1967 Rice Bowl Championship And Navy All-Greater Pacific Football Championship
As I Entered The United States Navy
More “Incredible Things” Started Happening!
One of the Most “Incredible Things” happened to me in 1967, shortly after I Graduated From Baylor University. I had been in The Navy Reserve ever since I had Graduated From Brownwood High School in 1962.
In 1961, we were At War with Vietnam and All 18-Year-Old Boys were subject to The National Draft in the Army. My Dad had taken me to join The Navy Reserve before my Junior Year in 1961 and I had Signed a Contract to Enter into The United States Navy after I Graduated from Baylor University or any Other College. My Six-Year Navy Reserve Contract would begin in The United States Navy with Two Years of Active Duty after Graduating from College.
As a member of The Navy Reserve, I was going to Enter a Two-Year Active Duty in The United States Navy and then Spend Four-Years in The United States Navy Reserve. So I Entered The Navy, shortly after graduating From Baylor, I immediately entered a Six Week Navy Boot-Camp in San Diego, California and then after my Navy Boot Camp, I Spent Another Six Weeks at U.S. Navy Personnelman Class “A” School at The United States Naval Station in San Diego, California.
Then, I Graduated from U.S. Navy Personnelman Class “A” School at Naval Station in San Diego, California on September 22, 1967.
After Graduating from Navy Personnelman School, I was already playing on a Really Good Softball Team at The San Diego Naval Station and The Softball Team Players wanted me to “Put-In” to stay in San Diego, and Continue Playing on Their Great Softball Team, but As a Patriot, I “Put-In” for Active Duty in Vietnam; thinking that although I would be in Danger, I would not be in “Real-Big Danger” and I would be able to get “Hazardous Duty Pay” along with my Regular Pay.
As it turned-out, there were not any Openings in Vietnam, for a Navy Personnelman, but they decided to give me an Active Duty Assignment as close to Vietnam as possible and The Navy Gave me an Active Duty Assignment in Guam at Agana, Guam Naval Hospital (In Photo) in The Mariana Islands.
So when I got to The Guam Navy Hospital, I immediately asked if The Navy Hospital had a Football Team and they immediately told me that they did not have a Football Team, but that The Naval Air Station Flyers had a Really Good Football Team and that there was a Player at the Hospital that was playing on The NAS Flyers Football Team.
After I got situated at my desk, in my new Job in The Personnel Office, I got a hold of Linebacker Pete Murdock and asked him if I could go to Football Practice with him That Afternoon. And, of course, he said yes and he was just as excited as me.
When I got to The First Naval Air Station Football Practice, I found out that they had a lot of Really Great Looking Football Players and they already had a 4-0 Record. I also found-out real quick that they really still needed some help with their Passing Game and after the Coaches Found-Out that I had played in The Baylor Pro Spread-Offense and NFL Hall-Of-Fame Raymond Berry was my Pass-Receiving Mentor At Baylor, I was “Shocked” When They made me One of Their Naval Air Station Flyers Player/Coach in the Passing Spread Offense Game.
I also found out that, although they had a Great 4-0 Record, their Toughest Games and Tougher Teams were getting ready to Come-Up and they Needed a lot of help in The Passing Game. I was still in Pretty Good Shape and so I Immediately started “Working-On-The-Passing-Game” at that First Afternoon Practice.
Their Quarterback, Mike Waterford (5-10, 175, 4.6) was Short, but he was Very Athletic and he had an Outstanding Arm. We also had some Good Wide Receivers, but none of them knew really exactly how to Run Correct Pass Patterns. After a Few days of working with The Quarterbacks and The Wide Receivers, they really made some Great Improvements. The Naval Air Station Flyers Originally had a One Wide Receiver Offense, but I Changed that to a Two-Wide Receiver Pro Offense Set and With a Flex Tight End.
I also Found-Out that The Andersen Air Force Base Comets Football Team (In Photo) was probably the Best Team in The Guam International Military Football League, other than The Naval Air Station Flyers and each team would play each other Team Twice on a Home and Home Basis. The Naval Air Station Flyers Would Play The Andersen Air Force Base Comets Football Team in my Very First Game and then The Flyers Would Close their Season with a Rematch that would probably decide The Guam International Military Football League Championship and Receive The Championship Berth in The Second Annual Rice Bowl Game Championship Game.
After Four more games and Four more Victories, The National Air Station Flyers were Undefeated with an 8-0 Record and would now play The Andersen Air Force Comets. This Game was going to be one of the Biggest Games of the Season. The Flyers had a Few Injuries and were going to be Somewhat Limited on Defense. We also had a Couple Offensive Linemen who were going to be Weakened and could prove to be a Slight Problem.
My Day Job As A Personnelman Was Sensational!
My Day Job, as a Personnlman was To Check-In Injured Army Soldiers, Marine Soldiers, and Naval Soldiers and Airmen From The Vietnam War. With My Out-Going and Friendly Personality, I Became a Super-Star At Checking-In These Fabulous Injured People To The Guam Naval Hospital.
When I First Started, on Day-One, I Was Given a Desk, in The Personnel Office, With Three Other Personnelman, Which Was Great. Since I Was a Rookie in The Office, I Was Given Most of The “Check-Ins” and “Check-Outs From The Personnel Office. For About The Next Six Months, I Worked Out of My Desk In The Personnel Office.
In Checking-In These Severely Battle-Injured Army, Navy, and Marines, I Got To Know Every Single One of Them and Became Friends With Most of Them. As I Was Doing Such a Great Job, The Admiral of The Hospital Decided To Give Me My Own Personnel Office, Down The Hall. For The Next Ten Months, I Worked-Out of My Own Personnel Office.
In Checking-In These Soldiers and Naval Men, I Became Really Great Friends With Many of Them and Some of Them Shared With-Me Some Incredible Stories. One Story That I Will Never Forget Was a Story About a “Flying Saucer” That He and His Navy Submarine Buddies Had Seen “Coming-Up” From Out of The Ocean. Another Story Was About Two Other Flying Saucers Chasing Each Other and Making Impossible 90-Degree Turning Moves; and Still Another Flying Saucer Story That That Was Entering The Ocean.
Obviously, I Was Interested in All of These Flying Saucer Stories, but My Interest in These Guys and Their Stories, Got Them Excited About Talking To Me and Share Their Incredible Stories.
Comets Upset Flyers With 20-12 Victory!
A Crowd of an estimated 6,000 people watched the Sunday Night Game between The Andersen Air Force Base Comets and the previously Undefeated Naval Air Station Flyers. The Comets used an Unyielding Defense and a Fast-Moving, Well-Coordinated Offensive Attack in The Huge Upset Game.
The First Half was All The Comets as they moved the Football with ease and contained the Normally Explosive Offense to a Single Touchdown. The Tough-Running of Comets Fullback James Cook gave The NAS Flyers Defense problems all night as he made some Tough Yards and Scored a Touchdown on a One-Yard Plunge and The Comets took a 7-0 Lead after the Extra Kick.
The Flyers Bounced Right Back as Quarterback Mike Waterford, of West Memphis, Arkansas, hit Max Emfinger on a 48-Yard Touchdown Pass on a Post-Corner Pass Pattern to get The Flyers back into the Game. The Kick was missed, and The Comets still led with a 7-6 Score.
Then in the Closing Minutes of the First Half, The Comets were able to Score again on a 6-Yard Run by Cook and then their Kick was good again and they led 14-6 at Halftime.
The Comets got-off to a great Second Half as Quarterback Fitzgerald hit Wide Receiver Floyd Smith on about a 30-Yard Pass, got a great block, and broke-down the sideline for a 62-Yard Touchdown. The Kick was wide, but The Comets had their 20-Points for the Night.
The Comets Defense played Outstanding for most all of the night in keeping pressure on Quarterback Waterford as they gave-up a 6-Yard Touchdown to Jim McLennon. After the Touchdown, Waterford went for a Two-Point Conversion, but he got a bad snap and was unable to get the ball off. The Comets then held The Flyers for the rest of the game and Won with a 20-12 Upset Victory.
The Comets Defense was led by Outstanding Performances by Marshall Wheeler, George Hartman, Charlie Matte, and Kacemarek. The Flyers Defense was led by Defensive End George Wisenacky who recorded 12 Tackles and was all over the field in making Key Tackles.
On Offense, Quarterback Fitzgerald was Outstanding along with Fullback James Cook with Two Touchdowns and a lot of Tough Yardage. Comets Offensive Lineman Richard Armond also made some Key Blocks on both Touchdowns by Cook. Wide Receiver Floyd Smith was Very Impressive on his 62-Yard Touchdown Catch.
The Flyers were led by Quarterback Mike Waterford who passed for 166-Yards and Two Touchdowns and Flanker Back Max Emfinger who Caught 3 Passes for 106-Yards and a Touchdown. Two of my catches were “Post-Corner” Pass Patterns and the third catch was a “Quick Post” Pass Pattern.
Flyers Wide Receiver Jim McClendon also caught 3 Passes for 36-Yards and a Touchdown. Fullback Lee Vincent and Running Back Ron Dorsey also made some Tough Rushing Yards.
Next Week, The NAS Flyers would play The NCS Blue Devils in a Game That May Decide The Guam International Military Football League Championship. If The NCS Blue Devils should win The Game against The Naval Air Station Flyers, then the Two Teams Would have to play again for The Championship.
If The Naval Air station Flyers Win the Game, they will Finish with a 9-1 Record and Win the Berth into The Second Annual Rice Bowl Game Championship Game on November 25, 1967. The Winner of The Rice Bowl Game Championship will play in Japan against The Japan Intra Continential U.S. Navy Team for The 1967 All-Greater Pacific American Navy Championship.
1967 Rice Bowl Game
In that Guam Military Rice Bowl Football Championship Game, I Returned The Opening Kickoff 87-Yards for a Touchdown, giving The Naval Air Station Flyers a 7-0 Lead and we Never Lost That Lead in a 28-14 Victory.
To go with my 87-Yard Opening Kickoff Return, I also Caught Five Passes for 138-Yards, Returned Three Punts for 46-Yards, and had an Interception Return for 16-Yards, giving me an Incredible 287-Yards of Total All-Purpose Yardage in The Guam Military Rice Bowl Football Championship Game and then I was Presented The MVP Award Trophy after The Game.
1967 All-Greater Pacific Navy Football Championship Bowl – Tokyo, Japan
Then, a Couple Weeks later, on December 9, 1967, in The All-Greater Pacific Navy Football Championship Bowl Game, my Naval Air Station Flyers beat The Tokyo Japan All-Greater Navy All-Star Team, in Tokyo, Japan. In that Bowl Game, I was also Voted as The Bowl Game MVP in The All-Greater Pacific Navy Championship Bowl Game in The 21-7 Naval Flyers Victory.
In that All-Greater Pacific Navy Championship Bowl Game, I Caught Six Passes for 146-Yards, including a 38-Yard Touchdown. I also Returned Two Kickoffs for 66-Yards and Three Punts for 43-Yards, giving me 255-Yards of All-Purpose Yards. And Yes! Both Navy Bowl Game Championships would have Qualified me for a Spot On my Weekly College Football MVP Awards.