And Now You Know: Tigers win First District Championship
Published 1:01 am Saturday, November 27, 2021
Orange High School put its first football team on the field in 1909. From the time that district competition was formed, Orange had been trying to win a district championship. It finally happened in 1936.
On November 6, 1936, the Orange High School Tigers played the Nederland Bulldogs in the first of three games to determine the championship of District 33 B.
The week before this game the Tigers had won a game by the largest margin of the season when they defeated the Port Neches Indians by a score of 62-0.
That same night the Beaumont French High School Buffaloes met Woodville High School and defeated that team 41-6. This game was the only game that French had been scored on.
The Tigers and the Buffaloes were strong teams, French was the favorite to win the championship. The Tigers were expected to give as good as they were getting. The game was expected to be a sellout.
The game was played at Howell Stadium in Orange before a crowd estimated at 3,000 fans.
Orange defeated the Buffaloes by a score of 31-9 which was the worst defeat that the French High School team had suffered in three years. The Tigers had made 20 first downs compared to three by the Buffaloes.
On Wednesday, November 11, The Tigers met the Nederland Bulldogs. The game was again held in Howell stadium in Orange, once again with a sellout crowd in attendance.
Nederland outplayed Orange for the first half. By the end of the second half, Orange had reversed the situation and outplayed Nederland, winning by a score of 14-0. Nederland had made seven first downs, Orange had made 17. The comeback was the strongest ever made by a Tiger team.
On Friday November 13, their third game in a week, the Tigers played the Saratoga Gators for the game to determine the district champions. Orange defeated the Gators 14-9 in a hard fought game. Orange had made eight first downs to only one by Saratoga. Winning this game had given the Orange High School Tigers their first ever district championship.
Before this three game series, in regular district play, Orange had scored 161 points. Their five opponents had not scored any points on the Tigers.
In 1929, coached by Lewis Gay, the Tigers had an undefeated season, but due to difficulties in getting the schedule completed the game against the Beaumont South Park Greenies was counted against the Tigers. A group of district officials gave the district title to Liberty.
The Orange Leader wrote of the 1936 championship game: “The Tigers, coached by Ralph R. Gay, declared to be one of the smartest and cleverest mentors in the entire South part of Texas, never even gave their opponents a chance to get within their own 10 yard line. Nederland was the only team played this season that got within the 20 yard line, and Nederland did not stay their long.
This was the first district championship that was won by Orange High School, and later Lutcher Stark High School. There would be others in the history of the school, including the season that the Tigers made a great run at the state championship advancing to the semi-final game in the fall of 1962.
“And now you know.”