"Indiana Nick Names Part II"

By Dr. Ken
While the Indiana High School nicknames that were mentioned in the February 2007 HELMET NEWS, HELMET REFLECTIONS article were indicative of creativity, town pride, and most often a means of identifying with a specific and often unique aspect of that community, a number of readers insisted that before going further, that I pass on some others from states around the nation that are every bit as distinctive. As one reader said, "I like the entire idea of the Frankfort Hot Dogs but we have a few just as good here" and he was correct. He alerted me to a great high school nickname in Arkansas which was coincidental to the fact that I had finished reading a recently published book that hints at the football intrigue at the University Of Arkansas. In past HELMET REFLECTION columns I have made specific mention or alluded to some of my sources of inspiration as I slogged through the various phases of a very undistinguished football journey. The Football Writers National Championship Arkansas team of 1964 (sharing the honor with Alabama and Notre Dame) was one of those inspirations. I was extremely impressed with the light, swift, hard-hitting team so expertly coached by Frank Broyles, and I maintained the image of this group of roughnecks, players like linebacker Ronnie Caveness, return man and running back Ken Hatfield, Harry Jones, and Lloyd Phillips when I took the field. The Sports Illustrated cover of November 8, 1965 sealed the deal for me, showing the great Arkansas helmet with distinctive white mask, and "Hurrying" Harry Jones in full stride. The great 1969 "Game Of The Century" was one of my favorite contests and has remained so, reinforced by numerous viewings of the original game broadcast tape from the television studio I was fortunate enough to receive as a gift from an industry executive. Thus, the imbroglio with the Springdale, Arkansas players and their former coach that is the subject of the recently published "Year Of The Dog" by Kurt Voigt that traces the 2005 high school season and recruitment of their best players, all of whom have remained in the center of this media storm, and the recently announced retirement of Broyles from his AD position, is a subject of interest for me.
In the book, Springdale plays against the Prescott, Arkansas squad and the author seemingly wanted to highlight the Prescott team's unusual nickname as he mentioned it repeatedly, the very one noted by our HELMET HUT fan. The Prescott Curley Wolves bowed to the Springdale Bulldogs but definitely won the nickname contest!  Our Arkansas reader also noted that "Down in this part of the state, we also have Nashville, a lot smaller than Tennessee's, but the boys in the high school there are the Scrappers and the girls are the Scrapperettes. That's pretty unusual" and I agreed. He also pointed out that all college football fans should not forget that the great Bear Bryant played at Fordyce, Arkansas High School, "and you'll remember that they were the Redbugs, probably the best known Redbugs because of Bryant." I wanted to add that they were also the only Redbugs I could think of!
One of our Texas readers e mailed to say "You're high school team wasn't the only Golden Tornadoes and as a Texas high school football fan, you should've known that Galveston Ball are the Golden Tornadoes too." He was right, I was familiar with the Itasca Wampus Cats, Lewisville Fighting Farmers, the Roscoe Plowboys, and from a lot of reading about West Texas football and the late Joe Kerbel, a legendary Texas high school coach and mentor at West Texas State during the Mercury Morris/Duane Thomas/Rocky Thompson era, the Breckenridge Buckaroos but I missed the Ball namesakes to Lawrence High School in New York.           
Another reader gave me news I should have had earlier, reinforced my lack of computer skills, and provided me with a link to a website that will prove to be interesting to our HELMET HUT high school and college football fans.    http://www.halcyon.com/marcs/mascot.html   will take our readers to Marc Sheehan's Mascot Collection, a constantly updated listing of unusual and distinctive high school and college team nicknames. Mr. Sheehan has obviously done a marvelous job of compiling an extensive list of great school mascot names, many with an explanation of their origin. While I enjoyed reminiscing about the summer drives with my late father-in-law and the enjoyment we had watching the pre-season jamborees, I am reminded that the Syrupmakers, Purple Pounders, Winged Beavers, and the Bats that toil at Belfry High School also have supporters who contribute to the great tradition of high school football.