The last Fort Worth ISD football state champions will be honored by the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association on Saturday in Houston. Eric Zarate ezarate@star-telegram.com
The last Fort Worth ISD football state champions will be honored by the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association on Saturday in Houston. Eric Zarate ezarate@star-telegram.com

High School Football

Fort Worth ISD’s last football state champs to be honored

By Eric Zarate

ezarate@star-telegram.com

July 20, 2017 08:28 PM

UPDATED July 21, 2017 11:25 PM

Thousands of high school coaches, dozens of their college peers and hundreds of vendors will descend on Houston beginning Sunday for the 85th annual Texas High School Coaches Association Convention.

Before that, members of the 1962 and ’63 Fort Worth Kirkpatrick championship football teams get to rekindle the past as inductees Saturday in the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

In the days of public-school segregation, the PVIL and UIL ran their own athletic organizations. The 1963 Wildcats, on Fort Worth’s north side, posted an 11-1-1 record and remain the last Fort Worth ISD school to win a football state title.

“I thank the PVIL for recognizing us,” said Lafayette Ross, 71, a member of both Kirkpatrick championship teams. “I think it was great that we did what we did with what we had.”

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Kirkpatrick players had limited resources. They wore old uniforms from Fort Worth Paschal, since purple and white were their colors, too.

“We played our best, we played hard,” said 72-year-old Morris Franklin, a shutdown defensive halfback on the 1962 team. “We really got into it.”

In addition to Morris and Franklin, 1962 teammate Bennie Wayne Allen will be inducted posthumously.

“I think it’s a good thing long overdue,” Ross said. “I was surprised and shocked.

“We were kind of like family, brothers. We were all very close. Most of us started there in the first grade and finished in that same school — grades one through 12.”

Kirkpatrick High closed in 1971. Today, it’s Kirkpatrick Middle School.

In addition to the Hall of Famers, Kirkpatrick teammates Shelley Franklin (’65), Ronald Franklin (’70), Cornell Sanders (’66), Bennie Sherman (’64) and Robert Simpson (’65) are expected to attend.

The teams’ head football coach, Gerald Beal, died in 2011.

“We had a great coach,” said Simpson, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam. “He’s somebody that I’m going to respect until the day that I die.”