I had been replying with Single Wing this morning about the most successful program in the MAIS. He had stated that he felt Centreville and Prep in football were the most successful programs. These two programs have met twice. My last year at Centreville we defeated Prep in a tightly fought contest. These are two solid choices.
I do have some experience with the Centreville program. Coach Hurst and his assistants do an excellent job; but the players are the major difference. I mean there are teams with great athletes, but there is not many teams with the toughness of the players from Centreville.
Coach Hurst told me a story once that in an interview, Paul Ott Carruth when he was at Alabama, was asked if the hits he had taken from the opponent were the hardest he had taken. Carruth replied no that when he was in high school Centreville Academy had hit him harder.
I don't know how practices are now. I was amazed at when I first started; we did not have two a days. Our preseason practices usually lasted from about 5:00 to 8:00. Players could drink as much water as the wanted when they wanted water. Hurst felt that if a player threw up from drinking too much water they would not do it again. They had to push a seven man sled for a minimum of 30 minutes and run 50 sprints at ever Monday - Wednesday practice.
The program is rich in tradition. A player has to run on to the field through the goal posts. They sing a song after each away game; as they enter campus. It depends on the result of the game on how boisterous the song is sung. Pregame meals were always eaten after the pep rally. Pregame meals consists of chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, and green beans if the game is at home. The meal is roast beef, mashed potatoes, and green beans if it is an away game. You always had some kind of desert. Blue Bell was the desert of choice. We could not have banana pudding it gave coach heart burn. The coach's pregame meal from the jamboree was unique. The coach with the shortest tenure would buy a gallon of Blue Bell and we would make Coke floats for our meal in the school cafeteria. He always rigged it where the coach with the shortest tenure would get the pie in the face at the homecoming pep rally. Thank God coach Brabham was hired after my second year.
I really did not understand that it was more the players being tough; until coach Hurst took two years off. Coach Darryl Brock took over the program. Brock wanted to go to two a days. When we asked him what should we do about sprints, He suggested let's see how they react. At the morning practice the players ran 50 sprints. During the afternoon the players ran 50 sprints. They just hopped up to the line and started running sprints. When the week was done the players had run 500 sprints.
There was a tailback named Clay Brown. He had worked his tail off for four years. One game Brock kept calling his number. At the end of the game he was telling Brown to give him a little better effort. When the game was over a reporter asked what he thought of the game Brown had played. Brock felt the Brown had not run hard at the end of the game. The reporter informed Brock of something he had not realized. Brown had run the ball 45 times in the game.
No post about Centreville Academy football can be complete without mentioning Dr. Dick Field. he was the team doctor who went above and beyond his duty to care for the Centereville athletes. One time the flu was going around before south state. He wanted to have the girls take Tamiflu, on the house so they could be at there best. We were playing a big game. The winner was going to go to the playoffs. The opponent had a player get hurt. Dr. Dick went to check on the player. When he came back to our sideline; we asked if the player was returning to the game. Dick stated that if he was one of ours he would return, but that he was not. The player never returned to the game.
The sled that Centreville is known for used leaf springs from vehicles when I first got there. My last year with the Tigers we received a catalog that showed a sled similar to ours. It sold replacement springs. The company was from Beaver Falls, MI. We called to ask them about the springs they said that there was only one sled older than ours and that was the one they donated to Penn State.
My time associated with Centreville were some of the best times of my life. Coach Hurst was a great boss, it is different to see him adjust to the times. He knows there are things he cannot do now that he did then. Ask anyone though and they will tell you that they believe Centreville will be a tough team to play.