Shadle Park football struggled through the early 1960s. The Highlanders went winless for three years. The 1963 team went 0-10, scoring only two touchdowns the entire season and losing the season finale to Gonzaga Prep, 74-0.
The turnaround began in 1964 under new coach Gary Davis. The Highlanders scored their first league win since 1960, and finished the season 3-7.
Hopes were high for 1965. Even after losing starting quarterback Al Luher to a broken ankle, the team started strong with junior Ed Fisher at the helm. Opening the season, Shadle soundly defeated Ferris, 46-0.
The Shadle students and fans, recognizing they had a contender, packed Albi Stadium for the second contest against defending league champion Lewis and Clark. More than 10,000 watched Shadle win, 26-0.
The third game of the season was against league favorites Gonzaga Prep. Once again the stands were crowded, anticipating a great game. They were right, as both schools battled to the wire. Tim Hess throwing a touchdown pass to Nick Scarpelli with 1:18 remaining to give the Bullpups a narrow 29-26 victory.
Shadle continued to show its strength as the season progressed, posting its first victories over Rogers and North Central. The second game against undefeated Prep approached with only the earlier loss to the Bullpups marring the Highlander record.
It was another nail biter. This time the foot of Gonzaga’s Read Drexel was the difference, as he booted two field goals and two extra points to give the Bullpups a narrow 14-12 victory. That gave Gonzaga Prep the City League championship. The Bullpups went on to finish 9-0, and third in the final state AP poll.
For Shadle Park, it was a turnaround for its football program. The Highlanders ended the year at 7-2, knowing they had given Prep two of the toughest games of the year.