Sports BLT: Cougar fans tell their stories at BYU's public football practice
There's no more hopeful time for college football fans than early August.
Another big-time BYU fan present was Archie Brantley, a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant from North Carolina. "My wife passed away a couple years ago, so I sold my home," Brantley said. "My kids went to BYU, I had three of them go to BYU, and I have grandchildren who keep coming. So, this is my home, especially during football season."
One of those three kids, Tammie Yatteau, was also there with Brantley along with one of her sons, representing three generations of Cougar fans. Naturally, such a family has some great BYU football memories.
Yatteau remembers the 1997 Cotton Bowl particularly well. "We played on New Year's Day, and I was pregnant, and we had the baby Dec. 30 so that I could be home in time for the game. So I've been a Cougar fan for a long time."
Brantley's favorite memory was of the 1984 Holiday Bowl vs. Michigan. "I was coming down from North Carolina with my wife and wife's mother, and we were in Tucumcari, New Mexico. We stopped that night for the championship game. We put grandma in the other room because she doesn't care about football, and I wanted some space to cheer. I was so excited I was jumping on the bed."
Brantley hopes to make more such memories in 2014. "We've got tickets to go watch BYU play Texas," Brantley said with a huge smile. "They should be there today in the mail! We're flying down."
This family, like many of the BYU faithful, have represented BYU well on the road. "With the bowl game last year, we were a little disappointed they didn't win, but we were there," Brantley said.
"I was there when BYU beat Oklahoma in 2009," Yatteau added. "It was fun."
Sitting next to Brantley was Berkley Spencer, a longtime Provo resident who taught international development studies at BYU. His favorite memory was Jim McMahon's incredible Hail Mary to cap BYU's comeback against SMU in the 1980 Holiday Bowl.
"I was living in Costa Rica," Spencer recalled. "My stake president was an SMU graduate. He was listening to the radio, and I was listening to the radio. He called me when SMU was way ahead, I don't remember the score, and he said, 'Well, I'm sorry Berk. I guess I'm going to bed.' So, he went to bed and I listened to the last minute, when we won. Well, I called him up and said, 'Guess what? BYU beat SMU!' and he said, 'Come on, you're kidding! You've got to be kidding!’ ”
BYU fans were excited to watch their Cougars practice. They cheered when UTEP's Jordan Leslie and Mitch Mathews made touchdown grabs. Excitement is in the air for college football, and Cougar fans hope that 2014 will be another memorable season for BYU.
Thanks to all who shared their stories. I will be at BYU's scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Aug. 15, and I would love to talk to any and all BYU fans there. Also, if you have better BYU stories than the ones above, please send them to SportsBLT@gmail.com. I will be collecting stories for additional fan features throughout the season.
Lafe Peavler is a staff sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.
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