Texas High School Football Hall of Fame Inductees: Byron Townsend

Byron Townsend

Odessa High School


Inducted in 1991

Townsend was one of the main reasons the Wild Red Hosses of Ector County were never ridden, after storming out of the chutes 14 times in 1946. The Townsend-led Odessa team defeated the Kyle Rote-led Jefferson Mustangs of San Antonio 21-14 before 38,000 screaming spectators on Dec. 28 in Austin for state. The pressure-proof Townsend was at his best, scoring one TD, passing for another, breaking thru, over and around the Jeff line for 124 yards on 27 carries, and turning in his usual strong defensive game. He played like an All-State back every week, and was all-state both in 1946 and 1947. Townsend was almost as great in track, earning a stack of medals and ribbons in the hurdles, high jump, discus, shot and relays. A veteran SWC official said Townsend could have made the UT starting backfield when he was only a junior at Odessa. He did make it, after graduation, earning all SWC and All-American honors at Texas. Townsend moved to Alaska, where he lived until his death on January 13, 2013.