Leaf through the golden-browned vintage photos that ran in the Herald sports pages through the years and the names and faces come alive.
Tim Jones. Jeff Burris. Dee Feaster. Cookie Massey. Mike Barber. Ernest Dixon. Jim Ringer.
Their accomplishments reach out from history through intent stares. Their eyes tell us to forget Clowney or Gilmore or Worley. They were the best. Not these new kids.
Every generation thinks their high school football stars were the greatest ever. The black hole phrase Back in my day has launched countless debates that have dragged long into summer nights, as high school fans pass the time until the resolving of arguments returns to the actual gridiron.
The Herald has decided to try and settle this score at least for now. Starting today , Heraldonline.com will host a poll listing what the papers staff and a few other local football minds think are some of the best high school football players to ever strap on pads in our coverage area. The results will be published in the Heralds football preseason preview on Aug. 18.
Well have polls for the best teams and coaches from the area as well.
Surely those topics have come up in casual conversation before?
Perhaps you favor one of Bennie McMurrays Lewisville juggernauts from the 1980s and 90s or either of Moose Wallaces Northwestern clubs in 1993 or 2010. Maybe Jim Ringer or Bobby Carroll is the top coach in your all-important opinion.
As difficult, if not more, will be selecting the areas best 20 all-time high school football players. Jones, Burris, Feaster and 31 other names are included in the player poll. Many more arent.
Itd be unfair and just plain wrong to try and decide this ourselves, especially in a region with so much historical prep football excellence.
Maybe youre in the new school. You can think of 10 Jadeveon Clowney hits at South Pointe that were better than the one he exacted on Michigan running back Vincent Smith during the Outback Bowl. You also think there wont be an area high school quarterback as good as Justin Worley ever again. Fair enough.
Perhaps you go a little further back, to when jean shorts and the hightop fade haircut were first cool. You might have seen Gerald Dixon Sr. nearly decapitate an opposing ball carrier one Friday night, or remember that one fourth and short when Clovers Ronnie McGill ran over an entire defensive unit en route to the end zone. Make the memory count; vote for them.
Or maybe youre from the real old school, back when the thought of dial-up internet, let alone wireless, hadnt yet tickled the mind of any serious inventors. You recall Rick Sanford effortlessly patrolling Northwesterns secondary or maybe even Banks McFadden dominating for Great Falls in the 1930s. These guys need your votes the most.
Each generation stakes a claim for being the best. Even as the years dull the edges on the rest of our memory, these seem only to sharpen. Theyre youthful memories that long outlast many of the banal, sadder moments of our lives. The players, teams and coaches that inhabit them live on exactly as they were, and we wont forget them.
Bret McCormick • 329-4032. Twitter: @BretJust1T