Tag Archives: 1930s Bradley football

Demise of 1930s Bradley High School Football

This past weekend, I visited with Mr. and Mrs. Dick Bishop in their home.  I asked Mrs. Margie about the story I had heard of the accident that ended the Bradley High School football program of the 1930s.  She confirmed the story and was able to provide enough details that I was able to pinpoint the precise date of the accident.

She remembered that the “bus” carrying the football team was side-swiped on “old” Highway 29 coming back from a game.  The “bus” in those days was nothing that resembles today’s school bus.  It was basically a large truck, with the rear passenger compartment framed with lumber and the windows covered only in poultry wire.  George Baker was driving the bus, and apparently he was not at fault in the accident.  “Old” Highway 29 refers to the road that now runs by the Arkansas Division of Youth Services Wilderness Camp.  It was Highway 29 prior to the 1954 paving and straightening of that highway.

Mrs. Margie was able to give an approximate year for the accident by remembering what grade she was in when it occurred.  She also remembered that the two boys most seriously injured were Basil Henderson and Ernest Jewell Hamiter.

The diaries of Della Cochran contain the following entries:

Friday, October 13, 1933:  “…Our football boys played Stamps at night.    
S[tamps] 21, B[radley] 0.  Last game for year for Bradley.”

Saturday, October 14, 1933:  “At midnight called F[rank Cochran, Sr., who was in Shreveport that night] to tell about truck wrecking our school bus.  Basil H. and E. J. Hamiter hurt worst.  Others cut and bruised….”

And thus ended the Bradley High School football program of the 1930s.

Bradley High School Football, 1930s

Bradley indeed had a football team in the 1930s, but I don’t know the precise year that the football program of that era began, or the precise year that it ended.

Below is a photo of one of those Bradley football teams, probably in the early 1930s.  The tall young man in the back row, second from left, with his left hand on his hip is Ralph C. “Bruz” Hamner.  If any reader is able to identify any of the rest of these formidable gridiron gladiators, it would be much appreciated.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (5) A

Shown below is an announcement of a game against Lewisville.  A date and time for the game are given, but the year is unknown.  While this may appear to be a handbill which would be posted on a utility pole, or something similar, it is actually a small card about twice the size of today’s business cards.

Saturday, January 31, 2004 (73) A

It says:

“FOOTBALL

Bradley Hi

vs.

Lewisville Hi

Wednesday, Nov. 23

Bradley Athletic Field

Come out and see the Bears drub the Red Devils in the last big game of the season.  Watch those Bears pull those Red Devil tails.

Admission 10 and 25c.  Time 3 P. M.”

– – –

The diaries of Della Cochran make mention of four home games in 1931 and 1932. On September 25, 1931, Bradley defeated Waskom, Texas, 27–0.  On October 2, 1931, Bradley defeated St. John’s, 19–0.  Who “St. John’s” was is a mystery. From the two 1931 scores, it appears that team defense was quite good that year.

On October 28, 1932, Hope defeated Bradley, 12–6.   On November 4, 1932, Stamps defeated Bradley, 26–0, and the Stamps High School Band made an appearance.  From the two 1932 scores, it appears that offense was a problem for Bradley that year.

As for the eventual fate of the 1930s-era football program, I’ve heard tales of a bus or auto accident which injured some of the players on the way back home from an away game, causing the cancellation of the remainder of the season.  I don’t know what year that happened, but apparently the program was not resumed in the following year.