The following is copied from The Henderson
Gleaner and Journal City High's 1959 state
champions By Ron Jenkins published 7-28-2009.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ron Jenkins was sports
editor of The Gleaner and Journal in 1959,
chronicled Henderson City High School’s
state championship football season.
What makes championship teams?
Talent? Leadership? Teamwork? Discipline? Determination?
A strong work ethic? Sacrifice?
Pinpoint the characteristics of team champions at any level and
likely to discover that the answer is “all
of the above.”
They certainly apply to the 1959 Henderson City High football team,
many of whom will huddle here this weekend
for a 50th anniversary
commemoration of their state championship
Those characteristics will overlay
the anticipated replays of a 12-0
season that culminated with a Class AA state
crown in the very first
year of playoffs sanctioned by the Kentucky
High School Athletic
Association. A half-century later, that City
High team stands as
Henderson’s only football playoff state
In glancing back game-by-game, one cannot
overlook the significance of “the big play.” The biggest of all came in the state championship
game against unbeaten Ft. Thomas Highlands
on University of
Kentucky’s Stoll Field. Leading 12-7,
City High was backed up to its
own 15-yard line, where Highlands had a first
down with slightly more
than two minutes remaining in the game.
halfback John Burt broke through the line and appeared to be headed for a potential game-winning touchdown when Flash safety
Tommy Rhoads hit him with a crushing
tackle at the ten that split Rhoads’ helmet — and jarred the football loose.
The other Flash deepback, sophomore Cobie
pounced on the ball at the two.
Then Butch Shaver ran three straight quarterback sneaks to
the clock, setting off a Flash celebration
that included a locker room
visit from Kentucky’s governor, Corydon-born
A.B. “Happy” Chandler.
giant play came in a mid-season matchup of unbeaten (6-0),
second-ranked City High and unbeaten (5-0),
County in front of 6,000 fans in Caldwell
as “The Pit.”
Bobby Dannheiser, a junior who entered the game
as a sub for injured senior Carvel Moss,
intercepted a Jackie Crider pass at
the Tiger 40
and returned it to the 17 with the score deadlocked
at 0-0 and 2:24
key play followed when, on third-and-nine, Shaver
hit junior end James Biggs with a short pass
and Biggs plowed for a
first down to the three. From there, fullback
Tommy Glover made two
plunges into the line, the second one for
the touchdown that
sealed the victory and ended
a 24-game winning
streak for Caldwell County.
Those plays will be remembered as game-altering stickouts, but there
were many more big plays in a run to the title
that saw the Flash
outscore the opposition 407-45 and post seven
Glover, the 190-pound senior fullback, made a ton of them on his way to
post-season honors, which included prep
All-America, All-Southern and,
fittingly, captain of The Courier-Journal’s
Glover, who died in January, 2001, is destined to be a dominant figure
in replays of that championship season when
the players and coaches
gather this weekend. His value to the team
is measured not only by the
record 30 touchdowns — at least one
in every game and four in two
games — or the more than 1,500 yards
all while doing double duty as a linebacker.
Rhoads said it best in a 1992 interview upon City High’s
the Henderson County Sports Hall of Fame.
“He was our leader— on and off
the field. He was determined to win.
And he never let any of us lose sight of our
To this day, “Tommy
was the best player I ever coached,” said Shelton,
who was Glover’s head coach again in
All-Conference career at Murray State.
Glover was the glue on a Flash team also blessed with
other very gifted players — at least
eight of which
went on to play at the college level —
and a roster full of solid role players whose
contributions and key plays
cannot be over-stated.
In a 1979 interview, Glover credited much of the team’s success to
overall team quickness and, importantly, “a
love of football.”
method of coaching, beyond the X’s and O’s, played a
big part in that. While game preparation could
be intense, it was
apparent that he meant for the players to
enjoy the sport, to have fun.
It was a team that never lost its focus but yet, at times, enjoyed lighter
moments that merely demonstrated they were
teen-age kids having a
great time while achieving greatness on the
field of sport.