’82 state champs prepare for reunion

Published 10:12 am Tuesday, October 16, 2012

STATE CHAMPIONS REUNITING: Former head football coach Ralph Jones, center, and two of his 1982 Bainbridge High School Bearcats State Class AAA championship players get together to reminisce about that special season. At his left is running back Tim Flanders, and at his right is offensive tackle Jimmy Holton.

Weather played a big role for coach Ralph Jones’ Bainbridge High School Bearcats, on their drive to the 1982 State Class AAA football championship.

There was rain during the Bearcats’ 19-7 Region 1-AAA regular season loss to Mitchell-Baker, and fog in their 21-14 first round playoff overtime win at Americus.

There was also heavy rain in Bainbridge’s 7-6 state championship game victory at Gainesville.

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The 1982 Bearcats state champions will be honored with a 30th anniversary reception Friday. The reception will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Elcan-King Elementary School cafeteria, across the street from Centennial Field. Later that night, Ed Pilcher’s Bearcats will host the Hardaway High School Golden Hawks in a Region 1-AAAAA game.

The 1982 state title team will be recognized at halftime of Friday night’s game. Jones and several of his 1982 players recalled their determination to overcome the weather problems and win the state champion.

Offensive tackle Jimmy Holton remembered a great pass that quarterback Bobby Walden completed to wide receiver Philip Bryant, in the Americus fog.

“On one of our drives Bobby completed about a 30-yard pass to Philip and put it right on his hands,” Holton said.

Running backs Calvin Close and Tim Flanders recalled how cold it was in the Gainesville rain.

“I thought I was going to freeze it was so cold,” Close said.

“It was a challenge to stay focused and put the weather in the back of your  mind,” added Flanders.