Kelley - 1976 (single)
David - 1977 (getting married in Sept 2010)
Great to see the website and many thinks for the invitation to the reunion.
Please visit the class of 1967's website at www.1967patriots.com
1966 Powder Puff Game
<<< Note: I wrote the following story for my kids a few years ago. At their suggestion, I sent it to Claudia Thomas last year. Claudia emailed me that she practically laughed until she cried. CLaudia had been telling her sons (football players) that she was really a good football player in high school, but they didn’t believe her. She sent them the following story to finally convince them. >>>
The 1966 Powder Puff Games
During my senior year at Albemarle, several other football players and I got together to coach the senior girls in the annual Powder Puff touch football game. Each year, on a chilly October night, the girls in the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes would square off in a three game showdown. Traditionally, several football players from each class would coach the girls in their classes for a couple of weeks before the big game.
I started out with Andy Minton, who later starred at cornerback at UVa, and a couple of other senior players to coach our classmates. In the history of Albemarle’s Powder Puff series, the seniors had never lost, so many of the girls and the coaches assumed the game was theirs. They goofed off, chatted, watched the other teams practice and generally were a pain in the ass.
Since I had dated a bunch of sophomore girls (that’s the good news – the bad news is it was usually for only one date each!), I drifted over to their practice one day. I noticed that they were as wide-eyed as I was at the opportunity to play football. I also noticed they had only one coach. A couple of days later, after telling a future All ACC cornerback that he did not know how to coach, I defected to the sophomores. It was purely coincidental that I was dating (for more than once, this time) the sophomore quarterback.
Claudia, a natural option quarterback with a quick first step, was a real pro. She could flash her cheerleader smile at the referee, or she could cut up field behind the pulling guard (also a cheerleader), hip fake the linebacker and score from 40 yards out. She was also the first, and only, girl I ever taught to throw a spiral pass.
But I was stunned at what else she learned. Not above using her natural abilities to impress the coaches, (yes, I mean football abilities) she asked me to teach her to kick. To my amazement, she quickly learned to punt a spiral and to placekick well enough to make an extra point.
In two short weeks, we taught this collection of AHS's best, all about football. We implemented a relatively complicated set of offensive plays, a defense that included a “Red Dog” blitz, a prevent defense and, maybe most important, some surprise special team plays. We even taught the offensive line the Dallas Cowboy habit of putting their hands on their knees when they stepped up to the line, raising to an intimidating upright stance with a glare at the opposing linemen, and then going into the three-point stance before the snap count began. It was awe-inspiring!
The rest is Albemarle High School history. We won the first game against the freshmen in the last minutes with four straight stops from first and goal at the 2 yard line. The freshmen had driven to the 2 while our best linebacker had slipped off unnoticed to the sidelines to flirt with someone. I will never forget running down the sidelines calling a timeout to get her into the game. With her in, we had four straight stops and took over to run out the clock.
The championship game began a hour later against the juniors who had drubbed the hapless, under-coached seniors. With Claudia running and passing to perfection, we tied the game 13-13 on a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Before the anticipated run/pass for an extra point attempt, I called a timeout to set up the final play. Claudia looked me in the eyes and said, “I can do it coach!” I patted her on the butt (I didn’t really, but it makes a great visual) and sent her onto the field. To the total amazement and confusion of the juniors and every fan in the stadium, we lined up for a kick.
The juniors were looking to the sidelines for an explanation. The referees looked amused. I was holding my breath. The center snapped the ball, the holder bobbled it and then set it on the tee. The line blocked the reluctant rushers (no one wanted to be like Jan on the Brady Bunch and catch a football with her nose). Claudia approached the ball, swung her leg and her foot met the ball. It rose in a flat wobble, and climbed just high enough to clear the bar by a few feet.
I ran all the way onto the field to hug Claudia. I ended my coaching career with several records that, to the best of my knowledge, still stand. I was the first coach to lead an underclass team to a championship, the first coach to successively call an extra point kick and the only coach to get a 15 yard penalty for “excessive celebration” with a cheerleader.
No story about the 1966 Powder Puff victory by the sophomores could be complete without a mention of the best player that didn’t play a down in the game. Linda Burton, a versatile athlete with speed and beauty, would have been a starter. Unfortunately, she lived close to me and often rode to school with me in my “muscle car” (a ’63 Ford Falcon). On the day before the last football game of the year, I was apparently paying more attention to Linda than to the road and I rear-ended a large station wagon. Linda’s foot connected with my heater and she suffered a fracture that put her on the injured list. She missed the big Powder Puff series. After the championship game, one of my last views was of Linda limping off the field. I hope I stopped her and told her how sorry I was. She could have been a star!