By SALLY SEXTON
MILLSAP — Though there are just a couple of weeks left before another season of Millsap football concludes — for some of the program’s pioneers 50 years ago, it’s been a long time coming.
Millsap wasn’t always known as a football community. Like its neighbors, Peaster and Brock, Millsap had a reputation as a basketball powerhouse.
But with the determination of a new superintendent and willing participants, Millsap embarked on creating its first football program in school history.
The first football team was formed in 1963 at the encouragement of superintendent Frank Stretcher, and played a light JV schedule as it eased into competition.
“That was my junior year and we played several different schools,” Millsap graduate Earl Day said. “I remember playing Everman and Boswell. We beat Everman every time, but when it came to Boswell, we just couldn’t get past them.”
Millsap’s first football coach, known simply to his players as Coach Morrison, came in with coaching experience at the six-man level.
“Coach Morrison had a sports equipment store that he owned, and that’s where we would go to buy our equipment,” Ron Youngblood, who was a freshman on the first varsity team, said. “I remember socks were 50 cents and jock straps were a couple of bucks.”
Things were simple that first year. Players practiced in the bus parking lot after school until it got dark.
“Nobody missed practice and we didn’t have water to drink during the evening, but we practiced very hard because there were so few of us,” Youngblood said. “To this day, the smell of freshly cut grass still makes me a little sick.”
A makeshift field was built by agriculture students and, by the 1964-65 school year, more and more students began to get involved.
“A family had moved in during my junior or senior year, the Freemans, from California,” Day said. “Their dad was a truck driver, but their son, Robert, was in my grade and knew what football was.”