Rockdale Reporter, October 1, 2009, page 2-c
Deeee-fense was their game
Akili went from 0-10 to the NFL; linebacker is spelled ‘K-U-B-I-A-K’
This is the second in a series of articles on the 13 athletes who will be inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor
One went from Rockdale High School’s only 0-10 team to a starting cornerback position in the National Football League.
The other was the archetype of a linebacker, fast, smart and would he ever hit you!
Samaji Akili (Sammy Williams) and Richard Kubiak will be two of the honorees to be inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor.
Samaji Akili - When he was a senior at Rockdale High School, the Tigers posted the only 0-10 mark in school history (through 2009). His college dropped football after his junior year. Yet, 1970 RHS graduate Samaji
Akili made it all the way to a National Football League career, starting at cornerback for the San Diego Chargers.
As a running back on the 1969 Tiger team, which went 0-10, Akili rushed 205 times for 841 yards and 12 TDs and was a first-team all-district pick.
He walked on at New Mexico Highlands University, made the team as a running back, was switched to defensive back and started for three years. NMH dropped football after his junior year but Akili moved on to the University of California and big-time Pac-10 football. Again he started at defensive back but missed the final four games of the Bears’ season due to injury.
Drafted by San Diego in the 12th round, he started 12 games at right cornerback in 1974, played in a total of 13, was one of the team’s leading tacklers. He covered virtually every major wide receiver of the 1970s,
including Paul Warfield, Isaac Curtis, Ken Burrough and Harold Carmichael.
The next year he was moved to strong safety and played in 11 more games, still covering the best receivers of the era. Williams played in four games with the 1976 Houston Oilers, bringing his career NFL total to 28 games.
He moved to Canada and enjoyed a long, successful coaching career at the high school and college levels, coaching the Canadian national junior college champs in 2004-05.
Look up “linebacker” in the dictionary and you just might find a photo of Richard Kubiak.
Just ask anyone who played football against Rockdale in the late 1960s.
If they carried the ball or tried to catch a pass, they got to know the 1969 RHS graduate “up close and personal.”
The three-year starter at linebacker recorded 55 solo tackles and 439 assists in 1966, 1967 and 1968 and was named a second team all-stater in 1969.
In 1968, Kubiak racked up 29 tackles against Belton and 24 more versus Copperas Cove to add to his 184 stops that season.
He just kept on clogging up opponents’ offenses at Blinn Junior College and Lamar University.
At Blinn he started two years at middle linebacker, was team captain his sophomore year and defensive captain his freshman year.
As a Blinn sophomore, Kubiak was named outstanding defensive player at the Fort Bend Shriner Bowl.
Kubiak was again starting middle linebacker as a junior at Lamar, was named defensive captain and intercepted 11 passes, helping Lamar to set a school interception record of 29.
He was a team co-captain for the Cardinals his senior year.
While at Lamar, Kubiak received the All-Southland Conference Outstanding Defensive Player Award and won the
McDonald Award for posting the highest grade-point average in the conference.
Upon graduation he received an NCAA post-graduate scholarship, one of only 17 awarded in the nation.
Kubiak was a multi-sport letterman at Rockdale High School and was an all-zone selection in baseball his senior year.
In football he doubled as a running back, carrying 164 times for 1,134 yards. Kubiak was also Big Blue’s punter, booming 53 punts for a 33.5-yard average for his career.
Rockdale Reporter, September 24, 2009
Let’s hear it for the ladies
Young, Lovelady, Bennett headed for sports hall of honor
Three basketball stars of the 1950s will be inducted into the Rockdale High School Sports Hall of Honor on Oct 23.
Barbara Young Kastner and Sue Jean Bennett led the Rockdale Tigerettes into post-season competition.
Fannie Lovelady-Spain would have done the same with Aycock’s Tigerettes had their girls’ season not ended at district in
Barbara Young Kastner
Kastner, RHS Class of 1954, played the post and was the scoring leader for two exceptional Rockdale High School girls basketball teams during the seasons ending in 1953 and 1954, both resulting in District 22A championships.
Those two teams are represented by the oldest banners saluting championship teams and hanging in the high school gymnasium.
Young was a four-year starter for the Tigerettes (now the Lady Tigers).
On that 1952-53 team, Young’s senior year, she scored 301 points for an average of 17.7 points per game. That team was 22-3 and almost won a bi-district title, losing to Hamilton in a buzzer-beater in playoff action at Southwestern University in Georgetown.
Young scored 31 points in that playoff game, one of several games in which she scored more than 30 points.
During the 1953-54 season, Young’s senior year, she scored 312 points, a per-game average of 18.3 points.
That team was 21-4 and won district and bi-district championships. RHS lost its first-round game at the regional tournament but won the consolation title, back when consolation games were played at regional tournaments.
Young scored 613 points for a 17.5-point per-game average during her junior and senior seasons. Unfortunately, records and statistics were not available for her freshman and sophomore seasons when she was also a scoring leader.
Fannie Lovelady Spain
Aycock High School standout athlete Fannie Lovelady almost certainly logged an accomplishment in her senior year of 1956 that will never be repeated.
She competed in the state meet in discus and solo singing.
The multi-talented Lovelady was a starter on the almost unbeatable Tigerette basketball teams of the mid-1950s and was one of the top two scorers, perfecting a virtually indefensible hook shot.
In her senior year the Tigerettes were undefeated, going a perfect 21-0 in the regular season.
There was no advancement past district for Aycock girls in that era so the Tigerettes hosted their own “state tourney,” a post-season event that included two other undefeated teams.
Aycock won the tourney too.
Lovelady was also Aycock’s outstanding discus specialist, breezing to easy wins at district and regional and qualifying for the state meet at Prairie View A&M University.
But she had also qualified for state in solo singing competition, which was held at the same time. Lovelady tried to dash over to the discus ring to compete but did not have time to warm up and did not place.
“I was literally changing into my track uniform as I was running,” she recalled.
But she still had a gold medal day. Lovelady had won the state competition in solo singing.
Aycock’s boys teams were state champs in football and basketball that year and no pre-game rally was complete without Lovelady’s contributions to school spirit.
Before one game she even composed, and read, poems dedicated to Coach Ralph Johnson and members of the football team.
Lovelady went on to earn a doctorate and had a long and honored career in education in Texas and other states.
Sue Jean Bennett
Sue Jean Bennett was the top scorer for the 1964-65 Tigerette basketball team which finished third in state in Class 2A (later called 3A).
She scored 965 points for Ernie Laurence’s Tigerettes over a three year career on the varsity. During those three years Rockdale was a combined 60-16, won district three times, bi-district twice and regional once.
In the 1964-65 season she tossed in 590 points, an average of 24 points per game, and came up with big games when Rockdale needed it most, like a season-high 37-point performance in a 61-51 regional finals win over Sealy.
She scored 61 points in the 1965 state tourney, 32 in a first-round 60-44 loss to Friona, then 29 in the third-place came, a 62-56 victory over West.
Bennett was the captain of that 1964-65 team. She also played for the South squad that summer in the annual Texas All-Star Basketball Classic sponsored by the Texas High School Girls Coaches Association.
She was selected as the most athletic girl of 1964-65.
A multi-sport athlete at RHS, Bennett also played softball all four years and was a member of the volleyball team for three years.
Rockdale Reporter - September 10, 2009
Thirteen named to Hall of Honor
‘Near miss’ Class of ’68 lands four on list for 2009 ceremony
It’s the great Tiger football team that didn’t quite make it to post-season play. Four members of the Rockdale High School graduating class of 1968 will be among 13 athletes to be inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor Oct. 23 at RHS. Twenty-six Rockdale High School and Aycock High School athletes have been inducted in the Hall’s first two years.
This year, with the opening of the new RHS, the ceremony will be free and open to the public from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. in the high school auditorium. In will be preceded by an invitation only banquet for honorees and their guests in the RHS lunchroom.
That event starts with a 4 p.m. social time with the meal from 4:30 to 5:30. Everyone will then got to the auditorium for the induction.
This year’s inductees are:
• Glen Chmelar, RHS Class of 1968, multi-sport star, later a standout football player at Baylor University, selected to Baylor’s 1970 All-Decade Team.
• Mike Speer, RHS Class of 1968, two-way lineman and track standout, went on to the University of Texas football program during the Darrell Royal Era.
• H. Earl Marion, RHS Class of 1968, still holds Rockdale’s one-season touchdown record, third best rushing game of all time. Played college football at Blinn and University of Tulsa.
• Vernon Guest, RHS Class of 1968, ran the 100-yard dash under 10 seconds eight times at RHS, his 9.5 clocking was school record for 31 years. He ran a 9.3 in college at Arkansas State, a school record at that time.
• Fannie Lovelady-Spain, AHS Class of 1956, standout on Aycock basketball and track teams, state track qualifier, regional shot and discus champion.
• Eddie Grubbs, RHS Class of 1956, went on to play college football at Sam Houston State, then in the U. S. Marines, then back at Sam Houston State.
• Ernie Wayne Laurence, RHS Class of 1964, fi rst team all-state football selection at offensive and defensive end, key defender on 10-0 regular season 1963 team. Went on to Baylor football career.
• Art “Copie” Perry, RHS Class of 1965, four-sport athlete with outstanding RHS football careers at defensive end and quarterback, first and third in state hurdling events.
• Samaji Akili (Sammy Williams), RHS Class of 1970, went from running back on Rockdale’s only 0-10 football team to starting cornerback in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers.
• Ronnie Heflin, RHS Class of 1966, multi-sport athlete at RHS, returned to the area as head coach at Lexington High School. He went on to Como-Pickton High School and died in auto wreck at age 33 while transporting athletes from a regional track meet.
• Richard Kubiak, RHS Class of 1969, linebacker with 439 tackles at Tigerland, college football standout at Blinn Junior College and Lamar University.
• Barbara Young, RHS Class of 1954, scoring leader for the district champion 1953 and bi-district champion 1954 Tigerettes. Scored 613 points in junior and senior years
• Sue Jean Bennett, RHS Class of 1965, leading scorer on Tigerette team which finished third at state tourney. She scored 965 points her junior and senior years .
Class of 68
The Class of 68 were seniors during the 1967 football season, which most old-time Tiger fans remember as the best RHS team to ever miss the playoffs. Rockdale was 9-1 that year, its only loss a 13-10 squeaker to district for Seguin when both teams were ranked in the state’s Class 3A (today’s 4A) top five. The game hinged on a controversial “non pass interference call” on a pass play. That 1967 team outscored its other nine opponents 369-55. Rockdale, the smallest school in its district, beat district foes San Marcos 48-6, New Braunfels 54-14 and Lampasas 62-0. In a 39-0 rout of Cameron, Marion rushed 17 times for 245 yards and 4 TDs, still the greatest total ever for a Tiger running back against Yoe.
Profiles and photos of all 13 will follow in upcoming issues of The Reporter.
Rockdale,TX Class of 1965
Rockdale TX Sports Hall of Honor
Thanks to the Rockdale Reporter, Mike Brown, Editor for permission to use these articles and photos
Rockdale Reporter - Established 1893
Honoring past athletes from Rockdale High School and Aycock High School
The Reporter has some great pictures of the ceremonies on-line
Barbara Young averaged 17.5 points per game for back-to-back district champion Tigerettes in 1952-53 and 1954-55.
Sue Jean Bennett goes up for two in old Gregory Gym during 1965 state tourney. She scored 61 points in two games at state
as Rockdale placed third.
Sue Jean Bennett Barbara Young Kastner Fannie Lovelady Spain
Hall of Honor schedule October 23
4 to 5:30 p.m.—Private banquet and social time, RHS lunchroom.
5:30 to 6:45 p.m.—Induction ceremony, RHS Auditorium, free and open to the public.
7 p.m.— Honorees introduced to Tiger Field crowd prior to Rockdale-Caldwell football game.
Samaji Akili Richard Kubiak