An Unbelievable Football Season – Reitz Was Undefeated and Unscored on in 1961
The 2019 high school season is long gone and the college and NFL seasons are close to determining champions. And I am sitting here remembering glory days of years ago and the undefeated high school team I played on in 1960 in my home town of Paintsville, Kentucky. As impressive as it was at the time, it was nothing compared to the seasons that Evansville Reitz turned in in 1960 and '61.
The Reitz Panthers went undefeated in 1960 and undefeated AND UNSCORED ON in 1961. It's impossible until you do it. Look at this Reitz 1961 season:
|Sep. 8||Crawfordsville||W 53-0|
|Sep. 16||Muncie Central||W 66-0|
|Sep. 22||Mater Dei||W 42-0|
|Sep. 30||@ New Albany||W 26-0|
|Oct. 13||@ Central||W 21-0|
|Oct. 21||Bloomington||W 46-0|
|Oct. 27||@ North||W 26-0|
|Nov. 4||Memorial||W 33-0|
|Nov. 10||Bosse||W 55-0|
No one crossed the Panthers' goal in 1961. No one scored a field goal. No safeties-no nothing.
That's coach Herman Byers riding the shoulders of his team. He was in his 20th season in 1961 at Reitz. He was Coach of the Year that year and most of his team made All -State first team including: Jerry Fendrich, Don Hansen (future Atlanta Falcons linebacker), Doug Harp, Charles Orth, and Tom Reasor. Almost every other starter got some award.
There were undefeated and unscored high school teams in Michigan and Wisconsin in the distant past and one college team - the 1933 Depauw Tigers. They were also the last college with that honor. Will it ever happen again in Indiana high school football? Probably not.
Could my high school team of 1960 have scored on the Reitz 1961 team? We did have Kentucky's best high school player that year. Mike Minix was a High School All American and first team All State halfback for us. I don't know if we could have scored, but it would have been fun. I would like to challenge the '61 Panthers. You guys round up all the 75 year old guys that are still with us and I'll get my 75 year old guys together and we'll play a game. I'll bring the X-box.
We've had some requests to show the entire team photo.It was a LARGE team! Here are the left and right sides of the photo that were clipped in the original picture :