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- Published on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:54
Elk City radio broadcasters reminisce on 1998 ECHS state football championship
Daily Elk Citian
If you’re curious about Elk City’s 1998 state championship, looking for a place to start, you needn’t go any further than radio play-by-play man Shawn Wilson and color analyst Justin Ediger. The two, along with sideline reporter Mike Cowan, were the broadcasters during the magical season in which the Big Elks went 14-0, and shutout Clinton twice in the process.
The trio will roll out the laundry list of heroes who pushed ECHS to its first state title in school history: Jay McCLure (quarterback), Charlie Atteberry (offensive/defensive line), Brent Caswell (offensive line), Chris Whinery (defensive end), Wesley Crawford (tailback), Richard DeLaRosa (tailback), Alan Holder (linebacker), and Tyler Marsh (“Superman” in Wilson’s words), are just a few.
But before we get to heroes and their Gold Ball, the double blanking of the Red Tornadoes must be addressed. After all, it was historic in its own way — Wilson wondered if it’s ever happened in the history of Clinton’s program.
“I’m not sure there was a team that ever did that [to Clinton] twice in one year.”
The first shutout was a 19-0 victory in Tornado Alley, in a driving rainstorm, with “about six inches of standing water on the sidelines,” according to Wilson. Clinton laid its second goose egg against the Elks at the worst possible time — in the 4A state championship game at Lewis Field (now T. Boone Pickens Stadium) in Stillwater.
Aside from Ross Hines’ dropped pass on Elk City’s 28-yard line — without a Big Elk football player within 15 yards — Wilson said Clinton wasn’t even close to scoring in the title game, as the Elks posted a 20-0 win.
“[Clinton] didn’t even sniff the goal line in the state championship. That play was the only time they crossed the 50-yard line. In fact, Clinton fans started leaving at the middle of the third quarter. That’s how bad it was.”
CAST OF CHARACTERS
It should be noted all the aforementioned athletes, plus many role players, played a part in the state title. It takes more than just eight players to accomplish the feat that the 1998 Elks pulled off.
“One of the biggest things was there were so many talented kids on that team, and they were great kids,” Ediger said. “[Marsh] moved in his sophomore year and made an immediate impact, but it wasn’t all about him. We had a lot of talented kids.”
But there are always standouts on championship teams, and Elk City was no different. When it comes to ECHS football that season, no player’s name surfaces more than Marsh’s, who Ediger and Wilson both claim was the best high school football player either one has ever seen.
‘EVERYTHING YOU’RE SAYING IS ON THE AIR’
If for whatever reason they’re still sore about their offensive struggles against Elk City’s ‘98 squad, the Red Tornadoes shouldn’t feel alone. The Elks just allowed 4.9 points a game that season. The 24-15 win over Coweta in the state semifinals that year felt like a close game, simply because of the Elks’ dominance all season, which all started with the defense, Ediger said.
“Defensively they were so good. They were just dominant.”
After ECHS overcame its foes from Northeast Oklahoma, Clinton awaited the Elks at Lewis Field for a rematch from earlier in the season. For the occasion, Dr. Pepper underwrote the cost for KECO to buy AM air time in Stillwater. It was a way for Big Elk fans accustomed to bringing their headsets to the game to listen to the state championship broadcast as if they were at home in Elk City.
For the entire feature on the 1998 team from a radio perspective, including insight into "The Great Taco Debacle," pick up a copy of the Wednesday, August 8 edition of the Daily Elk Citian.