‘Granddaddy’ Rec Bowl has unmatched history

August 19, 2016 FieldsColumn

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BY MIKE FIELDS

The headline above tells you the result of the first Recreation Bowl played in Mount Sterling on Nov. 11, 1948. It was a Thursday night, and after Somerset, led by running backs Dickie Holmes and Dick Mitchell, thumped previously unbeaten Evarts 27-0 in front of 4,000 spectators, University of Kentucky football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant awarded Bill Clark’s Briar Jumpers the winners’ trophy.

(Somerset didn’t have much time to celebrate because on Friday it traveled to Bardstown and played St. Joe Prep. The Jumpers won, 35-0. Two games, two victories, in 24 hours.)

In 1948, the Recreation Bowl was the only bowl in Kentucky. It was started as a fundraiser for the Montgomery County swimming pool fund.

How times have changed.

About 100 Kentucky high school football teams will usher in the 2016 season by playing in bowl games across the state the next couple of weekends. Of course, all of these bowls are descendants of the “Granddaddy” Rec Bowl.

Through good times and bad times, the Rec Bowl has endured thanks to the hard work and pride of the people in Montgomery County. 

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association began sanctioning football playoffs in 1959, and a few years later the Rec Bowl was moved to the opening weekend of the season, and soon thereafter expanded into a double-header (and an occasional triple-header).

On Saturday night, the 69th Rec Bowl will have Frankfort going against Paris, and Collins taking on host Montgomery County.

The Rec Bowl no longer gets the marquee matchups it once did, but it still has more history than all of the other bowls combined.

Some of the highlights over the years:

Paul Hornung

Paul Hornung

— In 1952, future Notre Dame “Golden Boy” and Green Bay Packers’ star Paul Hornung quarterbacked No. 1 Flaget’s split-T attack to a 39-7 victory over Lafayette in front of 5,000 fans. Flaget running back Sherrill Sipes ran for 3 TDs and caught a TD pass, but Hornung won the “Star of Stars” award.

Ron Ziegler

Ron Ziegler

— In 1956, Dixie Heights crushed Corbin 26-7 in front of 6,000 fans. Dixie Heights was led by Ron Ziegler, who was described as a “165-pound package of dynamite” by the Lexington Herald after he rushed 21 times for 136 yards and a TD against the Redhounds. Ziegler, of course, went on to become President Richard Nixon’s press secretary. Calvin Bird scored Corbin’s only TD, pushing his single-season state scoring record to 264 points.

— In 1958, Madison-Model quarterback Jerry Woolum was named the Rec Bowl’s “Star of Stars” for the second year in a row even though his team lost to Ashland 34-13. Woolum had led Coach Roy Kidd’s team to a 19-6 win over Frankfort the year before.

— In 1971, UK Coach John Ray attended the Rec Bowl for the second year in a row to watch Madisonville running back Alfred “Sonny” Collins. In 1970, Collins rushed for 106 yards and a TD, but he also fumbled four times in a 28-14 loss to Highlands. He didn’t fumble in ’71, however, and rushed for 170 yards and three TDs in a 27-7 victory over Boyd County.

— In 1985, Meade County running back Elliott Ditto rushed for a Rec Bowl record 326 yards and three TDs in a 26-14 win over Franklin-Simpson. Ditto ripped off a 69-yard TD the first time he touched the ball.

— In 1994, Leslie County junior quarterback Tim Couch, a future No. 1 NFL draft pick,  completed 22 of 27 passes for 349 yards and six TDs to spark a 41-13 rout of Clark County.

The day after Tim Couch was on the cover of the Herald-Leader's 1994 high school football preview, he starred in the 47th Recreation Bowl.

The day after Tim Couch was on the cover of the Herald-Leader’s 1994 high school football preview, he starred in the 47th Recreation Bowl.

Recreation Bowl results

  • 2015 — Collins 7, Montgomery Co. 0; Paris 21, Frankfort 12
  • 2014 — Bourbon Co. 42, Montgomery Co. 17; Clark Co. 21, Rowan Co. 14
  • 2013 — Bourbon Co. 48, Montgomery Co. 12; Clark Co. 58, Rowan Co. 13
  • 2012 — Montgomery Co. 25, Rowan Co. 15; Nicholas Co. 32, Lewis Co. 16
  • 2011 — Montgomery Co. 31, Mason Co. 14
  • 2010 — Montgomery Co. 32, Harrison Co. 20
  • 2009 — Montgomery Co. 27, Harrison Co. 26
  • 2008 — Harrison Co. 48, Fleming Co. 35; Clark Co. 19, Montgomery Co. 0
  • 2007 — Harrison Co. 53, Fleming Co. 8; Montgomery Co., 35 Clark Co. 34
  • 2006 — Madison Central 70, West Jessamine 0; Lafayette 21, Mason Co. 6
  • 2005 — West Jessamine 14, Mason Co. 13; Madison Central 21, Lafayette 14
  • 2004 — Elizabethtown 35, Mason Co. 21; Boyd Co. 42, Montgomery Co. 0
  • 2003 — Estill Co. 62, Montgomery Co. 6; Mason Co. 48, Breathitt Co. 6
  • 2002 — Lawrence Co. 30, Prestonsburg 14; Breathitt Co. 67, Fleming Co. 0
  • 2001 — Boyle Co. 52, Clark Co. 7; Dunbar 45, Ballard 42
  • 2000 — Highlands 42, Trinity 29; Boyle Co. 69, Breathitt Co. 8
  • 1999 — Mad. Central 32, Scott Co. 28; Breathitt Co. 42, Montgomery Co. 15
  • 1998 — Lex. Catholic 34, Rockcastle Co. 3; Corbin 55, Montgomery Co. 6
  • 1997 — Harrodsburg 13, Bell Co. 12; Breathitt Co. 56, Estill Co. 8
  • 1996 — Oldham Co. 22, Franklin Co. 21; Breathitt Co. 21, Montgomery Co. 0
  • 1995 — Rockcastle Co. 39, Prestonsburg 7; Tilghman 27, Montgomery Co. 20
  • 1994 — Leslie Co. 41, Clark Co. 13; Shelby Co.31, Bell Co. 15
  • 1993 — Rockcastle Co. 43, Hazard 42; Lincoln Co. 42, Clark Co. 14
  • 1992 — Bell Co. 35, Dixie Heights 7; Anderson Co. 42, Montgomery Co. 6
  • 1991 — Corbin 7, Dixie Heights 6; Jessamine Co. 33, Montgomery Co.13
  • 1990 — Danville 29, Harrison Co. 6; Woodford Co. 35, Montgomery Co. 9
  • 1989 — Shelby Co. 40, Apollo 24; Woodford Co. 19, Madison Central 18
  • 1988 — Bell Co. 36, Meade Co. 12; Madison Central 35, Henderson Co. 8
  • 1987 — Montgomery Co. 28, Glasgow 0; Henderson Co. 25, Oldham Co. 10
  • 1986 — Montgomery County 9, Bourbon County 7; Clark Co. 7, Christian Co. 0
  • 1985 — Meade Co. 26, Franklin Simpson 14; Newport Catholic 6, Russell 3
  • 1984 — Danville 28, Harrison Co. 14; Oldham Co. 21, Russell 7
  • 1983 — Hopkinsville 21, Montgomery Co. 8; Woodford Co.21, Middlesboro 7; Madisonville 6, Bryan Station 0
  • 1982 — Paris 19, Pikeville 0; Franklin-Simpson 26, Russell 14; Highlands 23, Christian Co. 13
  • 1981 — Ashland 27, Leslie Co. 14; Highlands 7, Franklin Simpson 0
  • 1980 — Mayfield 18, Corbin 7; Belfry 12, Montgomery Co. 0
  • 1979 — Mayfield 33, Russell 20; Franklin Co. 36, Boyd Co. 18
  • 1978 — Greenup Co. 10, Montgomery Co. 7; Russell 28, Woodford Co. 7
  • 1977 — Montgomery Co. 36, Corbin 14; Danville 14, Highlands 10
  • 1976 — Newport 14, Montgomery Co.13; Bowling Green 26, Boone Co. 21
  • 1975 — Highlands 34, Russell 6; Scott Co. 9, Harrodsburg 0
  • 1974 — Boyd Co. 30, Dixie Heights 20; Beechwood 42, Mt. Sterling 28
  • 1973 — Madisonville 41, Harrison Co. 14; Harrodsburg 12, Ludlow 6
  • 1972 — Highlands 22, Lafayette 6; Pineville 20, Trigg Co.13
  • 1971 — Harrodsburg 14, Lynch 12; Madisonville 27, Boyd Co. 7
  • 1970 — Paris 34, Garrard Co. 6; Highlands 22, Madisonville 14
  • 1969 — Cov. Catholic 26, Danville 14; Tompkinsville 16, Mt. Sterling 6
  • 1968 — Lynch 14, Old Kentucky Home 0; Harrison Co. 7, Middlesboro 6
  • 1967 — Harrison Co. 40, Boone Co. 6; McKell 9, Anderson Co. 6
  • 1966 — Bardstown St. Joe 22, Henry Clay 14; Bourbon Co. 26, Russell 7
  • 1965 — Hopkinsville 28, Hazard 7; Clark Co. 46, Russell 7
  • 1964 — Henry Clay 46, Paris 19
  • 1963 — Owensboro 21, Shelbyville 6
  • 1962 — Mt. Sterling 7, Versailles 0
  • 1961 — Madison-Model 39, Elizabethtown 0
  • 1960 — Mt. Sterling 14, Georgetown 13
  • 1959 — Mt. Sterling 14, Georgetown 7
  • 1958 — Ashland 34, Madison-Model 13
  • 1957 — Madison-Model 19, Frankfort 6
  • 1956 — Dixie Heights 26, Corbin 7
  • 1955 — Corbin 27, Newport 7
  • 1954 — Lafayette 27, Prestonsburg 19
  • 1953 — Lafayette 21, Lynch 6
  • 1952 — Flaget 39, Lafayette 7
  • 1951 — Bellevue 39, Prestonsburg 19     
  • 1950 — Highlands 40, Prestonsburg 19
  • 1949 –- Dayton 38, Louisa 7        
  • 1948 -– Somerset 27, Evarts 0