GORDON WOOD STORY!
By Super Scout Max Emfinger
An Autobiography by The Incredible and Legendary Brownwood High School Head Football Coach Gordon Wood is An Inspirational Story about a “Dirt-Poor Farm Boy” who never played a down of High School Football and how he became The Most Winning High School Football Coach of all time. His Very First Head Coaching Job was at Rule High School, Texas in 1940.
The Gordon Wood Journey included stops In Texas at Roscoe, Seminole, Winters, Stamford, and Victoria before The Universe Helped him To-Land The Brownwood High School Head Football Coaching Job in 1960. The Incredible Gordon Wood Coaching Record includes Nine Texas State Football Championships.
My Biggest Blessing in High School!
One of My Biggest Blessings and One of My Most Incredible Blessings, Which Includes My Wife Ginger, My Son Eric, and My Grand-Son “Little Max” that I have ever had in my Entire Lifetime of Unbelievable Blessings was when Coach Gordon Wood was “Turned-Down” by San Angelo Central for The Head Coaching Job in 1960 and Consequently, became the New Brownwood High School Head Football Coach. Then, in the Spring of 1960, he “Put-In” The New Gordon Wood Wing-T Offense with the 1-4 Cutback and 2-8 Cutback being The Most Valuable and Most Important Play In The Entire Offense.
Brownwood Coaches Randy Allen and Coach Gordon Wood in 1987.
Everyone who has ever played for Coach Gordon Wood, knows that those Two Plays are the Tailback Running Right and Running Left with Seven Blockers Leading the Way Through The Hole and I was The Tailback in 1960 and 1961. As a Sophomore, I Rushed for 177-Yards and so if you Subtract the 177-Yards from My 2,214 Career Total Rushing Yards, Basically, with the Total Rushing Yards with the 1-4 Cutback and 2-8 Cutback gave the Brownwood Lions 2,037-Yards Rushing in The 1960 and 1961 Seasons.
Coach Wood set a State and National Record with an Unbelievable Record of 396-91-15 in 43 Seasons as a Head Football Coach in Texas High School Football with an Incredible 80% Winning Record. Over those 502 Games, Coach Wood Coached at Eight Different High Schools and Won a “Mind-Boggling” Eleven Texas State Championships, including Nine Football State Championships.
His First State Championship was the 1948 Seminole Track State Championship and his Second was the 1954 Stamford Golf State Championship. He then Won the 1955 and 1956 Stamford State Football Championships. At Brownwood High School, Coach Wood Won Seven State Championships in 1960, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1978, and 1981. Coach Wood also Won or Shared 25 District Championships.
Coach Gordon Wood was also The First Football Coach on The Planet To Win 400 Games, but they Found-Out Later that he was given some Victories for some Forfeited Games in 2001 and they took the Victories away from him.
When Coach Wood Retired in 1983, However, his Original Record had him with a 405-88-12 Record and with an 81% Win/Loss Percentage. He was also Awarded for that Same Win-Loss Record at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, which had inducted him in 1983. At that Time, Coach Wood was Believed to be The Only Football Coach on The Planet to ever Achieve Four-Hundred Wins.
When a Team, in any Sport, Forfeits a Game; They are Given A Loss. Period!!
Since his retirement, four other High School Football Coaches in the United States, including Coach G.A. Moore from Sherman, Texas, have broken The 396 Wins by Coach Wood.
Coach Wood Was a Mentor To Hundreds Of Coaches!
Coach Gordon Wood Won Nine Texas Football State Championships, in a Time-Period, when there were Fewer Classifications and only One State Championship Per Classification, and Coach Wood Coached at Eight Different High Schools in Compiling a 396-91-15 Record, but he is mostly Identified with Brownwood High School, where He Won Seven State Championships, in a 26 Year Brownwood Career.
“We lost the greatest coach that we have ever had,” said Pilot Point and Sherman Head Football Coach G.A. Moore, who had just Passed Coach Wood as The Most Winning Head Football Coach in Texas. The Brownwood Newly Renovated Sports Complex was named in Coach Wood’s Honor. At The Entrance to The Brownwood Lions Football Stadium, which has long carried his name, a Bronze Statue Depicts Coach Wood on the sideline, in his oft-seen crouch, surrounded by Seven Football Helmets; One for each Brownwood State Championship For The Brownwood Lions.
Hundreds of High School, College, and NFL Coaches have been Influenced by Coach Gordon Wood, including Former Dallas Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells. Coach Wood used to drive to Lubbock, Texas to watch The Texas Tech Red Raiders Football Team Practice, when Coach Parcells was The Red Raiders Defensive Coordinator.
“Coach Wood was very much “An-Inspiration” to me when I was a Young Coach, only because of something he was doing that I could not Fathom,” said Coach Parcells. “Why would some Coach be driving five hours a day to watch me Coach Linebackers for Texas Tech Spring Practice?”
Coach Wood Was A Member of both The Texas High School Football Hall of Fame and The National High School Football Hall of Fame, and he was Named as The National High School Football Coach of the Year in 1979.
Coach Wood was also Named as The Runner-Up to Former University of Texas Head Football Coach Darrell Royal as “Coach of the Century” in The December 1999 Issue of The Texas Monthly.
Coach Wood was thought to have surpassed 400 Career Victories during his final season in 1985. He even received a letter from Former United States President Ronald Reagan Congratulating him on The Unbelievable Milestone.
Of all The Incredible Honors that Coach Gordon Wood Received, his Personal Favorite Honor was having The New Brownwood Lion Football Stadium Named for Him in 1980. Coach Wood had also been Very Involved In-Building The New Brownwood Lion Football Stadium.
Coach Wood lived most of his life in West Texas, Near Abilene, Texas, where I also Grew-Up, and he Attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He spent two years at Rule High School and then joined The United States Navy during World War II.
When Coach Wood was at Victoria High School, in South Texas, in 1959, He Desperately Wanted To-Get Back to West Texas and so he Applied for The San Angelo Central Head Football Coaching Job, which was Probably The Best High School Head Coaching Job in The State of Texas in 1960. The Unbelievable Irony was that Breckenridge Head Coach Emory Bellard also wanted The Same San Angelo Central Head Coaching Job.
Bellard then arrived at San Angelo Central in 1960 after leading The Breckenridge Buckaroos to a 1958 State Championship and also a 1959 State Co-Championship. His next Challenge was To-End The San Angelo Central 10-Year Playoff Drought.
Later, I became a Great Friend with Coach Bellard and I had a 1-1 Win-Loss Record Against Him, as he Recorded an Incredible 177-59-9 Win-Loss Record in 21 Seasons in High School Football, including Two State Championships at Breckenridge and one State Championship at San Angelo Central. His impact in San Angelo was Great, but not as Great as Coach Gordon Wood at Brownwood High School. Coach Gordon Wood Won Nine State Football Championships, including Seven Football State Championships at Brownwood High School.
MY FIRST MOMENT WITH GORDON WOOD!
There were Three Classic Unique Moments That I Spent With Coach Gordon Wood and Those Three Moments were My Very First and Second Meetings and My Very Last Moment That I Spent with The Greatest Football Coach Ever on This Planet, Coach Gordon Wood.
There have been a lot of Different Stories about My First Meeting with Coach Gordon Wood. Remember, it was in The Spring of 1960 and We had Just Finished our 1959 Football Season with a District Championship Loss to Coach Emory Bellard and his Breckenridge Buckaroos.
Our 1959 Brownwood Football Coach, Coach Roland Warren, had just been Fired and Two Of My Best Friends, TE Lawrence Elkins and QB Ben Elledge and I were Working-Out on The Brownwood Lion Practice Field, right behind The Old Lion Football Stadium, just before Track Practice.
Ben had just thrown a Real Deep Pass Pattern to Lawrence and he was bringing the Football back to Ben. We had been Really Careful, because one of the Maintenance Men had left a Water Hose on the Practice Field and we wanted to be Really Careful, and not To-Get Tangled-Up and maybe Sprain an Ankle by Running-Over One of the Hoses.
Then, at about the same time, We all Three Looked-Up and we saw this “Old Man” that we thought was The New Maintenance Man, and he was coming toward us. I will Never Forget that we were getting ready to ask him if he would please Remove the Hoses and then he said: “How are you guys doing?” And we said we were doing fine. Then he said, “Are there any good Football Players in Brownwood and are you guys Football Players?”
“Yes Sir, we are, I said. “What do you do?”
“I’m The New Brownwood High School Football Coach,” The “Old Man” Said.
Of Course, By this time, we knew Something Strange Was Going-On and we All Three Realized that as he had Just Introduced Himself as Head Football Coach Gordon Wood; and he was going to be our New Brownwood Head Football Coach.
The Real Funny Thing Was that we had Never Heard of a Coach Gordon Wood, but we were Super Excited, and also because Coach Wood Was Also Super Excited to be there and then to “Just-So-Happen” to Meet Three of his Future Super-Stars.
SIDEBAR: Some of The Other Reports on how Lawrence, Ben, and I Met For The First Time was either “A Made-Up Story” about that First Meeting or were Given Wrong Information, because This First Meeting with the Four of Us was an “Incredible and Exciting Meeting” and All Three Brownwood Football Players were “Exciting” and “Looking Forward” To Their First Official Meeting with Their New Head Football Coach, Gordon Wood.
Several Days Later, we had a “Big Football Meeting” and we got Even More Excited when we were Presented with our New Brownwood Play Book and we Already Knew that Our Team was Going To Be Great.
Unknowing to These Three Brownwood Football Players, that would later be Called “The Three E’s” of The 1960 State Championship Brownwood Lions; this “Old Man” Was Sent to Them by “The Universe” for A Very Special Mission and that The Life of This “Old Man” and The Lives Of These Three Brownwood Football Players Would Be Changed Forever.
1960 Season-Opener Against San Angelo Central!
So in The 1960 Opening-Game For Coach Gordon Wood, Against The Same San Angelo Central Bobcats and Coach Emory Bellard Against Coach Gordon Wood and His Brownwood Lions; The 1960 UPSET of The Season Might Have Happened in Old Brownwood Lion Football Stadium.
After a Fumble Recovery, The Lions Scored their Very First Touchdown of The 1960 Football Season! Future 2006 Gordon Wood Hall of Champions Quarterback Ben Elledge hit another Future 2000 Gordon Wood Hall of Champions Strong End Lawrence Elkins with a Beautiful “Over-The-Shoulder” 56-Yard Touchdown Pass, on The Second Play of The Season to give The Brownwood Lions a Quick 6-0 Lead.
The Impressive Lions Defense was Led by Two Senior Linemen, Future 2003 Gordon Wood Hall of Champions Offensive and Defensive Tackle Ronney Moore and Defensive Lineman Mike Greer as they helped cause Three Fumbles and Put Great Pressure on The Bobcats Quarterback, Larry Mullins, as he Threw an Unbelievable Six Interceptions. One of my Best Friends in High School was Quick End Eddie Daniel and he Caught a 26-Yard Touchdown Pass from Ben Elledge, in the Fourth Quarter, to End The Lions Scoring as we Shocked All of The Texas Sportswriters and The Entire Sports World with a Phenomenal 34-6 Upset Victory.
In that Game, “The Universe” was also With Me as I had Four Interceptions, for 133-Yards, including one for a 65-Yard Touchdown, and Another Interception for a 37-Yard Return down to the Two-Yard Line, and Still Another Interception Return for a 29-Yard Return; I also Rushed for 43-Yards on 15 Carries, and threw a 26-Yard Touchdown Pass to Future 2000 Gordon Wood Hall Of Champions End Lawrence Elkins.
Also, in The San Angelo Game, one of my Interceptions was a One-Handed Catch, for Two-Yards, just before going Out-Of-Bounds. With Four Interceptions for 133-Yards, 43-Yards Rushing, and a 26-Yards Touchdown Pass to Elkins, I Finished the Game with 202-Yards of Total Offense, Two Touchdowns, and a 10.1 Yards Per Touch Average.
“The Universe” Had Already Planned-For a 34-6 Opening-Game Victory For The Brownwood Lions Football Team and They Were On Their Way To The 1960 Texas State 3A Football Championship.
SIDEBAR: One of My Best Friends in High School was Wide Receiver, Eddie Daniel, who Caught a Touchdown Pass in The Opening Game Against San Angelo. On Monday, September 10, 2018, Ed had a Three-Hour Surgery to Remove a Brain Tumor and The Surgeon was able to Remove Most of The Tumor, without Damaging The Good Tissue.
Second Game Victory Against Killeen!
By Bill Stovall
The Lions Completely Dominated this Game after Intermission, although the Kangaroos went ahead in The Fourth Quarter, but The Lions Scored the Winning Touchdown with 44 Seconds Left in the Game for Their 26-20 Victory.
Ben Elledge started the Winning Drive with an 11-Yard Pass to Speedy Wingback John Cadenhead, down to the 25-Yard Line. Following an Incomplete Pass, Max Emfinger Circled left-end and ran Five-Yards, down to the 20-Yard Line, before purposely Running-Out of bounds to stop the clock, on The Left Sideline. Facing a Fourth and Five, from the 20-Yard Line, Elledge called on Cadenhead again and he ran-down to the 12-Yard Line. Elledge, then Rolled-Out and Sprinted into the End-Zone for the Winning Touchdown with 44-Seconds Left in the Game and a 26-20 Victory.
Although the Final Score was close, The Brownwood Lions were Clearly The Superior Team. The Lions had 13 First Downs to 8 for Killeen and Out-gained The Kangaroos in Rushing by a 263-Yards to 136-Yards.
The Lions Defense was led by Senior Lawrence Elkins; Sophomore Doug Young; Senior Ronney Moore; Junior David Smith; Senior Mike Greer; Senior Gerald Pitts; Junior Terry Dummer; Junior Bobby Staudt; Sophomore Dale Wheelis; Junior Jesse Hernandez; and Junior Eddie Daniel. – End of Stovall
In the Second Game in 1960, against Killeen High School, I Rushed for 147-Yards on 16 Carries and Returned The Opening Kickoff 90-Yards for a Touchdown and another Kickoff Return for 46-Yards, and I then Finished With 283-Yards of All-Purpose Yards of Total Offense, One Touchdown, and a 15.72-Yards Per Touch Average.
Third Game Win Over Waco University!
By Bill Stovall
SEPTEMBER 24, 1960 – “This Game was played on a Very Muddy Football Field in Old Lion Football Stadium after an Inch of Rain just before the game. The Trojans Scored First and went ahead by a 6-0 lead and an Upset Appeared in the Making, but The Lions Stormed-Back, late in the First Quarter as Max Emfinger Returned a Beautiful Punt Return for 25-Yards to Set-Up the Lions at the Waco 41-Yard Line.
After a Change of Punts, The Lions Zoomed into the lead for good, late in the Second Quarter on a Beautiful 57-Yard Pass and run play from Ben Elledge to Lawrence Elkins.
Facing a First Down and 10 situation on the 43-Yard Line, Elledge Drifted-back and hit Elkins with a Line-Shot, just behind the Waco Safety on the 25-Yard Line. Elkins Out-Legged The Trojans into the End-Zone. It marked Elkins Third Touchdown Pass in the First Three Brownwood Games. Elledge Kicked the Extra Point and The Lions went ahead 13-6 with only 2:50 Left in The First Half.
In the Fourth Quarter, Emfinger Swiped a Duane Hale Pass and Returned it 22-Yards to their 46-Yard Line. The Lions then Marched 54-Yards for its Final Touchdown midway through the Fourth Quarter. Elledge and Cadenhead had some great runs in this drive, but two of their big runs were called-back, because of penalties. Emfinger Capped the Drive by Diving-Over from the Two-Yard Line. The Extra-Point was missed again, but the 19-6 was the Final Score in The Brownwood Lions Victory.
Emfinger, a Jack-of-all-Trades, Rushed for 155-Yards in 13 tries; while Elledge had 43-Yards in 8 tries; Cadenhead had 71-Yards on 3 tries; and A.D. Carnes, who turned-in another unusual Superb All-Around Game, had 47-Yards on 13 tries.” – End of Stovall
In this Third Game Against Waco University, I Rushed for 155-Yards on 13 Carries and Two Touchdowns; had Two Kickoffs for 65-Yards, including a 47-Yard Kickoff Return, had another Interception-Return for 22-Yards, and a 25-Yard Punt-Return, giving me 267-Yards of Total Offense, Two Touchdowns, and a 15.7 Yards Per Touch.
1960 Game Four Against Temple
By Bill Stovall
“In the Fourth Game of the Season, The Brownwood Lions lost their First Game in 1960 to The Temple Wildcats by a 26-22 Score.
In this Game, the Brownwood Offensive and Defensive Lines were Outweighed as much as 50-Pounds Per Man, but Ben Elledge had a Great Game as he Completed 14 of 30 Passes for 228-Yards in the Game. The Lions took the Opening Kick-Off and Stormed 73-Yards for their First Touchdown on the Pin-Point Passing of Elledge and the Drive took nine plays. The “Big-Plays” were 24 and 12-Yard Elledge passes to Eddie Daniel and Lawrence Elkins. Max Emfinger also had a Nifty 12-Yard Run in the Drive.
The “Pay-Off Play” was an Unbelievable and Incredible Play on Second and 10-Yards to go at the Temple 25-Yard Line. Elledge hit Eddie Daniel “Over the Middle” and he turned and lateraled to Lawrence Elkins, who was “Trailing-Him” and he raced into the End-Zone, untouched, for the Touchdown. Both Super-Star Ends, Daniel and Elkins had some Fabulous Catches in the Game.
A.D. Carnes was again a Fabulous Blocker and a Dominating Defensive Player, but one of the Biggest and Most Exciting Plays of the Night came with 11:05 Left in the Game as Emfinger received a Pitch-Out from Elledge, cut-in just before reaching the sideline and raced 44-Yards Untouched, To-End the scoring for the night and then Emfinger Blasted-Over, behind Right Tackle Ronnie Moore for the Two-Point Conversion, to make the Score 26-22, but it was not enough.
The “Ring-Leaders” on Defense included Seniors: Ronnie Moore, Mike Greer, A.D. Carnes, Lawrence Elkins, and Gerald Pitts; Juniors: Eddie Daniel, David Smith, Terry Dummer, and Bobby Staudt; Plus Super Sophomores: James Crow, Dale Wheelis, and Doug Young.
Wingbacks, Charles Coffey and John Cadenhead, were Great-Blockers at Blocking Wingback, on Offense with Blocking Fullback Carnes, but they were also Outstanding on Defense.” – End of Stovall
Against Temple, I Rushed for 183-Yards on 21 Carries; had a 45-Yard Catch; had a 44-Yard Touchdown Run; had 32 and 38-Yard Kickoff Returns and Scored a Two Point Conversion, giving me 298-Yards of All-Purpose Yardage, 8 Points Scored, and a 12.42-Yards Per Touch Average.
After The Temple Game, The Brownwood Lions Breezed-To Ten Straight Victories on their Journey To Winning the Texas 3A State Football Championship. On Offense, In Those First Four Games, of The State Championship Season, I Rushed for 528-Yards; Recorded 1,050-Yards of All-Purpose Yardage; Scored 30 Points; and Threw One Touchdown Pass. On Defense, I Had 5 Interceptions for 155-Yards and One Defensive Touchdown.
“The Universe” Already Had Plans For Coach Gordon Wood And His Players!
Coach Gordon Wood Really Wanted The San Angelo Central Head Coaching Job, but The Incredible “Thing” was That “The Universe” Had Already Had Plans For Him To-Get The Brownwood Lions Head Coaching Job and Play The San Angelo Central Bobcats in The 1960 Opening Game in Old Brownwood Lion Football Stadium.
Coach Wood Was Not Aware That “The Universe” Already Had “The Three-E’s and Moore” Waiting For Him In Brownwood, Texas and Just Up The Road and Further West, San Angelo, Texas Did Not Have “The Three-E’s and Moore” Waiting For Him In San Angelo, Texas