There are alumni from Altus High in town this week for some catching up with old friends ahead of the official AHS Alumni B Banquet and official events on June 27. It’s a great reason to rekindle the reminiscing of days/years past. The class of 1990 will be enjoying memories from 25 years ago. Wow… 25 years in this Bulldogs’ class past, the graduates were part of a team that was a perfect 10-0 in its regular season. That team defense posted 6 shutouts that year. 6 SHUTOUTS! Do you know how hard that is to do?
The anchors on that defense are very much still in the thick of the program and support it every chance and in every way possible.
Mike Torres, a defensive end on that team was a vertically challenged mammoth on the edge. He his name comes up first when you look at the list for tackles behind the line. Kevin Marple’s name leads the category of most tackles on that 1989 defense.
Torres is ingrained inside the program as an assistant coach of football and wrestling. He would be all about some baseball too, if the opportunity was there. Marple is the president of the 12th Man Club.
Just to remind you what kind of players these two were – Torres lead the team in tackles behind the line on a defense that boasted GARY PRINCE in the middle and JASON GILDON on the other side. Prince was a beast enough said. Gildon stands now and always as the Big 8 leader in sacks in a career and sacks in a season while at OSU. Oh and he is still the Pittsburgh Steelers all-time sack leader. That’s right. The Steel Curtain you say? Nope it’s a Bulldog. Gildon is also the NFL record holder for most consecutive starts at Left Outside Linebacker.
For Torres to lead that team in tackles behind the line, means Torres was busy.
Next to Marple, the Bulldog linebacker in ‘89, was Yohance Brown. All Yohance did was rewrite the record books at SWOSU in Weatherford. Brown lead the nation in tackles for 3 straight seasons Earning All-American status, defensive player of the year honors , SWOSU’s only national championship and was MVP of the title game. However, it was Marple that lead that ‘89 squad here in Altus.
Some memories from that season of inspiring locker room speeches or some quick jokes with coaches in their offices will have to remain in the past. The fieldhouse they remember is only a shell of its former self and frankly that shell that stands in the North end zone inside THE ROCK should be flattened and a new facility to match the beautiful new look of the high school, the weight room, the training facility and all other extras that came with that project should be built in its place.
One of the byproducts of a successful program on its rocket rise to the top of the football food chain in class 5A is increased participation from within the student body in all extra curriculars not just football. This is a great situation….. If……if you have the space for the kids.
The Bulldog locker room/shower/bathroom/storage/laundromat/coaches offices is seriously lacking enough space to the new inhabitants. It’s actually somewhat sad to walk through it and try to remember that this little cinder block building is housing a 5A football team.
Plans were looked at to build a new structure in place of the old one. One look at the spot just screams for a two story facility to take up most if not all of the North end. It could house the Bulldogs from a growing program as well as storage, concessions, restrooms, a garage for an ambulance and even more. The 2nd story could have walls of windows and overlook the practice facility and the game field. However, nothing was acted upon and so instead of complaining about it, coach Reed took matters into his own hands.
His hands and the hands of his staff are putting in too absurd of an amount to list of hours getting ready for season 2015 of Bulldog football. I don’t know how he does it really. Spring football, summer pride, taking kids to team camp and showcase combines at least four schools in the last 10 days.
Now, coach Reed and the boys have gutted the entire fieldhouse for painting, flooring, lights, plumbing you name it.
We have to get these coaches and student-athletes some help. We can’t afford to allow them to burnout of their real jobs right when the getting is good. When I asked Coach Reed about a new facility instead of making the older one over he said, “Of course a new one, a much larger one, is needed because we will continue to out grow this one. all of this that we are doing to it is just a band-aid for now.”
if you can labor donate Or financially step up, it’s needed for this Altus program. 50 new lockers arrive next Thursday. The program is short some 40 lockers still. If you have a Twitter account, download the new “Periscope” app. You can see the summer work live on any device. I encourage you to get the app. It looks like some unprecedented access to see the innards of a successful program. Innards that include a gutted locker room’s innards.
Everyone involved in the program is taking these hardworking matters in their own hands. Let’s not forget to take this program into our own hearts. Contribute where you can.
Welcome back home you 25 year alumni celebs. Stop by your old stomping grounds at AHS while you are here. The staff is gracious and accommodating and you will feel welcomed on campus. See for yourself the old is out and the new is in.
Thanks for setting such high standards back in the day for the youngsters on the team now. Your legacy continues for you ONCE WAS A BULLDOG.
This new version of blue wont let you down. Hopefully, we won’t let them down.