100 Years of Cuero Football exhibit
Cuero High School Football EXHIBIT
Cuero Heritage Museum
124 E. Church St.
4-6:30 p.m. Friday
CUERO - Mike Weber has to be prodded to point out an old black and white photo of a player cradling a ball.
"I got to play some as a senior," Weber embarrassingly says.
Weber's modesty aside, Gobbler football means the world to him, and the evidence is on display at the Cuero Heritage Museum.
The museum is celebrating 100 years of Cuero High School football, and the second exhibit, which includes the years 1942 to 1971, opens Friday before the Gobblers' homecoming game against Poteet.
"It was Mike's vision," says Liz Heiser, a consultant for the museum who helped Weber make the exhibit come to fruition. "His father played football, he played football, his kids, his grandkids and he is a dedicated Gobbler football fan."
Weber and Heiser went through old yearbooks and newspapers, and collected memorabilia wherever they find it. He also raised almost $10,000 to fund the exhibit.
"It really wasn't as hard as you think," says Heiser, who notes the Turkey Trot exhibit had to be moved to make room for the football display. "It was just going out and getting the materials. We made a list of things he had to go out and find. He really had to go out in the community and ask for it."
Cuero's winning tradition was born during the "glory years" of 1973 to 1975 when the Gobblers won 44 straight games, advanced to three consecutive state finals and won two state championships.
But the seeds of Cuero's success were sown long before integration arrived in 1965.
"I think the Daule story has a lot to do with the overall success because they did early on have great coaching," says Weber of the black high school in Cuero, which was originally known as the Black Gobblers before becoming the Rams. "They won football games against much larger schools and it wasn't easy. They had to play with hand-me-down equipment. One story I got from one of the older Daule players is they went to games on a flatbed truck instead of a school bus. When it rained, they had to have tarps to keep from getting cold."
Weber remembers going to Gobbler Stadium to watch Dahle play.
"They had good teams and good coaching and played a wide-open, exciting style of football," Weber says. "They had a lot of fan base and actually a lot of people would come out and watch them play and enjoy their band. On Saturday night, you would see people from all over the area watching Dahle play."
Cuero made its first state final appearance in 1970, one year after Buster Gilbreth took over as head coach.
"When Buster came all that had gone on before came together," Weber says. "He was a genius at getting it together and the championships really piled up."
The exhibit includes the winning and the losing seasons, dating back to 1912 when the first Cuero team went 0-2 losing to Beeville and Yoakum.
One of Weber's favorites is a plaque detailing the 1942 district championship team coached by C.E. Padgett.
Padgett took over for Eddie Shinn. who left to coach at Victoria Patti Welder, a team the Gobblers defeated 20-0.
"This a very tight-knit community," Heiser says. "They really rally around their high school and the football program and any sports. It's a long-running tradition. People support their Gobblers and there are generations and families that have played football."
Weber's work has drawn the attention of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, which includes Cuero items in its Texas High School Football More Than A Game exhibit.
The exhibit has also brought to life history much closer to home.
"To look back and find a great uncle that played in 1912," Weber says. "I knew my daddy played in '22 and '23 and I played and my sons Cliff and Richard both played.
"There are generations like that. I think high school football is a great unifier. I think that's what we really need in this day and time."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361- 580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.