LUSK – Lusk High School Head coach Floyd Hart was in the middle of six straight winning seasons for the Tigers. But his 1951 squad would have to replace 10 of 11 offensive starters, many of whom were also defensive stalwarts.
After a scrimmage against Provo, S.D., the Tigers opened the regular season on the newly-sodded field east of the swimming pool. Chadron Prep visited Lusk for the first game and couldn’t keep up with Lusk’s hard brand of football. Phil Brewster and Fred Reckling scored touchdowns and Melvin Andrews was credited with a safety as LHS won 14-0.
Always tough Torrington was next on the schedule and Lusk held a 13-12 lead in the fourth quarter, behind a pair of touchdown runs from Brewster. However, the home team scored twice in the final minutes as they wore down the Tigers in the 24-13 final score.
LHS went to Crawford, Neb., and despite the fact they were outplayed by the Rams in every facet of the game, eked out a one point win. Brewster was the workhorse again and scored the only touchdown and Martin Strube’s kick was enough for the 7-6 win.
The Provo Rattlers came to Lusk and it took a fumble recovery in the waning minutes for the Tigers to escape with a 13-13 tie. Bob Boner fell on the loose pigskin in the endzone, but the winning kick was blocked.
A big 40-14 win over Sundance started a four game winning streak for the Tigers. Brewster scored four touchdowns and everyone in uniform got into the game.
The Tigers’ Homecoming opponent was undefeated Wheatland, and the Bulldogs were ranked among the best teams in the state. Brewster opened the scoring with a 51 yard touchdown run while Frank Smith’s extra point kick was good, and Wheatland was behind for the first time all season. Reckling and Smith connected for a touchdown and the Tigers led 14-0 at halftime. The Bulldogs cut the lead in half but Brewster scored again in the 21-7 upset.
LHS spoiled Midwest’s Homecoming by a 26-13 score. The Oiler’s T formation gave the defense fits in a 6-6 first half. The entire picture completely changed for the better for Lusk in the second half, with three straight touchdowns before the home team scored in the final minute.
On an icy and windswept field at Warren Bowl in Cheyenne, the Tigers held off a late rally from St. Mary’s to win their sixth game of the season. Lusk led 19-0 after three quarters but the Gaels rally came up short in the 19-12 final score. Smith, Strube and John DeGering were noted as defensive standouts in another road Homecoming win for the Tigers.
The Tigers wrapped up the season at Douglas and a spirited Bearcat squad took a 20-0 lead. It was three big plays that overwhelmed Lusk. The 20-6 loss put LHS into a tie for second place in the conference and 6-2-1 on the season.
Most of the 13 seniors on the 1951 team were role players as juniors, but made great strides as the team overachieved by some accounts. Several underclassmen played key roles and expectations should be high for next season. Where their legacy ends up is unknown, but there is no doubt this was one of the toughest Lusk football teams.
(Writer’s note: This article was written with the assistance of The Stat Rat, Wyoming-football.com and The Lusk Herald archives.)