Championship Chronicles Part 12: 1955 East Texas State Lions

J.V. Sikes had navigated a tough schedule and pulled out a tie for the LSC Championship during the 1954 season. The Lions of ET were going to face an even tougher year in the 1955 season. The team was top-heavy with many Seniors and many true Freshman that would be playing. It would be as tough as any season would be for Sikes in only his second year.

The ’55 campaign kicked off with the Lions hosting Abilene Christian. The Wildcats came in as tough as ever. The Lions played tough defense but the offense could not generate anything else but one score as they tied the Wildcats 7-7. The season would take a hard turn for the worse when ET traveled to Southwestern Louisiana and were beaten 20-15, which came as a shock to observers. The next week was tougher as a trip to San Antonio yielded a loss to Trinity 35-20. 3 games into the season, and no wins. The team was feeling the same things they had felt the previous year.

Returning to the Blacklands, the Lions notched their first victory, and it was much needed as they beat Lamar 33-7, and also got them a 1-0 record in conference play. The next week was yet another major disappointing setback as Austin College defeated the Lions 12-7.

1955

It was another year of tough battles for LSC Supremacy for the ETSC Lions.

Once again, the Lions had to go back to the drawing board on offense. Sikes was adamant  about running the T, but realized that he was going to have to call more passing than he might want to. He had the man to do it in Bobby Fox. Sikes started to mix up his play calling and the result was a massive turnaround that saved the season.

The campaign for a repeat of the LSC title resumed and the Lions shut out Sam Houston State 21-0 in Huntsville. Returning to Commerce, ET handed Texas A&I a 14-7 loss and then hammered Stephen F. Austin. Undefeated LSC play, all the Lions had to do was win their next two and an outright title would be theirs. However the Southwest Texas State Bobcats, who had lost to Sam Houston the week before showed up inspired and flattened the Lions 27-7. It was the first true defensive collapse of the season, but the best it gave the Bobcats was a tie. ET had one more shot, win in Alpine against Sul Ross, and it was at least another shared title.

Traveling the 600 miles to Alpine, The Lions shut out the Lobos and took home a share of the LSC crown. Despite a 5-4-1 season, Sikes had won when it counted with a 5-1 LSC record. Despite the struggles, Sikes had won two LSC titles and had two winning seasons. It would be enough for now.

Quarterback Bobby Fox and Tackle Dean Hesse were named to All-America team, while Waylon Buchannan was the lone Lion on the LSC first team. Fox was second team LSC along with Hesse and Kenneth Braden.

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