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GHS School Days-1950s-60s, Part 6

By CARTER E. ANTHONY

 

In the mid-1950s, Coach Luke Whetstone and the Greenville High School Tigers produced some of the finest football teams in Greenville’s history winning numerous state championships.

Many of those players went on to play Division 1, Division 2 and junior college football.

Perhaps it was this success that caused Coach Whetstone to schedule the new Robert E. Lee High School Generals to opening games in 1958 and 1959.

Maybe Coach Whetstone had in mind what so many college coaches think now, i.e., playing a difficult opponent the first game “to find out what we have”.

Robert E. Lee was in the largest high school division, 6A, and Greenville was in 3A.  Coach Whetstone was ahead of his time.

Our 1958 team was led by some outstanding athletes including William Thigpen, Ted Aven, Tommy Brown, James Sexton, Gerald Johnson and others but against Lee it was simply a case of numbers.

For the game, Greenville dressed 30 players. When the 100 red-clad Robert E. Lee Generals began to run out of their dressing room at the other end of the Cramton Bowl Field, the long red line came out and it came out!

When the last General exited the dressing room, the first to exit was standing on the goal line at the other end of the field.

Playing on the Cramton Bowl Field was a treat. The field was well-maintained by the City of Montgomery, not the coaches and a few players.

Our gritty Greenville Tigers did not shy away from this college-sized team and was not intimidated by Cramton Bowl.

The final score was 39-20. Our boys scored more points on Lee than the other larger teams on their schedule did that year!

At year’s end, Lee was voted by the state’s sportswriters state champions in 6A over the new Banks High School Jets in Birmingham.

Still, the Greenville High School Tigers remained the highest scoring team against the Robert E. Lee Generals in 1958!

As the years passed, our records remained in the 50-50 range among our peers but Coach Whetstone continued to “play up” against some of the larger schools.

Eufaula and Selma come to mind but we never backed down. You don’t get better by playing lesser competition!

During those years, Ronnie and Mickey Faulk (not related), were a great backfield combination.

Ronnie had tremendous power and speed and Mickey got the tough yards inside.

For Ronnie, Coach Whetstone devised a play called “Boom-Boom Pitchout”.

Ronnie flanked out like a wide receiver but stayed lined up with the backfield.

When the aptly-named Tuffy Rainey took the snap, Ronnie ran straight ahead catching a lateral from Tuffy at almost full speed.

The play usually resulted in a touchdown from anywhere on the field.

Tuffy was one of those football players who “took a licking but came up ticking”.

Not the fastest or the quickest quarterback in the league but the toughest.

Tuffy was also known to draw a play up in the dirt if the plays in the playbook weren’t working.

His cousin, Wyman Rainey, was at 190 lbs. the largest player on the team.

Wyman played fullback protecting Tuffy and defensive tackle wreaking havoc in the other team’s backfield.

In those days there were few 190 lb. football players. Starting guards one year were Rock Killough and Curtis Raybon, each about 150 lbs. but tough as nails.

Tackles were Trelle (Road Grader) Grayson and Buddy (Bulldozer) Barrett, each at about 160 lbs.

We had to be quick! There are so many others who gave it their all for the Greenville High School Tigers both on and off the field, cheerleaders, band, boosters and parents during that idyllic time in the life of our Camellia City.

2 Comments

  1. John d Whetstone on December 6, 2022 at 10:19 am

    Thank you. My brother Pat and I PLAYED FOR OUR DAD. i was at the Lee game and Pat played. My sisters Gay was cheerleader and J ILL A Majorite, We cleaned the stadium on saturday and rand the pool in the summer. There were 9 of us. We loved growing up in Greenville and still call it home

  2. Kenny Whetstone on December 9, 2022 at 12:28 pm

    This is an excellent article about Greenville high School and my father. My father was a good high school football and baseball coach and a wonderful role model for young men.As you know he coached many players that went on to play college ball. A few even went into the NFL.

    Thank You!

    Kenny Whetstone

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