Lions and tigers and bears. With a plethora of traditional high school mascots, including the Wildcats, Panthers and Eagles, one particular in Texas stands alone.
Meet the Springtown Porcupines.
“Anything unique sets you apart,” Bill Reed, athletic and general facilities manager said. “But it’s about how you maintain and connect with it.”
Reed, like so many others within the school district, is a Springtown alum, as well as a former head football coach of the Porcupines.
“I’m a Springtown graduate, along with a large degree of the administration, including our superintendent [Andrea Hungerford],” Reed said.
The history behind the quilled creature dates back to the 1920s and a basketball team coached by Paul Montgomery.
According to school lore, Montgomery suggested one day that the team skip a practice and go decide on a mascot for the school. When the players returned, names were suggested, including one suggestion by C.M. “Snake” Hutcheson — the porcupine.
When asked why the porcupine, Snake replied, “No one wants to get near a porcupine because they don’t want quills in them, nor do they want to become a target for quills.”
The group voted, with the porcupine selected by the majority.
Currently, two Springtown students represent the mascot, with Colby Mears as the male Porcupine and Lindsey Johnson as the female.
While the mascot itself is a rarity, Springtown adds a dimension of the school spirit with POJO, a name occupying a large vicinity of the campuses in Springtown, including the 50-yard line of the new Porcupine Stadium.
“A lot of people think that our mascot is the Pojo, but there is no shadow of a doubt that the mascot is the Porcupine,” Reed said.
Pojo started a joke among teammates, including Reed, in 1983, but soon caught on to be a team spirit call, he said.
“We dispel that it is a mascot. It stands for a spirit of camaraderie, teamwork and achievement.”
Reed said several people have tried turning it into acronyms, including the Power Of Jesus Overcomes.
“There’s been a lot of fuss about it because some people don’t really understand the meaning behind the Pojo,” Reed said. “You have to be a part of that area to know what it felt like to be in the old fieldhouse to now in our new stadium and hearing that spirit call here too. It just represents a series of achievements.”