SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – High School reunions are perfect to catch up with old friends, but for the Sweetwater High School’s class of 1985 football team, their reunion had been decades in the making.
To celebrate the unveiling of a monument honoring the 1985 state football championship, the former football team traveled from near and far to the Mustang Bowl. Head coach at that time, W.T. Stapler, said being back brought many memories.
“I consider Sweetwater my home. The greatest years of my life were spent here in this community with this group of people,” said Stapler.
Feeling honored, the monument now has a permanent home at a stadium where the team would spend hours. The team said they’re thankful for the Sweetwater and Nolan County chambers of commerce, and everyone involved in the past year to make it happen.
“[It’s] A beautiful monument in the most beautiful stadium in the state. Put it here and a permanent type of deal, so it will be here forever,” Stapler gleamed.
Former football player, Mike Welch, told KTAB/KRBC he now lives in the DFW area, but visits Sweetwater often. Every time he’s in town, he thinks about the pride the city has when it comes to football.
“I really miss having the one high school town where the whole community is behind you, and the support we got during our playoff run was unbelievable,” shared Welch.
Welch said he has kept up with some of his teammates, but for the ones he lost touch with it was funny trying to figure out who was who after all that time.
“I had one of my teammates say he wasn’t sure if that was me or my dad when he saw me,” Welch volunteered.
Danny Escobar remembered being out on the field and enjoying the bus rides back home after a game, but seeing the team was like a flashback to high school.
“To see these guys, it was like a dream come true just because we were such a close group,” recalled Escobar.
Before the team, Escobar said Coach Stapler was someone they looked up to.
“You know, a lot of the guys, you know, address him as the guy who showed us what life is about and what hard work is about,” Escobar said.
Although these men are all in their 50s, to Coach Stapler, they will always be kids.
“Here they are, older than I was when I won the state championship here,” gushed Stapler. “They are here now and I’m calling them kids.”
20 football players of the 1985 state championship team were in attendance, in addition to other Sweetwater High School alumni.