This Saturday, our Lumberjack football team will battle it out one final time on Homer Bryce Stadium against Northwestern State University for the country's largest football trophy, Chief Caddo. Weighing over 360 pounds, standing at 7 feet 6 inches, Chief Caddo is awarded yearly to the winner of the Lumberjack/Demon battle. Both schools decided that the winning team should be rewarded with a trophy and agreed upon the losing school chopping down a tree from one of its nearby forests, and carving the statue of a legendary Indian chief.
Woodcarver, Harold Green, spent some 230 hours carving and perfecting the statue from a 2,000-pound black gum tree. It was then in the year, 1961 that the statue was named Chief Caddo, to honor the Indian tribe that settled two communities and provided safety for the early while settlers in the area. The Caddo Indians helped colonists survive the onslaughts of Apache and Comanche warriors, as well as, make it possible for the two European colonies to live as neighbors.
There are two common versions of how the oldest two settlements, Natchitoches and Nacogdoches came about:
Reported by historian Samuel Steward Mims in "Rio Sabinas," chief of an Adae Indian village on the Sabine River is credited for the first version. The village was overpopulated, and the chief order his two grown sons to report to him precisely at sunrise. He told one son to walk east, the other west, until the very moment of sunset. The sons were to establish a village at the place they reached. The son who went east wound up in a grove of papaw trees, and he name his village Natchitoches, meaning papaw. The westbound son reached a grove of persimmon trees and named his village Nacogdoches, meaning persimmon.
The chief had twin sons, Natchitoches and Nacogdoches, and couldn't decide which would succeed him. So he split the tribe between them and sent them in different directions. They traveled for three days, one eastbound, the other westbound, and wound up where the cities are located today.
SFA and Northwestern State have been battling it out for Chief Caddo since 1961. The current records shows the Lumberjacks down 22-11-1, but last season the Lumberjacks were able to bring the Chief back to Nacogdoches with a 29-14 win over Northwestern State. We're hoping the Lumberjacks can do it once more, and keep Chief Caddo at home where it belongs!