Lewisville High School was established in 1897.
School Colors are Maroon and White (see guide on School Colors link for graphic design)
Mascot: Big John, the Fighting Farmer
Farmer Pride Quote:
"You can't understand it from the outside looking in,
and you can't explain it from the inside looking out."
History of the Big John Logo: Big John 1923, Big John 1944,
Friday Night Lights: The History of the Fighting Farmers
This is from the official blog of the Denton County Office of History and Culture. See credits at the bottom.
In the midst of fall, football season and homecoming traditions, we wanted to take a glimpse at one of Denton County’s oldest high school football programs… the Lewisville High School Fighting Farmers.
The LHS football program got its start in 1914 when the students formed an Athletic Association to play competitive football. The team’s dedication and determination has put a smile on the faces of the community since its creation, bringing the Farmers spirit to life on the field.
The team got their Farmers name from B.F. Tunnell, the Lewisville school district’s superintendent at the time and a vocational agriculture teacher. Tunnell was also a proud graduate of Texas A&M University, which no doubt influenced the Farmers’ maroon and white colors.
Only a handful of LHS football games were recorded in the early days, however documents list their opponents as Grapevine, Plano, and Sanger High School- one of their oldest rivals. A man named R.O. Davis coached the Farmers to their first district championship win in 1932, launching a winning tradition for the team.
The team has since had a number of successful coaches and notable players, including Walt Garrison (Dallas Cowboys, 1966-1974) and Mike Aljoe (USA Olympic Bobsled Team, 1988).
Below is A Farmers football game in 1946.
One well-known story from Farmers’ history is the “The Great Bank Robbery Caper of 1946.” One afternoon during football practice, sirens rang out; it was the sound of Lewisville’s emergency alert system. A man named S.A. Brueggemeyer had just robbed the Lewisville State Bank on Mill Street, and the driver of his getaway car, spooked by the alarm, left him stranded. With nowhere to escape, Brueggemeyer started running, making his way through a cornfield that just so happened to be located right next to the football team’s practice field.
The football players ran after the robber, chasing him for half a mile. As they tailed Brueggemeyer, another townsman grabbed his shotgun and got in front of the chase, thwarting the escape and forcing an exhausted Brueggemeyer to drop to the ground. A few of the Farmers players then recovered the robber’s gun and stolen bag of money that he had stashed nearby, and the crime was solved. From here on out, the Farmers became known as the Fighting Farmers.
Many Farmers traditions evolved during the 1972 season to help boost team spirit:
- The Farmer Quarter: Coach Bill Shipman created the concept that the Farmers “owned” the fourth quarter.
- The Pitchfork: Shipman also came up with the three-fingered pitchfork hand gesture to demonstrate “Farmer Power.”
- Big John: To motivate players, Shipman told the legend of Big John, a Lewisville Farmer who defended the honor of neighboring communities. Shipman would make their opponents’ mascots the antagonist of the story every week, and Big John would be the hero of each tale. The Big John character became the spirit that is depicted in the Farmers mascot and embodies the Fighting Farmers.
In 1993, the Fighting Farmers beat Aldine MacArthur High School to become the first 5A Division II State Champions, winning their first state title. A few years later in 1996, the Farmers went on to beat Converse Judson High School at the state championships, making the Lewisville High School the first school in Texas history to win both a Division I and a Division II State Championship.
The Lewisville Fighting Farmers have become one of LISD’s “oldest and richest traditions,” with over 100 years of history on the field.
All information in this blog was found in the Denton County Office of History and Culture’s records, Gary D. Kebrow’s book “Friday Night Farmers: The History of the Lewisville Fighting Farmers,” and Jeff Fielder’s book “Reflections: A Folklore History of Lewisville, Texas.”
If you would like to learn more about the Lewisville Fighting Farmers or other pieces of Denton County’s history, stop by the museum or make an appointment to come check out our research room.