Sincere thanks to Michael Taylor for his second written contribution to our DHHS 50th Reunion Blog. His generously shared talent and the enthusiasm from others before and after our reunion has been testament to the continued success of our reunited classroom community.
Reflections on a football team after our 50th high school reunion
by Michael Taylor
The DHHS football team, 10-0-1 in the fall of 1968, relied on a double split end/ double-wing halfback formation with a fullback directly behind the quarterback. The QB, Randy Shively (or Don Neel), would set the offensive line with his first sound, start one of the wingbacks (often Don Neel) in motion on the second sound, and have the ball hiked by the center (usually Michael Sykes) on the third or fourth sound. He would pivot with the ball as he read the defense and choose to toss the ball to the motion back, hand off to the fullback (usually Don Dixon or Mark Hobbs) up the middle, run the ball himself, or pass to either split end (typically Riley Erwin or Lyn Dreger) or a halfback. The offensive line, anchored by guards Dave Burns and Skip Culver and tackle Ray Horner, created lanes for the running backs or gave the QB a few seconds to find a receiver. The inventive offense created by Head Coach Frank Goddard with input from Larry Cameron averaged 316 yards a game, which set records locally for a 48-minute high school football game. The defense, fortified in the middle by linebacker Don Dixon, only gave up an average of 8 points and 159 yards a game. Larry Whiteside and Mark Hobbs moved in and out at linebacker while Randy MacGinnis and Mike Taylor played defensive ends. The middle of the defensive line, manned by Dale (Hall) Kersey and Ray Horner, was spelled by John Womer and Andy Charles at nose tackle. Jimmy Macfarlane and Tim Condron played at end and defensive back, while Don Neel, Randy Shively, and Lyn Dreger rarely left the field because they were playing defensive backs. Dixon, Dreger, Shively, and Neel spent the most time during the season playing both offense and defense, but Don Dixon put the most minutes on the field over the eleven games. Of course, there were strong efforts from the juniors and the sophomores on the team. This simple reflection is calling to mind the members of the class of 1969.
Our coaches, Elmer Vogelsang, Elmer Aldridge, Larry Cameron, Gus Stergeos, and Paul Wallace, made us work hard at becoming a team from the August two-a-day or even three-a-day practices in the Florida sun and sandspurs. Our trainer, James McCracken, tried to keep us patched together after we were injured.
Those of us attending the fiftieth reunion missed not being able to reconnect with Larry Whiteside and Ray Horner, who did not attend. We did reflect on the teammates who have passed away: Randy McGinnis, Skip Culver, and Mark Hobbs.
After looking through online copies of the Evening Independent, I came away with a few details from moments during the season.
9/21/68 Seminole 7-7
Don Neel pass to Lyn Dreger for TD (Dreger kicked extra point)
9/28/68 Clearwater 27-20
Shively runs for 2 and passes for one/Dixon runs one
10/5/68 Bishop Barry 46-7 Everyone got to play.
10/12/68 Boca Ciega 32-0
Shively was 16 of 22 for 271 yards and 3TDs and ran for a TD. Dreger catches TD and intercepts pass to stop scoring drive.
10/20/69 Manatee 26-14
Hurricane delay, so the game is played on Saturday
11/1/68 Largo 13-7
Don Neel complete 9 of 14 passes to set up Don Dixon’s winning score in the 4th quarter after Randy leaves the game injured
11/8/68 Dunedin 47-7
Shively is 17 of 36 for 291 yards and 6 TDs and at this point in the season is 84 for 150 for 1326 yards and 10 TDs. Randy MacGinnis kicks an extra point.
11/15/68 St. Petersburg 21-12
Don Neel runs 7 times for 40 yards, catches 4 passes for 101 yards and scores 3 TDs. Dixon carries 11 times for 55 yards and makes 5 unassisted tackles.
11/23/68 Gibbs 21-6
Dixon makes 10 unassisted tackles and Shively runs for two scores.
11/27/68 Northeast 34-7
Mark Hobbs scores on a draw play. Randy throws for 234 yards and two TDs. The defense stops two strong running backs and plays a superior game to finish the season undefeated.
Randy Shively passed for 1,861 yards completing 113 of 206 passes for 14 touchdowns and scored 9 TDs running the ball.
Erwin caught 27 passes for 309 yards (1 TD and kicked 1 extra point)
Neel caught 32 passes for 607 yards, ran 72 times for 353 yards and a 4.9 yard per carry average. He passed 42 times, completing 24for 306 yards. He scored 8 TDs.
Dreger caught 38 passes for 473 yards to lead the conference. He scored 6 TDs and kicked 14 extra points.
Dixon scored 4 TDs.
MacGinnis kicked 3 extra points.
Taylor recorded a 2 point safety.
12/7/68 Bishop Moore (Orlando Bowl) 34-20
Riley Erwin scored twice. Mark Hobbs scored on a one-yard run. Don Neel scored on a flea-flicker from Erwin. Lyn Dreger scored on an 18-yard pass.