W.T. Farrow

W.T. Farrow

W.T. Farrow’s ancestors left their mark on Lexington when they were among the first settlers staking a homestead east of the present-day Cleveland County town during the 1889 land run.

Now Farrow himself is making his mark on the town as the unofficial Lexington High School football team historian.

W.T. stands for William Thomas – he’s named after both grandfathers – and his association with the Bulldogs football program goes back to 1987. His role as self-appointed historian is in its 11th year.

“I keep track of the records,” he said. “I go to the games, record the games. I keep all there is to know about Lexington football.”

The school has an on and off record where football is concerned. The first team dates back to 1890. And from 1928 through 1948, the hometown teams were eight man.

After 1948, according to W.T., football wasn’t played at Lexington. The drought lasted 20 years before football was revived as an independent program in 1968.

In 1970 the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association began classifying school by enrollment to even the playing field for high school sports. Lexington, which was still playing 8-man football, was in Class B.

It wasn’t until 1976 that Lexington moved up to 11-man football and it now is in Class 2A.

Despite his small stature, W.T  always loved football and was a Bulldog until he graduated with the Class of 1992.

He asked for and was given number 65,  tribute he said to his father’s first car, a 1965 Mustang. Though the number denoted a linebacker, the coaches put W.T. in at corner. A referee called foul at the first game, ruling he couldn’t play corner in that jersey.

So, size notwithstanding, he was moved to linebacker.

“I had the heart for it, just didn’t have the size for a linebacker,” he recalled the panic he felt the first time he faced an oncoming running back. “I wasn’t quite ready. He (the back) ran all over me.”

He was benched the remainder of the game and the next day was called in by the Bulldogs’ defensive coach who assigned two teammates to “toughen me up.”

He finished the season as linebacker.

Two months before graduation, then-principal Floyd West summoned W.T. into his office, giving him six large cardboard boxes filled with decades of Lexington football memorabilia.

“He showed me stuff from the ‘20s and ‘30s,” W.T. said.

W.T. had to call his father to bring the pickup so he could get the treasure trove home.

The contest of the boxes was a surprise to the elder Farrow, who “didn’t know we had football before 1968,” W.T. recalled.

W.T. compiled files from the boxes’ contents, eventually transferring the files to a laptop computer.

Unfortunately, the originals are lost. What wasn’t taken out in a flood some years back were tossed by a former spouse during a divorce.

After high school, W.T. worked various jobs until he enrolled in the Job Corps program at Tahlequah in 1995.

There he followed his practice of attending high school football games, recording play-by-play just like he did at the Bulldog games.

A local radio station producer observed him and approached him after the game with a proposition – would W.T. submit his tape in a bid to announce a future Tigers game?

The judges ranked his tape in the top 3. Before agreeing to do play-by-play at a future game, however, W.T. said he would need all the player and team statistics for both teams.

His performance led to a $25 per hour job offer to broadcast Tahlequah games, which W.T. turned down, telling the station Lexington was his home and the only team he would do that for was the Lexington Bulldogs.

W.T. said he learned to do play-by-play listening to the late Bob Barry Sr., on channel 4.

He would record himself and play those tapes back.

He finished the Job Corps in February 1997 and went home. He worked briefly for an electrical contractor in Norman and then got a job in the Norman sanitation department.

W.T. upgraded his recording equipment in 2018, hoping to land a few broadcasting jobs. So far that hasn’t happened.

In 2014 he took a medical retirement from the City of Norman. He was diagnosed with autism and brain damage stemming from being kicked in the head by a horse when he was 7.

“I haven’t let it slow me down,” he said, adding that he still keeps some stats “pretty much for every team in the state.”

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