The inaugural game of the Greenwood High School football team’s 2013 season was met with some great pre-game festivities last Friday night. The faculty, fans, players, citizens and alumni paid tribute to the founder of the Greenwood Pittbull Football Program, Mr. Danny Burton. He saw the need in Greenwood for a pee-wee football program to prepare the youth of Greenwood to participate in the Junior High and High School football programs.
In June of 1992, Burton approached the Board of Directors at SSCYO about the possibility of starting a tackle football program at the youth center. With limited funds at the time, the center was not able to help him out.
Burton, along with some trusted friends started the program on their own. Several families and businesses around town contributed to the new endeavor. With a little help from Farmers Bank in the way of a $1,500 loan the program was up and running. The Greenwood teams joined the Arkansas River Valley Football League. Burton decided if Greenwood had a pee-wee football team, they needed cheerleaders. Thus the Greenwood Pittbulls Cheerleading squads were started.
That first year the sixth grade Pittbulls went 11-1-1 gaining a total combined offensive yards amounting to 2,599. Jacob Badger Burton gained 1,169 of those yards and Shawn Meeker contributed 561 yards gained for the season. On defense the team had a total of 527 tackles with Jacob Badger Burton leading the team with 99 tackles and Tommy Altland making 69 of them.
All in all, the first season was a huge success for the newly formed teams. The two Greenwood teams ended up 1st and 2nd in league play. Both teams were invited to Little Rock to play the best pee-wee teams they had to offer in the Arkansas Bowl. The sixth grade team played the Little Rock 49er’s and won 18-6. The pony team,(4th and 5th graders) were matched against a 6th grade team and although they lost to a bigger and stronger team, they never gave up. At that point Danny Burton realized what he and his friends had assembled had become a defining moment in Greenwood High School sports. Several of the boys from the first year’s teams became stars in the Greenwood athletic programs from winning conference titles, state championships, and players of the year in their respective sports to being nominated to state All-Star teams.
Yes, these young men were a success in their athletic endeavors much to the credit of a man that wore a worn out cowboy hat just about everywhere he went. Danny Burton taught these boys that there had to be a balance in their life; a balance of physical, mental, emotional and especially a spiritual balance. Danny Burton wanted the kids that passed through his program to give 110 percent in sports and in everything they did in life.
Danny Burton lost his battle with cancer in March of 2010. His kids say he watches the Pittbull football games out of a window from heaven. At last Friday’s football game Danny Burton was recognized for his unselfish dedication and contributions to the Greenwood Pittbull Football program. In attendance were his wife, Judy; sons Joshua Wolf and Jacob Badger and their wives Alisha and Landi; daughters, Rachel Dawn Parks and Rebekah Sky Moore and their husbands, along with 11 grandchildren. Also supporting the family on the field were several of the former players, coach’s, and sponsors of the program for the past 20 years. State Representative Charlotte Douglas presented the family with a plaque honoring Danny for his service to this community. More people could have been on the field with the family but they were in the locker room getting ready for the game. Yes, just about every one of the players on Greenwood’s football team wore a Pittbull uniform at one time or another. When you see one of those Pittbull uniforms around town, you might remember it all started with one man’s dream.