In the great tradition that is Texas A&M-Commerce Lion Football, there are roughly 4-5 teams that can compete with the title “Best Team in School History.” This next team is one of those teams, the 1934 East Texas State Lions.
Headed into the 1934 season, the Lions had high hopes for another championship season, but nothing would prepare them for the amazing season that would transpire. The Lions had much of their defense coming back that had shut out 5 of the 8 opponents that they had played the previous year, but this year, the offense would be a much better unit, and what beautiful fruits that combination provided.
The 1934 squad opened the season by heading out to Louisiana to face Northwestern Louisiana State and promptly shutting them out 14-0. Then, the Lions hosted 3 straight home games at Old College Field, and the result were 3 more shut-outs. 32-0 over Stephen F. Austin, a 19-0 win over McMurray, avenging a loss the Indians had handed the Lions the previous year, and a hard fought and hard hitting 6-0 win over Sam Houston State that saw two Bearkats leave the field with a broken arm and another with three teeth knocked out in addition to a broken foot. (Hat Tip, ETSU Historical Society on those Details).
The season continued to feature an improved offense but an almost impossible defense to score against. The Lions took their D down to San Antonio and shut out Trinity, then avenged their other loss of the previous season but shutting out Red River Rival Southeastern Oklahoma in Durant 12-0. The final two games were by far the toughest. The Eagles of North Texas State took the trek to Commerce and once again were downed by a hard hitting Lion defense 6-0. The season finale was completely for pride, the Lions had already clinched the conference title but had a tall order against a very tough Southwest Texas State team in San Marcos. The unthinkable happened 5 minutes into the game, the Bobcats scored, the first points scored against the Lions all season, and the only points that would be scored. Rollin’s defense did not let the Bobcats cross midfield the rest of the way and the powerful T-Formation of Old ET put up 2 scores, one to tie at the end of the first half, and another to cement the game in latter part of the second half. The final gun sounded and the Dandy Lions had won 12-6.
A perfect season, something only one other ET team has accomplished and a dominant performance. The Lions outscored their opponents 116-6 that season. The points per game average against that Lion Defense was 0.75 points per game. An 8-0 record with seven recorded shutouts. If this team was not the greatest ever, then perhaps this is the greatest defense in program history strictly based on accomplishments.
7 Lions grabbed first team All-Conference honors. Quarterback R.A. Hitt, Offensive Guard Marvin Coffey, Center Clovis Etheridge, Offensive Guard Bob Killingsworth, Offensive Tackle Steven Matthews, Defensive End Sidney Wright, and Halfback Guy Stevens. The team also put 3 Lions on the conference second team, Defensive End Earl Coles, Halfback J.W. Martin, and Tackle O’Dell Sikes.