Friday, August 10, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
“The core of our team had been together since winning the city championship at Brainerd Junior High so to go undefeated for two years in high school with only one tie was pretty special for the seniors at a new school.”
-- All-City end DeWayne McCamish
(Editor's Note: Fifth in a five-part series on 1962 undefeated football teams in Chattanooga)
Brainerd was the new kid on the block in 1962 and quickly took its rightful place next to traditional powers Chattanooga Central, Rossville and Howard as all four were undefeated in that special high school football season.
Four All-City players and three who made All-State led a defense which posted four shutouts and allowed only 10 touchdowns in 11 games and guided an offense which averaged 30 points a game and a Clinic Bowl victory.
The Rebs (11-0-0) of head coach Ray Coleman opened and closed the season with shutout wins, beat a solid Red Bank team (which won the Nashville Exchange Bowl) on the road in early October (26-7) and defeated Nashville city champion Madison in the Clinic Bowl.
The season-opening win - 20-0 vs. Marion County - was the first game played at the school's new on-campus stadium.
“The core of our team had been together since winning the city championship at Brainerd Junior High so to go undefeated for two years in high school with only one tie was pretty special for the seniors at a new school,” said All-City end DeWayne McCamish.
The senior-laden Rebels were led by the state’s top scorer in Gary Tucker, quarterback E.G. Cline and tackle Jim Clark, both of whom earned second team All-State honors.
“We were a well disciplined team, made few mistakes, everyone knew his roll as were solid on offense and defense,” McCamish stated
Only two teams – Red Bank and Sequatchie County – scored more than one touchdown against the Rebels in 1962 and those four scores all came in the second half.
Undefeated Seniors: Brainerd won 21 straight over two seasons (1961-62) after an opening season tie with Marion County in 1961.
Punting and Kicking - Hazardous to Ones Health ... Opposing teams learned the hard way about Brainerd’s special teams … Tucker scored on an 88-yard kickoff return (vs. Greeneville) and a 55-yard punt return (vs. Red Bank) … Joe Abercrombie scored on punts returns of 72 and 73 yards, respectively, against Meigs County and Greeneville, respectively … and an 80-yard kick-off return against Sequatchie County … McCamish recovered a blocked punt in the end zone (Lakeview).
All-City (First Team): E.G. Cline (QB), Gary Tucker (HB), DeWayne McCamish (End) and Mike Crowe (Guard)
All-State: Gary Tucker (HB, first team), E.G. Cline (QB, second team), Jim Clark (T, second team)
State Scoring Leader: Senior Gary Tucker led the state in scoring with 150 points
Brainerd to the Sugar Bowl - two Undfeated Rebel Teams: The school booster club paid for the Brainerd players to attend the Jan. 1 1963 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and watch another perfect Rebel team - the Ole Miss Rebels - close out their season (10-0-0) with a 17-13 win against Arkansas ... It is the only perfect season in Ole Miss football history.
Road Warriors: Coach Ray Coleman molded talented players into a strong team that played all games on the road (10-0-1) in that inaugural season of 1961 due to no on-campus stadium. The two “home” games were played at Engel Stadium.
City High Win in ‘61: The high water mark of 1961 came as Larry Reese ran 52 yards for a first quarter score, the Rebel defense held City to 83 total yards to post a 7-0 win at the Dynamo’s City High’s Memorial Field before 6,000 screaming fans to improve to 7-0-1.
Start and Finish: The Rebs posted their first ever win as a varsity program at East Ridge (12-0) on Sept. 8, 1961 and ironically, the win streak (22 straight) ended nearly two years later with a loss to the Pioneers also on Shanks Field (13-7), Sept.6, 1963.
Key Games - 1962
Sept. 1 Marion County, 20-0 … The shutout win at home set the tone for the undefeated season … Marion was held to 66 total yards and only five first downs … The Rebs converted two Marion County turnovers into scores in the first half … Jim McCoy led the Rebs with 100 yards rushing.
Oct. 5 Red Bank, 26-7 … first road game after 4-0 start at home … The Rebs spoiled the Lions Homecoming (Christine Richards was HC Queen) before 5,000 fans at Rankin Field … Gary Tucker scored on a 55-yard punt return and Jim McCoy raced 85 yards to pay dirt in the fourth quarter … the Lions would go on to win the Nashville Exchange Bowl.
Oct. 26 City, 53-0 … there was talk leading up to the game how City would redeem itself after Brainerd’s narrow 7-0 win in 1961, but the Rebel defense would have the final say … Brainerd converted three interceptions into touchdowns and allowed the Dynamos only 87 yards in total offense … Gary Tucker scored four touchdowns and Jim Verhey added two more as the boys in the powder blue jersey’s were 8-0.
“The only two games in which the starters played the entire game was against City and
Madison in the Clinic Bowl,” said McCamish. “We had something to prove against City after the close victory in 1961.”
Nov. 22 The Clinic Bowl - Madison, 13-7 … Gary Tucker scored on a 13-yard run with 53 seconds remaining to win the state scoring title and cap a perfect season as Brainerd had the longest unbeaten streak (21-0-1) in the state … Coach Ray Coleman gave the game ball to quarterback E.G. Cline who spent his early childhood in the Madison High area … Madison quarterback Chuck Boyd was a former Brainerd player.
Brainerd Rebels (11-0-0)
1962 Clinic Bowl Champions
No.4 in AP State Poll
Sept. 1 – 20-0 Marion Co.
Sept. 7 – 27-6 East Ridge
Sept. 14 – 14-0 Lakeview
Sept. 21 – Off Week
Sept. 28 – 26-13 Tyner
Oct. 5 – 28-7@Red Bank
Oct. 12 – 33-7 @Meigs Co.
Oct. 19 – 37-6 Copper Basin
Oct. 26 – 53-0 City
Nov. 3 – 51-13 Sequatchie Co.
Nov. 10 – 37-0 @Greeneville
Nov. 22 – 13-7 Madison %
% Clinic Bowl in Nashville
Five Part Series
Monday - Preview
Tuesday - Rossville
Wednesday - Chattanooga Central
Thursday - Howard
Today - Brainerd
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org