Raymond Owen still cheering on Gunter football 80 years later
GUNTER, Texas (KTEN) - Last week Gunter fans felt jubilation as the Tigers won their third state football title in school history.
Fans, players and coaches all celebrated the special moment but nobody at AT&T Stadium that day has connected longer with Gunter football than 99-year old Gunter alum Raymond Owen. Owen was in the crowd to see his Tigers playing on the biggest stage in Texas high school football as he has every time they have won since 2016.
"It was overwhelming," said Owen. "I could not believe it, like I said it was unbelievable. That stadium is something else."
Owen made friends early and often in Arlington while sporting a nod to his playing days in a 1941 Gunter football letterman sweater.
"Wearing this sweater, I got to wear it the first year a lot but I enjoyed it sure," said Owen.
However, getting to wear his blue "G" sweater 75 plus years later was a pleasant surprise.
"I pulled it out of the cedar chest and put it on and went to the first game when they played in Arlington."
Watching Gunter win its first football championship in 2016 was a lot different than football back in the late 1930s into the 1940s.
Before Gunter, farming and picking cotton were what Owen knew best but when he transferred to Gunter his sophomore year from Huckabee High School, it introduced him to the sport that sticks with him to this day.
"My fondest memory was playing football and also picking cotton during the season," said Owen. "Sometimes we would have to miss practice to pick cotton... And downtown was real old-timey."
Gunter has grown since then and current players are likely not missing team picture day like Raymond did during his senior season because he had cotton to pick, but the tightly knit bond that Gunter High School has in town remains the same.
"All the kids all the parents, everybody is always informed," said Gunter assistant athletic director Lance Lemberg. "I just think it's a place where people want to be. I've been doing this for 22 years and can honestly say this is the best place I've been."
"These guys went out and won it," said Gunter head football coach Jake Fieszel after the Tigers' state championship victory. "But I think every single one of you would tell them that they are standing on the shoulder of giants of people that helped them and paved the way for them."
And if Gunter is able to make it to “Jerry World” for a sixth time since 2016, you can bet William Raymond Owen at 100-years young will be in the stands cheering on his Tigers.