Friday, November 28, 2014

West Franklin honors Pomona gridiron legend

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 10/7/2013

Football for Pomona native Daryl Altic all started with a game of pool.

Altic and his friend, Steve Olson, were playing pool in Olson’s basement in Pomona before the 1985 football season, which was Altic’s freshman year at Pomona High School, when Olson and Altic made a bet.

Football for Pomona native Daryl Altic all started with a game of pool.

Altic and his friend, Steve Olson, were playing pool in Olson’s basement in Pomona before the 1985 football season, which was Altic’s freshman year at Pomona High School, when Olson and Altic made a bet.

“He bet me if I lost, I had to go out for high school football,” Altic said. “This was a day before two-a-days started.”

Altic lost, and the rest was history for the Fort Scott Community College Athletic Hall of Fame inductee. Altic was enshrined in the hall of fame at his alma mater Saturday in Fort Scott. He also received honors Friday evening at the West Franklin homecoming football game in Pomona.

“I’m not sure I deserve it, but it is an honor and a privilege,” Altic said. “You’ve got teammates, coaches and family that make all that happen too. I was surrounded by a lot of guys who knew how to win.”

The 1990 All-American honorable mention punter at Fort Scott had successful careers in both Pomona and southeast Kansas, as well as at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., where Altic and his family have lived since 1991. Altic transferred to Louisiana Tech after graduating from Fort Scott in fall 1990.

Altic’s athletic career took off at Pomona High School, now West Franklin High School, where he participated in football, basketball, baseball and track and field all four years. Football was the sport that stuck with him, though.

“I did a little bit of everything there,” Altic said. “I never really came off the field. When I was a sophomore, I basically took over the punting and kicking duties. There were around 30 to 40 of us out (for football).”

For part of his career, he played alongside his brother, Curt, who was a junior when he was a freshman.

“My brother’s dream came true too because he could beat on me without getting in trouble by Mama,” Altic said.

Upon graduating in 1989 from Pomona High, Altic was recruited by Fort Scott as a punter/kicker and wide receiver. His ability and decision to stick with special teams duties ultimately helped him get further in his football career, Altic said.

“Kicking and punting is the main thing I wanted to do in football, and it is what was going to get me the furthest,” he said. “I grew up punting and kicking, and it developed in high school.”

After earning All-Conference honors as a punter during his first season at Fort Scott, Altic posted even more impressive numbers during the 1990 season. During his All-American campaign, Altic ranked sixth among kickers in the nation in scoring at the junior college level, and eighth in the nation in punting average, according to a Sept. 28 article in the Fort Scott Tribune. He also tied the nation’s longest successful field goal of 52 yards in 1990.

Though he played at a high level in his junior college years, Altic said, the level of competition continually got tougher the longer he stayed in the game.

“You find that the level of football goes up, even at a community college. The players are bigger and faster and from all over the country,” he said. “Then you move to Louisiana Tech, and the players are even bigger and faster there. You build a lot of friendships with people and learn from people from different areas of the country, and travel around. Coming from a small town, you don’t think you can make it big like that, but it can happen.”

Altic started as punter for the Bulldogs during the 1991 and 1992 seasons. He and three of his teammates from Fort Scott transferred to Louisiana Tech to play football after successful careers for the Greyhounds.

“We called ourselves The Four Fortsmen,” Altic said.

Paul Bland, who was inducted into the Fort Scott Community College Hall of Fame on the same day as Altic, John Boyd and John Henry all played in Ruston with Altic. Bland and Henry were All-American wide receivers at Fort Scott, and Boyd played defensive back. Besides his junior college teammates, Altic also played amongst several future pro-football stars at Louisiana Tech, including Willie Roaf, NFL Hall of Fame offensive lineman, Doug Evans, defensive back for the Green Bay Packers during their 1996 Super Bowl championship season, and Chris Boniol, former kicker for the Dallas Cowboys during their 1995 Super Bowl campaign and current assistant special teams coordinator for the Cowboys.

“We had a lot of guys who went off and played in the pros,” Altic said. “I had an opportunity, but it just didn’t work out for me.”

Out of all his experiences as a Division I football player, Altic said, his best memories were getting to see the nation while on the road for games.

“I was able to travel the country and play different teams,” he said. “We played in places like Michigan and California.”

One of the biggest stages in his Bulldog career came Sept. 26, 1992, when the team traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to take on the future national champion Alabama Crimson Tide in front of 77,622 fans at Legion Field, according to the University of Alabama athletic website. It was a match-up, Altic said, between the two top-ranked defenses in the nation, It would turn out to be that kind of day in Birmingham as the Crimson Tide rolled to a 13-0 victory. Altic had 12 punts for an average of more than 43 yards per punt during the game.

After graduating from Louisiana Tech in 1997 with a degree in counseling, Altic, along with Dev, his wife of nine years, and their two sons Josh, 13, and Wes, 7, settled down in Ruston. He still makes annual trips to Pomona every year to see his family, he said.

“I come back two to three times a year,” Altic said. “It is a treat to get to go back. You want to see your family, so it is kind of hard to get around and see everyone else, but I try to keep in touch with everyone as much as I can. It is good to get back.”

Altic’s parents, Ed and Terry Altic, live on their farm north of Pomona where Daryl and his two older brothers, Curt and Doug, grew up. Curt Altic and his family now live in Pomona, and Doug and his family live in Fort Scott. Altic said his parents were extremely supportive of his football career.

“They made every home game, even when I played at Louisiana Tech,” he said. “They came to multiple away games, too. Whether it was football, basketball or whatever, they were always there.”

The family tradition continues as Altic was able to watch several of his brother’s children play and perform Friday. Clay Altic plays football for West Franklin High School, and his brother, Brady, plays for the junior high team. Their sister, Lacy, is on the West Franklin High School cheer squad. All are Curt’s children, and Altic’s nephews and niece.

Altic’s sons also are getting into athletics. Josh currently is into basketball, he said, and Wes is the one who kicks the ball like his father.

“We’ve got goal posts in the back yard set up for him,” he said.

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