A1 A1
From Raiders to Greyhounds -- 50 years later

Editor’s Note: Area writer Valeri Crenshaw provided this historical interview with two former Red Raider football players.

It was August 1970. Republican Richard Nixon was president. The average home price was $23,600 and a gallon of gas cost 36 cents. Americans were listening to (They Long to Be) Close to You by the Carpenters and the Kansas City Chiefs were Super Bowl champions after beating the Vikings in the January Super Bowl. The Vietnam War raged on and opinions about the war divided households.

College campuses were not immune to making headlines in 1970, especially with the regularity of Vietnam War protests. In May, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University, killing four students and injuring nine. In the fall of 1970, Nixon ordered 1,000 FBI agents to college campuses for an armed presence in the wake of the protests.

August 1970 was also when two Wamego High School football lettermen and graduates, Warren White and Roy Crenshaw, loaded up Crenshaw’s old ‘38 Chevy with clothes, pots and pans and a handful of other amenities. They were headed to Fort Scott, Kan. to join their new teammates, attend their first year of college and to prepare for their first football season as Fort Scott Community College Greyhounds.

“The first thing I learned about football at Fort Scott was that I was a really average player! I knew almost immediately I needed to get serious about my academics really fast,” Crenshaw jokingly remembers. ”We had several players on our team that were good enough they eventually played in the NFL.”

During one of the early practices in August of 1970, Crenshaw said he had to line up to run 40-yard sprints against Mitch Sutton, an eventual NFL player. As Sutton, the 6’6”, 300 pound Georgia native, sprinted past him, Crenshaw quickly shifted his goal from the NFL to academics and being the best linebacker in the history of Shamrock Farms. “That was much easier to achieve since I only had four sisters!” Ultimately, Crenshaw admitted, he took those early lessons to heart and turned his time in school into several college degrees.

Becoming Friends and Teammates

White and Crenshaw became fast friends on the football field after White, the new kid, moved to Wamego his sophomore year and joined the football team. Although the way they first met might seem unorthodox or even jarring, they became teammates and remained friends through high school, college and even into adulthood.

“My family moved to Wamego from Onaga for the beginning of my sophomore year. I was really disheartened as Onaga had a really good football team and was undefeated for the next couple of years,” White remembers. “Regardless, I felt welcomed by my classmates.”

“I’ll never forget my first practice or two,” White reminisced and told a story that Crenshaw had never heard before. “I sprinted out on a play and literally got knocked on my ass. I came back to the huddle asking ‘what’s wrong with that guy? He just hammered me.’ An upperclassman told me not to take it personally, that the guy who hammered me was really playing angry. After that practice the upperclassman, DeWayne Burgess, told me that the player had a sister killed a few days earlier. That was my introduction to Roy Crenshaw.”

White was referencing Crenshaw’s older sister Julia Crenshaw who had been killed in a car accident shortly before the start of classes in the fall of 1967 and only a few months after she had graduated from Wamego High School.

Becoming National Champions

For Crenshaw and White, 1970 was an eventful transition that took them from rural high school sports to a Junior College Football National Championship game. Their eyes were opened to the rigors of playing for a National Championship team, they discovered that sometimes politics and unrest can bleed into college sports, and they knew they would never forget that even young college athletes are not immune to the hard reality of life and death.

Questions and Answers

What follows is a brief question and answer session about their time at Wamego High School and Fort Scott Community College.

What do you remember fondly about playing football at Wamego High School?

Crenshaw: As a freshman I made the varsity traveling squad. I was 14 years old and from a small country school. Someone on the team told me I was on the list of the travel varsity squad. I had no idea. I asked Freshman Coach Dennis Adams about it. He said “is your name on the list? Then get on the bus.” I didn’t even have a jersey with a number, so I had to borrow one. If I remember correctly, Duane Jones loaned me his jersey. I’m laughing now, but I wanted a bit more information from Coach Adams, however we all knew Coach Adams did not waste words.

I had been practicing against the varsity some, but I was still in awe. The coaches lined me up against upper classmen a few times, in particular Darryl Blume. Most times he knocked me into backwards flips!

White: My best football memory was our senior year. We went to Salina and played the top ranked team and undefeated Sacred Heart. We beat them soundly and our record that year was average, so it was a really big win. Sacred Heart went on to win the State Championship. This game was a very positive end to my high school career.

What is your biggest disappointment or regret about your time playing at WHS?

Crenshaw: My biggest disappointment at WHS also happened as a freshman. I played enough varsity to get within three quarters of earning a varsity letter. I had a season ending injury and I was told if I lettered my sophomore year, I would be granted a varsity letter for my freshman year. As a young person, this was a big deal. Anyway, the provisional letter was never converted. Lost in paperwork I guess. Not life altering but it was a big disappointment 50 some years ago.

White: One of my discouraging memories at WHS also happened my senior year. I had been offered and accepted a football scholarship to Fort Scott Community College. I visited with a WHS staff member about the transition to college. He tried to discourage me saying “you aren’t college material.” I responded “but I have a scholarship.” He just shrugged and I left a little discouraged and hurt. Four years later, I earned a college degree and my degree took on special meaning because of that meeting.

What was your biggest highlight while you were at Fort Scott Community College?

Crenshaw: I played in two National Championship games, earned a National Championship ring and was named First Team All Jayhawk Conference Linebacker my second year. We only had one loss in those two years. It was worth it, but we practiced five days a week, had a game on Saturdays and then we were back in meetings on Sundays. It was a real grind.

White: My best memory from Fort Scott is being part of a National Championship team and playing in two National Championship games. I also appreciated meeting and interacting with a diverse student body and football team. This interaction with student and teammate diversity from all areas of the United States prepped me for careers and society clear through to retirement.

What would you say is your biggest disappointment about playing college football?

Crenshaw: During training camp a member of our team, Hosie Moss cramped during practice. It was a sweltering August day with brutal humidity and like our practices at Wamego, Fort Scott coaches really controlled water breaks and water intake. We have all learned more about hydration and athletes’ bodies, but they didn’t know back then. Hosie laid down because of the cramps and we all continued to practice. He later died right there on the field. It was tragic then and still a dark memory that overshadows. I can mentally still see him at the exact location on the field. Every August on sweltering, miserable days I think of that tragic accident and the terrible waste.

White: I agree with Roy about the death of Hosie Moss on the practice field. Very sobering at the time and sill a dark memory. We were running sprints. When we turned and came back, Hosie had cramped severely and was laying prone on the field. I am still processing what could have been because he was an incredible athlete. It was a long time ago, but it is still a vivid memory.

These days it seems like college athletes have to deal with so many social and political pressures outside of the sport. How did the social climate of 1970-71 influence your time at Fort Scott?

Crenshaw: I remember early in 1971 I enrolled in a military training class at Fort Scott, taught through Pittsburg State. I had a very low number in the military lottery draft which strongly indicated when not enrolled you would get drafted. Based on his past army experience, my future father-in-law, Jim Bearman, encouraged me to have some training to assist in better duty activities once drafted. Also, I was aware the GI Bill was what some students and team members were utilizing to pay for college.

After weeks of contemplation, I went to the Bourbon County selective service office to just to end the speculation of my future status. The woman in the office gently encouraged me to stay in school and postpone my decision. Months later, the US reduced its troop quota for Vietnam. I have always deeply appreciated her unselfish mentoring. My daughter laughingly reminds me that maybe she was just an avid football fan and wanted Fort Scott football at a full roster.

White: I was aware of the national civil unrest our senior year and our transition into college. A friend of my older brother was in the National Guard at Kent State in 1970. He dwelled on that remorsefully for years. I remember there were numerous discussions during high school classes about Vietnam and civil rights.

I turned 18 prior to our senior year at WHS. Technically I was drafted but was deferred. By the time I was through college, the draft numbers were reduced so I did not serve.

Epilogue

Both Crenshaw and Warren became members of the Junior College Hall of Fame along with their teammates for the many victories they accumulated and the National Championship title.

Fort Scott had planned a 50th reunion for the teammates that played with Crenshaw and White, but as with most everything in 2020, the pandemic disrupted the junior college’s football season and any such events.


Kindergarten Round-Up

Central Elementary

Central Elementary School’s 2021-2022 Kindergarten Round-Up will not have a gathering this year.

Children must be five on or before Aug. 31 to attend kindergarten.

Pre-registration can be done online by filling out the Google form on the USD320 Website, Enrollment Tab.

The form will give important contact information, so the school can send more information about getting ready for Kindergarten.

Call the office at 785-456-7271 with questions.

St. George Elementary

St. George Elementary School’s 2021-2022 Kindergarten Round-Up will be from 8:30 a.m. — 3:20 p.m. Thursday, April 15 and Friday, April 16.

You will need to have a record of your child’s immunizations, an official state birth certificate, issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics, and a Social Security Card.

Please call Arleen at 785-494-2482 between 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to schedule a 30 minute block of time for your child’s screening.

Westmoreland Elementary

Westmoreland Elementary is now registering students for Kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year.

If your child will turn five on or before Aug. 31, please call 785-457-3462 to register.

You will need a copy of your child’s official birth certificate, immunization records and a current health assessment/physical.

Onaga Grade School

Onaga Grade School’s 2021-2022 Preschool Screenings and Kindergarten Roundup will be held Thursday, April 1.

To register for Kindergarten, your child must be five years old on or before Aug. 31.

To register for preschool, your child must be three years old on or before Aug. 31.

Screening in the areas of vision, hearing, language and academic skills will be completed.

You must provide a copy of your child’s state birth certificate, social security number, current health assessment or physical exam, and immunization records in compliance with State Law.

Call Karen Utley at 785-889-7101 to sign your child up for the Roundup and Screenings before March 30.

Alma Elementary School

Alma Elementary will not hold in-person round-ups for the 2021-2022 school year due to COVID-19.

If you have a child that will be five on or before Aug. 31, call the office and provide your child’s full name, birthday, and address by Friday, March 5.

The phone number is 785-765-3349.

Packets of information will be mailed to parents later in March.

Maple Hill Elementary School

Maple Hill Elementary School will not hold in-person round-ups for the 2021-2022 school year due to COVID-19.

If you have a child that will be five on or before Aug. 31, call the office and provide your child’s full name, birthday, and address by Friday, March 5.

The phone number is 785-256-4223.

Packets of information will be mailed to parents later in March.

St. John Lutheran School

St. John Lutheran School will have round-ups on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m.

Anyone interested and have questions, please contact us at schoolofficestjohnalma@gmail.com or 785-765-3914.


Back in 1966, Wamego High School freshman Roy Crenshaw was surprised to find out he would be playing varsity football. Sadly, a season ending injury meant he was three quarters short of completing the requirements needed for a football letter. But no worries, he was told. We will issue you a provisional letter and if you letter in your sophomore year, you’ll get a freshman year letter. As Crenshaw relayed in an article in The January 14th Times, one of the biggest regrets he had from high school football was never receiving that letter. More than 50 years later, WHS Head Football Coach Weston Moody stepped in to right that wrong, and on January 20th, presented Crenshaw (left) with the football letter earned in his freshman year.


Back