'A heck of a gathering'

Return of Friday Night Football celebrated at Bruner Community Pep rally

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Early Longhorn cheerleaders were area cheer squads who performed routines at the Bruner Community Pep Rally Friday at the Bruner Auto Group.

Late on a warm, noisy Friday afternoon, community members from throughout  Brown County made it clear: they’e ready for some Friday Nigh football.

A large, festive crowd turned out for the Bruner Auto Group for the Bruner Community Pep Rally, which featured players and coaches from most of the Brown County teams, cheerleaders, the Early Belles and bands from Brownwood and Early high schools.

“This is a pretty awesome event, to have this many people come out to get ready for football,” Early head coach Daniel Price said.

The Brownwood and Early bands took turns playing their schools' fight songs and other high-energy tunes.

Early police officer Tasha Tabias spoke at the pep rally and told of several fundraising events to assist fellow officer Sgt. Andres Contrares, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

Events include an Aug. 27  brisket lunch, for $13 a plate, beginning at 11 a.m. in the Early Police Department parking lot.

Later Friday evening, Kyler Dean and Chris Colston performed in concerts at the Bruno Auto Group as part of Visit Early’s summer concert series.

The Bruner Auto Group first hosted a community pep rally in August 2019. After an absence last August because of COVID, the pep rally returned this year.

“Wow, what an awesome deal,” Bruner Auto Group president Greg Bruner said.  “Thank you to all of our teachers, our leaders. You’re doing a fantastic job.”

Bruner also announced a $5,000 check is being presented to area schools on behalf of the Chevrolet Motor Division. An oversized replica of a Bruner Auto Family check bore Bruner’s signature.

Emcee Carl Wayne introduced the head coaches from Brownwood, Early, Bangs, Blanket, May and Brookesmith, who in turn introduced their players and offered a few remarks about their upcoming seasons.

“It’s a heck of a gathering tonight,” May head coach Craig Steele said, noting his team has been working “extremely hard this year.”

Howard Payne University head coach Jason Bachtel talked briefly about the HPU football program, and said any players who think they can play for HPU after their high school careers should give him a call.

Bachtel and Brownwood coach Sammy Burnett paid tribute to Dallas Huston, who announced his retirement earlier this year from the broadcast booth.

“Anybody in Brown County knows the name Dallas Huston,” Bachtel said. “If you’re a Brownwood Lion, you know that for 60-plus years he has been the voice of the Brownwood Lions and the Howard Payne University.”

Burnett said, “I’m 52 years old. Dallas Huston has been doing it for over 55 years, and he finally retired this year. Great man … a very special man to us.”

Burnett told the story of a man he knows who went to school in Bangs. “As a young man, he always wanted Dallas Huston to call his name out on the radio,” Burnett said. Burnett said the man told him, “I always had the dream of  Dallas Huston calling my name, but never had that happen.”

Last season, the man heard the name of his son — who played quarterback for Lampasas — called by Huston.

“That’s the impact the man’s made on many people,” Burnett said. Dallas — we’re praying for you, man. We love you. We’re family. God is good and he’s with you. He’s with all of us.”