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- General Interest
– as told by lifetime coach and mentor, Larry Silvey
In 1956, Jimmy Williams became head coach. The Bears struggled during the 1956 season winning only three games under Coach Jimmy Williams, who resigned after only one season. Their SCA record that year was 3-5 and a 3-7 for the season. The Bears had only one athlete recognized by the conference, Senior, Harold Menzie, end, who held the title for Honorable Mention and was also selected Honorable Mention to the All-Ozarks Football Team.
In 1957, Roy Chastain proceeded Jimmy Williams for the Head Coach position. The Bears were 1-9 that year and their offense only averaged 10.6 points per game while defensively the team allowed 24.6 points per game. The Bears only win was a 33-12 victory over Willow Springs. Coach Chastain also resigned after one season. The season featured the longest kick-off return for a touchdown by Junior, George Long with a 95 yard kick-off return against Willow Springs.
Ralph Colby stepped in as Head Coach in 1958, but also resigned after one season. The Bears showed much improvement under his direction as they played 500 football. They ended the season with a 4-4-2 record, as well as, a SCA record of 3-4-1. Senior Runningback, George Long, led the Bears running attack. The speedy back ran for 228 yards against Branson including a touchdown run of 84 and 85 yards.
Coach Colby had a very successful coaching career serving at Mtn. Grove, Rolla and later in Kentucky. He was later inducted into the SMS (now MSU) Athlete Hall of Fame.
In 1959, Arden Powell became Head Coach, but had a disappointing 2-7 and a 2-5 SCA season. The Bears struggled on the offensive side of the football, scoring only 97 points during the season while allowing 159 points by their opponents. Ava’s two wins were over Houston (20-14) and Willow Springs (33-6).
Arden Powell returned as Head Coach in 1960. The boys showed much improvement during his second year. They ended the season with a 6-4 and 5-3 SCA record. They had a strong running attack led by fullback, Fred Bacorn and Runningback, Howard Ridenour. The longest pass play in the school’s history was completed from Quarterback, Kerry Ewing to Howard Ridenour in the game against Bolivar. The pass play covered 89 yards.
Coach Powell resigned after his two years as the Head Coach.
Ridenour also had 226 yards rushing against Thayer during the 1960 football season.
In 1961 Allen Welker took over as Head Coach and led the Ava Bears to a 1-8-1 season. They had a difficult season. Offensively they scored only 63 points while giving up 195 points to other opponents. The lone win was a 7-6 victory over Houston. Sophomore Runningback, Larry Tate, led the Bears running attack, gaining 735 yards in only 94 carries, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. Sophomore Quarterback, Lonnie Reid, completed 39 of 107 pass attempts for 561 yards.
Senior End, Dewayne Cunningham, was selected to the SCA First Team and also received Honorable Mention All-Ozark.
Allen Welker returned as Head Coach in 1962 and led the Bears to a 5-4 season. They showed much improvement in his second year. The Bears had an outstanding offensive attack. The running game was led by Junior, Larry Tate, who rushed for 754 yards in 89 carries and Junior Fullback, John Buchiet, who had 522 yards in 106 carries.
Junior Quarteback, Lonnie Reid, completed 42 of 91 pass attempts for 669 yards. Junior, Tom Halford, connected on 10 of 15 extra point kicks.
Allen Welker returned in 1963 as Head Coach and led the Ava Bears to a 8-1-1 season. This record in 1963 ranks as one of the best records in Ava football history. The Bears averaged 30.3 points per game, which is the third best record in the school’s history. They only gave up 96 points to their opponents. The strong running game was again led by Senior Runningback, Larry Tate, who averaged 909 yards a carry while rushing for 1,241 yards in 126 carries. Fullback, John Buchiet added 756 yards in 106 carries.
The Bears only loss was a 13-6 defeat by SCA Champions, Mtn. Grove. They also had a 21-21 tie with Branson. They were 7-1 in the SCA.
Quarterback, Lonnie Reid passed for 662 yards completing 35 of 68 attempts. Senior End, Steve Norman, caught 16 passes for 274 yards. Senior, Tom Halford, kicked 27 of 35 attempted extra points.
Larry Tate finished his high school career with 2,738 rushing yards, which places him in fifth place on the all-time career rushing leaders.
First Team All-Conference Selections were Larry Tate, Runningback, James Pueppke, Tackle, John Buchiet, Runningback, and Larry Adams, Guard.
Larry Tate was also selected to the Second Team All-Ozark squad.
The year is 1964 and Allen Welker returned for his fourth season. He led the Ava Varsity football boys to a 3-7 season. These boys were in a rebuilding mode after graduating a large number of Seniors the previous year. Senior Runningback, Lonnie Swofford, led the Bear running game rushing for 590 yards on 113 carries. Junior Quarterback, Jim Reid completed 50 of 116 passes for 658 yards. Delano Stewart caught 26 passes for 306 yards.
Coach Welker resigned after four years and completing a record of 17 wins and 20 losses.
Senior Guard, Larry Adams, received First Team SCA Honors.
Charles McAllister returned to Ava once again in 1965 after having coaching position at Cassville, Mtn. Grove, Bolivar and Branson. The Bears struggled offensively as they scored only 16 points the entire season while allowing their opponents 146 points. A good foundation was laid for a successful program in the future as many underclassman played varsity football.
Bill Mackey, Senior Center, was selected First Team All-SCA and was also selected Honorable Mention All-Ozark.
In 1966 Charles McAllister was still Head Coach and led the Ava Bears to a 6-2-1 season. They began to show great improvement during Coach McAllister’s second year. They scored 210 points running Coach McAllister’s single wing offense. The rushing attack was led by Tailback, Gary Dougherty, as he rushed for over 1,000 yards and also scored 95 points including three touchdowns vs. Salem.
First Team All-SCA members were: Gary Dougherty, Runningback, Otis McFarlin, Center, and Clifford Strong, Tackle.
Charles McAllister returned in 1967 to again hold the Head Coach title. The Bears had an excellent season ending it with a record of 6-2-1. The Bears were unbeaten going into their final two games of the season before losing to Mtn. Grove 15-8 and to West Plains 8-6.
The Bears had a strong running game led by Senior Runningback, Gary Dougherty, who gained 1,041 yards despite missing games due to an injury. The Bears displayed a strong defensive unit as they allowed only 76 points the entire season, this ranks as the fourth in the school’s history.
The third longest pass play in Bear’s history was a 83 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback, Hamlin Tallent to End, Ronnie Curry during the Houston game.
Those nominated to First Team All-SCA were Gary Dougherty, Runningback, Sam Shipps, Linebacker, Danny Silvey, Defensive Back, and Rick Monger, Linebacker.
Gary Dougherty was also selected to the Second Team All-Ozark squad.
Charles McAllister resigned at the conclusion of his sixth year at Ava. His record was 30 wins, 23 losses and four ties. Coach McAllister served as a head football coach for many years in Southwest Missouri. His career was highlighted by having many outstanding teams including a 10-0 Branson team, a 10-0 Bolivar team and a State Championship team while coaching at Aurora High School. In 1992 he was honored by being selected as a member of the Missouri Football Coach Hall of Fame.
In 1968, Dolan Hawkins signed on to become the Ava Bears Head Coach. He led the Bears to a 3-6 season. He came to Ava after several outstanding seasons at Lockwood High School. The Bears scored 113 points while giving up 122 points. A highlight of their season was a 7-0 victory over arch rival Mtn. Grove. It was Ava’s first win over Mtn. Grove since 1958. Sam Shipps, Linebacker, was selected to First Team All-SCA.
Dolan Hawkins returned for a second season as Head Coach in 1969. The Bears played 500% football during Coach Hawkins second year as Head Coach. They scored 116 points and allowed 109 and left the season with a 4-4-1 record. The Bears were also 3-4-1 in the SCA.
Those athletes who made the First Team All-SCA were Doyle Barnes, Runningback and Don Givans, Linebacker.
Coach Hawkins resigned after the second season.
In 1970, Carl Roebuck stepped up to become the Ava Varsity Football Bears’ Head Coach. He had served as the middle school football coach at Ava and was elevated to the Head Varsity coaching position. The Bears scored 150 points while giving up 123 points, ending the season with a 5-4-1 record and a 4-3-1 SCA record.
Four players made the First Team All-SCA that year. They were as follows: John Witt, End, Terry Lafferty, Guard, Doyle Barnes, Runningback and Reggie Allen, Defensive Back.
In 1971, Carl Roebuck returned as Head Coach and continued to watch the Ava Bears improve. The Bears ended the season with an impressive 6-3 record. The Ava Bears defensive unit held the first six opponents on their schedule scoreless and had six wins and no losses before giving up 78 points and losing their last three games to Mtn. Grove, Houston and West Plains. The Bears were a strong defensive team and their defense only gave up an average of 8.7 points per game, which is the seventh best in the school’s history.
Offensively the Bears were led by Roger Johnson and Doyle Barnes. Johnson completed 48 of 110 passes for 562 yards. Barnes gained 840 yards on 132 carries.
First Team All-SCA athletes were: Doyle Barnes, Runningback, Dirk Overcast, Tackle and Reggie Allen, Defensive Back.
After serving as Head Football Coach for two years and leading the Bears to 11 wins, 7 losses and 1 tie, Carl Roebuck resigned.
Larry Silvey had served as Charles McAllister’s Assistant Coach for two years in 1965 and 1966 and after serving as Head Coach for five years at Ozark High School was hired to guide the Ava football program in 1972. During that year, the Ava Bears scored 143 points and allowed 148. They ended the season with a 5-4 record.
Keith Rein, Linebacker, and Kevin Heinlein, Defensive Back, were selected First Team SCA.
The following year Larry Silvey, again instructed the Ava Bears as Head Coach. The Bears returned only four Seniors on the 1973 squad and Juniors and Sophomores held many starting positions. The Bears rushed for 1,489 yards and passed for 806 yards while scoring 136 points and allowing 145. They left the season with a 5-5 record.
Kenny Hale and Ray Mackey combined to rush for 967 yards and Sophomore Quarterback, Joe Klineline passed for 658 yards on 54 completions in 98 attempts. Senior, Steve Faszholz, caught 32 passes for 441 yards and had 10 receptions verses Mtn. Grove, equal to the third best in the school’s history.
Senior Defensive Guard, James Lawson and Junior Linebacker, Kirk Clinkingbeard, led the Bears defense as each player had over 100 tackles for the season.
The next year, Larry Silvey returned as Head Coach and led the Ava Bears to a 6-3-1 season. The 1974 Bears were noted for their strong running game and a good defensive unit. Ava scored 179 points and held their opponents to 118 points (61 of those 118 were given up in one game). The Bears led by Ray Mackey’s 1,218 yards rushed for 2,332 yards. Senior, Tom Dye, added 470 yards and Junior Quarterback, Joe Klineline, passed for 565 yards completing 34 of 85 tackles.
Ray Mackey, Runningback, and Andy Clinkingbeard, Defensive Back, were First Team Selections.
Now in his fourth year of coaching in Ava, Larry Silvey held his position as Head Coach and led the 1975 Ava Bears to a 6-4 record. They averaged 21.7 points a game while giving up 13.3 points. They had a balanced offensive team rushing for 1,971 yards and passing for 926 yards.
Junior, Rex Sawyer, led the rushing attack gaining 920 yards on 161 carries. Quarterback, Kris Norman, competed 49 of 103 attempts for 727 yards. Kevin Reed was the leading pass receiver catching 19 passes for 296 yards.
Linebackers, Rick Lee (53 tackles) and Dan Witt (51 tackles) led the defensive unit.
The Bears were 5-3 in the SCA.
Rex Sawyer, Runningback and Danny Holmes, Guard, were First Team Selections.
The Bears explosive offense was demonstrated by Rex Sawyer and Keith Dougherty, each having touchdown runs of 89 yards in the Bears 22-20 win over Republic.
Next week, will be a continuation – highlighting more of Ava’s football teams.