A Pirate Retrospective
Thu, 09/09/2021 - 12:35pm admin
With the coming of fall, my mind returns to Howell County football of the 1960s. Although I am a Willow Bear, with scars earned over six years on Palenske Field, I don’t mind tipping my hat to some of the players and teams from the eastern part of the county.
Before the Liberty Eagles, the Pirates ruled the roost in Mountain View. In the late fifties and early sixties, under the leadership of Coach Bud Glazier and Assistant Coach Dan Atha, Mountain View produced some outstanding football players and an SCA Conference co-championship team in 1960.
Mountain View added football to its athletic curriculum in 1948, when members of that championship team were, as put by the Mountain View Standard, “first-graders at the time.” For many older Pirate fans, however, it was Coach Bud Glazer who changed the football landscape in Mountain View.
In fact, Glazier literally changed the landscape. During his tenure, a new football field (the present one used by the Liberty Eagles) can be credited among Coach Glazier’s accomplishments. Previously, the Pirates played on the baseball field on the eastern edge of town. Bill Webb (MVHS, 1963) says, “We played on the new field at the beginning of the 1959 season. Bud Glazier, with some other school employees, did much of the work on it themselves.”
I remember playing on that field in 1959 when my junior high team lost to Mountain View 20-14. The 1.5 inch Zosia grass had turned yellow, but provided more cushioning than the rocky top field behind the elementary school (now, behind Munford’s Gym) where we practiced. I wasn’t the only one impressed. Of the new field, an official from Springfield said, “They’ve got the finest football field—grass and lights—I’ve seen in Southwest Missouri.”
Prior to coaching at Mountain View, Coach Glazier played high school football at Mountain Grove and college football at Wichita University and Southwest Missouri State and coached at Midway High School in Stark City, Missouri. After five years at Mountain View, he became head football coach at Rolla High School for two years, and in 1964 was named assistant coach at the Missouri School of Mines. Later in his career, he coached and became a principal at Salem High School.
Even good coaches need good players for success, and Mountain View had a bunch. When I first moved to Willow, my buddy Truman Grogan told me about Pirate speedsters Davis Roush and Kenneth Pennycuick—two names often referred to in tandem. Roush earned first-team all-SCA and all-Ozark honorable mention as quarterback his junior year in 1958, and, remarkably, grabbed first-team all-conference and second-team all-Ozark honors the next year as a halfback.
The 1960 championship season produced a boatload of individual awards. Quarterback Howard Henry and linemen Butch Gray, Tom McLaughlin, and Don Abbey achieved first-team all-conference status. Howard Henry also received honorable mention all-Ozark. Second-team all-SCA distinction went to Glenn Miller, Tom Howe, and Junior Barnum. Kent Depee and Mike Butler received SCA honorable mention.
Lineman Butch Gray, a Pirate legend, led the 1960 team in postseason honors earning first-team all-Ozark and all-state honorable mention.
Teammate Bill Webb recalls, “Butch Gray transferred in that year, and he probably had more athletic ability than Mountain View had ever seen from a high school athlete up until then. Butch played guard on offense and middle linebacker on defense and was a game changer.” Years later, a knowledgeable source told me an essential part of the Pirate game plan in a memorable victory over West Plains was Butch Gray tackling Zizzer all-Ozark running back John Findley.
The next few years Mountain View did not achieve the team success of the 1960 season, but nevertheless, continued to produce quality players. Center Tom McLaughlin, voted SCA Lineman of the Year in 1961, notched a spot on the all-Ozark second team in 1961 and 1962. Bill Webb, after racking up a bunch of receiving yards as an end, received honorable mention all-Ozark and made the all-conference second team in 1962. Quarterback Kent Depee received second-team all-conference honors in 1962.
Although Willow Springs and Mountain View weren’t archrivals, the relationship was competitive. In the1962 season, Willow played Mountain View twice, and in the second match, a couple players demonstrated their competitive nature.
Did you ever wonder what type of skulduggery might take place at the bottom of a pile of players after a gang tackle? Stealing the ball? Biting? Gouging? All of the above? Or as one former Mountain View player told me of a particular incident, “I had a memorable meeting with one of your teammates.”
The Mountain View player, “Smith,” expanded on the memorable meeting. “I remember being tackled and was on the bottom of the pile, face down. One of my hands inadvertently ended up inside the faceguard of a Willow Springs player. Before I could move my hand away, this player started biting hard on one of my fingers. With the weight of the players on top of me, I couldn’t move or use my other hand to defend myself.”
Smith says he tried to use his “free fingers that he didn’t have in his mouth” to scratch or poke the Willow player (“Jones”) to make him release his fingers. “The pile broke up and the biter let go, but I didn’t determine who he was.”
At the time, Smith was dating a Willow girl and says, “On a date a few nights after the game, [she] asked me if I had been bitten by anyone during the game. I told her the story, and she said Jones proudly confessed to her that he did it. We both had a good laugh.”
I had a good laugh, too, since I know Jones. Although the two haven’t met since their encounter at the bottom of the pile, Smith says, “Despite his biting tendencies, I hear he is a good man.” He added, “If you are still in touch with him, please tell him that he made an impression on me that I won’t forget and that I wish him well.”
I contacted Jones and inquired about his alleged “Hannibal Lecter” behavior and asked him to fess up or say it ain’t so. Jones claimed his biting was purely defensive to keep from being poked in the eye. As to what actually happened, it appears to be a dogfall—an inconclusive result or a tie—like the Bear/Pirate record in 1962. The Pirates won the first match 20 to zip, and the Bears prevailed in the second game 20-13.
The identities of “Alias Smith and Jones” shall remain anonymous because both players are now esteemed citizens in their respective communities, and shenanigans of the past ought not cause them to be held up to contempt and ridicule or to be shunned and avoided. And for the record, I am not Jones.
In this article, I tried to be as inclusive as possible, but given the somewhat limited resources available to me, I no doubt failed to mention someone’s favorite player or some important fact, but hope I have stirred fond memories of a bygone era of Mountain View football.
My thanks to Jeanne Sharp Gaddy for providing photos and to Alias Smith and Jones for inside information.