Members of the 1962 and '63 Kirkpatrick state-champion football team join the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Eric Zarate ezarate@star-telegram.com
Members of the 1962 and '63 Kirkpatrick state-champion football team join the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Eric Zarate ezarate@star-telegram.com

High School Football

Kirkpatrick football Hall of Famers excelled despite segregation

By Eric Zarate

ezarate@star-telegram.com

July 22, 2017 8:03 PM

HOUSTON

High school footballers play for Friday nights, some for college and beyond. Few dream of immortality.

Members of the 1962 and ’63 Fort Worth Kirkpatrick football achieved legacy status Saturday as 2017 inductees to 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.

Kirkpatrick players Morris William Franklin, Lafayette Ross and Bennie Wayne Allen (posthumously) were inducted at the Hilton Americas hotel during the PVIL’s 38th annual banquet.

“We had no reason, no business to think anything like this would be possible,” Franklin said. “I think it would be important for kids today to recognize this, and take pride — like we did.”

The Wildcats’ two-year title run marks the last time a Fort Worth ISD school won a football state championship. Kirkpatrick players wore old uniforms from Fort Worth Paschal, since purple and white were their colors, too.

“Young people today do not realize the struggle that these black athletes had to go through in the ’50s and the ’60s,” said Verna Allen, who accepted the honor on behalf of her brother, an All-City defensive end and offensive tackle who died in 2005.

“These young people need to know that it hasn’t always been easy to go to McDonald’s, and to play football where you want to play, and in nice clean new jerseys,” she added.

Franklin, Ross and Bennie Wayne Allen are the latest Kirkpatrick inductees to the PVIL hall. Charlie Copeland, Corrie Harris, C. Donald Babers and Ronald Lofton (posthumously) went in last year, and Bennie Sherman, Robert Simpson Jr., and Robert Sanders were 2015 inductees.

“The PVIL is great in recognizing all the struggles that these athletes have gone through and achieved in spite of the negatives,” Verna Allen said.

The 85th annual Texas High School Coaches Association Convention being Sunday in Houston and runs through Wednesday.

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