Prior to Saturday's spring football game, Kansas University had about 40 alumni take the field for a flag football contest. While most participants weren’t too far removed from their glory days, it was a Kansas standout from 1946-48 who stole the show.
Wearing his blue No. 28 jersey with khaki pants and some comfy sneakers, 89-year-old Bryan Sperry closed down the flag football showcase by winning over the crowd with a slow-progressing touchdown run on the final play.
With time winding down, his younger teammates called Sperry’s number, and then formed a circle of blockers around him as the opposition feigned tackling attempts, complete with dives to the turf.
“The guys did a great job today,” said Sperry, a three-year lettermen who in 1948 caught a long pass from Bill Hogan to set up a KU touchdown in the Orange Bowl. “They helped me out every way they could, you know.”
A World War II veteran who enrolled at KU after serving in the Army, Sperry said it had been quite a while since he ran as far as he did Saturday at Memorial Stadium. As one of the alumni who recommended the event, Sperry wasn’t about to miss out on the action.
“I had a lot of fun after I convinced them that I could play,” he said with a smile.
The former Kansas end, who played both ways in his heyday, didn’t see any of his old teammates at the game.
“Last I knew,” he said, “there was only 12 of us left.”