WACO, TX – The Texas High School Football Hall of Fame announces nine new inductees among its 2019 class. These nine will be formally recognized and inducted on May 4, 2019 at Baylor University’s Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
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The inductees are broken down into decades and coaches. Athletes include: Ken Casner (1950s), Ken Houston (1960s), Putt Choate (1970s), Willie Everett (1980s), Jason Bragg (1990s), and Adrian Peterson (2000s). The coaches category, honoring Eddie Joseph, include: T.J. Mills and Scott Phillips. The Dave Campbell Contributor to the Game Award will be presented to Jon Heidtke.
KEN CASNER, Waco: Casner earned all-district selection in 1947, all-state honors in 1948 and was selected to play in the North-South All Star Game in 1948. He went on to Baylor where he played three seasons on varsity, earning All-American honors in 1951 when he helped the Bears reach the Orange Bowl. Casner went on to play one season for the Los Angeles Rams before joining the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command in 1954-55. He played one more season of pro football with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1956. He was voted the best defensive tackle in Baylor history in 2015. He also served as an assistant coach in Waco ISD from 1957-1966 and as a Baylor assistant from 1966-1972.
KEN HOUSTON, Lufkin Dunbar: Played basketball and defensive back in football at Lufkin Dunbar. Was recruited by Prairie View A&M where he earned All-SWAC honors. Houston was taken by the Houston Oilers in the ninth round of the 1967 AFL Draft. He quickly outperformed his place in the draft as Houston earned the first of his 12-consecutive Pro Bowl selections in 1968. Houston, who played for the Oilers and Washington Redskins, finished his pro football career with 49 interceptions, including nine in the 1971 season. Houston was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
PUTT CHOATE, Coahoma: Two-way star for Coahoma rushed for 3,310 career yards, earned all-district, all-state honors at fullback as senior, played in 1975 THSCA All-Star Game. But SMU saw him as a pure linebacker, and he became a four-year starter for Mustangs with school-record 649 tackles, including 253 as a senior in 1978. Also forced 3 fumbles, recovered 7 and intercepted 5 passes for career, returning one 100 yards for a TD, earned first-team all-SWC honors in 1977 and '78. Waived by Atlanta after breaking his leg in NFL camp, he spent 2 years out of football before signing with Denver in fledgling USFL. Recorded 517 tackles and 3 interceptions in 3 All-Star seasons with Gold and San Antonio Gunslingers. One of only 3 players in USFL history to start all 54 regular-season games before league folded in 1986.
WILLIE EVERETT, Daingerfield: Earned district MVP and twice earned all-state honors as a lineman on one of the most accomplished championship teams in Texas football history. Everett played for the Tigers from 1983-1985 when they played in 3 straight state championships and won the title in 1983 and 1985. He helped the 1983 Daingerfield team to an historic season in which the Tigers went undefeated and allowed just 8 points in 16 games. The Tigers’ 42-0 victory over Sweeney marked their 13th -consecutive shutouts.
JASON BRAGG, Stephenville: Two-way star, two-time all-state defensive back helped Stephenville win 31 straight games and back-to-back 4A state championships in 1993-94. As junior, his 50-yard TD reception from Branndon Stewart and 2-point conversion catch in final minutes beat defending champ Waxahachie in state semifinal, sparked Yellowjackets to first of their 4 state championships in the 1990s. Had 8 interceptions and 61 solo tackles on defense, 31 catches for 438 yards and 8 TDs on offense. Only repeat choice on AP all-state team as a senior, played in '95 THSCA All-Star Game. Signed with Texas A&M, where he was a two-year letterman.
ADRIAN PETERSON, Palestine: Peterson had his breakout season as a junior at Palestine when he rushed for 2,051 yards and 22 touchdowns. He topped that as a senior with 2,960 yards and 32 TDs, gaining 11.7 yards per carry. Those two seasons vaulted him to national fame as a college prospect. He chose Oklahoma and earned first-team All-American honors as a freshman when he rushed for 1,843 yards and 15 touchdowns. Peterson went on to earn All-Big 12 honors in all three of his collegiate seasons before turning pro after his junior campaign. The Minnesota Vikings selected him with the seventh overall pick of the 2007 draft. As of the beginning of the 2017 season, Peterson has earned seven Pro Bowl selections and four first-team All Pro honors. He was the NFL MVP 2012 and the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2007.
T.J. MILLS, Sealy: Won unprecedented four straight state championships with Tigers (1994-97) and reached title game five times in six years (losing to Commerce, 17-10, in 1999) before jumping to Odessa Permian in 2000. His 15-year record at Sealy was 148-27, with almost half losses coming in first 3 seasons (3-7, 9-1, 6-5). Teams produced 20 first-team all-state selections, and from 1994-96 matched Stamford’s 40-year-old 3A state record of 35 consecutive wins, bettering marks of legendary 3A programs like Southlake Carroll, Commerce, Daingerfield and Cuero. Tigers’ 82-6 win over Newton in 1995 area playoffs was highest point total for 11-man playoff game in more than 40 years. After stints at Permian and LaPorte, ended his coaching career with a 195-78 record. Inducted into the THSCA Hall of Honor in 2014.
SCOTT PHILLIPS, Groveton/Waxahachie/Plano East: Won state championships at 3A Groveton (1989) and 5A Waxahachie (1992) with unbeaten teams en route to a career mark of 234-73-3. Also coached the Plano East squad that lost perhaps the most talked-about playoff game in history, 48-44, to John Tyler in the 1994 6A semifinals. PE recovered 3 onside kicks in the final 2 minutes and erased a 24-point deficit to take a 44-41 lead, but JT returned a kickoff 97 yards for the winning TD in the final seconds. Phillips said later he wanted to pooch it on final play of the ESPY Award-winning game, but deferred to his coaching staff and kicked deep. Phillips narrowly missed 3 other state titles, losing in the 1985 final and '87 semifinal (penetrations) at Groveton, and to eventual champ Stephenville in the '93 semis (22-21) at Waxahachie. Made playoffs 20 times in his first 23 seasons as head coach, winning district co-championships in 2 of 3 non-playoff years. Over all playoff record including stops at High Island and Plano East was 41-16-1, but 9-year run at Groveton and Waxahachie (1985-93) was a stellar 31-5-1.
JON HEIDTKE, Media: Helped create the University Interscholastic League Corporate Partner program and formed a partnership with the UIL in 1992 to ensure regular coverage of Texas high school sports events. Heidtke received the THSCA Distinguished Service Award in 2007, the highest honor the Texas coaches association awards outside of the coaching profession. Received the Silver Award of Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alliance for Women in Media’s Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate.
Please join us in welcoming the class of 2019 into the Hall of Fame May 4 at 6 p.m. at Baylor University’s Ferrell Center. Please contact Tiffany Wilkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-290-8570 by April 30th to purchase tickets. Adult tickets are $50, students are $15. Reserved tables for 10 can be purchased for $500.
A news conference will be held prior to the banquet at 3:00pm at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.