‘55 champs relive glory days at game
The legendary Aycock High School state championship football team of 1955 was honored Friday before and during the Rockdale- Austin Eastside Memorial football game at Tiger Field.
Six of the surviving members of the 1955 team were on hand for a pre-game banquet and a halftime introduction to a crowd that gave them a standing ovation.
The Tigers—the Rockdale Tigers, that is—wore purple jerseys and helmets with an “A” decal (for Aycock) as a tribute to the champs.
And the 2010 Tigers responded with an Aycock-like win, routing the Austin team 58-0. That’s the same score the “Purple Tigers” defeated Caldwell by 55 years ago. Aycock, which ended that year 14-0, also won games by scores of 84-0, 78-0 and 104-6.
Attending the banquet and game were 1955 Aycock Tigers Billy Ray Locklin, Lee Alcorn, Jesse Johnson, James Banks Jr., Bob Roberson and George Lee Molden and many of their family members.
Family members of the late David Earl Myers also participated in the observance, as did Booker Turner, who was the student trainer in 1955.
Highlight of the banquet, held in the RHS cafeteria before the game, was an impromptu speech by Roberson, who is retired after a career with the U. S. Postal Service.
He praised his teammates and their coach, Ralph Johnson.
“He made a man out of me and made men out of my teammates,” Roberson said. “He was a disciplinarian, but he was fair and we all looked up to him.”
Roberson recalled the 1955 Tigers had no practice field, “just a flat piece of land full of goatheads and grassburrs.
“When they built the new (Aycock) school on that spot, they bladed off a sandy piece of land and that became our practice field.”
Aycock played its home games on Tiger Field but did not use the dressing rooms. At halftime the teams gathered at opposite end zones, regardless of the weather. Home games were played when the Rockdale Tigers were playing out of town, or on weeknights when the RHS team played at home on Fridays.
“We were poor kids,” Robertson remembered. “Times were hard. We came up hard. Most of us had a lot of siblings and only one parent. But we all loved each other then and we still do today. We worked hard and we made something of ourselves,” he concluded.
“This town may not have appreciated you and what you accomplished in 1955,” master of ceremonies Mike Brown said. “But, believe me, it appreciates you, and honors you, tonight.”