|NOKES NO JOKE
By Don Henderson August 2014
It was the summer of '56 when our football team began our practices. Gone were the
dynamic Seniors of the '56 graduating class. Royce Shelton was off to Texas A&M and
Coach Bear Bryant. Royce was an outstanding back for the Tigers and who could
replace him? Donald Jordan was now playing for Rice University and Coach Jess Neely.
Donald was our quarterback or running back in Coach Loggins offense in 1955. Both
Royce and Donald were All-County and were basically irreplaceable.Dickie Derden, who
played end was another outstanding player, as well as linesman, Johnny Mack Brown,
Bobby Rogers, Red Johnson and Howard Hardy. In addition, Ken Andrews, another all
district player would be leaving us due to being 19. Ben Garcia, another All-District
player was also 19 and would not return for our '56 football season. It was said that the
'55 backfield, consisting of Royce, Don, Ken and Neil was the fastest in Henderson
County, perhaps in the state. Royce ran the 100 yd dash in 10 flat and Don and Ken
were nearly as fast. Neil was under 12, which was fast for back then. So, 9 of our
starters from 1955 season, would not return. No wonder Coach Loggins, when asked by
the Athens Review, asked what he thought about the Malakoff Football upcoming
season, he replied with: " I'll sure be glad when basketball season gets here!!" Who
could blame him?
When his words hit the paper, the next day at practice, we all began to discuss "said
quote" and we were all infuriated!! Hoss Cope suggested that during the passing drills
every time we went out for a pass we should pretend to be a basketball player and
dribble the football; and we all agreed. It didn't take long for Coach Loggins and Coach
Farmer to figure out what we were doing and they quickly nipped it in the bud!! How??
They ran us until our tongues hung out. Remember this was August and in those days
coaches did not let you get water.....only a sip. If you got caught drinking more....you did
laps. We got the point!!
Our first game of the season was with our old rival, Mabank and as expected we were
big underdogs. Our '55 team had demolished Mabank 49-0 the last game of th '55
season, so Mabank was very fired up to beat Malakoff. On the other hand, our '56 Tiger
team was determined not to let it happen. We knew our chances were not good, but we
were not deterred by all of the predictions. Mabank probably thought they were going to
run all over us. The three senior returning lettermen on the '56 team were myself,
Eddie Nokes and Bo Johnson. The rest of the team consisted of mostly inexperienced
Juniors, Sophomores and the new Freshmen. In addition, Senior, Kenneth Carter, a
very good basketball player, decided to join the team. Kenneth had never played
football before, but being a tough country boy from Cross Roads, we figured he might
fool some people....and he did. Bo and I were listed at 125, but neither weighed that,
even soaking wet. Perhaps coach listed us that way because he didn't want show the
other team our real weight. The setting was made for a Malakoff Massacre by Mabank.
For years I had searched for the Athens Review article entitled "Nokes No Joke", but
having looking through all my clippings numerous times, I never found it. I gave up and
wrote the article as I remembered it, not giving all the facts--------->here is that article
My Original Article "Nokes No Joke"
|Last year, Ken Carroll, sent me a package with all of his old clippings in hopes
that I might find a use for them. I browsed through the materials and
.....Bing-go!! There it was: the article that I had sought for than 50 years!! Bill
Speake's story about our '56 game!! I was so excited!! Thinking back, to beat
Mabank was more than a miracle, it made the season for me. Eddie was
outstanding!! He never played this position again as a Malakoff Tiger and I'm not
sure why. I have several theories. I figure Coach Loggins and Coach Farmer
thought that using a 175 lbs player as a running back when he was bigger than
most linesmen (Me, listed at 125.....(Lie)) looked kind of weird. The other reason,
I don't think Eddie liked the lime-light. He liked being a linesman, where he was
not so recognized. That one game was indeed ......A MIRACLE!! THANKS EDDIE
AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! AFTER ALL THESE YEARS HERE IS THE
ARTICLE------------>>NOKES NO JOKE By Bill Speake Sept '56
This is the time of the year when my good buddy,
Eddie Nokes and I are the same age. Eddie turns
76 in August of 2014 and he catches me!! However;
come September, I leap ahead of him again!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ED!!
|"MISSED" WAS AN UNDERSTATEMENT!!
Malakoff was to play Buna in a Bi District
November 14, 2014 and I had contacted Eddie Nokes, my Good
buddy, to see if he was going to the game. Since I am in Spring,
Texas (He in Malakoff), I could not go and he said he would listen
on the Radio and said I could listen on the Internet. He gave me
the name of the FM station and I was able to get in touch with the
Sports Director, Tim Howard. He sent me a couple of links and
gave me instructions how to connect for the game. I connected
early and was set to listen with my laptop and headphones,
allowing my wife to watch whatever without disturbing her. Ain't
technology GREAT!! I Texted Eddie and we began our Tech
Togetherness listening to the game. He with his radio and I with
play by play via Internet. It was great!! So sorry the Tigers lost,
but they gave it their all and Eddie and I had a great time texting
back and forth!! THANKS TIM & KCK for their broadcast!!