Headed for the Hall
Graham and Sam Harrell lead the 2013 induction class of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
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History is and always has been an important part of the mystique of Texas high school football. It's why one of the critical elements of every summer edition of Dave Campbell's Texas Football includes the records section in the back, as a means of preserving and honoring those who came before us in the sport we love so dear.
The Texas High School Football Hall of Fame -- which operates in conjunction with the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco -- is in the history-keeping business as well, annually honoring the greatest players and coaches to see a Texas gridiron.
Going through the list of names in the THSFHOF, it's hard for high school football afficianados not to be awestruck. From unforgettable players like Sweetwater's Sammy Baugh and John Tyler's Earl Campbell, to legendary coaches like San Angelo's Emory Bellard and Converse Judson's D.W. Rutledge, it truly is a who's who of who's ever been in Texas high school football.
That group, however, is about to expand, and it has a unique family feel.
The THSFHOF has announced its class of 2013, to be inducted at a May 4 ceremony in Waco, with Ennis quarterback Graham Harrell and his father and coach Sam Harrell headlining the group.
Graham Harrell is one of the most prolific passers in Texas high school football history, one of the first to truly benefit from the trend of wide-open spread offenses. In his three years as a starter from 2001-2003, Harrell threw for a state record 12,532 yards (including a state record 4,825 yards during his senior season) and a state record 167 touchdown passes (including a state record 67 scoring passes during his senior year). Harrell still holds the mark for both career and single-season touchdown passes. After graduating, Harrell went on to star at Texas Tech, starting for three seasons from 2006-2008 and even making his way onto the 2008 cover of Dave Campbell's Texas Football. After going undrafted and briefly dabbling in the Canadian Football League, Harrell signed with the Green Bay Packers, where he serves as backup to reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.
Of course, it's hard to imagine Graham Harrell without his father, Sam Harrell, by his side. Sam Harrell is one of the 100 winningest coaches in Texas high school football history, accumulating a 189-50 record over a 20-year head coaching career at Ennis and Reagan County. It was at Ennis, where he was hired in 1994, that Harrell really made a name for himself, winning state championships in 2000, 2001 and 2004 with his spread offense. One of the gurus of the passing game in Texas, he turned both of his sons -- Graham and Clark -- into household names. A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis forced Harrell to step down in 2010, but he's happily returned to coaching in an assistant's role at his alma mater, Brownwood, where he once played quarterback under the legendary Gordon Wood.
But the Harrells aren't the only ones going into the Texas High School Hall of Fame on May 4. The class will also include:
-Dallas Sunset QB Joe Boring, who led Sunset to the 1950 title before starring at Texas A&M
-Monahans OL Eddie Foster, a force for the Loboes in the late 1960s en route to a terrific career at Oklahoma
-Dickinson QB Donnie Little, one of the best players in the Gators' illustrious history who later became the first black starting quarterback at Texas
-Amarillo Palo Duro LB William Thomas, a dominating presence on the Dons defense who went on to Texas A&M and two Pro Bowls with the Philadelphia Eagles
-Corpus Christi Calallen RB Wes Danaher, the son of legendary coach Phil Danaher who smashed records during his illustrious career with the Sandcrabs
-Dr. J.P Bramhall, Texas A&M's longtime director of sports medicine who has helped hundreds of athletes over the past 20 years in the Bryan-College Station area, both at A&M and at the high school level
It's a loaded class of talent, spanning the decades, as the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame continues its quest to document the history of the sport. For more information on the induction ceremony, including tickets, click here.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.