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Sun, March 24

Jackson: A former Texas football great’s legacy lives on

Charles Brewer

Charles Brewer

What do four football quarterbacks equate to?

One FULLback!

But enough of the silliness and on to the seriousness, which concerns a family-based football foursome. I’ll focus first on the patriarchal person named Charles Brewer, who lived across the alley from me when we were growing up in the 1940s back in Lubbock, Texas.

Charles, who was a year behind me at Lubbock High, quarterbacked our school to the state championship in 1951, and his exploits earned him the designation as the Outstanding High School Football Player in Texas that year. He went on to toil as the starting quarterback of the Texas Longhorns from 1953 to 1955, and was named to the All-Southwest Conference team in ’53.

Charles’ son, Robert, was the starting quarterback with the Longhorns in the early 1980s, when he earned the title of offensive MVP in the 1982 Cotton Bowl after leading Texas to a 14-12 victory over Alabama. His 30-yard touchdown sprint on a draw play in the fourth quarter clinched the win. (That marked the family’s THIRD victory over a Bear Bryant-coached team, as his dad Charles was at the Longhorns’ helm when Texas prevailed over Bryant’s Texas A&M team in both 1954 and 1955.)

Continuing in the family tradition of “Longhorning,” Robert’s brother-in-law, Rob Moerschell, followed him as Texas’ starting quarterback. And patriarch Charles’ namesake grandson, Charlie, maintained the Brewer family’s college quarterbacking heritage this past season by gaining the signal-calling job with the Baylor Bears in his sophomore year.

Looking back a bit, young Charlie had followed Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, who would go on to garner the 2017 Heisman Trophy, as the signal caller at Lake Travis High School – 20 miles west of Austin – where he posted state and national passing records while leading his team to the 2016 large-school state championship. His 77.4 completion percentage set a national record on the way to passing for 3,908 yards and 54 touchdowns.

Charlie would go on to land the job as the starting quarterback for the Baylor Bears in his sophomore year, and he’s performed in fine style there. He’s played a big hand in fueling the Bears – whose 2017 record was 1-11 – to a 6-6 season this year and was the guiding light in the season-ending game against my Texas Tech Red Raiders in a 35-24 win that earned the Bears bowl eligibility while at the same time denying the Riders the same eligibility “perk.”

And what was Charlie’s contribution for the day? Well, he connected on 22 of 30 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns, and topped it off by running for yet another TD. Sort of a one-man wrecking crew.

Incidentally, the family football history pre-dated our patriarch Charles. You see, preceding him were two older brothers, Robert and George, who were gridders. Robert, the older sibling, attended Texas Tech and played as a freshman running back before leaving to join the Army Air Corps in 1944. He became a tail gunner who subsequently bailed out – along with two other crewmen – after their Flying Fortress was disabled by enemy fire.

The three of them landed safely in an Austrian school yard, where Nazi SS men interrogated them before summarily executing them. George, who was two or three years younger than Robert, went on to play halfback with the Oklahoma Sooners under legendary Coach Bud Wilkinson, where he was also a teammate and friend of Darrell Royal, who eventually also gained legendary status as coach of the Texas Longhorns.

And where now is our patriarch, Charles, who I used to toss a football around with back in the 1940s? (Unlike Charles, I was a lousy football thrower, never mastering how to throw a decent spiral while settling for ridiculous underhanded tosses.

I was a major dud sports-wise.) Well, Charles is leading the good life in the Dallas suburb of Richardson following a 43-year career in banking and his retirement as chairman of the Lone Star Bank in Dallas. His legacy, meanwhile, lives on.

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