As two black-and-white 8 x 10 photographs were passed among his coffee buddies, Joe Robinson was going back in time.
Quickly approaching his 83rd birthday, Robinson reminisced about the 1954 Broken Arrow High School football team.
Standing back row, was a dark-haired young man, on the eve of his first season as the Tiger head coach.
Robinson studied the picture but he didn’t need assistance in recalling those days from 56 years ago.
“Oh, my,” Robinson said, laughing, “those guys were a bunch of characters and I mean real characters.”
Those “characters” – five of them now in the BA Athletic Hall of Fame – will have a reunion, of sorts, May 8 at the annual Pioneer Dinner.
Robinson, however, will miss the event.
“We’ve all pretty much stay in touch over the years,” Robinson said. “I wish I could be there.”
There were events from that season Robinson recalls “as if it happened yesterday.”
He remembers the first touchdown that season on a 49 pitchout to Ted Eakes in a 12-6 win over Wagoner.
“Man,” Robinson said, “we had a following that night to Wagoner. There was a long line of cars going with us.”
“I won’t forget winning against Bixby and Red (then Bixby coach Red Rogers),” Robinson said of a 36-35 shootout. “Whoever had the ball last was gonna win.”
After five years as an assistant to H.K. Ragsdale, Robinson’s 1954 team made Broken Arrow history.
The Tigers were 10-0-1 – outscoring opponents, 272-119 – and have remained the last unbeaten football team in school history.
Only a 7-7 tie with Nowata in the seventh week kept it from a perfect season.
That was the year of no playoffs, perhaps the reason it was an unbeaten season.
“To this day, I don’t know why that happened,” Robinson said. “I heard a lot of different things. That lasted only that year.”
Former players interested in the Pioneer Dinner gathering, can contact Bill Lemon at 251-5468.