Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum

Boyle High School Sports- By Peter Joe

Much of my memories of my high school days were of growing up and playing sports at Boyle High School during the 1950s.  All of my brothers and I played sports during our junior and high school years.   My brothers, Fee and Edward, were star football players during their career playing for Coach Bob Williams – who was a very strict disciplinarian and later became President of the Alumni Association at Mississippi State University.  Walter and I being closer in age played for Coach Bob Hemphill- who had played quarterback and graduated from Delta State University.  I still have a Memphis Commercial Appeals newspaper sports article that talks of about the Mississippi Chinese who played football in the Mississippi Delta during the 1950s.   A picture of my brother, Walter and I in our football uniforms with Coach Hemphill was shown in a full page article along with a picture of George Jee from Ruleville, Ms. and Charlie Chu who played for the Greenville Hornets football team(See photo below).   After graduation, Charlie obtained a football scholarship at Tulane University and I had a football scholarship offer from Delta State (Coach Gene Chadwick) -but opted to attend engineering school at Miss. State instead. Since all my brothers had attended Miss. State, I too was looking forward to attend State to obtain an engineering degree.  However, I was not able to attend college until the spring of 1956 since I was needed to work in my father’s store.  After my brother, Fee returned from the Air Force to help with the store, I was allowed to go to State.  Ultimately, the decision not to play college football but to attend Miss. State and obtain an electrical engineering degree was the right decision for myself since I ended up in Los Angeles to work in the Defense Industry.

Playing sports in high school was probably my most memorable and enjoyable times growing up at Boyle High School.  I was a pretty versatile athlete earning my letters in all 3 sports—football, baseball, and basketball.  In football, I played quarterback and my brother, Walter, was the fullback.  When I was in junior high, Horace McCool (who later became the Delta State Head Football Coach) gave me some lessons on handling the football. At the time, he was playing football for Ole Miss and was home for the summer.  I still remember the first varsity game that I played in when I was in 9th grade. The varsity coach came to our practice and told me that I was being moved up to Varsity and to suit up.  At the time, I was playing on the junior varsity team and weighted only 120 lbs.  Joe Wayne Reed, the starting quarterback on Varsity had gotten injured and I was move up to play the game with Lambert, MS. It was a night game played at Lambert and I remember the nervousness that came over me when I saw how big the football players was on the Lambert team.  In addition, my vision at night was not very good since I was near- sighted and did not wear corrected lenses at the time.  After the first few plays, my nervousness seem to have gone away and I concentrated on executing the plays that was being sent in from the sideline.  That night, I threw 3 touchdown passes to James (Petie) Morgan, our left end__ as we beat Lambert by 21-7. 

One of the highlights playing football was beating Shaw—our archrival, during my junior year.  Boyle had not beat Shaw in the past 9 years although we did tie them during my sophomore year.  The night game was played at Shaw and we scored 2 touchdowns during the first half and were ahead by 1 touchdown during the halftime break (See news article below).  I remember during the halftime break in the locker room, one of our most loyal supporters came into the locker room and offered us money as an incentive to win the game.  He was also tired of losing to Shaw for all those years and was trying to encourage us to win.  We won the game by 1 touchdown, although we had to have a goal line stand in the last quarter to keep Shaw from scoring.  I also remembered that my best buddy, Bern Prewitt, who became Bolivar County Supervisor, broke his finger on the last play stopping Shaw from scoring.  That game today is still remembered by Boyle football fans as the legendary game of the fifties.