Lumberjacks 1965 football team reunites

Published 9:00 am Friday, March 13, 2015

It’s always interesting to see how Father Time treats those high school athletes who excelled no matter what sport they played.

It’s common to see some athletic standouts earn All-State honors in all three sports in the same year. Whether it was football, basketball or baseball, they made playing the game look so simple and so natural. For others, practice seemed like a meaningless endeavor without the promise of really improving one’s ability or athleticism.

At the March 7 Bogalusa High School 50-year football reunion, hosted by John Bergeron, 19 players returned, and some still looked like they could be at home on the football field. They hadn’t added excess weight or looked like they had aged all that much. Those who appeared they could still get on the field and do some damage included Joey Melancon, Richard Kellar and Larry Lassley.

The 1964-1965 football team was an outstanding one, finishing the season 8-3 overall.

Famed coach Lewis Murray led the program. He had but one losing season in his 30 years leading the program. When Murray arrived in Bogalusa in 1960, the Lumberjacks were 1-9. However, Murray turned it around the following season and went 9-1.

The athletic talent in my family didn’t run that deep. My older brother, Ronnie Hammons, was an All-Big 8 running back during his playing days at McComb (Miss.) High School. He was faster than fast. He also ran track and consistently ran a sub-9.5 in the 100-yard dash.

Two games my brother played against Yazoo City, Miss., stand out in my mind to this day.

McComb played at Yazoo City during his junior season in 1969 season. He suffered a broken nose in that game but returned to play late in the game.

The following year at McComb, Yazoo City boasted running back/defensive back Larry Kramer, who went on to play for Ole Miss and the San Francisco 49ers. Yazoo City was in the Top 10 in the state. With McComb pinned down at its own 3, Ronnie burst through the middle of the line and outran Kramer and the rest of the Indians for a 97-yard touchdown. That touchdown run stood as a record for some time before someone eventually broke it. You’ve got to be aggressive to excel in football or in any other sport. That was one attribute I lacked, along with possessing no real athletic talent to begin with. For me, practice was pretty much it.

I always chuckle when I think about McComb’s track coaches getting my brother to recruit me to come out for the junior high track team. I guess they figured since he was so fast, that I might be able to run a little bit as well. They were so wrong. It didn’t take very long at all to prove to the coaches that I couldn’t come close to matching my brother’s prowess on the track. But I stayed out there and had a little fun competing just the same.

Whenever I’m around outstanding athletes, I enjoy listening to their war stories and hearing them drop names as to whom they played against. It’s nice to hear where they went on to play in college or professionally.

At the Bogalusa High School reunion, I saw that Bogalusa played McComb several times during the late 1950s and early 1960s. I’ll bet those were some outstanding games.

I’ve always heard your run-of-the-mill high school players grow up to be the captains of industry and professional leaders. I hope that is true because I definitely have the athletic resume in that regard.

Randy Hammons is a staff writer for the Daily News. He can be contacted by calling 985-732-2565 or by email at