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Toughest Wichita Falls football player laid to rest

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Reputed by many to be the toughest football player in Wichita Falls history, Lewis Brooks recently passed away in a Longview, Texas hospital. Jerry Gossett, who played alongside Brooks at Wichita Falls Rider High School and then at Cameron College in Lawton, Oklahoma, said he was "the toughest guy I ever went up against."

Gossett should know because he went up against Brooks in workouts in high school and at the college level.

"He hit me harder with that forearm than anybody else I ever went up against, "Gossett said recently.

Gossett made the sad trip to West Mountain Cemetery to attend the funeral services of Brooks on Tuesday, January 14. Lewis Wilson Brooks III passed away on January 11,2014 in a Longview hospital.

Another Rider football player who went up against Brooks in practice said, "I actually saw stars when he hit me with a forearm. I never knew people actually saw stars before. But now I know it does happen. Brooksie was the hardest hitter I ever encouontered."

Nicknamed "Brooksie" by his teammates he somehow figured out how to deliver a forearm to opposing players facemasks which seemed to have the power of a baseball bat. Brooks and Gossett starred together on the 1966 Rider football team and graduated in 1967 before heading north of the Red River to play college ball at Cameron.

Brooks went on to a successful career as a route salesman for Frito Lay Company and was a member of the Baptist faith. Born on June 22, 1949, in Graham, Tex. to Lewis Wilson and Maxine Phillips Brooks, Jr. He and his wife lived in Gladewater, Texas.

The subject of who was the toughest football player in the glorious history of Wichita Falls football can result in a serious debate when people like Rider's All-State, All-American James Vanderslice, Wichita Falls High's All-American running back Larry Shields and the Coyotes' hard-hitting Jay Lavender are remembered.

For Gossett's time though Brooks was the toughest player.

"Although I will say that Wichita Falls High School's Coyote J.W. Young was awfully tough too. He was a great player during my time," Gossett said.

Gossett should know what he talks about when it comes to toughness. Not only did he make his name being tough on the football field, but he also proved his toughness in the boxing ring as a Golden Gloves champion boxer in Wichita Falls, Tex.

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