Lanett’s past titles were real, not mythical

Published 10:18 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dear Editor:

First and foremost, I want to say how very proud the entire community is of the Lanett High Panthers football team in winning the State Championship in the 2A Division and having the “best-ever season in school history” with their 15-0 record. What a great accomplishment for these very deserving fine young men and the coaching staff.

I read with interest Wayne Clark’s caption under the picture on the front page of Monday’s paper stating that “Lanett High has won several MYTHICAL titles, the last one coming in 1963.”

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While we appreciate that there is now a playoff format in determining State Championships, that should not diminish the fact that there were other state football championships awarded to LHS teams in the past and to call them “mythical” is kind of a slap to those teams and coaches… my opinion, of course. Just because the AHSAA had not been formed yet and therefore, there was no playoff system to determine a championship as there is now, there was definitely a championship determination at the end of each season. It is not the fault of the past teams that the championships were determined differently than they are now. The 1963 team is a good example. Please see the attachment showing the AAA State Champions as determined by the Birmingham Post Herald. No other team was so dubbed in 1963 in the AAA division. They were also named Border Conference Champions that year. The attachment also shows picture of the Senior players that year. (No. 81 is my brother, Brent Wheeler.)

Coaches were Earl Webb, Bobby Murchison and Paul Word. Note that the 1963 team went 10-0 that year while scoring 238 points and allowing only 33 from their ten opponents which includes the opponents’ 0 points in 6 of the 10 games,

I believe there were also other football championships awarded to LHS teams in years 1956-58 when the “Fabulous Five” were players, but I have no facts on those teams.

I think what really annoys and disappoints me is Mr. Clark’s use of the word “mythical” which suggests that something did not actually exist except in the minds of storytellers from days of yore. It implies “fantasy, fictitious, make-believe, pretend and existing only in one’s imagination” which is certainly not the case in looking at past LHS state football championships. Those are certainly NOT mythical.

Again, we are extremely boastful, happy and proud of the 2017 Championship team and in no way am I trying to take anything away from that. But, at the same time, our championship teams in the past should not be disregarded and labeled as “mythical” because they were in fact “real.”


Brenda Wheeler Winchester