When Raymond Dennis set the record for most touchdowns in a Cedar Hill High Football Game in the fall of 1940, with seven, the United States had yet to World War II, Bing Crosby’s “Only Forever” was one of the top songs and Cedar Hill had fewer than 500 citizens.
The world has changed dramatically over the past 83 years, but Dennis’ seven-touchdown performance against Alvarado in the fall of 1942 has withstood more than decades and three State Championships.
At 100 years old, the Cedar Hill High School Class of 1942 Graduate still holds the record.
Last Saturday, Dennis – who now lives in the West Texas city of Levelland – was back in Cedar Hill to be inducted into the Longhorn Legacy Hall of Honor Class of 2023, along with retired Executive Director of Athletics Gina Farmer, former team manager Larami Cathey, multi-sport stars Clifton Felts and Karen King and football standout Marcus Herford, who won an Orange Bowl at the University of Kansas.
Farmer had the pleasure of introducing Dennis to the audience last Saturday.
“It’s a great honor,” Dennis said. “I wasn’t expecting anything like that of course. They called me and asked me if I’d come down.”
Dennis and his 72-year-old son, Ray, flew down from Lubbock to attend the ceremony.
Dennis’ adult children were on hand to watch him accept the honor, including a son and grandson who traveled from Idaho to be there. Dennis had five children (one passed away), 21 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
When he played football for Cedar Hill, one of his classmates was Class President Martin Clark, who went on to start Clark Insurance Agency (which is now Clark Patton Insurance Agency). Clark, like Dennis, played halfback for the Longhorns in the early 1940s.
As soon as he graduated from Cedar Hill, Dennis enlisted in the Army Air Force and left the military with the rank of Sergeant.
Dennis experienced his share of tragedy in his life. His mother passed away when he was 17 months old and his only sibling, a younger brother and fellow Cedar Hill Graduate, William Earl Dennis, was killed in action in World War II.
Upon returning from World War II, Dennis relocated to his wife’s hometown of Levelland, located 32 miles west of Lubbock.
He farmed chicken, cotton, cows and pigs and became very popular among his fellow Levellanders. He was elected County Clerk of Hockley County (where Levelland is the County Seat) and served in that office for more than 30 years. Upon retirement, he served another decade as Levelland’s Mayor.
Tragedy struck again in 1976 when Dennis’ wife of 33 years passed away of Leukemia. He re-married in the late 1970s and shares a strong Christian Faith with his wife, who just turned 90 years old recently.
Twelve years ago, Dennis returned to Cedar Hill to receive a letterman’s jacket from then-Cedar Hill head football coach Joey McGuire, at the age of 88. In the urgency to enlist in World War II, getting a letterman’s jacket fell by the wayside, and McGuire gladly presented it to him in 2011.
McGuire, who is now the head football coach at Texas Tech, was on hand for last Saturday’s ceremony. McGuire has a friendship with Dennis and has welcomed him to Red Raider Football Practice in Lubbock.
The three-time State Champion head coach was also on hand to introduce Herford, who played for the Longhorns during the early years of the McGuire Era.