From Bob McCauley
North Dallas was on a roll that championship 1952 year. The sophomore Paul Delfeld was the surprising star. Over and over throughout the year,
Delfeld would line up right outside the end, run forward about 5 yards and
jump up and catch a bullet pass from Robert Burgess. From there, it was
a game of Paul driving through the opposition with his "monk run," where
instead of running with knees moving up and down in the air, they rotated on
a horizontal basis. The effect was like a tractor plowing through a
field. But just as important that year was the less-publicized
supporting cast. Tony DeGrazier, provided the maturity and legacy for
the team, calling the plays (which were carried out by the more
"arm-talented" Burgess) and using his power as he plowed
through the defense for many first downs and touchdowns. Ernie Manicchia, when not
injured, proved illusive to most tacklers. Had he remained healthy
throughout the entire year, Ernie may have turned out to be the greatest
running back produced by the NDHS football program.
Not to be forgotten was the real supporting cast which included David Kincaid, Jerry Polen, James Coker and Corky McGee and others mentioned by Rachel Cohen in her Dallas Morning News article. Perhaps the less known cog in the ND wheel that year was Mayo Neal, the starting center. Mayo seemed to be built to be a football player with logs for legs that seemed to grow out of the ground. Going around Mayo was the better part of valor, instead of trying to go through him.
The preceding words are just subjective thoughts about the team from the perspective of a tag-a-long sophomore lineman (me) that only got to play in the Lubbock game because (as the line coach figured) -- "how much worse can it get?" (it did get worse). I, unfortunately, was using one of the first "face masks" to be issued. This was long before the design came out that produces the current face mask penalties. The mask was made of solid plastic and looked much like the Jason/Halloween variety that fit close to the face and supposedly would protect me from furthering damage to a fractured nose. I am only mentioning this mask to emphasize the cerebral attributes of the Lubbock team that significantly contributed to the Bulldogs getting their collective butts kicked during that game. The Bulldog loss that day in Lubbock, in my humble opinion, had less to do with the size of their team or school, but rather more to do with the intelligence (maybe cunning or moxie would be a better term) of their players and coaches.
The first lesson the Bulldogs learned that game was one of the rule books. Over and over in the early part of the game the NDHS defensive ends and tackles who rushed in to the Lubbock passer bit the dust and allowed the early wide lead to be gained by the West Texas team. What the Bulldogs didn't know was that the rule books allowed otherwise-illegal clips to be used within the confines (a few yards) of the line of scrimmage. Lubbock knew this - we didn't. It's hard to avoid blocks to one's knees from the backsides. The resulting picture was of a country team from Dallas going to the big city of Lubbock to play the "city boys." The Bulldogs just got taught a few lessons that their daddies (and coaches) never taught them.
The next lesson was in the area of panache. After each touchdown, the Lubbock cheerleaders shot off a loud cannon. Our players were stunned by the noise and excitement - we had never seen such a show, which resembled more of a Seigfried and Roy Las Vegas spectacle than a high school football game. After the cannon exploded, Lubbock's captain, Mike Brady, did a 60 yard dash down the field leading their team to the next kickoff. As he sprinted down the field, he shouted something in Spanish that could only be compared to the way the Egyptian widows that twirl their tongues and emit a high pitched siren sound at a funeral. It presented the mental picture of a pride of lions that couldn't wait for their next kill. Our team was like a freshman going to their first prom.
And what about my face mask? What did that have to do with the Lubbock team's intelligence? Well, when the guy that lined up across from me saw the mask, he waited until the ball was snapped and then reached out and pulled the mask down over my eyes. He didn't even have to block me. And there was nothing in the rule book that said he couldn't do that. I quickly learned that I had to play without a mask, ripping it off and throwing it back to the coach. After that, I was able to see the 260-lb guy before planted an elbow on my fractured nose.
There was only one Bulldog that had a good time that day. Donald Golightly was a sophomore that got to play a lot during the game. In the locker room after the game, I was sitting on the bench next to Big Coker (after I graduated from NDHS, I found out his first name was "James", not "Big"). Coker was this huge, tough tackle that specialized in destroying the opposition. But this time, Coker was sitting with head in his hands, tears in his eyes. Golightly, immune to the sadness, having put forth quite a successful effort during the game for a sophomore, came up and said to Coker - "I played three quarters, how many did you get?" I often wished I had had a camera to photograph Big Coker's expression -- it would have made Life Magazine.