The Slone events were having repercussions throughout East Texas, though not much further.
The coin gave the winner to Slone, who chose to receive. Deep down it didn’t matter, but the Slone coach wanted to prevent the other team from scoring seven points right off the bat. He took his attackers out onto the field. The Wolves lined up to serve: ten black boys and one white to serve. At the blast of the whistle, the player closest to the ball jerked forward and caught it. It was a movement that no one had ever seen, and for a few seconds everyone was taken aback. Then the ten black members of the serving team took off their helmets and left them on the grass. The referees whistled, the coaches yelled, and for a few moments the confusion was total. The other Longview players promptly took to the field, throwing away their helmets and jerseys. The Slone players on the field fell back in disbelief. The game was over before it started.
The black players formed a tight circle and sat together in midfield, like a modern version of a sit-in. The arbitration team -four whites and two blacks- met for a moment, without losing their calm. None of the six volunteered to try to catch the ball. The Longview coach approached the midfield.
“Game over, Coach,” said Number 71, a 150-pound tackle and co-captain.
The coach kicked the grass, weighing his options. It was clear that the situation would not change, or would not change soon.
– Well, for you to understand what you are doing, it means that we will have to surrender, which takes us out of the finals, and we will probably receive some kind of sanction. Is that what you want?
The coach threw his hands up, left the field and sat on the bench. Slone’s coach called his players off the field. The white players watched the blacks from both sides. The field was strewn with green Wolf T-shirts and helmets. The referee team withdrew to observe an area in the background. For them the day was over.
The situation took a few minutes to assimilate. Then on the Longview side, a backup white fullback walked onto the field, removed his helmet and jersey, and took a seat at the forty-yard line, close to his black teammates. L