I’ve been here to watch both 8-0 starts for the Bearcats football team

Published 4:50 pm Friday, October 23, 2015

The story in Wednesday’s sports section about the 1960 undefeated Bainbridge Bearcats football team brought back a lot of memories to me.

As a 1962 graduate of Cairo High School, I have vivid memories of that season. The Bearcats defeated my Syrupmakers 14-13 in a thriller at Centennial Field. My brother Tom was a starting offensive tackle for Cairo.

The Bearcats had the outstanding touchdown twins of right halfback Ed Varner and fullback Fred Barber.

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Unfortunately Varner broke his collarbone in the game and was unable to play in the first playoff game against the Waycross High School Bulldogs. I met Varner and Barber when they were inducted into the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame. Barber was inducted in 2012 and Varner was inducted in 2013. I remember taking their picture with their former Bearcats head coach Spencer “Onion” Davis, who was inducted into the first Hall of Fame class in 2011. They had nothing but praise for coach Davis and talked about how he was one of the most positive influences on their lives.

I got to know coach Davis when I came to Bainbridge in April 1970 and became sports editor of this fine newspaper. I really believe that the Bearcats would have gone on to win the State Class AA championship that season if Ed Varner had not broken his collarbone against Cairo.

In the line of full exposure I must admit that that my brother Tom was a starting offensive tackle for Cairo in the 1960 season.

Since moving to Bainbridge coach Davis and I talked together many times and talked about that historic 1960 Bearcats football season. Je was not only a great football coach. He was also a great person who truly cared about the young men he coached.