State champions share stories

Published 7:49 am Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stories and rememberances of the Bainbridge High School Bearcats 1982 state class AAA football championship season were numerous Friday night. The occasion was the 30th anniversary celebration of the only state football championship in Bainbridge High School history.

The players and coaches began their night with a reception at the Elcan-King Elementary School cafeteria, across the street from Centennial Field. They were also recognized at halftime of the Bearcats’ 24-19 home Region 1-AAAAA victory over Hardaway.

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While the 1982 players and coaches were being introduced at midfield, the Bearcats’ video scoreboard showed the replay of their winning championship scoring drive in a 7-6 victory over Gainesville.

Fullback Scott Carroll, a team captain, ran in for the winning touchdown from 5 yards out after Kenneth Howard recovered a fumble by Gainesville fullback Sammy Williams at the 5-yard-line. Carroll and Howard are both medical doctors.

Defensive back Mark Willis kicked the winning extra point, then later knocked a Gainesville player out of bounds as he tried to run in for a two-point conversion, to preserve the victory.

The winning touchdown drive included a 15-yard pass from quarterback Bobby Walden to split end David Sykes, from the Gainesville 32 to the Gainesville 17.

Carroll, who was unable to attend because of his medical duties , sent a message to his teammates and coaches, which head coach Ralph Jones read.

“I remember coach Jones talking to us about courage, character and commitment,” he wrote. “Back then, I sometimes thought he was just talking.

“It wasn’t until later in my life that I realized he was instilling in us traits to not only build champions on the football field, but also be successful in our lives after football.

“When I have been met with challenges in my life, I think back to courage, character and commitment. It is amazing how these three words have helped me realize I can accomplish anything.

“It was an honor to share the field with such athletes as Jimmy Holton, Philip Bryant, Bobby Walden Calvin Close and Jackie Wilson. These guys were outstanding athletes. but it was just as much an honor to share the field with all of the other champions who were not as gifted, but worked just as hard to accomplish our goal.

“I really wish I could be in Bainbridge tonight with all of our teammates from our championship season. It seems like so long ago, but then again it seems like yesterday.

“I hope you all have a great time tonight reminiscing about the 1982 season. I love you guys. Go Bearcats.”

All-State tackle Jimmy Holton, who played on both the offensive and defensive lines, got a chance to reconnect with his fellow defenders, who had a big goal line stand to preserve a 7-0 Region 1-AAA regular-season win over the Cairo High School Syrupmakers in Cairo.

With the ball at the Bearcats’ 1-yard-line, the Syrupmakers tried to run in for the touchdown four straight times, and the Bearcats stopped them each time.

Holton and his fellow 1982 defensive teammates got a chance to happily remember that goal line stand Friday. On the defensive stand with Holton, who went on to play with the University of Georgia Bulldogs and professionally in Canada, were Jackie Wilson, George Tucker, David Harper, Calvin Gaines and Lamar Sweet.

The winning touchdown in the 7-0 win over Cairo came on a pass from Walden to wide receiver Phillip Bryant. Mark Willis kicked the extra point.

Bainbridge High School athletic director Stan Kllough, who coordinated the 30-year 1982 reunion celebration, said he enjoyed watching a bunch of 40-plus-year-olds act like 18-year-olds again.

“I never heard one of the former players say ‘I did something,’” Killough said “It was always ‘we did something.’ It was no wonder that they were successful.”

State champion players attending the reunion included David Sykes, David Noodle Harper, George Tucker, Tony Shuman, Calvin Close, Lamar Sweet, Hank Holt, Donald Cooper, Calvin Mills, Tim Flanders and Jimmy Holton. Also attending were 1982 players Bobby Walden, Todd Mills, Frank Kay, Eric Duke, Jackie Wilson, Patrick Clark, Bernard Jackson and Greg Waddell.

Coaches attending were 1982 Bearcats head coach Ralph Jones, offensive coordinator Don Hancock, ends and outside linebackers coach Larry Clark and defensive tackles coach Dick Griffin.


1982 Bainbridge Bearcats

Jeffery Gainous — SE

Michael Stubbs — QB

Bobby Walden — QB

Kenneth Howard — DB

Patrick Clark — DB

Hank Holt — QB

Cedric Edwards — DB

Mark Willis — DB/K

Reginald Butler — TB

Tommy Nix — DB

Bobby Stubbs — SE

Tim Flanders — RB

Greg Malone — WB

Alphonso Weaver — DB

Shellie Fountain — DB

Frank Key — WB

Danny Cooper — DB

Calvin Close — RB

Phillip Bryant — WR/DB

David Harper — DT

Terry Heard — LB

Andy Belcher — LB

Lonnie Hughes — FB

Jerome Roddy — FB

Lamar Sweet — DB

Greg Waddell — P

George Tucker — DT

Ed Guy — DT

Kenneth Davis — DB/SE

Tony Shuman — DB

Robert Harris — DB

Scott Carroll — FB

Alan Skinner — WB

Brian Key — C

Cole Forsyth — C

Eddie Smith — LB

Wade Kirkland — OG

Joe Wright — LB

Daniel Knight — LB

Tommy Doss — LB

Jackie Wilson — OG

Kevin Marvin — OG

Eddie Sapp — OG

Jeff Durham — OG

Greg Inlow — OG

Derrick Biggles — LB

David Williams — C

Eugene Williams — DE

Dale Daniels — OT

Tony Harris — DE

Eric Duke — G

Vince Lapapa — OT

Mackel Cooper — DT

Calvin Gaines — DT

Jimmy Holton — OT

Todd Mills — TE

Calvin Mills — TE

Donald Cooper — TE

David Sykes — SE

Pell Thompson — DB


Managers: Pat Moore, Joey Kendrick, Brad Ward


Cheerleaders: Mia McDaniel, Paula Anderson, Debra Burney, Jennifer Medlin, Dana Brock, Deanna Jones, Shannon Key, Angie Hooper



Ralph Jones — Head coach

Sonny Smart — Defensive coordinator, linebackers

Larry Clark — Ends, outside linebackers

Pete Reeves — Defensive backs

Dick Griffin — Defensive tackles

Dwight Gray — Receivers

Steve Bench — Offensive line, strength

Don Hancock — Offensive coordinator, running backs

Carlton Gainous — Ninth grade, offensive staff

Steve Bowers — Ninth grade