Go Wolverines

In response to my request for information about the history of the Carbon School Mascot, The Wolverine,  I received an email from Wanda Bryant in Carbon.  She had a copy of a letter from Grady Morton, who played on the first football team at Carbon High School in 1924, in which he explained how the name was chosen.  When I was in Carbon I went by and visited with Wanda and picked up the letter. Thank you very much, Wanda, for sharing this treasure with us.  It follows in its entirety:





I was in Carbon the other day for the Golden Exes gathering for 1988.  The Class of 1938 was the honored group of the day.  There I saw a billboard calling attention to the Carbon High School Wolverines.

It stirred memories:

The year was 1924 -- September.  A new school year was beginning.  There were thoughts of football throughout the land.

Little Carbon boys were playing their own version of the game in the sand bed along side the path to town, where most of us had our introduction to the sport.

Cisco Hi, "Big Dam Loboes," were getting ready for big time competition.  Cecil and Harrison Couch from Carbon and Ted Huestis from Dothan, were outstanding players on that team.  They would be playing the Waco "Tigers," the Oak Cliff "Panthers," and the Abilene "Eagles."

Gorman would field a team for their third year.

De Leon and Commanche had been experimenting.

Rising Star, Strawn, Moran, Pioneer, Cross Plains and Thurber were all ready to try the new game.

That was the year (1924) when the right combination of circumstances, meant football for Carbon.

That was the year Professor W. Reed (we called him Prof.), and Howard Boswell came to Carbon as teachers.  They had been together for two years at Tarleton Junior College.  Reed had been quarter back for the Tarleton team.  He was ready to be our coach.  Boswell was not a player but was ready to do his bit as trainer, assistant and business manager for the team.

That was the year our school had an outstanding roster of "sand bed" players, ready for bigger and better things.  Bill Jackson, Floyd Gilbert, Lois Hines, Tex Reese, Matt Graham, Grady Morton, Merritt Dunn, Gorance Owens, Lexton Martin, Sexton Martin, Weldon Tate, Gilbert Thurman, Dillard Elliott and Travis Reese.  Most of these had never seen a regular football game before they played in one.

Prof. Reed set about the task of molding us rag-tags into a coordinated, cooperative, competitive team.  The huddle had not been invented at that time, so the quarter back (Matt Graham) would line us up in the double-wing formation and start barking signals.  The numbers he called out indicated whether pass or run, who would carry the ball, and the direction of the play.  In those days a team had four plays to make a touchdown.  If not successful the other team got the same try.  There was no need for ten-yard markers, head linesman, or field judge; just a referee with a little knowledge of the game.

Howard Boswell along with Dr. Jackson, blitzed main street for money to buy uniforms.  Trading Co., Gorman Bros, Yarbrough Drug, Elliott Drug, Dingler Hdw, Foster Gro, Hall Gro, Trimble Barber, Camp Barber, Tate's Music, Rockwell Bros Ltd, Gilbert's Gin, First State Bank.  These and others contributed.  Twelve uniforms were ordered, padded pants, numbered jerseys, and plain shoulder pads.  Each player provided his own shoes -- any old brogans would do -- Boles shoe repair would remove heels and put six cleats in place for fifty cents.  I paid one dollar for a helmet with ear flaps.  Most wore baseball caps.

Merritt Dunn got the extra uniform  He became known as the "phanton substitute in tennis shoes."  He would roam the sidelines hoping for a chance to play.  We did not want him to play -- he was too fragile.  The starting team went all the way in all games, playing offense and defense.  No one got seriously hurt.

Someone gave us the loan of his cow pasture, over west of the cemetery for a playing field.  Wrather Gilbert provided lumber for goal posts.  We cleared brush and weeds form the area and wore out the grass-burrs and goat-heads by rolling around on them.

Finally, about the second week in October the big day arrived -- we would play Rising Star at 2:00 p.m.

Howard Boswell called for a pep rally at 12:30 p.m. in the auditorium.  All high school pupils were there to find out what a pep rally was all about.  The first order of business was to select an appropriate name for an up and coming grid-iron power.  Howard explained that an animal name was sort of traditional.  He suggested that we list several names on the black board then vote for one.

Some nut in the back  called out "Pole Cats."  Howard declared him out of order, then wrote in rapid order -- "Bears" - "Wolves" - "Armadillos" - and others.  Someone suggested "Wolverines."  Howard wanted to know if anyone knew what a "Wolverine" was.

Bill Jackson spoke up.  He had read all of Jack London's books about the North country.  London described the "Wolverine" as a small short legged animal with a frightening disposition.  He could hold his own with much larger animals.  So, it was no contest.  We would be the Carbon Hi "WOLVERINES." 

I was there.  It seems so short a time ago -- 1924-1988, 64 years.  I was full-back on that team.  I wore #1 jersey.  Beautiful memories.



We played six games that year.  We won over Rising Star, Cross Plains, Pioneer, Strawn, and Moran.  We lost the last game to Gorman.  They were old experienced hands at the game.

There was no football for Carbon the next year.  Most of us had moved on and Prof's Reed and Boswell were off for further educational pursuits.


Grady G. Morton

Bowie, Texas


From June Hicks, 3-15-10:

Would love to know this -- Bobby Tucker made all state but the honor was named for Billy Tucker who had failed English and had to be humiliated and pulled the chain part of that season.  People hated playing Carbon because the Tucker twins were mean.

Gatesville Reform School would come to Carbon to play ... the mothers of the team members ... my mother included -- would cook supper for the boys.  They loved to come to Carbon to play.