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 considered fast 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 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 teams 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
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
IS THE ARTICLE------------>>
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!!
Ed and Don
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!!