Sam Houston 13, Stephen F. Austin 6
In the late 1930s the "Battle of the Piney Woods" had become a Thanksgiving Day event. When the Lumberjacks visited Huntsville for the Turkey Day festivities, Sam Houston was seeking to post its highest single season victory total since the 1930 TIAA championship season.
Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin both had been charter members of the Lone Star Conference formed on April 25, 1931. With a victory over the Jacks on Thanksgiving Day 1938 Sam Houston would assure itself of an 8-2 season and a runner-up finish in the league.
A large crowd again filled the bleachers around the gridiron and Turkey-Day spirit was manifest.
"The Lumberjack band marched out on the field (at halftime) and formed a neat outline of the Pilgrim ship 'Mayflower'," the Alcalde reported. "The ship formation was broken with 'Anchors Away' and the Bearkat Band next exhibited a series of complex marching formations that brought a big hand from the crowd."
The football game was a thriller.
"The weather alone wasn't responsible for the frequent fits of shivering that possessed the big holiday throng," the Alcalde said. "A part of this was due to the persistent and dangerous thrusts at the Bearkat goal by the jolting Jacks."
The Ramsey brothers, Bud and Donence "saved the day for the locals on numerous occasions by eeling through the opposing wall to spear the Lumberjack backs for damaging losses."
Lavon Gifford scored to give Sam Houston a 6-0 lead after a long drive in the second quarter.
Stephen F. Austin's lone touchdown came on a 40-yard interception return. D. T. Bailey picked off the errant pass, then "lateraled to Bob McGraw who sidestepped several Kats and reached pay dirt on the play." The Jacks failed to convert the extra point.
Jimmy Hair passed to J. C. Wells for the winning touchdown in the third quarter and the Bearkat defense held SFA scoreless the rest of the contest.
Team co-captain Jim DiIorio, Sonny Lindley, Clarke Tippen, Tiny Estilinbaum, Swede Hill and Kenneth Wainscott also were praised by the Alcalde reporter for their outstanding play.
The victory ended the 1938 season with a 8-2 record for Sam Houston and a runner-up Lone State Conference finish, the Bearkats' best LSC season in their first seven years in the league. Hair, DiIlorio and Lindley were named All-Lone Star Conference at season's end.
Hair, who threw the winning touchdown pass, was inducted into the Sam Houston Athletic Hall of Honor last December. A bomber pilot in World War II, Hair was killed in action over Sicily in the war.
The next chapter in the "Battle of the Piney Woods" football rivalry sees Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin battle at Reliant Stadium in Houston Oct. 6 at 3 p.m.
Crowds of more than 25,000 have packed the lower bowl at Reliant each of the past two years and tickets are going fast.
Battle of the Piney Woods Tickets are now on sale through the university's athletic website. Fans also can purchase tickets at the Sam Houston athletic ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House in the south end zone at Bowers Stadium or by calling ticket office at (936) 294-1729.