Guy Ellis

The 1979 football season was a good one for the Grove High School. Like their Ridgerunner counterparts from nearly thirty years forward, the ’79 crew piled up the wins and accolades and ventured far in post-season play.

Kay Lyn Beauchamp was a GHS junior and member of the Ridgerunner twirling team in ’79. Her cousin Kash was a member of the football team.

After graduating from Grove, Beauchamp went onto Oklahoma State University and then to Washington, DC where she interned for former US Congressman Wes Watkins. She graduated from law school at The American University in Washington, DC and has a private practice in Grove today.

Of all the games from that ’79 season it is the season finale at Durant, in the playoff semi-finals, that Beauchamp remembers most.

“The school rented the nice, big buses for everybody and it was an extremely long drive,” said Beauchamp. “It was the coldest game! We played the week after Thanksgiving so it was around the first week of December. It was raining, it was sleeting, and it was so cold! It was bitter cold.”

The weather was especially difficult to cope with in a twirler’s uniform.

“I was wearing a pair of tennis shoes,” Beauchamp continued, “and about five minutes after I got off the bus I lost all feeling in my feet! The football players had all those big heaters but they didn’t have those for the band!”

Looking over the results, that ’79 team could be described as the “Cardiac Kids.” Three games were settled in overtime, one in double sets. Beauchamp recalled the overtime victory against Collinsville in the first round of the playoffs.

“We were tied at the end of regulation and we all knew we were going to win that game because our team knew how to play in overtime,” she said. “And sure enough, we did.”

Just as today, old rivals Jay, Vinita, and Miami were part of the Ridgerunner menu then. Opening the season with a loss to the Wardogs the Grove squad rebounded with a 37-point shutout over Jay, and bested the Hornets by 26-points.

“Oh yeah, they (Jay) were always the big rival,” Beauchamp said.

Beauchamp remembered that the community was fully behind the football team, just as they are today.

“We had really good turnouts for the games,” said Beauchamp. “Some years the stands were pretty full for the first half, and then they’d stay and watch the band and in the second half a lot of people would leave. But that year the stands stayed full all the time!”

As football season grows closer the anticipation and excitement of the next chapter in Ridgerunner gridiron history is building. As summer winds down, and two-a-days start up, the Sports page will continue to occasionally run a “blast from the past.”