Fifty years ago, the Gurdon Go-Devils football team won its last game over the Arkadelphia Badgers.

Fifty years ago, the Gurdon Go-Devils football team won its last game over the Arkadelphia Badgers.
On Friday night Oct. 27, 1967 the Arkadelphia High School Badgers senior high football team traveled to Gurdon to take on the Gurdon Go-Devils in their rivalry game.
The game was played on the old Gus Brown field before a packed crowd. Gurdon won the game 7-0, as Senior running back Donnie Griffin scored on a dive play over the left side of the line from about 40 yards out. There is an old post oak tree that stands today which was over 18 inches in diameter back then. It was located not more than four feet from the corner of the end zone on the concession stand end of the field. Griffin circled the tree after scoring the touchdown although Coach Henry Miller had told him not to being doing that.
The old field has since been abandoned, but the ticket houses, border fencing and the old post oak tree still stand. Gurdon won many games in the long series with Arkadelphia in those days.
During the last years of the series that ended in September 1969, Gurdon won in 1964 (54-25) and 1966 (6-0), both at HSU Haygood Stadium, which is where Arkadelphia played its home games.
The 1967 game, played at Gurdon was the last time Gurdon would beat Arkadelphia in High School football, which was a half century ago this Friday night.
Starting on offense for Gurdon that night was: senior left end David Bryan, senior left tackle Charles Campbell, senior left guard J.L. Griffin, junior center Roy Bear, senior right guard Larry Torgeson, senior right tackle Donald Benson, sophomore right end Gary Gober, senior quarterback Wayne Peeples and running backs Donnie Griffin; senior, juniors Jimmy Marshall and Tommy Key and sophomore John Thomas.
Many of these also started on defense in those days, as most starters played the whole game for Gurdon. But many of our opponents were much larger schools that used two-platoon players who played only defense or offense.
Those who were starters on defense or played a lot both ways, but not mentioned on the offense were: senior nose guard Randy McClure, junior cornerback Kenny Allen, junior end Donald Hatley and sophomore linebacker Jerry Griffin.
Gurdon was the smallest A classification school in the state back then, yet played much larger schools. Of 11 games on their schedule, only three were smaller schools.
Camden Fairview had more students per class than Gurdon had in their entire high school. Both Fairview and Arkadelphia were AA classification schools. Mena moved up to AA the next year.
The 7A conference that year (with many of the same schools that are now the 7-4A conference of 2017, Mena, Nashville, Ashdown) was the following schools: Prescott, Nashville, Ashdown, DeQueen, Mena and Gurdon.
There was no state playoffs until 1970, but the associated press voted the state champion in each classification. Nashville was the state champion in Class A in 1967.
Gurdon lost a very close game to Nashville at their field on Sept. 22 by a score of 6-0. The lone score came late in the fourth quarter on a quarterback sneak by James Turley from one foot out. That was as close of a game as it can get. There were no overtime games back then, so the game with Hot Springs Lakeside ended in a tie 13-13.
Instead of burning the Curly Wolves as they do now, the big event in those days was to burn the Badger the night before the game. It was a very intense rivalry and there would usually be fights during the game and lots of injuries.
In 1966 Gurdon had only 16 players on the squad when they played Arkadelphia at Haygood Stadium. Arkadelphia must have dressed out 60 players.
During the first half, which ended scoreless, junior left tackle, Charles Campbell had cracked cartilage in his nose and would not play the second half.
Also, junior quarterback Wayne Peeples had broken ribs and was lost for the remainder of the game. Sophomore Jimmy Marshall came in at quarterback.
In the fourth quarter senior right halfback Terry Hughes scored from about 40 yards out on a sweep to the right side, running towards the highway end of the old Haygood Field (the center of the old field was just sand, as both college and high school played and practiced on the field. Those long steel cleats ate up the grass and left nothing but sand in the middle portion of the field. The HSU Flight School stands today where the visitor side bleachers ended and near the front gate and end of the old field were then).
At the time Hughes scored Gurdon only had three reserve players, two coaches and a manager left on their sidelines. Gurdon won 6-0.
The 1968 game was played in the new HSU stadium. Arkadelphia won 35-9. This was the year that Bill Vining was a sophomore and Arkadelphia was a great, but very young team.