Ed Stark: "The Haileyville Comet"
By John W. Parrish
Ed Stark, sophomore running back from tiny Haileyville, Okla., had a memorable season for the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison in 1933. Stark scored in each of OBU's nine games (6-2-1 record), compiling a total of 16 touchdowns.
Stark, 160-pound left halfback, apparently had sprinter's speed as newspaper accounts referred to him as "the Haileyville comet," "crazy legs," "the Haileyville phantom," and a "crazy legged ball lugging ace."
In the season opener on Sept. 22, OBU defeated Eastern Oklahoma, 39-0, with Stark scoring three touchdowns. He scored one TD from close range and added two additional scores on runs of 16 and 37 yards. He had a non-scoring punt return of 31 yards.
The Bison traveled to Fayetteville where they were spanked by the University of Arkansas, 42-7, on Sept. 30, but Stark scored on a 35-yard run from scrimmage. He also returned a kick off 70 yards from OBU's 10-yard line to Arkansas' 20.
In Shawnee on Oct. 6, Stark again scored three touchdowns as the Bison defeated the Northeastern Redmen, 24-0. Stark scored on a 9-yard run after putting the Bison in scoring position with a 35-yard punt return. Next he took a Northeastern punt 88 yards for a score. After a 30-yard sprint, he scored his third TD from close range.
Friends University visited OBU on October 20, and Stark scored three touchdowns on runs of 3, 5, and 85 yards. The Bison won, 37-6. Through four games, Stark had scored 10 TDs.
The fifth contest of the season was Central Oklahoma's Homecoming game in Edmond on Oct. 28. The Bison were able to defeat their perennial nemesis, 19-0, with Stark scoring one touchdown on a 73-yard run. He also converted an extra point.
On Nov. 11, the Bison traveled to Ada to meet East Central in the Tigers' Homecoming game. The Bison pulled out a 7-6 victory with Stark scoring OBU's points on a 55-yard TD run and the extra-point kick.
The seventh game was OBU's Nov. 18 Homecoming contest versus McPherson, Kan. The Bison won, 19-0, and Stark entertained the alumni with a 98-yard punt return for a TD and a 90-yard kickoff return for a TD. He also added one extra point.
On Nov. 23, OBU played a road game against the Southwestern Bulldogs in Anadarko (instead of Weatherford) as entertainment for a district teachers' conference. The game ended in a 6-6 tie, and Stark scored OBU's only touchdown on a 1-yard run.
The season ended with a 25-18 loss on the road against the Oklahoma City University Goldbugs. Stark had a 65-yard touchdown run before suffering a game-ending injury in the third quarter.
Stark scored a total of 99 (16 TDs and 3 PATs) of OBU's 176 season points. He scored six touchdowns of 10 yards or less; three touchdowns of 10 to 50 yards; and seven touchdowns of more than 50 yards. He scored at least one touchdown in each of OBU's nine games. He scored three TDs in three games, two TDs in one game, and one TD in five games.
This information was obtained from sports reporting in issues of The Shawnee Morning News. Unfortunately, game statistics did not provide Starks' individual rushing or return yardage, so season totals are not available. Nevertheless, it was a remarkable season for the "comet" from Haileyville, a small town located just southeast of McAlester.