With the 2021 Texas High School Football season behind us, another slate of champions has been crowned. While it was quite honestly a rough season locally, a pair of legendary local teams reached a significant anniversary this year. Dayton’s two teams were crowned champions in 1931 and ten years later in 1941, way back when they still spelled Bronchos with an h.
Those two Broncho teams competed in a smaller level at the time, but both teams would go on to win the Regional Championship in their respective class.
1931 Dayton Bronchos 90th Anniversary
By Robert White – 1968 Bronco Beat Sports Reporter
Yes, it was 1931 when Dayton won its first “Total” Championship.
It was Class B Football, Dayton not having the students for “5A.” But the glory was then and is unmatched still. The 1931 Bronchos were undefeated, as “The Thin Purple Line” won all of the District, Bi-District, and Regional titles.
The first Dayton team to win any of these is the top of the heap.
The championship was held in East Texas. A special train was chartered for Crockett, TX, to play the Bulldogs.
Davey wasn’t on the Crockett team, having given his full pleasure of devotion in 1836.
A blocked punt by Howard “Big” Ham and the explosive running of E.B. White and Harold Barkley lead the way to a 27 to 6 victory.
While few can remember this today, The Daytonite and Baytown Sun still hold the story.
1941 Dayton Bronchos 80th Anniversary
By Russell Payne
A decade later, the Bronchos had reloaded under the leadership of famed local coach C.E. “Red” Donaho; the boys in purple and white had just opened a brand new stadium, the same site the Broncos play today. The Dayton team was led by senior Co-Captain Barney C. Payne at tailback, J.D. Holbrook at wingback, Allen Smith at fullback, Herman Ripkowski, and Calvin Hlavaty, to name a few.
That December was an eventful one around the world, as the Bronchos playoff run was like bookends to the tragic events of Pearl Harbor. In fact, some of the local standouts were said to have tried to join the military instead of play for the Regional Title.
None, the less the Bronchos would make it to that title game and faceoff against the Jasper Bulldogs. In the end, Payne would put up a dream game for anyone, taking back the opening kickoff 85 yards for his first of five scores that day. Payne scored all 32 of the Bronchos points in a 32-7 victory over Jasper.
The entire season was recorded in-depth in the pages of The Vindicator, as the Bronchos finished 8-3 with Dayton’s second and only other, “Total” Championship.
Side Note: The 1951 Bronchos led by Glen Pruitt were poised to make another run at the title, with a record of 9-0-1, but since only one team made the playoffs back then, they, unfortunately, fell victim to a coinflip after tying Tomball in the season finale and missed the postseason