Since Illinois has now hired Lovie Smith to be their new head coach, I thought I might write this post that I had been dreaming of doing for a while.
I love football at nearly all levels and the high schools produce the talent for the college game, obviously. So, I do love some good high school football.
There was a time in a Northeast Texas tiny town of Big Sandy when a young Running Back named David Overstreet and a young Linebacker named Lovie Smith played together in the same graduating class.
To say this team was dominating is the understatement of the day, week, or even the month. This team was incredible.
Check out their 1975 season’s results in Texas Class B high school football. Keep in mind that this is the lowest classification in the state. I see all the time how a tiny private college can’t compete with huge colleges such as an Alabama, or a Texas, or a Michigan because they don’t have as many students. Huh? They all have the same number of scholarships to hand out. This is not the same as
college football. In high school, a student body of 75 kids just normally can’t compete with a student body of 3,000 kids which is why they have separate classifications in high school. It generally works well except in the very highest classes when a few elite schools will have over 5,000 kids to chose from while another might have 1,600. Plus, even in high school there are the cheaters. some of the richer schools will recruit players just like they do in the college ranks.
Big Sandy in 1975 Class B in Texas high school football
REGULAR SEASON SCORE
Union Grove 66-0
Union Hill 60-0
Leverett’s Chapel 62-0
Mount Enterprise 71-0
STATE PLAYOFFS SCORE
Big Sandy had a record of 61-1-1 and they had a 43 game winning streak after the 1975 season ended.
In 1975, Big Sandy scored 824 points and allowed 15. Now, that is big time domination.
David Overstreet was 6-0, 200 and lightening fast. He ran for just over 3,000 yards as a senior averaging a simply incredible 23.8 yards per per game and he scored well over 50 Touchdowns. Their closest game all season was against another tiny town in the Texas Panhandle town of Groom in the the state championship game, with a final score of 28-2.
If you don’t remember the name David Overstreet, he signed with Oklahoma where he was
overshadowed by the great Billy Sims who played in nearby Hooks, Texas. In 4 seasons at Oklahoma as a Wishbone Halfback, Overstreet ran for 1,707 yards and 13 Touchdowns. After Oklahoma, Overstreet was a 1st round Draft pick of the Miami Dolphins before he was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 1984. He actually played one season in the NFL gaining 392 yards.
As great as their offense was, obviously, their defense was equally great. Giving up only 15 points and posting 11 shutouts.
Lovie Smith was every bit to the Big Sandy defense that David Overstreet was to their offense. He was about the same size as Overstreet at around 6-0, 200 and he was very, very quick. He was a team leader as a Defensive End early on and at Middle Linebacker.
Clearly, Lovie Smith is well known since he coached the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl game and then he coached at Tampa Bay before recently taking the job at Illinois.
Out of high school, Smith was probably considered a bit small to be a college Linebacker, but he signed with Tulsa and he made some All American teams. He played Linebacker and Safety in college.
He didn’t bother trying to play in the NFL and went right into coaching at the high school level. In his 4th year as a coach, he was coaching at the college level as the Linebackers coach at Tulsa. It took a while, but by 1996, he was coaching in the NFL. He was named the Head Coach of the Chicago Bears before the 2004 season.
But, the entire team at Big Sandy was incredibly fast. Two of the Defensive Lineman ran track and were on the 1600 meter relay team that won state, which was actually the mile relay back then.
I never thought the Bears should have fired Lovie Smith and Tampa Bay started a rookie Quarterback last season, so I am not necessarily in agreement with his firing there, either.
But, in spite of everything I am glad to see Lovie Smith in the college game.
It will be interesting to follow him at Illinois. Since the days of head coach John Mackovic and Quarterback Jeff George, Illinois has been mostly an offensive team. But, Lovie Smith is all about defense.
Can he compete with the big boys of the Big 10 like Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh? Time will tell, but the Illinois football program just got a little bit interesting for me. Looks like they might be serious about fielding a winning team.
David Overstreet and Lovie Smith were/are big time people from a very tiny town.