Once again, football season is here!

Published 8:08 am Saturday, August 25, 2012

Although the weather might not be an indication, football season is here.

Last night, the Bainbridge Bearcats opened the season against East Gadsden and, as I am writing this on Friday afternoon, I would hope that we opened the season with a victory.

If you attended the football game last night, I hope you enjoyed the game, as well as the atmosphere, and plan on attending the remaining five home games over the remainder of the season. And, this season’s road games are not too taxing, travel-wise, so make plans now to make a road trip or two.

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The football team has upwards of 90 players this year; there are roughly 225 in the band, and 15 cheerleaders. All of these students have expended many hours, much effort, and a lot of sweat to perform for you on Friday nights. They want and deserve your support.

My first recollection of Bainbridge, Ga., was about 30 years ago when I was a seventh-grade student at Holtville High School in Elmore County, Alabama. During my elementary school years, the head football and baseball coach at Holtville was Sonny Smart.

Coach Smart was very successful at Holtville, always fielding competitive football teams and winning two state baseball championships. But, before I had the opportunity to play for Coach Smart, he informed the community and the school that he had an opportunity to coach in someplace called Bainbridge.

At the time, I didn’t have a clue where Bainbridge was and what it was all about. But, in my mind, it had to be a pretty special place if Coach Smart would leave a place like Holtville — which in my mind was the best place on earth — to come to Bainbridge.

During the senior year at Holtville, my head football coach was Buddy Gray. Again, I didn’t realize it during that time, but Coach Gray also has a connection to Bainbridge. He was on Coach Ralph Jones’ coaching staff, along with Coach Smart, in the early 1980s, including 1982 when Bainbridge won the state championship.

This year is the 30th anniversary of that state championship team and I hope that both of my former coaches will be able to return to Bainbridge when that team is recognized later in the season.

This will be my fifth football season to experience since coming to Bainbridge in 2008, but I will fudge a little and say that I have appreciated Bainbridge for more than 30 years since my days at little Holtville school in central Alabama. You know, that six degrees of separation phenomenon.

I will always be a green and white Holtville Bulldog. But, now, I am also a purple and gold Bainbridge Bearcat. If you haven’t been to a game lately, come on out and support our students. They deserve it and you will enjoy it.

Jeff Findley is the publisher of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at jeff.findley@thepostsearchlight.com.