Sunday, December 13, 2015

V 5 N. 122 The 1948 Olympic Silver Medalist in 110 HH and the 1949 Little Rose Bowl. What's the Connection?

A few days ago, our friend Pete Brown sent me this query.  Even though this is a track and field blog, we reserve the right to drift  occasionally  from the cinders and forest paths and write  about the lesser sport of   'college football' when there is a track connection.

Backstory: Clyde “Smackover” Scott from Smackover, AR
Note: he won a SILVER medal in the 1948 OG in the 110 meter hurdles. Track was a mere afterthought to Clyde Scott who was a famous football player. He had a younger brother who was tiny and attended Little Rock JC.

This leads us to the infamous JUNIOR ROSE BOWL game which started in 1946 and eventually morphed into the Pasadena Bowl. It pitted the strongest JC from California vs. the strongest JC team from the rest of the nation. I attended at least five of those games in the first half of the decade of the 1950’s. One of the highlights I saw on TV in 1949 (as I recall) when Little Rock JC beat Santa Ana JC 25-19. I was age ten at the time. If memory serves me right, a kid from Little Rock JC fielded a punt in the fourth quarter on about his own 40 yard line and ran backwards from sideline to sideline all the way back to about his 5 yard line. His team finally set up a wall and he ran forwards something like 95 yards for a TD which won the game for his team. The big news stories were his weight (130lbs +-) and his brother being a silver medal winner in the hurdles in the London OG the year before.

Any info anyone can provide on this incident would be highly appreciated. The hurdler brother was the famous Clyde “Smackover” Scott of Arkansas. I cannot remember the first name of the Scott fellow who fielded the punt and ran for the long TD. It was a big deal in the Pasadena Star News, I remember that. The sports editor was Rube Samuelson in those days.

PS---A few years later Kilgore JC showed up with a chorus line of “Rangerettes”  who were a Texas version of the Rockettes---that was another highlight; I was agog.

Clyde 'Smackover' Scott' (14.0), William Porter (13.9), Craig Dixon (14.1)
London 1948

This is probably Smackover on the left.   Isn't there an equivalent in Oklahoma, called Slapout?   Want me to put this piece on the blog?  It's a good read.  And somebody might remember the brother's name.

Might be some old Pasadena Star News online with the story.    When did the Junior Rose Bowl die?
I think Lawton JC in Oklahoma may have played in that about 1961 with Joe Don Looney who then transferred to Oklahoma.  Bud Wilkinson's first JC transfer after which he said , 'never again'.   Joe Don was a 230 pound full back who led the nation in punting.  He ran a hand timed 9.7 100 yards and could squat 600 pounds.  One of the earlier football players who was into weight training.  You'll remember Billy Cannon at LSU was also one of the early lifters who was a football All American and a decent sprinter and 56 foot shot putter.  Joe Don didn't have a lot of respect for authority and was eventually kicked off the Oklahoma football team.  He ran track with us in 1963 and drew a big crowd when he and Gayle Sayers were paired off in a 60 yards in the OU  Kansas indoor dual meet.  Sayers clean house.   After that race early in the meet the crowd all left as the meet went on for another hour or so.

One of the reasons the picture above is possible is the picture just below.  It shows Harrison Dillard pulling up on a hurdle in the Olympic Trials and not qualifying.   Dillard was a 'sure thing' to make it in the hurdles.  Nevertheless he qualified in the 100 meters and went on to win the gold medal in that event in London.

From Life in Sports 1985 edited by Richard Whittingham
Wallace Kirkland photographer


Four years later in 1952 Olympic Trials, Craig Dixon would hit the deck and Dillard would win the trials and go
on to a gold medal at Helsinki to add to his 100 meters gold.  Photo provided by Pete Brown.

If you look at this video at the 18:10 mark, you will see the punt and the runback by Benny Scott.  Also, this article mentions it—about half way down:
I didn’t realize there was a Little Rock JC. Eventually it became Little Rock University. Jon Epperson and I went to a basketball game there once. And, I took a college course there while I was in the AF there. Now, it is University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Dennis Kavanaugh

Smackover Scott at Arkansas

Smackover played two years at the Naval Academy in 1944 and 45, but transferred on to Arkansas after he escorted the reigning Miss Arkansas around the Academy during a publicity visit.  He ended up marrying her and transferring to Arkansas for another three years of eligibility.   That was quite common during and after the war as the eliigibility rules were relaxed, and some guys were able to  parlay up to six seasons of playing time.  You can see in this youtube clip that he had some great wheels.

Clyde Smackover Scott

Thanks to Dennis and George. Given I was 11 years old in 1949 and I’m 76 now my memory wasn’t too bad. Little Benny Scott was about 5’6” and weighed about 135 soaking wet. They said he covered 135 yards all told in his famous runback of a Santa Ana JC punt. He did not go back as far as his 5 yard line however---caught it on the 40 and circled back to the 15 before he turned upfield. Everybody was talking about it for days. I had to go the neighbor’s house to see it as we did not have a TV until three years later.

The final game in the series was in the mid-1970’s. It lasted on and off for about 25 years.

Benny’s brother Clyde Scott got the silver medal in the London OG high hurdles timed in 14.1. William Porter of the US got the gold in 13.9.

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