Royal Flush

Sullivan’s aerial circus offensive attack not only captivated fans and short circuited scoreboards, it also produced all American quarterbacks. In 1960, Billy Coleman became the first of Sullivan’s quarterbacks to garner all American honors. Don Edwards did the same in 61 and Lester Smith continued the streak in 62. as just a freshman in 1963. Bill Buckner became the fourth quarterback in his many years to reach all American status while piloting scuba’s offense. With Buckner returning as a preseason, all-American, Southern troops began the 1964 campaign as the number one ranked team in the country, and the heavy favourites to punch a ticket to the coveted junior college Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. However, before Sullivan could play for a national championship, he would first have to run the unforgiving gauntlet of the Mississippi Junior College League. This minefield of a schedule included a week eight showdown with the bob Katz of Jones County, a game that would ultimately live in infamy.

 

Robert Morgan 

And the fall of 64. We’re playing Jones there, they’re a very good team. We’re very good team.

 

Carles McComb 

The game we were both, I think, seven and know what the time

 

Robert Morgan 

we was like top one or two in the nation. And they were up there, pretty close to us.

 

Bulldog Coggins 

And we won this game Coach Sullivan, and he told us, he said, we win this game, we’re going to the National Junior College role, both in California. And he was right. He was right. We were going, we were the first team that he had had an opportunity to do that.

 

Robert Morgan 

Preparation was serious.  Preparation was do or die, you know, type situation

 

Bulldog Coggins 

and all practices. I think we’re closed to the public that week. We weren’t allowed really to mingle with other people, even students that week.

 

Bill Buckner 

And they were a lot of articles in Meridian star about me being an all American and building up this game with Jones and, and I didn’t read the newspaper. You know, if I heard something about it was through our PR guy, Langston Rogers, that I didn’t keep up with all he had I was just enjoying playing and going to school there.

 

Carles McComb 

I don’t know what happened but there was some talk or whatever that Jones might be going to go after Buckner because Buckner was our football team.

 

Bill Buckner 

He never was really tough on me. Until the week the Jones ballgame,

 

Bulldog Coggins 

man, he stayed on him like a dog. He called any name that you can think of

 

Bill Buckner 

that week, Coach said, I’ve been reading the press clippings too much. And I’d gotten a big head. So I think I made maybe a mistake there in practice and he took me off starting quarterback and put another guy in and in at that particular time, you know, I got upset about it. That was the only time I ever thought about leaving scuba,

 

Bulldog Coggins 

I go up to Butler’s room by the end of the week one night and we were sitting there talking, and BIA was seriously thinking about quitting, matter of fact, I won’t say he had his suitcase out because Coach Sullivan walks in the room. He walks in the room and he goes over and sits by Butner on the bed. And after Coach Sullivan left, bill started unpacking his stuff,

 

Bill Buckner 

As I look back on it. That was coach getting me ready to peak for that ball game. That whole week. The intensity for me and my focus on that game. I had never been so ready to play.

 

Bulldog Coggins 

He said we’re going to score on this first play. He said this is what we want to do button if they enter this you audible and I think it might have been George Bevin said he’ll be wide open down here and sure enough we scored on the first playable game, put the cut the clock we had him seven to nothing for the cut the clock on good.

 

Bill Buckner 

The next series we held him, the next series. We got the ball. And I think I completed one pass and then drop back.

 

Charlie Temkovits 

We were in control of the game. No doubt we will go and probably go undefeated and win that ballgame.

 

Bill Buckner 

And one of the things that Coach Sullivan and drilled quarterbacks on was if your receivers were closed, covered, throw the ball out of bounds. Don’t get caught and lose yardage. And don’t run the ball.

 

Bulldog Coggins 

If you say you’re going to get tackled just fall to the ground, just fall to the ground, don’t get hit,

 

Bill Buckner 

every receiver is covered in the middle just opened up. And my thought was I’m going to run, get a first down and I’ll drop down on the ground and when I ran, I got hit by another player that held me up and would let me go to the ground. I don’t know what happened. But it didn’t have a face mask. And I got hit

 

Bulldog Coggins 

Buckner came up ran to the sideline and Coach Sullivan was really getting to run into football.

 

Bill Buckner 

And I run my tongue across my job bone here and there were no teeth from here to here. And and I’m thinking man, I lost all my teeth. I mean, I didn’t even have a cavity. I just got up, walked off the sideline and toward Coach Sullivan and, yeah, got blood on my jersey and and I said a mumble to him. I think I broke my jaw. And, and he was quick to say, you damn idiot. I told you not to run the football

 

Carles McComb 

Buckner opened his mouth to say something what he did. Blood just gushed out and Coach Sullivan grabbed him and then Joe and said Close your mouth, close your mouth and

 

Bulldog Coggins 

I said Ouhh ohhh, we’re in trouble,

 

Carles McComb 

because he knew it was a weird thing was just Coach Sullivan, you should have seen the expression on his face and

 

Charlie Temkovits 

we didn’t even have a backup quarterback. Because Butner took all the snaps in practice. He ran a passing game, he ran the seven on seven, he did everything. So we didn’t know at that time who Dorian Put back in quarterback. It was just somebody we put back at it that had been a quarterback. But he really had never even taken a snap in practice.

 

Louie Spinks 

they were safe, if we’ve had a face mask and made a difference with it probably wouldn’t have because I think he hit up under

 

Charlie Temkovits 

but without Buttner, we were just lost just lost.

 

Louie Spinks 

Aragorn out of blooms way. That’s kind of way we played the game. And no doubt about it. He was our meal ticket.

 

Bill Buckner 

He thought that I’d be able to come back and finish the game but they took me to rush hospital and it took about three days for all the swelling to go down before they could even wire me up and operate to put my jaw back in place.

 

Colbert Jones 

Bull was really concerned he was concerned about his player and about his team and he put the light kind of went out of his eyes too because he knew he’d lost his star player and he knew what it had done psychologically to him team.

 

Bill Buckner 

A lot of people came to see me they are in the hospital at Rush hospital and had flowers all around the room. I went to sleep when I woke up and I thought I died because it looked like a funeral or something they there were so many flowers and cards started coming in. But there were a lot of people in the room and in walks code. So and remember I miss guy. He is massive. I mean, he’s six, five, close to 300 pounds. He walks in. He never says a word to anybody. He’s got a bouquet of flowers. And he’s and and so everybody just kind of backs up. And he goes and stands at the end of my bed. And just look. He didn’t say Hello, I’m sorry you got hurt, or are we praying for you or anything? He’s just standing there with those flowers. He stood there it seemed like 10 minutes. I’m sure it was probably two minutes. But it seemed like a long time. And then he handed the flowers to one of my family members turn around, walk down and never said one more

 

Carles McComb 

Coach Sullivan was tough on Bill but he loved Bill. He really thought a lot of him

 

Bill Buckner 

but I think that was his way of saying I’m sorry it happened. I wish you the best and and that was just his presence there that said that to me.

 

Bulldog Coggins 

Of course Bill was at rest of the year and we ended up losing that game and we lost another game. And of course we didn’t get to get to make it to the national Rose of junior college. But it was a it was a sad sad night. That Jones game