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GHS School Days, 1950s-1960s, Part 8



In 1962, we opened the football season with a narrow 6-0 loss on our home field to the Enterprise Wildcats, another school in a higher classification.

Copious amounts of rain had fallen leading up to the afternoon of the game and Coach Whetstone marshalled all “town boys” to the field to line it off.

After the tackle on the opening kickoff, we were soaked through to our skin. Enterprise had several players who went on to play for the University of Alabama.

We felt a little good about the close loss only to have our hat handed to us the next week playing Troy on the Troy University field.  It was all grass, something with which we were unfamiliar.

The Georgiana Panthers came to town for our Homecoming Game. Although we were still stinging from our loss to the Panthers the previous year and the way that we lost, Coach Whetstone, ever the mild-mannered coach, called it just another game and let’s play our best.

In what Ronnie Owen, football team co-captain, described as “the most fun football game that he ever played in” we beat the Panthers 18-0.

From our Class of 1963, Sharon Green was named “Miss Homecoming”.  It was a jubilant Homecoming and a fine homecoming dance afterward.

After football season, many of us rolled on into basketball season. It wasn’t a big change for some of us because Coach Allen fixed our schedules so that we had 6th period P.E., i.e., an hour of early basketball practice all year.

We had a nucleus of the previous year’s team but we also had some newcomers. Edward (Snake) Raybon, Paul Burch and Joe Terrell were sophomores who had joined the Varsity.

Snake had a wingspan of a B-52 and fairly quickly moved me out of the center position to the sideline.

Paul Burch was a good all-around athlete and moved into a wing position sometimes occupied by Dave Whetstone and Eddie (Fig) Newton, the fastest player on the team was overshadowed by the ball-handling skills of Joe Terrell.

It wasn’t long before Eddie, Dave and I were grading the other team’s cheerleaders but ours including seniors Kay Watts, Sharon Mallette, Jean Ferguson and Linda Walton always won.

Coach Allen was a little more tightly wound than Coach Whetstone. I’ve mentioned before Coach Allen’s slamming his office door when we B-team basketballers beat the varsity several times in previous years.

On Thursday afternoon before the Friday night game against Georgiana in our gym, he and Coach Smith herded both teams into the stands for a little talk.

A little was said about our stunning defeat at the hands of the Panthers in the 1961 football game in Georgiana.

In the end, Coach said, “I don’t want to tell you what Monday’s practice will be like if you don’t give it all you’ve got tomorrow night so you better give it all you’ve got!.”

Snake Raybon blocked Georgiana’s first 10 shots and owned the lane with his “Snake layups”.

Joe Terrell ran a masterful game from the point. Paul Burch muscled his way in for double figures points and Ronnie Owen ran the baseline for double figures on layups and put-backs.

The Georgiana coach, who was also the football coach, kept his face in his towel most of the game.  We finished the Panthers off 104-25. Our B-team had much the same result, 110-35.

With the game in hand, Coach Allen gave us subs a chance to play.

Our nervous pent-up energy caused us to run our own version of today’s up-tempo game.

Once, Fig ran into the third row of the bleachers making a full-speed pass. Coach called a timeout, told us to slow down and run the plays.

The Georgiana players were totally confused with our play. We were running circles around them.

Little did Coach know we were 50 years ahead of slow play and running plays.

1 Comment

  1. Kathleen Blackwell Noojin on June 23, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    Surely enjoyed Carter’s recap of the games. I was a graduate of 1961 so missed these 1963 highlights.

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