McALESTER — The Oil Bowl is a 76-year-old all-star game that throughout its lifespan has brought together some of the best high school football players in Oklahoma and Texas.
How fitting, then, that Dallas Herring, a Hartshorne Miner with family in northern Texas who was named after the Dallas Cowboys, should be among the Oil Bowl’s participants.
Herring qualified for the Oil Bowl through his participation in the Anthony Spencer Football Camp, a camp run by Sports International that took place in July at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Herring was named top running back, according to his mother Stacy Herring, which put him in the camp’s Gridiron Elite club and qualified him for the Oil Bowl.
Dallas Herring found out he’d made the 77th Oil Bowl on Dec. 13.
“He wasn’t expecting it, and he was very excited about it,” Stacy said of Dallas on Thursday.
As one of the Miners’ starting running backs, Dallas was an essential part of Hartshorne’s offense this season. Perhaps his best game came in the Class 2A quarter-finals at Oklahoma Christian School in Edmond on Nov. 29, when he rushed for 100 yards and four touchdowns.
Dallas also scored Hartshorne’s only touchdown in its semifinals loss to Millwood on Dec. 14.
The Oil Bowl began as an East-West Texas game, but it switched to an Oklahoma-Texas game in 1945. Now in his fourth year as chairman, Gary Body said the deal that made that format possible fell apart in 2011, so the last two games have once again pitted East Texas against West Texas.
“We use I-35 as the dividing line,” Boyd said.
“Each year we tell the coaches to pick a squad of 36, and it usually winds up being 38 or 39.”
For the 2014 game, Boyd said he partnered with two camps, including the Anthony Spencer Football Camp. Each camp will send its eight best players to the Bowl, and the remaining slots will be filled by Texas high school players.