Written by SportsDayDFW.com
1980 2A title game was a whole lot of nothing but something to see
PILOT POINT - Five men cram onto two sofas in a room stocked with more football memorabilia than a hall of fame, and boy, does this feel like old times.
"I remember wall-to-wall people grabbin' ya," somebody says. "Wasn't there like 11,000 people?" says another. "There was a bunch," adds someone else.
This is post-Thanksgiving dinner at your grandfather's house. This is full stomachs and belly laughs and It's A Wonderful Life humming on the TV screen in the background of happy conversations. This is nostalgia.
The five men played for Pilot Point in the late 1970s and early '80s. The house belongs to their coach, G.A. Moore.
Thirty years ago on Dec. 19, their football team played a 0-0 tie against Tidehaven, a town between Houston and Corpus Christi, in front of 2,000 people in the Class 2A state championship.
It was 31 degrees, and a roaring wind forced the temperature down to 13. Before the game, the coaches agreed to a co-championship in case of a tie rather than base the winner on penetrations. There was no overtime. It was the fourth and last time a championship game ended with a scoreless tie.
You can find the article stored in a library or posted on a website. But that isn't the story. The story is here, pieced by hazy memories delivered back and forth at a crowded home in the middle of a green pasture, where a sixth man, quarterback Greg Pelzel, is walking through the front door.
"Greg," asks the running back Johnny Schindler, "did we wear long pantyhose that game?"
"I think we wore T-shirts," he says.
Pelzel sits down among the friends - Schindler, David Fuller, Jerry Price, Mike Alexander and Chuck Morgan. Moore called them on a Wednesday and here they are a day later. They are together again, like they always were.
A lifetime ago but hardly a half mile from here, they used to gather by the creek for Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings and barbecues.
On summer nights, they tossed around footballs in the town square. On those mornings, Moore left the weight room open, and they filed in to work toward an implicit goal: the state championship.
Pilot Point had never won a title when the 1980 season rolled around. But now the Bearcats had a close-knit group of hard workers and the respected Moore coaching them. They outscored their playoff opponents, 119-29, and made the state championship.
So on a Friday in December, they wheeled south for Temple and the state title game, passing a sign in an emptying Pilot Point that said "Last one out of town, turn out the lights."
"We had a private, charter deal," Moore says.
"But they didn't show up," Alexander interrupts.
And that was the least of the complications. Yellow school buses fixed the transportation problem, but nature proved a tougher opponent.
Earlier in the day, Temple temperatures reached into the 70s. By the 8 p.m. game time, they had dipped into the 30s, and a screaming north wind gusting at 40 mph tortured the boys as soon as they stepped off the bus.
"Most of us couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time," Alexander says.
Moore knew a cold front was coming and had brought portable heaters for his team on the sidelines. Tidehaven didn't. The referees wouldn't allow for any disparity. Pilot Point's bench would have to face north into the wind, without the use of the heaters.
Oh well. This was Pilot Point. Weather shmeather. Earlier that season, the team scored 41 points against Southlake Carroll in a monsoon. The game lasted only three quarters because an electrical wire short-circuited, causing a fire. Moore told them to forget about the cold and wanted them to start with a bang.
"Didn't we start out running trips?" asks Schindler.
"No, it was twins to the left," Moore says. "We tried to use speed, and we messed up the snap count. It didn't work. It was pretty cold. A lot of things didn't work."
Both teams recorded two penetrations, drives inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Only Pilot Point really came close to scoring.
It was the second quarter. Running back Jerome Johnson and Pelzel ran Pilot Point to the 2-yard line for a first-and-goal. This was perfect. Pelzel asked Johnson, the star running back headed to Texas, if he would jump in for the score.
"Huh-uh," Johnson told him. "It's too cold."
The three plays from the 2 failed, and Pilot Point tried a field goal. Moore says he accidentally told kicker Stanley Hamilton to aim in the wrong direction. The wind pushed it way wide.
When the game ended as a tie, snow starting to fall, Tidehaven got the gold medals and Pilot Point the silver. Moore just wanted get out of the cold and accepted them without noticing the color.
The silver medals are why these men can sit here 30 years later and laugh about the game nobody won. Those silver medals motivated them to earn gold in 1981, and they won the state championship by 32 points.
"At the championship game the next year," Schindler says, "Coach Moore told us there was no way y'all can win it."
More laughter. A few minutes later, the men are finished telling their story and must leave for work.
Memories become fuzzy and details of the past may diverge, but Moore sounds assured when he looks at his former players and speaks like this really has been a visit to grandfather's house.
"They were just a bunch of winners," he says, "that's all they were."
Other state championship games that ended as 0-0 ties:
1920 Houston Heights vs. Cleburne* 1929 Port Arthur vs. Breckenridge 1932 Corsicana vs. FW Masonic Home** 1974 Big Sandy vs. Celina
*First state championship game
**Corsicana won on penetrations