Many memories flashed back to Ken Benson Friday night when he stood on Keith Roman Field during the Douglas High School Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
And Benson had no problem remembering that 1992 was the last time he had been on the football field at Douglas.
“The last time I was on this field, I was handing out diplomas at graduation as school board president,” Benson said, flashing a smile. “I spent 40 years of my life here, so there are some great memories.”
On this occasion, Benson (Class of 1968) joined fellow Douglas graduates Rodney Williams (1992), Scott Lake (1991), Luke Rippee (2004) and Andy McIntosh (2004) to become the latest Hall of Fame inductees.
The evening was also a special occasion for Benson’s son, Alex, who played on the same 1991 Douglas team with Williams. The Bensons moved in 1992 to Baker City, Ore., where Alex was a football standout before he moved on to play for Linfield College in Oregon.
“I haven’t been back to the Valley in 15 years,” Alex said. “It’s great to come back. Coach (Mike) Rippee made a big difference in my life. I coach kids now and I specifically try to influence and inspire them the same way.”
Four of the five inductees were coached by Rippee. Before that, however, Rippee used to work during the summertime at Heritage Ranch, where Ken Benson was his boss.
Friday was a special occasion for Rippee as well.
“All of these guys, not only were they quality football players, they were good in the classroom and just quality people who have gone on to become successful in life,” he said.
Notes: Despite losing 48-28 to Reed, it was interesting that on Hall of Fame induction night senior Bailey Vidaurri entered the NIAA record book when he returned the second-half kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The 99-yard returns equals the state record for longest return, and only two of those are currently listed in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association record book — Mitchell Moore had a 99-yarder against Douglas in 2003 and Ronnie Wood of Truckee had another in 1993. … The Tigers received another big special teams play in the second half when Ray Bedow came up with a fumble recovery on a punt. The play led to a touchdown when Taylor Souza recovered a fumble by the Tigers in the end zone on a third-and-goal play from the 6. … Douglas returns to action this Friday night with a game against Hug in Reno.