By Evan Mohl
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE – Les Ledger has been calling out the names and numbers of high school football players for so long that he can't remember when he started.
For the record, Ledger says around 35 years – two seasons before the radio stations began broadcasting Copperas Cove football.
Just about every Friday since then, Ledger's voice has been heard over the loudspeakers. He's become a tradition, a staple at Bulldawg home games. And there's no telling when he might stop.
"There's nothing like high school football," said Ledger, who's been living in Cove since first grade. "I love the pageantry and the fact that the athletes are students first and then athletes. That doesn't exist too much anymore or anywhere else."
"He's a big part of Friday nights," Cove coach Jack Welch said. "He's been involved longer than just about anyone else; he's a real tradition."
Of course, 35 years doesn't come without its bumps and bruises, which Ledger gladly shares with anyone willing to listen. He'll also be the first one to laugh, too.
His favorite hiccup, at least to tell, came when he called timeout for the Bulldawgs as time was running out in the first half. Ledger doesn't remember who Cove was playing or what year it was, just that the players were signaling for a timeout and the referees hadn't seen it.
So, as the PA announcer, Ledger took it upon himself to call timeout. At halftime, the referee came upstairs to the pressbox and threatened to throw a flag on Ledger next time that happened.
"Needless to say, that's never happened again," Ledger said with a laugh.
But more than the bloopers and the pageantry, Ledger relishes the opportunity to recognize student athletes. He believes every piece of the football puzzle is as important as the next. So as the PA announcer, his job is to name those pieces.
Oftentimes, Ledger will call out an excellent block or a big tackle. He especially tries to get the second- and third-string guys, who don't always get a chance to shine.
He does it for both teams.
"Because I love the game, I love to try to catch players doing things right, especially those that don't always get noticed," said Ledger. "Football, arguably more than any other sport, is really about the team. Think about an extra point: a kicker never gets a chance if the deep snapper doesn't get a good snap and if the holder doesn't grab it. So many things go into to just one little play."
As a former tackle at CCHS, Ledger grasps that notion, and takes pride in letting other people know the little things.
Contact Evan Mohl at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7564.