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Remembering Weldon Sanders
A couple of months ago, while on a business trip to Ava, Bevy Moore gave me a copy of the obituary for Weldon Sanders. I had the opportunity, about three years ago, to spend some time with Weldon and Bob Cooper at a coffee meeting in Springfield, Missouri. It was a real pleasure for me. Of course much of our conversation was to recall the football game in 1954 that in fact determined the SCA conference championship. It was probably one of the greatest games ever played on a high school field in the state of Missouri. There were no face masks, no silly make a fool of yourself dancing, no beating yourself on the chest, no grandstanding whatsoever.
Most of us played both ways. Our commitment was to our team, our community, and our school. It was a grueling and exhilarating experience. Both teams were well coached with many talented players. When the game ended we left everything we had on the field. And that is the way it is supposed to be. Rolla was fortunate enough to win the game. However the best player on the field was Weldon Sanders. He was an example of what athletics should be about. One of those age old clichés is very fitting here, “you could never beat Weldon, it is just that time ran out.” And so it is with Weldon, time has run out. I am sure he leaves a huge legacy in his personal life. I know he does in his athletic life.
I have been fortunate to have played and coached high school, college and professional football for a number of years. To this day, that game in 1954, played on the Ava field, has my most memorable. Weldon Sanders will always be a part of that memory.
Rolla High School