Remembering The Season Of 1986

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I'm certain it was the fond memories of our former teammate that sent our minds back to 1986 almost as soon as we teed off in the Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament this weekend.

In our foursome were Mark Velasco, Mike Loutzenheiser, Greg Alexander and myself. Mark, Mike and Greg were members of the 1986 PHS state runner-up football team with Jack. I was a coach on that team.

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Mike Loutzenheiser was ready for play in the Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament.

The memorial tournament allowed us to fondly remember Jack and all that was accomplished by that underdog team few expected to win, let alone make it to the state finals.

As our foursome played, the banter between the three former Longhorns, even after 20 years, sounded much like the ribbing you might hear during a Saturday morning film session only hours after a game when memories are still fresh.

We were brandishing a season that was played 20 years ago.

The former Horns seemed to remember, in great detail, every fumble, pass interception, block and touchdown that occurred that year.

Of course, Mark never allows Mike to forget a sure touchdown pass he dropped in a mid-season game against Bourgade.

Mark, a guard and nose guard in 1986, fires nonstop barbs at Mike. Mike, a wide receiver and defensive back 20 years ago, returns them with equal sting and tenacity.

Greg sneaks in a scoff whenever he can.

Ty Chilson, a star running back in 1986, was this year playing in a foursome directly behind us. Whenever his team caught up to us, he managed to get his digs in as well.

Sometimes the talk strayed away from the football field to girlfriends, parties, pranks and fisticuffs.

At each tournament, I've learned a little more what went on that year off the field.

It's pretty interesting stuff.

Listening to the chiding that goes on during the tournament, I realize it's good that Mark, Mike, Greg and Ty are self-assured men with strong self-concepts.

Lesser men -- given the barbs --could find themselves in group therapy trying to get in touch with their inner child.

Then again, if any of the four ever do find their inner child they'll probably beat him up.

Over the first nine holes this year, most of the gridiron persiflage focused on our 1986 state semifinal 15-3 win over the Round Valley Elks and their 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound All-American Tim Landers.

The spirited dialogue revealed the four had greatly differing memories of what played a role in the monumental task of handling Landers.

This is a family newspaper and some of the exchanges probably shouldn't be in print, but the banter -- as callous as it might have sounded to an outsider listening in -- rekindled a season of fond memories in all of us.

Only one thing was missing, our teammate Jack Morris.

Thank you

Members of the Fans and Neighbors (FAN) club deserve a big pat on the back for their hard work in hosting the Third Annual Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament.

Tournament director Gary Cordell and other FAN club members work tirelessly year-round to ensure the tournament goes off without a hitch.

The tournament, which was played June 17 at Payson Golf Course, probably doesn't draw all the finest golfers in the Rim Country. In fact, some entrants are nongolfers playing only as a tribute to Jack Morris.

Jimbo Armstrong, a longtime friend of Jack's, said he plays golf only two times a year, the youth football benefit and the Morris Memorial.

One thing is certain about the tournament, you'll hear more ear-splitting shouts of "Fore" than you'll hear in most any other links shoot out.

But I'm not sure all entrants were educated in the etiquette of golf.

I heard one call of "three and a half" after a really bad tee shot.

In my writings about golf, a former editor cautioned me about using the word "duffers" because it conjured up a negative image of players' abilities.

In covering the Jack Morris Memorial, I could use the word "duffer" quite often and be very accurate.

Among the dolts playing was this writer -- one of those entered only out of respect for Jack.

Whatever our reasons for playing, it was a fun day and for a great cause.

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