Curt Swarm – Proctor led mythical state champions

With the Friday-Night-Lights season nearly upon us, I’ll relate a story that I’ve been itching to tell for some time. It’s the story of when Mt. Pleasant’s high school football team went undefeated and, incredibly, un-scored upon. The year was 1963. However, this is more than just a football story. It’s a story about winning, tragedy, and never giving up.
Tim Proctor was the quarterback of Mt. Pleasant’s famed high school football team of 1963, that went undefeated and un-scored upon. I was fortunate to catch up with the quarterback of that championship team, Mt. Pleasant native and resident, Tim Proctor. Tim is 70 years young, and looks to be in great shape. I’ll bet he can still drill a button-hook pass, or run a quarterback keeper around the end.
Actually, Tim is quite modest and, for an ex-quarterback, very soft spoken. He doesn’t brag (his wife was in the next room) but just relates the facts, as if they were the most natural set of circumstances. And maybe they are, because the team was coached by the famed Bob Evans.
Ending in his freshman year, the Mt. Pleasant Panthers had an incredible winning streak of 40 games. As a freshman, Tim was an extra-point kicker and linebacker. In his sophomore year he was moved to first-string quarterback. Tim would lineup behind center and look at his offensive line and backfield. Five sophomores were starters. In hindsight, Tim believes Coach Evans was grooming the team for the following year.
One of the first games in Tim’s junior year was a non-conference game with Cedar Rapids Jefferson, the biggest school in the state at the time. The Panthers beat them 7-zip in Jeff’s house. People took notice. Cedar Rapids Jefferson would go on to win their Valley Conference.
Tim Proctor, as a junior quarterback, called his own plays, or 90% of them, running a wing-T, which was a five-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense. They overwhelmed their opponents that year by an average of 30 points. The Panthers’ manic defense was not about to allow a score, which drove the offense even harder. Tim played offense.
There were no playoffs in the state at that time, thus the name, “Mythical State Champs” was being passed quietly from person to person like a flickering candle. But the Panthers were conference champs, playing a nine-game schedule, thus making it easier to go undefeated and un-scored upon. Other teams that did the same in Iowa’s high school football history also did it before playoffs were born. When playoffs were added, a season could last 13 or 14 games.
In his senior year, Mt. Pleasant lost one game. They traveled all the way to Hannibal, Missouri to play on Saturday night, and got beat on the final play of the game under questionable officiating. Bummer.
The day after their final game of his senior year, a Saturday, Tim, his brother, and a teammate were going pheasant hunting over by Grinnell. Excited from the game and about pheasant hunting on opening day, the boys didn’t sleep that night. They decided to leave early for their pheasant hunt. They bagged one pheasant that fateful day.
On the trip home, Tim was riding shotgun. It was a cool fall day, with the sun shining brightly, and the feel of harvest in the air. Because they were tired, and the sun was hitting them in the face, they all fell asleep in the car, including the driver. The accident that ensued left Tim with massive facial and wrist injuries. He was taken straight to the University of Iowa Hospital Emergency Room.
Tim was a three-sport letterman and was supposed to go to Arkansas State to play football and baseball. But participating in sports, for Tim, was over. He spent most of the rest of his senior year at Mt. Pleasant in a cast and undergoing multiple surgeries. He enrolled at Iowa Wesleyan College and earned a degree in social studies.
Some people say that participating in high-school sports, or any activity for that matter, like band or FFA, teaches life lessons. Tim Proctor agrees. “Never give up. It is what it is.” Even though participating in sports was over for Tim, he went on to become a teacher and coach in Iowa for 37 years, 16 of those years at New London. His last teaching and coaching assignment was at Mt. Pleasant.
When asked, he will tell about that championship year, when the Panthers went undefeated and un-scored upon. But he would rather talk about today.Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or find him on Facebook. Curt’s stories are also read at 106.3 FM in Farmington.

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