For Love Of The Game

Scott Suber’s honors from his football playing days at Mississippi State are numerous. The former All-American was ultimately inducted into the Mississippi State University Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, the same year as Walter Payton. But it’s an old football that he was presented after a game at Tennessee more than 50 years ago that he treasures most.

Suber and his fellow Maroons, as Mississippi State was known at the time, defeated the Volunteers 13-7 in Knoxville before a crowd of 16,500. It was the only loss Tennessee would suffer all season.

Volunteer Head Coach Bowden Wyatt came to the MSU locker room after the game and presented Suber the game ball.
“He told me I was in his backfield more often than his tailback was,” Suber grinned.
Newspaper accounts of the game quoted Wyatt describing Suber as “the best player on the field.”
At 5’11” and 210 pounds, Suber started at left guard and nosetackle for State. Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Sportswriter Jimmie McDowell described Suber as “built like a stump” with “incredible quickness.”

Suber’s football playing days began at Calhoun City High School. His father, L.C. “Big Scott” Suber moved the family from Derma to Calhoun City in 1947 when talk began of forming a football team.
“My dad wanted me to be able to play football,” Suber said. “He loved it.”
Suber played for Paul Kitchens and “Dog” Owens during his time as a Wildcat. When he wasn’t playing ball, he was working for his dad cutting timber.

“We only went to school for eight months back then,” Suber said. “The rest of the time I worked with him.”
He started as a left guard at Calhoun City in the single-wing offense. But when the blocking back got injured he moved into that position. Then the full back went down and Suber took over. The tailback was the next to get hurt and Suber finished the season there. He also punted.
After his senior year, Suber decided to go to Oxford and try out for the Rebels, but was told “they couldn’t use him.”

He and good friend Tommy Davis, of Pleasant Hill, hitchhiked to Itawamba to tryout there and ended up playing in their spring game. They hung around for hours after the game outside the locker room hoping to hear they had made the team.
“Coach ‘Eagle’ Matledge came out and said ‘Y’all still here?” Suber recalled. “He told us we couldn’t play at that level.”
Suber then traveled to Scooba to tryout for Bull Sullivan who liked him and told him to come back with his foot locker. Yet another tryout in Hattiesburg and he was again invited to come back.

“My dad loved Mississippi State,” Suber said. “He told me to go to Starkville and try out and I did.”
Suber was among 120 freshmen, that was ultimately whittled down to 26 by the end of tryouts.
“I remember at four o’clock in the morning we would here those foot lockers banging down the steps from kids leaving,” Suber said.
MSU Coach Murray Warmath offered Suber a one-year scholarship for the 1953 season.
Suber quickly moved up the depth charts at guard. During two-a-days, he was the only one on the team that actually gained weight, which seemed to drive the trainer crazy.

“I explained to him I was getting three meals a day down here and it wasn’t near as hard work as what I did for my dad,” Suber smiled.
He said he did have access to water while working for his dad, something not available at football practice in those days.
“We would only get water when we got back to the locker room,” Suber said.
Darrell Royal, who would later become synonymous with football at the University of Texas, coached Suber his last two years at State.
During Suber’s four years at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs recorded four consecutive winning seasons, a feat the school hasn’t repeated since.
Suber earned All-American honors in 1955 along with Notre Dame great Paul Hornung, Sam Huff from West Virginia, and Howard “Hopalong” Cassady from Ohio State.

He earned All-SEC and Most Valuable Lineman from the Birmingham Quarterback Club.
Suber recalled one particular game at Florida when he lost 15 pounds in the game.
“Playing at Gainesville in 95 degree heat with that humidity was unreal,” Suber said. “I played all 60 minutes.”
Suber also took pride in the fact that he blocked for two of Mississippi State’s greatest, in his opinion.

Jackie Parker was the All-SEC running back behind Suber’s blocking. Parker held the Bulldog scoring record for 30 years. Art Davis was another MSU running back who Suber helped to multiple All-SEC honors from the holes he opened.
After his playing days at Mississippi State Suber served in the military before a career in banking with what is now Renesant Bank. He retired from the Tupelo bank in 1996 and moved back home with wife Patricia to Calhoun City.

Suber, 74, said his shared love for the game with his dad had a lot to do with his success.
“Daddy loved it,” Suber said. “You do a lot off things for your parents you probably wouldn’t do otherwise, but when it came to football, I really enjoyed it.”

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