NEIL LAWSON: PRINCIPAL, COACH

At Donald Jordan’s memorial and interesting story was told. It seems that there had never been any
football in Malakoff’s Grammar school or Junior High until Mr. Lawson decided to finance it himself. As the
story goes, he went to the bank and asked to borrow money in order to personally buy football equipment.
After some suggestions and “are you sure?”, the loan was made. Thus began Malakoff’s first football prior
to high school. The 1955 senior squad was counted among the charter members and indeed proved Mr.
Lawson wise in his dedication. Much credit should go to Mr. Lawson for having elevated Malakoff Football
to a new level. Thank you, Mr. Lawson
THE 1951 KITTEN TEAM SHOWN WITH COACH NEAL LAWSON (NOTE**HE REALLY DID KEEP AND ELECTRIC PADDLE IN HIS OFFICE) ask Eddie
Eddie Nokes and I have been discussing this picture. His name was not listed but I believe he is there. He
is the one with the helmet to the right of Mr. Lawson (as we face the picture). There are several names
that I do not recognize, but most I do. Anyone growing up around Malakoff, knows that Donald Jordan,
(taking the hand-off from Mr. Lawson), was a star running back on the high school team and later played
for Jess Neely at Rice. He had an injury and though he graduated from Rice, did not play that much. Before
his injury he was the #1 quarterback and ahead of later NFL player Frank Ryan.  (I think) Royce Shelton,
standing in the back right with no helmet, also was a great athlete for the Malakoff High, running track and
playing football. He later played at Texas A&M for Bear Bryant, but suffered a broken hand during his
freshman year and ended up at Arlington which was then a junior college. He then played at Stephen F.
Austin and starred in football and track. Royce and Donald's senior year, along with another kitten pictured
here, Ken Andrews and a later edition; Neil Williams were reputedly the fastest backfield in Henderson
County or maybe Texas. Royce of course was a 10 flat hundred-man and also ran the 440 and the hurdles.
At this time, Kenneth Willingham, was a exceptional athlete and was faster than Royce, but sadly he was
not a good student and later got into all kinds of trouble.  Fred Jenkins was a big kid in our class (6th
grade) and his dad owned the Victory Theater at the time. They were from Michigan I think and the town he
came from was Ithaca, so that became his nickname.
Since I weighed about 70 lbs soaking wet when I was in the 6th grade, it was not until my soph year and I
had topped the scales at 105 when I went out to play with the big boys. By the time we were seniors, the
only ones left from this group that were in our class were Bo Johnson and Eddie Nokes. Kenneth Andrews,
Ben Garcia and Sonny Humphries had exceeded their eligibility requirements and all others had moved or
dropped out of school. Kenneth Carter, our basketball move in from Cross Roads, was coerced to play
football and he, being a rough good ole country boy was tougher than nails on defense. By this time I lied
about my weight and topped the scales at 125!!

All in all, this picture is a reminder of some our great teams and athletes in Malakoff. This season (2013)
Malakoff is trying to make the playoffs for a record number of times. Looking back, Malakoff was 2nd on
numerous occasions and by today’s standards they would have made the playoffs numerous times;
especially in 1955 and even 1956.
Malakoff Football Records 1927-1950
FUTURE MALAKOFF STARS
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