed success passing. “Ray Akins was our coach my junior year, and when I had to play quarterback, he’d take me out of study hall and have me run plays out in the hallway at school,” Smith said. “I’d be faking handoffs and the whole deal — just me and him in the hallway.” The 150-pound Smith quarterbacked the Eagles to 82 points against Lometa and 67


Carl Smith shows his certificate as a member of the 1955 National High School All-America All-Star Football Team sponsored by the Wigwam Wisemen of America. points against Gorman in lopsided nondistrict wins. Against Gorman, Smith passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns. In a 21-12 win over district favorite Burnet, Smith was 13-of-18 passing for 194 yards and a touchdown. In a 46-0 shutout of Santa Anna, he passed for 126 yards and ran 39 yards for another score.

“We passed more than most teams, especially for back in those days. On a lot of our plays, the quarterback would roll out with a run/pass option,” Smith said. But five games into his tenure at quarterback in 1954, Smith’s season ended when he suffered a broken collarbone against Llano.

Akins resigned as coach before the 1955 season. His replacement, Stanley, made a lot of personnel changes, including moving Smith permanently to halfback. He threw just one touchdown pass as a senior in 1955. “That’s what was so baffling about the All-America team. I didn’t accomplish that much my senior season compared to the year before,” Smith said. “Maybe they based it on your entire high school career and not just one season.” The Wigwam Wisemen of America National High School All-America All-Star Football Team was started in 1947 and based in Oklahoma City. John Clark “Mose” Simms, athletic director at Oklahoma City University at the time, took a leave of absence to organize a national high school all-star football game between the best players east and west of the Mississippi River. Simms asked 134 sports editors and sportscasters around the nation for nominations. Players selected to the All-America team were mailed a certificate like the one Smith received. From that list, Simms chose 44 players to participate in the all-star football game. Smith’s letter states that his selection made him “eligible to play in the Eighth Annual East-West All-Star Football Game at Memphis, Tenn., on Aug. 15, 1956.” Smith said he didn’t pursue playing in the all-star game, in part, because he was burned out on sports by the time he graduated in 1956. He figures a sportswriter from the San Angelo Standard-Times or Brownwood Bulletin nominated him since most of the clippings from a scrapbook kept by his mother are from those newspapers. Simms organized the Wigwam Wisemen of America to sponsor his All-America high school football teams from 1947-1961. During that era, the Wigwam Wisemen AllAmerica team was the highest honor a high school football player could receive. During the peak of its popularity, Simms received as many as 5,000 nominations per year. In addition to Smith, other Texans selected included Ken Hall, the 1950s star from Sugar Land whose 11,232 career rushing yards remain the national record; Ernie Koy Jr. of Bellville; and Bert Gravitt of Denver City. Something else that baffles Smith about the All-America football selection is that basketball was his best sport. As a 5-foot-11 guard, he averaged 22 points a game during his junior season — long before there was a 3-point shot. SEE secret, A11

Parade of Progress 2013

138 YEARS Union

presbyterian church

Union Presbyterian Church 1967 Austin Avenue Presbyterian Church 1875 & First Presbyterian Church 1876 Rev. Mary D. D’Alessio 700 Fisk Ave. • 646-8569


First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

2411 Coggin Ave. 646-8901 Sterling Lentz, Pastor Sunday School 9:45 am Worship Service 10:50 am Wed. Bible Study & Youth 6:00 p.m.



325-646-2502 1000 Fisk Street 124 Years of Christian Higher Education Established 1889


rownwood Glass & Alignment

The place with the little red car with wobbly wheels ur Does yo • Suspensions bble? • Tires car wo • Brakes • Struts • Axles • Alignments • Diagnostics

106 N. Main (Hwy 377) • Brownwood 325-643-2690 Regina & Don White - Owners


Pecan Valley Electric 302 2nd St. • (325) 646-3566 Airport Lighting Industrial & Commercial

B.N. & LaVerne Gribble - Owners


weakley-watson true value hardware store 1414 Austin Avenue



first united methodist church Dr. Don Scroggs, Pastor 2500 11th 643-1555

Established July 4, 1876


austin avenue church of christ 1020 Austin 646-0855

J. Tom Washburn - Pulpit Roland Bowen - Adult Education & Missions Julie Moore - Director of Childrens Ministry Sean Fitzgerald - Youth


St. Mary’s Queen of Peace Catholic Church Rev. Francis Njoku 1105 Main 646-7455

106 YEARS 505 Fisk 646-9595


1038 Early Blvd. • 643-5563 Since 1918


mills county state bank

“Where Service Makes The Difference” Brownwood 3101 Austin Ave. 646-1798

Early 411 Early Blvd. 646-0313

Goldthwaite 1017 Parker 648-2216

Hamilton 1005 E. Main • 254-386-4461


higginbothams funeral home


St. John’s Church

Main at Depot Street 646-7482

Sunday School 9:15 am Sunday Services 8:00 am & 10:30 am Wednesday Services 6:30 p.m.


salt creek baptist church 7775 North FM 3100 Early, TX 4 miles North Eastlawn Cemetery Pastor Jimmie Mize Sunday School: 10 a.m. Worship Services: 11 a.m. & 6 p.m. Wednesday 6:30 p.m. 646-3897 or 643-5853


Serving Cross Plains & surrounding areas

309 Northeast 4th St. (254)725-6153 Cross Plains, Texas 76443 Robert Harrell - Funeral Director Dee Harrell - Administrative Asst.

106 YEARS 201 W. Adams 646-4578 Jeff Smith & Bart Johnson LUTCF Carter M. Sharpe



Shaw’s laundry Dry Cleaning

& Linen Service

508 N. Center • 646-7559

700 Carnegie 646-2541


LEACH BROS. MANUFACTURING U-Haul Rental 210 North Main 646-9301 Richard Scott Leach, Owner-Manager


central united methodist church 1501 2nd 646-9621 John M. Beckling Jr., Pastor

Thank you to all area businesses in helping to promote community progress.

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