By Butch Hurford
When I was ten or eleven I met the Simmons family. The boys were all older. John was 4 years older. He taught me a lot of things. All his brothers and sisters were good athletes. When we played football in the neighborhood John played quarterback for both teams. I always knew I was his favorite but he never let on. He carried me to football practice with him one day. After practice the team let me pull off all their sweaty jersey’s. After that I was hooked on football. John was a “deep snapper”. He could snap the ball 15 yds with a perfect spiral right at my head. I later “shagged” punts for the kickers at age 10 or 11. I could catch the 40 and 50 yard punts.
I saw John and his brothers play most of their high school games. I was at the field one day when the bus was going to an out of town game. Coach King and John ask me if I wanted to go. I told them I would have to ask Mama. They put me on the bus and took me home. John went in and ask Mama if I could go to Searcy to a ball game. He told her that he and Coach King would look after me. It was a “unforgettable experience” for someone my age!