Article taken from THE DECATUR DAILY
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28,1986
"Book on Tiger Football Keeps Memories Alive"
by David Elwell.
Ed Summers' book on Hartselle football won't make the New York Times Best Seller list, but that doesn't matter. The 56-page publication is a hit in Tiger Country. That's to be expected of anything to do with Hartselle football. They live, eat and breath Tiger football in Hartselle. A published history of game is a natural. Summers, a 64-year-old retired government worker, said he had the idea of doing the book for several years. The idea started becoming a reality in June. On Oct. 10, the first copies were sold.
"I got them from the printer the day of the Decatur game," said Summers. "I carried a bunch to the stadium and sold them all before I could get from the gate to my seat." The book sells for $6. It's on sale at several places in Hartselle." I guess I'm asked why I did it more than anything," said Summers. "I really don't know. I didn't do it to make money."If all the first edition copies are sold, the publication will come close to breaking even."I feel like we have one of the best programs in the state, " said Summers. "I'm proud of it and I know the whole community is."
There are a lot of things with this program that people should remember and people in the future should know."I'm a history bug. I feel the present is a reflection of the past. You don't have tradition without the past." Summers didn't do all the work by himself. SouthTrust Bank helped underwrite the cost of the printing. W.P. Newman and Catherine Ann Sims helped with research. ,'J.P. Cain's family also helped. The book is dedicated to Cain. "He's a big part of this program," said Summers. "I guess without the Cain family we wouldn't have the program we have today." Cain had relatives on the first Hartselle team in 1917. Cain played for the. Tigers, coached the Tigers for 21 years (longer than anyone) and is now the schools principal. Summers issued requests for help through the local media and the response was good. He got pictures, programs, old newspapers, etc. from hundreds of people. He even got some information from a Hartselle Tiger now living in California.
"Nobody had too much and a lot of people had some," said Summers. "I had one person who told me they could throw away all that junk now that it's in a book."
One of the little touches that makes the book special is a slogan that Summers came up with. "Tiger Tradition: 69 Years of Working Just a Little Bit Harder."That slogan appears throughout the book and is a fittingdescription of the Hartselle program.The book opens with a brief history of the programThen it gets into the teams, starting with the 1917 County High) went 32-1-0From there it marches through the years with, complete schedules and scores from most seasons. There are even pictures of several of the teams. There's a look at the Cain Era and the Bucky Pitts Era. It continues into the Don Woods' Era of today.When you add all of the games up it comes to 355 wins, 250 losses and 25 ties.
One page is devoted to a look at Hartselle's only two undefeated teams. In 1939, the Tigers were 9-0. Forty years later in '79, the Tigers were 10-0.
Summers would seem to be the perfect choice to decide which team was the best, but he shys away for obvious reasons. He played on the '39 team.
"I think as you get older you tend to think you were a better high school athlete than you really were," said' Summers. "I really couldn't say which team was better. The '79 team had a lot that we didn't. And the game has changed so much. Even the basics like blocking and tackling are different.
"When I worked at Redstone we could design rocket programs, put them into the computer and see how they were going to work. I would like to be able to put the '39 team and '79 team in a computer and see how they 'would fare against each other."
One page devoted to the best Tiger team of all times list 13 more teams that could challenge for No. 1. The '80 and '81 teams were 9-1 in the regular season and both lost state championship games.
One part of the book that Summers is most proud of is the alphabetical list of former players. There are 930 listed. "I know we missed some and didn't have the correct names for some of the ones we listed," said Summers. "I'm hoping we can get help correcting the list."
Another part of the book that Summers is happy about is a section on the bands, cheerleaders and homecoming queens at Hartselle. "We're proud of not just our football program but our band and cheerleaders," he said. "They're a valuable
part of the program. "Throughout the book are sprinkled facts about Hartselle football that you would never know if it wasn't for Summers' book. For example:
Hartselle has played Cullman more than any school
and trails the series, 20-27-2.
Decatur has the most wins over Hartselle, 30. The Tigers have defeated the Red Raiders 14 times.
The first night game at Hartselle was played on Oct. 3, 1935.
The first time Decatur ever played in Hartselle was in 1964. The Tigers' Frank Parker, now the junior high principal, returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Decatur won 20-13.
Hartselle hasn't always been the Tigers. They were at one time called the Wolverines and then the Warriors.
Hartselle has had only one team to go winless. That happened in 1942.
A total of 70 Tigers have gone on to play college football.
Mary Francis Rodgers was the first Hartselle homecoming queen in 1947.
Martha Witt Burleson, a former Hartselle cheerleader, continued her cheerleading career at the University of Alabama. She cheered the Tide in the Rose Bowl and got her picture on the cover of Life Magazine.