The first 100 years: What kind of school is RHS?

When Rockdale High School defeated Giddings 6-0 in football in 1910, that singular event raised the curtain on Tiger athletics which is celebrating 100 years of extracurricular activities this school year.

No one knows who scored that lone touchdown in Rockdale’s first pigskin win, or if it was a home or road game because back in the olden days, sports was persona non grata and rarely mentioned in the newspaper.

When Rockdale romped Rosebud 103-0 in 1927, there was one paragraph describing the game. Seventeen touchdowns went unrecorded.

In Texas, high schools gain their identity by the sport they have the most success in.

Odessa Permian is a football school. Snook is a hoops school. Brenham is pretty good baseball.

Volleyball you say? It’s Windthorst. For golf, Dallas Highland Park. San Antonio Churchill is the tennis titan.

In considering a century of Tiger athletics, what kind of school is Rockdale?

You must start at the state championship level and that of course means the 1976 state championship football squad.

The Tigers have played in just one other title game, in 1962.

Rockdale also won a state title in track in 1977 and has had a dozen individual state champions.

Is Rockdale a football or track school?

The Tigers have also made two trips to the Final Four (1966, 1995) in basketball but have come away empty handed.

Under Ernie Laurence and John Shoemake, the Tigerettes travelled to Austin four times, without being crowned.

Tiger basketball was king of Central Texas in the 1960s, the 1970s and 1980s, but recent struggles have kept them from a winning record for over a decade.

Used to be a basketball school?

And again, under legendary Coach Laurence, the Tiger hardball team dominated the region in the 50s and 60s and who knows how many state tournaments the Tigers would have made had the playoff system allowed them to go that far.

Larry Pipken kept the Tiger nine in the mix for 17 years, until a new regime took over in 2004.

But again, recent down time has kept the baseball program from enjoying much success, but it has enjoyed a resurgence.

Tennis’ golden age for the Tigers was 25 years ago, but did result in a state championship.

The girls relatively new softball program has gained a statewide reputation.

Truthfully, because of its state championship, Rockdale probably falls in line with most schools as being known as a football school, especially with its recent successes.

Maybe the second hundred years may shed some light on what kind of personality the school will have—as long as its not soccer.


Omitted from the losses of the last decade in last week’s newspaper was former Tiger Chuck Betchan, who passed away suddenly of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 47.

Betchan was a member of the Tigers’ 1976 state championship team.

The 5ive

Here are the five best songs written about Elvis Presley:

1. “Johnny Bye Bye”—Bruce Springsteen (1980)

2. “Black Velvet”—Alana Myles (1989)

3. “Walking in Memphis”— Marc Cohn (1991)

4. “Elvis Is Everywhere”— Mojo Nixon (1987)

5. “Elvis On Velvet”—Stray Cats (1992)

Bet you didn’t know: Both Alana Myles and Marc Cohn won Grammys for song of the year for their Elvis songs. Mojo Nixon did not.

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2010-01-07 digital edition

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