Texas High School football team plays in an old cemetery



Rogan Field

KWTX Video Screenshot

On the surface, the grass covering the San Saba High School football field looks just about like any other field in rural Texas.

But what lies beneath is a whole different story, one that is regularly told around Halloween.

“A lot of strange things get to that ground,” is how he is described on TexasBob.com, a site devoted to Texana.

Rogan Field sits atop an old cemetery – it’s gone but not forgotten – and is aptly named The Graveyard.

When the San Saba Armadillos in the field, they know very well that they are playing on bodies—perhaps ancestors? – who have been buried there for more than a century. They also know that when heavy rains hit the ground, the occasional bone has been known to surface.

San Saba, known as the pecan capital of the world, is about 90 miles northwest of Austin – as the crow flies.

Although it sounds like something out of ‘Poltergeist’, the silent fans supposedly give the home side an advantage over the visitors. Brad McCoy, San Saba football coach from 1990 to 1994 and father of NFL quarterback Colt McCoy, told Sports Illustrated these organizations offer help from time to time.

“A couple of times guys from opposing teams had an open field and tripped and fell,” Brad McCoy said. “Our kids say it’s our spiritual hand coming out of the ground to tackle us.”

Years later, the history of the estate still gives others that same weird feeling.

“Sometimes when we were playing there a player would trip in the middle of the field and we always knew it was a skeleton reaching out and grabbing us,” one person tweeted.

According to several news outlets, including the San Antonio Express-News, an early settler cemetery whose use had been banned was moved in 1935 to make way for a high school football stadium. The earth was sold to the school for the modest sum of $10 by the Rogan familywho was tired of seeing the cemetery on the land they donated overgrown with weeds, KWTX noted.

But because some of the families of those buried there could not afford to move their loved ones, not all bodies removed. Up to several dozen could still be buried under the field, Texas Coop Power said.

About 200 bodies were originally buried there, including many Civil War soldiers, several news outlets, including KXAN, reported.

While the exact number of bodies remaining six feet below the athletes’ feet is unknown, it still chills the bones every time one surfaces.

“I had a sporty spell here last period and watched the hurdle,” longtime assistant coach Ronnie Schulze told KWTX. “There was a ball joint of a human that came out of the water. It was definitely human, there was no doubt.

San Saba isn’t the only school where a supposed final resting place sits under a playground. Neyland Stadium, home of the Tennessee Volunteers, was famous for housing the bones of donated bodies in offices below the grounds. Although they were moved to a lab in 2017, Knox News reports.

So far this season, San Saba are 6-3, but only 1-2 at the graveyard. The Armadillos play their regular season home final on Friday, November 4, while there is a 50% chance of thunderstorms.

And you know what that means.

TJ Macías is a live national sports reporter for McClatchy based in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Previously, TJ covered Pace for the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Rangers for numerous outlets, including 24/7 Sports and Mavs Maven (Sports Illustrated). Twitter: @TayloredSiren


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