Champions’ homecoming was special

Published 8:21 am Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Friday night, Bainbridge High School welcomed home the 1982 Bearcats, who were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their 1982 state class AAA championship, the only state football championship in BHS history.

The highlight came at halftime of the Bearcats’ 24-19 Region 1-AAAAA victory over Hardaway on Friday night.

As the 1982 Bearcats were introduced to the Centennial Field crowd, a video and audio tape of their 7-6 state championship victory over Gainesville, on a rain-soaked Gainesville City Park Stadium field, was shown on the scoreboard’s video screen. The tape was provided by Bearcats statistician Chip Ariail.

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Coach Ed Pilcher’s 2012 Bearcats completed the memorable night with their big victory over Hardaway.

Prior to the game, the 1982 team was honored with a reception at the Elcan-King Elementary School cafeteria across from the stadium.

The 1982 team’s halftime recognition and reception were coordinated by Bainbridge High School athletic director Stan Killough and he did an outstanding job. Both events were first class.

It was great to see my dear friend Bobby Trawick, the Bainbridge High School principal in 1982, at the event. Bobby was a strong principal and football coach, and he was also an outstanding head Bainbridge High School girls basketball coach.

The Bearcats’ coaching staff was also outstanding in 1982. In addiction to head coach Ralph Jones, it included offensive coordinator Don Hancock, who was there Friday night along with Jones, ends and outside linebackers coach Larry Clark and defensive tackles coach Dick Griffin.

Also on the staff were defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Sonny Smart, defensive backfield coach Pete Reeves, receivers coach Dwight Gray, offensive line and strength coach Steve Bench, ninth grade and offensive staff member Carlton Gainous and ninth grade staff member Steve Bowers.

The 1982 Bearcats went 14-1. They avenged their only setback, a 19-7 loss to the Mitchell-Baker Eagles on a rainy Centennial Field the third week of the season, with a 35-22 victory over the Eagles in the Region 1-AAA championship game, in Camilla, Ga.

On a personal note, I enjoyed reminiscing with the Bearcats players I covered 1982. I had not seen some of them in quite a while.