By: Tony Thomas
In 1978, the town of Sealy, TX would roll up the sidewalks and lockdown their businesses on Friday nights in time to take in the local high school football team, the Sealy Tigers, and their freak of an athlete and star running back Eric Dickerson.
Fashionable Eye-Wear and Leaving Cleat Marks on Tacklers
At 6-3, 220 and playing with goggle-style eye wear, Dickerson ran with sprinter speed. His first year at Sealy, he was clocked 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard dash. With that combination of size and speed, he wouldn’t around would-be tacklers, he would run through them. And with that tenacious running style, he led the Tigers to an undefeated 15-0 season and a berth in the Class 2A State Championship Game.
Dickerson rushed for 2667 yards his senior year, capping off a stellar prep career that totaled 5877 yards.
The Tigers ran through their playoff bracket and the Class 2A championship game like a bull in a china shop, allowing just 10 points per game on average:
- Defeated Splendora 31-0
- Defeated Hamshire-Fannette 21-7
- Defeated West 32-7
- Defeated UC-Randolph 42-18
- Defeated Wylie 42-20 (State Championship Game).
MVP and a Top Recruit
Against Wylie, the game started out boring as it was a scoreless game in the first quarter. But Sealy poured it on after that. The Tigers registered 25 first downs, rolled up 503 yards of total offense, and forced 4 fumbles. Wylie played penalty-free football, but it wasn’t enough as Sealy won 42-20 to claim bragging rights as the newly anointed 2A champs.
Dickerson scored 4 touchdowns: three rushing and one receiving. He totaled 296 rushing yards and was named the game’s MVP.
He was named a Parade All-American and recruited by Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and SMU, just to name a few. He committed to the Aggies, but later switched his commitment and signed with SMU.
With the Mustangs, he rushed for 4450 yards in his career. He was a 2-time All-Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and 2-time All-American. He was one half of the “Pony Express” with fellow Mustang halfback Craig James.
Fame and Glory
Drafted #2 overall by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1983 NFL Draft, Dickerson shined during his rookie season:
- Rookie of the Year
- Player of the Year
- Pro Bowl Selection
In 1984, Dickerson set the NFL record for most rushing yards in a single-season with 2,105 yards. He played 10 years in the league and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020.
Thanks for reading.