Wells remembers six-man football

Published 4:44 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The 1940 season featured some lasting memories for coach Clifford Wells and his West Bainbridge High School six-man football team.

Wells, who went on to serve heroically with the U.S. Army in World War II and have a successful basketball coaching career at Climax High School, reflected on the season during an interview with The Post-Searchlight Monday at his home in Climax.

“I graduated from Georgia Teachers College, which is now Georgia Southern University, in Statesboro in June 1940 and came back home to accept the six-man football coaching position at West Bainbridge High School,” he said as he reminisced about the season and some of his former players.

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“I actually taught the seventh grade. The West Bainbridge School principal was Mr. Homer Hodges Brinson. We were a member of the Southwest Georgia Six-Man Football League. Other teams in the league were Dawson, Edison, Blakely, Colquitt, Fort Gaines and Cuthbert.”

He talked about a strategy he employed and his players executed well that resulted in a victory during the 1940 season.

“We were playing Fort Gaines on the road and it was raining hard,” he said. “We were receiving the kickoff, and I told my players to kick it right back to Fort Gaines when they received it. They did, and the strategy worked.

“The Fort Gaines returner caught the ball, but when he did it was so wet that it squirted out of his hands. We recovered it and went in for a touchdown. That was the only touchdown scored in the game by either team,” Wells said.

Wells said he had some very good players during that 1940 season.

Some, but not all by any means, were Leroy Inlow, who played center; Edzel “Pug” Inlow, who played quarterback; Lanier Inlow, who played running back; Buck Dixon, who played fullback; Junior Hughes, Wallace Dukes, Tom Dodson and Hubert Dodson.

“Offensively we lined up with the running back right behind the quarterback. When the quarterback got the ball from the center, he could give the ball to the running back, pitch it out to him or go back to pass to one of our two wide receivers or our inside receiver. The fullback would sometimes come up and hand the ball back to the quarterback.

“Defensively, we had four men on the line and two men in the secondary.”