Former players will commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the only undefeated season in Christ School football history (8-0) this weekend.
The Greenies play their annual rivalry game at Asheville School on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Special thanks to Christ School alum Yorke Pharr for this recap of the 1965 game between the two Buncombe County private schools:
Christ School vs. Asheville School, November 13, 1965
by Yorke Pharr ‘66
It is amazing how 50 years can actually improve a very special event. I remember a saying, “In life, perfection lives true only in our faith and memories.” Perfect was the word for the day of the Christ School – Asheville School football game on Fayssoux Field in the fall of 1965. The Greenies had won all seven games on their schedule with five shutouts and had only allowed 13 points while scoring 197. Among the wins were Christ School’s first ever win over Charlotte Country Day (9-1) – their only loss; three wins against local high schools; Webb School in Knoxville; Patterson; and Blue Ridge School with its post-grad players.
The Asheville School Blues had a good team in 1965 with a winning record, and of course, this was the special game for both teams. A record crowd of over 2,000 lined the sidelines to see if this was the first Christ School team that could complete a perfect season in their 50 years of football. Christ School’s head coach, the beloved grandfatherly “Fessor,” had been the school’s first quarterback in 1915 before going off to WWI and returning to Christ School in 1920 where he would coach for the next 46 years.
The Greenies suffered a huge loss on the opening kickoff as senior Larry Knight the starting quarterback and top defensive back went down with a serious ankle injury. The Blues and their scrambling quarterback, Bob Crawford, used a radical shotgun formation and passed on nearly every down, taking advantage of Christ School’s weakened secondary. At halftime, the Blues held an 18-14 lead over the much-favored and still-undefeated Greenies.
Halftime offered a brief chance for the Christ School team to have some serious ‘soul-searching’ and encouragement from coaches and alumni – especially Craig Wardlaw ’62. The Greenies took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove the field in a deliberate fashion ending in a score and a 21-18 lead.
Defense and turnovers dominated much of the final two quarters until the last few minutes when the Blues put together a final drive. Then with 23 seconds remaining, 6th year student and senior, Larry Miller, intercepted a slightly underthrown Bob Crawford pass in the end zone and ran it out to the 12 yard line to preserve the perfect season on that perfect day.
Joy was everywhere on the Christ School sideline. The Angelus Bell was ringing, campus dogs barking, hugs, tears, and athletic tension ebbing away when the season-long goal and 50 year dream had been delivered for so many in a perfect and dramatic finish.
Extra Points – Facts about the 1965 season:
• The Friday before the game, the Asheville Citizen ran a large picture of Coach Fayssoux holding his leather strap helmet he had worn in 1915 with his grandson, Rick Fayssoux, and members of the ’65 team.
• Ten seniors had spent five or six years as students entering Christ School as 2nd formers (8th grade): Aderholt, Barrett, Hatcher, Sneed, Squires, and Wyman. Larry Miller and Charlie Hendricks had six years of experience having enrolled as 7th graders.
• Christ School’s football team was ranked 3rd in final season poll of all high school teams in Western North Carolina.
• With no reliable PAT kicker, Christ School ran or passed for all extra points – making 26 out of 33. Fullback Pharr was most productive scoring 19 out of 20 attempts.
• Junior John Hine 5’6” and 130 lbs. reliably filled in for the entire Asheville School game for injured senior Larry Knight. On the final play of the game, John faked an injury to force the Blues to stay on the field of defeat for ‘just a bit longer.’
• Charlotte Country Day had one of their school’s very best teams in 1965 led by the coach’s son and eventual team member at UNC – Sam Cook. The three games before playing Christ School, they were #1 in the Charlotte area offensively, averaging over 550 yards per game. Christ School held them to a game total of 83 yards on their home field.
• Christ School continued their winning streak going 20 games without a defeat. The 1966 team did tie with Asheville School in the final game of that season. Webb broke the record-winning run in the fifth game of 1967.
CS 28 Patterson 0
CS 28 Rosman High School 0
CS 12 CCD 6
CS 33 Marshall High School 0
CS 28 Webb School 0
CS 28 Clyde High School 0
CS 40 Blue Ridge 0
CS 21 Asheville School 18
CS 218 opponents 31