EPHS Centennial Schedule
21, 7:00 PM 100 Years of Excellence in History, Architecture and Trost*
24, 7:00 PM 100 Years of Excellence in Sports*
12, 7:00 PM 100 Years of Excellence in the Military*
8, 7:00 PM 100 Years of Excellence in the Arts*
13, 9:00 AM “El Paso High School Day” City Proclamation
18 El Paso High School’s 100th Birthday
October 2016 CENTENNIAL FESTIVAL
3 – 8 El Paso High School Homecoming Week
6, 3:45-10:00 PM Eve of the “E” Celebration
7, noon – 8:00 PM El Paso High School Open House
Time TBD Decade Reunion receptions throughout El Paso
8, Noon – 10:00 PM Campus Tours
9:00 - 11:00 AM Guinness World Record Registration
11:00 AM Battle of the Claw Football Game - EPHS vs Austin
3:00 PM Guinness World Record Class Reunion attempt
Sunset Alumni Band Concert and Fireworks display
27 Time TBD Fall Student Theater Production "Excellence Through the Ages"
17, 7:00 PM 100 Years of Excellence in Leadership and Academics*
24 Thanksgiving Day Parade: EPHS Centennial
*NOTE: All Legacy Series Presentations will be held at El Paso High School in the auditorium, with the exception of the May 12
Presentation which is currently planned for the stadium.
EPHS RANKED AMONG TOP HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE COUNTRY AND STATE
Our Alma Mater has again been ranked among the top high schools in the country!! EPHS is also ranked as the top TRADITIONAL high school in El Paso. The following Article is from the El Paso Times of April 21, 2016.
"Ten El Paso schools made U.S. News & World Report's list of the 2,673 best high schools in the country.
All El Paso schools that made the cut are charter schools or in the El Paso and Ysleta school districts.
El Paso's Harmony Science Academy, a charter school, ranked highest at 232nd nationwide. Also ranked were:
•Valle Verde Early College: 717
•Charter school Harmony School of Innovation-El Paso: 874
•El Paso High: 1,192
•Silva Health Magnet: 1,432
•Charter school Davinci School for Science and the Arts: 1,573rd
•Coronado High: 1,671
•Del Valle High: 2,177
•Eastwood High: 2,466
•Hanks High: 2,562
U.S. News & World Report rated Dallas' School for Talented and Gifted the best in the country and the best in Texas.
The schools also made the list of the 204 best high schools in Texas, with Harmony Science Academy clocking in at 38th in the state, Valle Verde at 83rd, Harmony School of Innovation at 95th, El Paso High at 121st, Silva Health Magnet at 141st, Davinci School at 147th, Coronado at 155th, Del Valle at 184th, Eastwood at 199th and Hanks at 203rd.
The schools are ranked based on student performance on state tests, graduation rates and how well they prepare students for college".
And the Legacy continues!!
•Perspectives, An Interview Program of El Paso Community College •
Sandy Aaronson and Betty Ann Seiler (Class of 62) talk about the El Paso High School Centennial Celebration
At the corner of Schuster and Virginia
100 Years of Excellence of History, Architecture and Trost
The following challenge came from the EPHS Alumni Association:
"We are challenging everyone to help us get to 1,916 Members by the end of February. All money goes back to our high school and to help us celebrate our Centennial. Memberships are $16 per year or a Centennial special membership is $116 for ten years. WE NEED EVERYONE TO PARTICIPATE,.... Please, we need your help!! I'm attaching a link to our website membership page. Signing up takes no more than 5 minutes."
Currently, there are only 300 members out of over 10,000 eligible graduates, former students and faculty. It's really important in this Centennial Year that we support our Alma Mater, and the best way to do that is through the Alumni Association. We, the undersigned, challenge each of you in the Grrrrreat Class of '62 to contribute to this organization that provides scholarship funds, funds to improve the campus, funds to support extracurricular activites, etc., etc. to EPHS. Currently, there are only 12 members of the Class of '62 who have joined the Alumni Association. We know we can do much better than that! If you do not want to join online, let us know and we'll be happy to send you a form and envelope you can use to mail in a check.
Come on, Class of '64 - We've always come through in the past, let's do it again!
with an INSTALLATION ART PROJECT
STUDENTS, PARENTS, FACULTY, ALUMNI AND INVOLVED COMMUNITY: We need your USED, BUT IN DECENT SHAPE, sports equipment!!
As EPHS celebrates 100 years of academic and athletic success, join us in preparing a permanent INSTALLATION ART PROJECT to enhance our campus.
We are planning two uniquely related commemorative pieces of work reflecting:
"Community unity in celebrating 100 years of El Paso High School students who have shown up to work hard, challenged them each to better themselves wholly through direct focus of strength, flexibility and endurance in order to balance academic achievement and to enjoy the lifetime successes that result."
We need ANY sporting equipment/sports-related items from any athletic event, to include cheer teams and dance which may have been used at any time in the last 100 years. ALL OF IT. ANY OF IT! Sport balls, helmets, track shoes, tennis racquets, jerseys, pompoms, swim goggles, cleats, basketball nets, weight plates or dumbbells, ballet toe shoes, ANY related ITEMS will be considered. The items DO NOT need to have been actually used at EPHS.
DONATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED THROUGH FEBRUARY ONLY.
Donors will be recognized on a plaque with the installations.
Please deliver items to:
El Paso High School
Include this information:
- Donor NAME. Please print or type
- If Alumni, please note graduating year or years of participation
- List items donated and date.
PLEASE NOTE** Your items will not be returned to you. They may not remain in their original state. If your items are recognized as quality heirlooms or of particular vintage value, while we would love to use them, please carefully consider your participation.
KTSM-TV News to Air Feature on EPHS Centennial •
Linda Ong, a morning anchor for KTSM-TV, Channel 9, along with two cameramen were on the El Paso High campus this past Monday to collect video and conduct an interview with Janie Pierce Shockley (Class of 62) and Hannah Jay, a member of the 2016 Centennial Year Class. The feature story will be broadcast on Friday morning (5 February) about 5:15 AM and again around 6:15 AM during the News Channel 9 Today program. Ong stated that once the feature story has aired, it will be available for viewing on-line. I will provide the link as soon as I receive it for that particular segment of the show so that those residing outside the KTSM viewing area or El Paso residents who did not get up in time or forgot to set set their video recorders may watch the story. Go Tigers! Go Janie!
Link if you missed it...
Look at EPHS!!
Here's an email received today, Thursday, January 28, 2016:
Willie Sanchez is flying in from South Dakota to attend the 6thAnnual Alumni v Tigers Baseball Classic on Saturday, 6 February. Willie wants to support the EPHS Baseball Program, particularly during this EPHS Centennial Year. He also has as an objective to visit with former Coach Ken Morehead and as many of his former baseball, basketball, and football teammates as can make the doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
Here are the particulars about the Classic:
When: Saturday, 6 February, Gate Opens at 11 AM
1 PM The "Oldskool" Alumni (1960s - 1990s) v Tigers
3 PM The "Millennium" Alumni (2000-2015) v Tigers
Where: Baseball Field at George Hodge Ball Park, 1841 Brown Street (enter from Brown at Lost Padre Mine; adjacent to Murcheson Park and the old, underground water reservoir)
Pay to Play: $50 donation for Alumni desiring to play (alumni not suiting-up for the game are also welcome to make donations). Alumni players are entitled to a custom ball cap, T-shirt, and a grilled hot-dog, chips, and soft drink for lunch. Player Registration and warm-up begins at 11 AM.
For those who may not recall Willie (Class of 64), some of his accolades while at EPHS include 1963-64 All-EPHS Boy, class president sophomore and senior years; Freshmen Class Yell Leader; Junior Class Favorite; named to EPHS Who's Who twice; and multiple year letterman in football, basketball, and baseball. Willie has since coached baseball at the college level and was a coach with the AA Minor League Baseball El Paso Sun Kings and El Paso Dodgers at Dudley Field (aka: The Dudley Dome) in the 1970s.
Help welcome Willie Sanchez back to El Paso and to George Hodge Ball Park by attending the 2016 edition of the Alumni v Tigers Baseball Classic!
Willie, Coach Ken Moorhead and Robert Manzanarez (class of 1970)
FIRST PRESENTATION IN THE EPHS LEGACY SERIES
100 Years of Excellence of History, Architecture, and Trost
It's the Centennial of our beautiful, neo-classical El Paso High School academic building throughout 2016, and to highlight the historic edifice the El Paso High School Alumni Association presents the FIRST in it's five-part Legacy Series of multi-media programs of 100 Years of Excellence at 7 PM on Thursday, January 21, in the historic El Paso High Auditorium. The presentation is free and open to the public, be sure to mark your calendar and encourage others, including non-alumni of The Lady on the Hill, to attend. A reception in the Main Hall will follow the program.
The complete schedule of the Legacy Series and other Centennial Celebration activities is included in the announcement following this entry.
Here are some links to Thursday's event..."100 Years of Excellence of History, Architecture, and Trost"
From: The Hospitals of Providence Newsletter...
El Paso High School Centennial- This year is a big year for our community partner El Paso High School as they prepare to celebrate their centennial. The El Paso High School Centennial Celebration, which is organized by the El Paso High School Alumni Association, kicks off on January 21st with a media conference at 1pm and the Legacy Series, followed by five interactive programs and culminating with the Centennial Celebration in October 6-8th with more than 3,500 alumni, former faculty staff and friends to join together to break the Guinness Book of World records for the largest high school reunion and concluding with a float in the 2016 Sun Bowl parade. We congratulate El Paso High School for their 100 years of excellence! Visit ephsalumn.com for more information on the upcoming El Paso High School Centennial celebration events.
Finally!! We've been patiently waiting for approval from the city to erect an "Address Monument" at the Schuster and Virginia corner. Classes of 1963, 1964 and El Paso High Tigers-Friends & Exes are going in together to erect the above. We had some money in our account and this is our gift to the school in honor of our 50 year reunion and the Centennial.
This is what was submitted to the City and we finally got the permit after 6 months. Thank you to the office of City Rep Courtney Niland...Tommie Buringrud Niland's daughter-in-law.
Amazon Smile Program - Support EPHS Alumni Association
We hope you have received all the good news about what's happening with the EPHS Alumni Association. Please do one more thing to help support our school for the Centennial and beyond.
If you are an Amazon shopper, you need to know that Amazon has agreed to add EPHS Alumni Association to its Amazon Smile program. A certain percentage of your purchases will come back to the association. And it's so easy. All you have to do is sign onto Amazon by using the link below. It will take you directly to your Amazon account. Then shop away and Amazon does the rest. Please click on the link below, add it to your favorite places and use it to sign on to Amazon each time you shop.
And while you are at it, please share the link with friends and family. It's a painless way to support "La High."
Some of you may already support another charity or nonprofit through Amazon Smile, which is fine. Maybe you could think about switching for a month or two (maybe during homecoming month?) to help out EPHS as well. Following are instructions from Amazon on their Smile program and how to change:
How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?
On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.
Can I change my charity?
Yes, you can change your charity any time. Your AmazonSmile purchases after the change count towards your newly selected charity. To change your charity, sign in to smile.amazon.com on your desktop or mobile phone browser and simply select “Change your Charity” in “Your Account.”
Thanks, and happy shopping, Tigers!
Former EPHS ROTC Cadets and Sponsors are invited to join an organization founded in 2003 to celebrate the comraderie engendered whille Cadets and Sponsors at EPHS.
Some of these Tigers have been practicing close order drill to form alumni drill teams. Those alumni are now drilling with the Cadets at EPHS in anticipation of participating in the EPHS Centennial Celebration Legacy Series - JROTC & Military presentation on 12 May 2016. The marching Tiger alumni also envision participation in other events including drill meets and parades.
For more information about the EPHS ROTC Alumni, visit http://elpasohighrotcalumni.weebly.com
If you were a member of the EPHS Tiger Marching Band at anytime, this is for you! An Alumni Band is forming. Even if you haven't played music in public since graduating high school, you have a couple of years to get back into action under the direction of UTEP Director of Bands Kenny Capshaw and Chito Portillo, formerly at UT-Austin. If you are a musician, an EPHS alumnus, even if you didn't participate in band while in high school, contact the EPHS Alumni Band at email@example.com . Plans are for the Alumni Band to perform during the Centennial Celebration Year 2016 (maybe before and hopefully after, too).
The Classes of the 60s
will hold a "Decade" party in conjunction with the EPHS Centennial on Friday evening October 7, 2016 in the Signature Showroom at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, 1200 Futurity Drive, Sunland Park, NM 88063. The event is open to all EPHS classmates from the '60s, '40s, '50s and early '70s and their adult guests. The cost is $25.00 per person payable by September 1, 2016. Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino is not an official Promoter of this event. Event paid for and promoted by EPHS Classes of the 60s. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotel accommodations have been secured for the Centennial weekend at a reduced price at Country Inn & Suites (formerly Holiday Inn) on Sunland Park Drive. Group Code: 1015OELPASO. To make reservations, please contact http://www.countryinns.com/ephsclassofthe60s .
Classes of the 60's Party Form:
Legacy Series Schedule
EPHS Alumni "Tatler"
If you receove this e-mail, you also should have received an e-mail from the EPHS Alumni Association with the latest newsletter, the "EPHS Alumni Tatler" and, if your address is up to date with us (Class of '62), you should also have received a hard copy of the newsletter by snail mail. If you have received neither, please update your profile with us and go online to ephsalum.com to join and sign up for future newsletters. Also, while you are at that website, please join the Alumni Association as we ramp up to the Centennial Celebration next year.
In case you didn't get it by email or snail mail
Guinness Book of World Records
The climax of the homecoming and centennial celebration scheduled for October 6 - 8, 2016 will be the attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for the largest Class Reunion on October 8 on the Football Field. The initial public push for participation began last night with the following clip from the KVIA Channel 7 news on August 15.
Please check it out -- Lee Schwartz and Anna Mares of the EPHS Alumni Association. If the link doesn't work, copy and paste it into your browser.
If you know anyone who worked or taught at EPHS or attended our wonderful school, please make sure they are on the e-mail and address list for the EPHS Alumni Association. Contact them at email@example.com.
So save the dates of October 6 - 8 and come on down for a really great celebration and help us make history!
Our fight song is now available on iTunes for download for $1.29. A portion of the to the School Beautification Project run by EPHS Friends and Exes. Go to iTunes and search for EPHS Fight Song. I use it as my ringtone and really look forward to people calling me so I can let the high school memories come flooding back every time my phone rings. The Fight Song is available in "Play Store" for 1.99. You need to downlad the "Ringdroid" APP to get it as a ringtone.
The Centennial Event site is here: http://www.ephscentennial.com/ and is updated regularly.
There is a lot going on at our old Alma Mater right now, and instead of trying post everything on our website, I’ve decided to provide the links for you to peruse yourselves. Following is a list of links providing information about the EPHS Centennial Celebration as well as other facts of interest to all EPHS Tigers.
- http://www.ephscentennial.com – provides up to date information about schedules, events and a vehicle to donate funds (tax deductible) to help defray costs. Currently, the donation link is not working, but I will notify you when it is up and running.
- http://elpaso.episd.org/ - is the official web site of El Paso High School and provides updated information about current happenings at the school.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Paso_High_School - has a lot of information about our school, including such things as the school Fight Song with that elusive 2nd verse. There is also a list of distinguished alumni, among other interesting facts.
- http://www.ephsalumn.com/ - provides information about activities of the El Paso High School Alumni Association. This group is spearheading a lot of the activities for the Centennial Celebration.
Plan to attend the EPHS Centennial Celebration
& Friday evening party with the classes of the '60's.
Weekend of October 7-8, 2016
**See 100 Year Celebration Link on the Left
A big thank you to June Templeton!!
We found a couple of articles that may be of interest to EPHS graduates. Three links on the left titled Creepy Ghost?, Ghostly Images? and The remnamts of tunnels? Enjoy!
The Basketball team from 1964-65 was honored at the 40th Annual C.D. Jarvis Basketball Tournament last week-end. This team won 3rd Place in the State Tournament in 1965.
Right to Left: Jesse "Chunky" Look, Jim Wofford, David Wilbanks, Tom Paul and Kenny John
Jim Wofford, Tom Paul, Ken Moorhead, Jesse Look, Kenny John and David Wilbanks
Coach Ken Moorhead lives in El Paso and was in attendance for the games.
To upload your reunion photos, click the Reunion Photos link and follow the instructions.
EPHS at Morehead School
Elena and her tile at the Centennial Wall at EPHS
Homecoming @ EPHS 2014
129 year-old School Bell from Central School
The EPHS Alumni Association coordinated the transfer of the bell from the home of Ken Thomas, a retired EPISD employee, and alumni volunteers and vocational education students at EPHS will take part in the reconditioning of the bronze bell and the refinishing of the cast iron yolk and cradle.
The school bell was originally cast in 1885 in St. Louis, Missouri, by the L. M. Ramsey Manufacturing Co. which specialized in farm machinery and bells during the last quarter of the 19th Century until 1917 when the company closed. High School for El Paso started on the second floor of Central School in September of 1885. With the Old Central School Bell now at EPHS, an ad hoc committee is considering options on how and where the bell will be displayed. One proposition being given consideration is to mount the bell on a custom-made trailer so The Old Central School Bell may initiate some meaningful new traditions at EPHS at the confluence of the end of the high school's first century and the beginning of it's second century of excellence in public education for El Paso. In this option, the bell may be used during football games to mark scoring plays by the Tigers; as signal indicting initiation or conclusion (or both) to graduations held in RR Jones Stadium; Memorial Day and Veterans Day Ceremonies on the front steps; Homecoming and Sun Carnival parades; and as part of other events on the campus and in the community.
Ken Thomas, the donor of The Old Central School Bell, told media before the Homecoming assembly that El Paso High was the ideal place for the bell because a) El Paso High is the successor to high school at Central School; b) the JROTC program at EPHS was a continuation of the first JROTC unit in all of Texas which was formed at High School, then at Central School and it was Major James Gaines, an EPISD Assistant Superintendent for JROTC who saved the bell from oblivion and possibly the scrap heap; and c) El Paso High has an alumni association which cherishes and preserves the history of The El Paso High School dating back to the early days at The Old Central School. Thomas also told reporters that he was very impressed on how competently and amicably the personnel of the EPHS Alumni Association had acted in the three weeks since he offered the bell to El Paso High. The palpable excitement on the EPHS campus among students, faculty, and alumni, Thomas said, was evidence The Old Central School Bell has found it's rightful home.
Read a report about The Old Central School Bell at this link: El Paso Times.
Ms. Ferret, Principal, ringing the bell for the first time...
20th Reunion Football Game-Austin vs. EPHS-July 1984
Trophy Case at EPHS
By Ruben Villegas
Times staff writer
After 20 years, the El Paso High and Austin classes of 1964 bridged a historic rivalry gap, when the El Paso Tigers won the 1963 battle for the claws 36-28 at El Paso High.
Saturday’s football game was a make-up of the original 1963 contest that was canceled after the assassination of President John Kennedy.
The 20th-year reunion flag football game lived up to its billing as an exciting rivalry, complete with posters, cheerleaders, pep band and of course, a tied football game with 6:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The 28-all deadlock threw the more than 2,400 Jones Stadium fans into a frenzy while players on the sidelines asked each other the obvious. “What happens if we tie?”
The teams remained scoreless past the two-minute mark, when only eight plays remained, regardless of the clock and the rules laid out before the contest.
On the fourth play – also the fourth down just 10 yards short of the goal line – El Paso quarterback Eddie Ortegon fired a quick aerial to wide receiver Eddie Fisher for six points. On the two-point conversion, Ortegon again passed to Fisher to secure the final 36-28 score.
Austin had four plays left but one pass was dropped, another pass earned 2 yards, and a receiver fell after catching a lateral. On the final play, an Austin pass fell incomplete.
“We needed a bomb on that last play,” Austin ex quarterback Tony Harper said, “but the old arm won’t go that far.”
The players ages - most were in their late 30s – proved to be a factor of sorts.
-Before the game Austin Coach Jerry Wilson told his players to stretch out to avoid hamstring injuries. However, as the team exited from its lower floor locker room someone yelled, “And don’t get hurt climbing those steps.”
-An observer who read the “64/84” poster embedded on a 14-foot wooden “A” frame remarked that one couldn’t be sure if the numbers referred to the class or the differences in belt sizes.
-El Paso ex George Look said his team “got real tired at the end of the first half but a lot of it had to do with the excitement. We went to the locker rooms at halftime and did a lot of stretching.”
Look set the pace on the first play of the game when he intercepted Harper’s aerial and barged in for the touchdown. With the two-point conversion El Paso owned an 8-0 lead.
Austin marched back in nine plays, Bob Arnold connecting with Harper for a touchdown. The two-point conversion run failed and the first quarter ended with El Paso on top 8-6.
Defenses kept the two teams busy in the second quarter until the two-minute mark, when each team received eight final plays.
On El Paso’s sixth play Ortegon fired a pass but it was deflected before Look snatched the football for a score. The two-point conversion failed.
Austin regrouped, and on it’s second play Harper connected with Keith Alexander for six points. The two-point conversion was good and the teams were tied at 14.
El Paso had two plays left and needed but one to score on a bomb from Ortegon to Fisher.
The conversion was good and El Paso led 22-14 at the half.
Austin then took only four plays to score when Harper connected with Robert Reyes. The conversion pass failed.
El Paso failed to retain possession and Austin needed only three plays before Harper connected with Richard Melendez for another touchdown. The two-point pass failed and the score was tied at 28.
“We were getting a little tired and we ran out of gas in the third quarter.” El Paso Coach Jackie Meeks said. “Plus they had some god players, too.”
After the game, the players and fans gathered at midfield for handshakes. A little girl, wandering aimlessly, looked up at the grown men and asked no one in particular. “Who won?”
Ask the Tigers.
Austin vs. El Paso High: Storied football rivalry takes field for 80th time
Posted: 09/23/2011 04:12:39 PM MDT
Pat Wieland knows and accepts the numbers. The former Tiger linebacker understands that when the Austin and El Paso high school football teams meet tonight, the record books will indicate the 80th anniversary of a bitter rivalry.
Wieland, 65 years old and semi-retired from the real estate business, also realizes that statistics, figures or any other kind of quantitative data can never encapsulate the annual Battle of the Claw.
The game never happened in 1963 because of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. But Wieland and his fellow '64 classmates at both El Paso and Austin found a way to play it - even if it was 20 years late and will never show up in the record book.
The Battle of the Claw means that much, as the make-up game still resonates in Wieland's sharp memory.
The sounds and sights of Nov. 22, 1963, remain vivid in Wieland's and his teammates' memories.
The day started like all previous Battles of the Claw with the simultaneous pep rallies. El Paso High students and staff packed their auditorium, while a few miles up the road and around the base of the Franklin Mountains, the student body
at Austin High assembled in its gym.
At around 11 a.m., the cheering started, broadcast live on KTSM radio for all of El Paso to hear. Each side received three allotted time slots for a deafening battle of cheers that would go back-and-forth for a half-hour.
"We are the Panthers, couldn't be prouder, if you can't hear us, we'll yell a little louder!," roared the Panther faithful.
El Paso answered emphatically.
"We are the Tigers, couldn't be prouder, if you can't hear us, we'll yell a little louder!," replied the Tiger crowd.
The adrenaline flowed that Friday morning, the atmosphere electric for the 33rd meeting between the two teams.
But the game never happened.
A few hours after the pep rally news quickly spread throughout the school that President Kennedy had been assassinated.
"Someone in the hallway came up running to me and told me the president was shot," El Paso linebacker George Look said. "I thought he was talking about the Austin school president. I didn't think in a million years the president of the United States."
Coaches then delivered a second shocker to the players: The Battle of the Claw was canceled.
It would not be rescheduled.
About the rivalry
As players dealt with Kennedy's assassination, they also tried to come to terms with the canceled football game. Both depressed students. But it was the game, the highlight of the fall for the Class of 1964, that stung.
"Not to take anything away from the president's assassination," Wieland said, "but we were devastated about the game."
The rivalry, which began in 1930, matched two schools separated by 3.9 miles.
Austin player Stafford Werner and Wieland lived across the street from each other.
Austin and El Paso, particularly in the early years, were also the city's powerhouse teams. Their contest usually determined which team from El Paso would advance to the state playoffs.
Everything was on the line - from bragging rights to the season. The game and days leading up to it came to envelop the magnitude, including the broadcast.
Werner remembers an "E" burned into Austin's grass field. Another time, the Panther mascot was covered in black paint. The El Paso "E" on the Franklin Mountains went through a few disassembles as well.
In 1960, a trophy, called "The Claw" in honor of the mascots, was created for the winner of the game to claim for a whole year. "The Claw," now a replica because the original went missing in 2003, is on display as part of a Texas high school football exhibit at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.
The trophy represents one of the five longest, continuous rivalries across the state.
Wieland calls the 1963 game a chance at redemption. The Tigers had lost seven straight years to the Panthers, including the 1962 heartbreaker, when the Tigers rallied from a 22-0 halftime deficit only to lose 28-22 in front of a record 15,000 fans at Kidd Field.
El Paso, for the first time in years, was the favorite. Austin suffered injuries and had fallen to 2-7. El Paso entered the game 7-1-1, just one game behind Bel Air for the district championship.
"We were ready to end all those years of misery," said Willie Sanchez, El Paso's quarterback. "I don't think there was any doubt we were going to win."
The cancellation left doubt. It also meant El Paso would not go to the playoffs. Bel Air was awarded the district title in nine games.
For most, that was the end of football. No college scholarship existed. No more Friday night lights. No more packed stadiums. No pep rallies.
And several of the players, who had spent years sweating and laboring on junior varsity squads, missed their one opportunity to play for "The Claw."
Redemption: 20 years later
The players, coaches, students and Wieland moved on, but he never quite forgot about the game. The what-ifs stuck like a thorn in his side.
Wieland attended Texas Western, soon to become UTEP, and eventually settled down in El Paso. One of his frat brothers and business partners was Werner.
One night in 1984 as the two dined and drank together, they began reminiscing. The details remain unclear, but Wieland, or so he says, threw out an absurd idea: What if, at the 20th reunion, the two schools ended all the doubt once and for all and played for The Claw.
Werner loved the idea. He went back to his reunion steering committee and pitched it.
A few weeks later, Wieland, who never thought the game would gain much traction, ran into Austin player James Luckett in Downtown. Luckett told Wieland the Panthers would win.
The game was on.
Back on the field
The idea began as a friendly pick-up flag football game between 38-year-olds. It quickly turned serious.
Both teams practiced well before the showdown - El Paso three times a week for two hours a couple of months before the game; and Austin a few weeks as well. They worked out and got back in shape.
They even got coaches -Jackie Meeks, the old Tigers backfields coach for El Paso, and Jerry Wilson for Austin, who helped design playbooks full of reverses, post routes, and hook and ladders. They even set up audibles at the line of scrimmage.
At one point, the Tigers closed practice for fear of spies.
"It got dead serious," Wieland said. "It was like we were 17."
The scene on game day, besides a few gray hairs and some bigger guts, looked like what 1963 was supposed to.
It had all the hoopla - and more - of an intense football game between two archrivals.
The teams played at El Paso's Jones Stadium - where the 1963 contest was supposed to be held - in front of 2,400 fans on a hot July day. Referees were hired and the scoreboard was set. Both teams had color-coordinated jerseys and hats.
Cheerleaders worked the sidelines in full 1963 uniform - pom-poms, sweater, skirts and homecoming mums. They rattled off cheers, jumped and kicked as if they had hopped into a time machine. School songs blared over speakers from the Miller Lite truck while some band members, who had rummaged old instruments, played along.
The Tigers ran out onto the field through a hand-drawn banner that read, "Pulverize the Panthers."
"It was just like we were playing for real," Sanchez said. "And we weren't playing for funsies."
In the first quarter alone, El Paso committed two personal fouls. Sanchez remembers watching players persist through injury and do things 38-year-old bodies weren't supposed to, as Eddie Fisher ran through a pulled hamstring muscle just to score a touchdown.
The Tigers led the majority of the game, but as so often happened in this rivalry, Austin rallied to tie the game at 28 late in the fourth.
El Paso answered. On fourth-and-12, Tiger quarterback Eddie Ortegon threw a strike to Fisher for a 36-28 victory that set off pandemonium.
The Tigers carried Meeks off the field, celebrating like teens.
"I've been a part of some national championships (college) and some World Series," said Sanchez, who later was a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
"But I'd have to put that game, that rivalry right up there."
After the game, El Paso held an awards ceremony.
It was emotional.
When Ortegon, a former fullback, came up to receive his award for Most Valuable Player, he limped to the podium with eyes welling up.
The lost game had been found. The void no longer there, Wieland's what-ifs answered.
Players, after 20 years, finally whistled closure on what should have been one of their most treasured teenage memories.
On November 22, 1963, El Paso High Class of ’64 was scheduled to play arch rival Austin High in one of the most anticipated high school football games of the season. But on that morning, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and all sporting events were cancelled. No make-up games were scheduled.
Twenty years later, El Paso grad Pat Wieland and Austin alum Stafford Werner came up with an idea to finally play “The Game.” After the idea was conceived, each reunion committee embraced it wholeheartedly and “The Game” took on a life of its own. It was such a serious endeavor for the Tiger football players that they practiced 5 nights a week, with their original coach Jackie Meeks, and they actually closed those practice sessions, due to suspected spies!
For EPHS Class of ’64 grads this would be much more than a game. The “Claw”, which was awarded each season to the victor of the EPHS vs. Austin game, had eluded the EPHS football team for seven long years. There was no question that EPHS would finally win back The Claw on game day. The victory would provide a fitting end to the high school football careers of all seniors. But the opportunity to win that “Claw” was denied, as was the opportunity to close the book on their high school football careers. Until…..
“The Game” took place at El Paso High’s Jones Stadium on a hot July day in 1984, complete with original coaches, original cheerleaders and more than 5000 fans. There was tremendous community & alumni support led in part by TV Channel 7’s General Manager Richard Pearson, an El Paso High alum and Outstanding Ex. Sportscaster Kevin Lovell was sent to take all the footage he could, much of which has now been preserved on DVD. On game day, there was even a mention of “The Game” on the network’s nationally televised morning show.
Excitement filled the air on Game Day. The setting was complete with fans cheering as the players ran through a paper barrier while the EPHS fight song blared loudly from a Miller beer truck parked on the sidelines. The Tigers prevailed by 36-28, scoring the winning touchdown with about a minute to play. The EPHS football team had won the coveted “Claw” and could finally fill the void left by the cancellation of their final football game.
EPHS Class of ’64 was able to complete the last chapter and close the book on their unforgettable high school years. A victory delayed is no less sweet. GO TIGERS!
EPHS Tile Project for 100 Year Anniversary Order Form...Link on Left Side
Picture of actual finished tiles
Hector "El Pipo" Barragan