Mighty Eagles ‘58 football team ready for enshrinement into Athletics Hall of Fame

Mighty Eagles ‘58 football team ready for enshrinement into Athletics Hall of Fame
Posted on 03/08/2019
Mighty Eagles ‘58 football team ready for enshrinement into Athletics Hall of Fame

By Reesha Brown
PISD Communications and Alumni

The story of Pasadena High School’s 1958 football team remains one of the most celebrated in PISD Athletics Hall of Fame history.

With some of the finest coaches at helm, head coach Bob Barfield, and assistants Sam Sailer, Jack Fink and John Maguire at the helm, the team would be remembered as the first -- the ONLY Pasadena ISD football squad to compete for state championship glory.

Sixty years after that memorable game, the team will reunite on April 13 to be inducted into the district’s 2019 Athletics Hall of Fame.

“It was a great season,” said John Bryan, No. 82. “No Pasadena team before or since has ever gone that far.”

The road to state wasn’t always easy, but the obstacles would give way to an impressive football season.

The team stumbled with a 21-8 upset in the first season non-district opener in Odessa, Sept. 12, 1958. With the bitter taste of defeat, Pasadena managed to win the next two non-district games against Houston Lamar and Texarkana High Schools en route to a 12-game winning streak.

District Games

In the pre-season district predictions, the Eagles were ranked by experts as fourth behind Galena Park, Baytown and Spring Branch, but over time, they proved their critics wrong.

A decisive victory against Galveston Ball preceded the big showdown against their rival, the Baytown Ganders.

The team clearly brought their A-game that day, defeating Baytown 28-0. One of the team captains, Lawrence Broussard put the first few points on the board with a 46-yard sprint. Minutes later, Randall Kerbow passed to Goehring for a 24-yard touchdown, and then completed a two-point conversion with a pass to Robbie Robinett before halftime. During the second half, Bobby Crenshaw scored a touchdown when he blocked and recovered the ball in the Baytown end zone. For the final touchdown of the evening, Randall Kerbow found Carl Choate in the end zone for a touchdown. 

Not only did they gain more confidence after the Baytown victory, but they earned the respect of sports experts across the state and turned the eyes of Texas upon PHS.

“Baytown beat us two years before. Then, we beat them 28 to nothing,” said Charlie Goehring, a former starter for PHS and Hall of Fame Committee member. “That was one of the highlights for me and the rest of the team because for some reason we always had a hard time beating Baytown.”

With their confidence high and determination set to full-throttle, the Mighty Eagles continued to surprise experts and topple the competition, this time in the district showdown, beating Galena Park, the defending 1957 district champs, in a hard-fought game, 10-6. The Galena Park victory was followed by wins against South Houston (36-10), Spring Branch (28-14), Texas City (40-6) and a 27-6 victory over Brazosport.

During the final game against Brazosport, David Webb’s 58-yard end sweep, Archie Peterson’s 63-yard interception return for a touchdown and a final touchdown by Herman Shelby, led to a 27-6 PHS clobbering of Brazosport.

With a 9-1 overall and 7-0 district record, the Eagles were the District Champions AND punched their ticket to the playoffs and looked unstoppable on the road to state.

Bi-District Championship Game

As the playoffs began, Pasadena took on Port Arthur in the bi-district game, Nov. 28.

The game was a defensive struggle until the third quarter when the Eagles finally scored, with Broussard, Gerald Batchelor and Choate gaining crucial yardage. Pasadena’s defense then took over and held on for a 6-0 victory.

The Quarter-Final Championship Game

The Eagles hosted Houston Reagan in the quarter-final championship game in front of a sell-out crowd of 14,000 fans.

With Webb, an all-state standout, and Broussard doing some heavy damage on the gridiron, backed by a solid offensive and defensive team, Reagan didn’t stand a chance. The Eagles would claim a 24-14 quarter-final championship victory.

The Semi-Final

In the semi-final game, Dec. 13, the Eagles faced perennial power Corpus Christi Miller at Rice Stadium, the largest stadium in the area at the time.

After a scoreless first half, Miller scored a touchdown that would put the first six points on the scoreboard. The Battlin’ Bucs fumbled the ball and Choate secured it for Pasadena. After two running plays, Kerbow found Choate for a 42-yard touchdown pass and the extra point gave the Eagles a one-point lead.

With the lead in hand, the Eagles defense secured the 7-6 victory and a state championship berth. 

The State Championship

Pasadena was the underdog in the match-up against Wichita Falls in the 4A State Championship game in Austin, Dec. 20.

“We were ranked 5th in the state. That was actually before the playoffs started. After the playoffs started, they had us ranked a little higher,” said Goehring. “In fact, Wichita Falls was right ahead of us.”

Kerbow scored Pasadena’s first and only touchdown in the first quarter. With their heads held high, never conceding defeat, the PHS Eagles fell to Wichita Falls, 48-6.

Yet the crowd still cheered.

“We went up there thinking we were going to be the state champions. We had no idea that they were going to be that good or we were not going to play as well as we could have,” Goehring said.

“I’ll never forget that day,” Bryan said. “They ran the single wing in those days and they were really very well coached. They just out-manned us. We were proud to get there, but we weren’t happy with the way it turned, but they were the better team.”

The players said getting to the state championship would have been impossible without the support of their coaches.

“It was the change in the offensive strategy that Coach Barfield brought with him. Just the ability to run a little bit and throw the ball for sure helped [our team],” said Kerbow.

Coach Barfield (deceased), hailed as one of the best in the state, came to Pasadena from Baylor University.

“Senior year, we had a coaching change and with that change being Coach Bob Barfield,” Kerbow said. “He brought in a new type offense that we called a pro-type offense that they had gone through and done well with at Baylor.”

Barfield was not only their leader, but also regarded family.

“They were role models and that’s what I think inspired me to be a coach,” Bryan said.

The team’s success on the field mirrored their successes after high school. Nearly half the team played college football after graduating from Pasadena High School, with a few players playing professionally, like Kerbow, who played for Rice University and then a two-year stint with the Oilers.

Twelve wins, one district, bi-district, state quarter-final and state semi-final championship – the wins, the history and the camaraderie outweighed the defeat.

“I feel like all of the players on our ‘58 team are being recognized individually for being a part of a great team,” said Goehring. “I’m really proud and so is my family.”

“I just wanted to thank the Hall of Fame for recognizing us this year,” Goehring said.

On April 13, the 1958 Pasadena High School Football team will again make history as they are forever enshrined in the PISD Athletics Hall of Fame.

Athletics Hall of Fame Pasadena High 1958 Team Induction
Pictured: Gerald Batchelor, Don Boozer, *Lawrence Broussard, Danny Brown, John Bryan, Scott Bryant, James Buchanek, Spencer Chandler, *Carl Choate, Tom Coleman, Richard Couey, * Bobby Crenshaw, David Crocker, Ralph Davis, Jerry Funderburg, Charlie Goehring, Fred Hadley, Billy Hale, Jerry Hanna, Pat Hargis, Mackle Herring, Jerry Jarman, Ronnie Jones, Charles Kendrick, Randall Kerbow,  David Lemons, 
Willard Matthews, Donnie McAvoy, Bobby Mills, Doug Mills, David Odem, Norman Payne, Harold Perry, Archie Peterson, Jan Phillips, Jerry Rawlinson, Mike Reekie, Robbie Robinett, Carl Roehm, Herman Shelby, Doug Steffanauer, Charles Stricklen, Buddy Wall, Earl Walling, David Webb, Tommy Wilhoite, Joe Woodland, David Wright, Ernest Vaughn, Student Mgrs. & Trainers: Jimmy Brackeen, Reggie Ethridge, Chris Galbreath, James McDaniel, Charles Sims. *Indicates Captains