Monday, May 25, 2009

Dublin’s Annual Thanksgiving All Star Football

For many years, the big game of the football season has traditionally been played on or near Thanksgiving Day. In 1959, the Recreation Dept. staged a post season game to raise money to pay for one hundred new uniforms. The game, billed as “The Cranberry Bowl,” was originally an intra-league contest between the Midget League Champions and all-stars from the other teams in the league. Over the years, Dublin teams played teams from other cities in Georgia, all centered around the Thanksgiving holiday. The games were played during the glory years of Dublin football, when the Dublin Irish were perennially one of the best teams in its class in

In the first post season game, sponsored by the Touchdown Club, the Central Elementary Redskins played against all-stars from the Moore Street Eagles, Johnson Street Colts, and Saxon Heights Rams. Johnny Floyd and Fred Middlebrooks coached the champion Redskins, while Joe Uliano, Ray Dunn, and Herb Arnett coached the all-stars. Eddie Morgan, fullback for the undefeated Redskins, dove over from the two yard line to give ‘Skins the lead. Benny Warren, of the Colts, stepped in front of a Redskin pass deep in all-star territory and ran it back for 50 yards. Vic Belote passed the tying touchdown pass to fellow Moore Street Eagle, John Strickland, with only minutes to play. When no team converted their extra point try, the game ended in a “sister kissing” tie, 6 to 6.

In 1960, the Cranberry Bowl became an intra-state game. The Dublin all-stars played the Howell all-stars of Atlanta at Battle Field. Fred Middlebrooks and Don Tanner coached the Dublin boys. Eddie Morgan and Bennie Warren scored two touchdowns each in leading the Dublin team to a 38 to 18 victory. One of Morgan’s scores came on a 60 yard touchdown run. Also scoring for Dublin were John Smythe and Ron Hickerson, who scored on a 56 yard touchdown pass. All of Howell’s points came during the last quarter of the game.

In 1961, the Dublin all-stars tuned up for the bowl game with a 13-6 victory over the Macon all-stars. Stanley Johnson ran around the end for the first score. The Macon team tied the game in the third quarter. Danny Forbes scored the winning TD when only a few seconds remaining. George Lee’s Dublin all-stars played another Atlanta team. Stanley Johnson scored on a forty-yard run to open the scoring. Atlanta tied the score, then Dublin never looked back. Johnson took the ensuing kickoff and ran it back sixty yards for the go-ahead TD. Johnson scored his final touchdown in the fourth quarter, giving the Dublin boys a 20-7 victory. Coach Lee cited Johnson, Phil Dean, Teddy Jones, Joe Brown, Gary Oliver, Roy Bedingfield, Danny Forbes, and Moody Oliver for their outstanding play.

Al Jacobs and Johnny Floyd coached the 1962 team against the Commerce Midgets in the first Cranberry Bowl played in the Shamrock Bowl. Dublin gave the game away with fumbles of the opening kickoff and the first play of the second half. Commerce won the game, 26 to 7. Jerry Pinholster’s nine-yard run was the only touchdown. Mike Rich, a future Florida Gator collegiate star and NFL draftee, plunged over for the extra point. Cited for their outstanding play were J.C. Pitts, Edward Cox, Gary Oliver, Charles Lee, Steve Scarborough, Charles Williams, Bobby Clement, Chris Henry, Mike Rich, Bill Perry, Sam Griffin, Jerry Pinholster and Greg Crabb.

The 1963 Bowl was a two-day affair. In the first game, the Commerce all-stars came from behind in the last thirty seconds to win the game over Dublin Midget all-stars by the score of 20-14. Winds in excess of thirty miles per hour and temperatures below freezing hampered the game on both sides. Billy Ayres scored after a Commerce fumble and passed to Bob Keene for the extra point. Dublin scored twice before the end of the half to take a 14-0 lead. In the second half it was all Commerce, who scored three touchdowns to win . In the Mighty Mite game, the Dublin boys lost to Gresham Park Hornets of Decatur, when the Hornets recovered a Dublin fumble; and in five plays, took the ball over the goal line with only seconds remaining. The second game, against Warner Robins, was the just the opposite of the the first game. It was the highest scoring game in the bowl’s history. Dublin won 34 to 20. Coach Roy Hammond cited the running of Eddie Strickland, Dee Smalley, Billy Ayres, and Joe Simpson; the receiving of Bob Keen and Paul Griggs; the blocking of Paul Bush, Bob Brewer, Larry Forth, Jimmy Fort, and Jimmy Price; and the defense of Danny Hooks, Steve Rawlins, Dale Miles, Johnny Howell, Juson Powell, Jimmy Bidgood, and Jim Whittle in gaining a split in the bowl.

In 1964, the Dublin Mighty Mites were overwhelmed by Warner Robins, 21-7. Monty Hodges scored from fifty one yards out and Dee Cullen bulled over the line for the extra point to keep the Dublin boys from being shut out. In the Midget game, it was much closer. Warner Robins scored in the first half and again in the third quarter for a 12-0 lead. George Walker scored on a fifteen yard run to close the gap. Warner Robins held on to win when it stopped Dublin on the eleven yard line late in the fourth quarter. On Saturday, the Dublin Mighty Mites and Gresham Park played to a 0-0 tie in regulation play. Since no one kept an account of the deepest penetration, an additional quarter was played. With hard running by Dee Cullens and Monty Hodges, the Dublin boys managed to win on penetration, 1-0. In the Midget game, Dublin faced its old foe, Commerce, who broke the series tie with a 25 to 13 win. George Walker, Jim Whittle, Ronnie Altman, and Jimmy Bidgood led a valiant effort by the Dublin team.

In the 1965 doubleheader, the Dekalb Hornets smashed the Dublin Mighty Mites 32 to 0. Donnie Vaughn, Jeff Canady, John Rodriquez, Bruce Stinson, John Tanzine, Chuck Hughes, and Jeffrey Roberts were stand outs for the Dublin team. In the second game, the Midget League Champion Eagles played the league all-stars to a 6-6 tie. Wayne Fuqua’s Eagles were led by Clinton Thomas, Ben Dixon, Elton Dean, Mike Drake, Al Bell, Mike Fuqua, Ray Foskey, Larry Jackson, Bobby Andre, and Tony Haynie. The all-stars were led by Jimmy Graham, Randy Stinson, Monty Hodges, Mike Kirby, Carl Joiner, Bill Mathis, Danny Dalton, Mike Fennell, Hal Scott, Tal Scott, Larry Williams, David Mathis and Allan Tindol and coached by Roy Hammond.

The last Cranberry Bowl was played on the Babe Ruth field in Hilburn Park in 1966. The undefeated and once scored upon Vikings coached by Ray Prosperi, Bill Roberts, and Bob Potts defeated the Mighty-Mite all-stars 12 to 0. Tony Prosperi caught a pass from Ed Griffith, who scored on a two- yard plunge for final score. Also playing for the Vikings were Jeff Canady, Herschel White, Reese Stanley, Ricky Anderson, Brad Roberts, Patrick Roche, Lee Whitaker, Jim Wynn, Nelson Carswell, Bo-J Claxton, Kelly Canady, Bill Adams, Jeffrey Johnson, Stan Stanley, David Smith, Bruce Wynn, Pat Hodges, Randy Graham, Eddie Smith, Malcolm Gore, Wayne Bridges, and Scott Thompson. The all-stars were led by Stanley Jessup, Bruce Stinson, Jeffrey Davis, Jeffrey Roberts, Jim Townsend, Randy Gregory, Johnny Cox, John Tanzine, Billy Repko, Jeff Wainright, Andy Cullens, Lamar Harper, Jeffrey King, Billy Hinson, Mike Curry, Jerry Tindol, Willie Lester, Ronnie Mathis, Steve Manning, Matt Fleming, Randy Woodard, James Brantley, Joey Wilson, Jamie Daniel, Jerry Walker and Guy Cochran.

Friday, May 22, 2009


The Story of Wex Jordan, Jr.

The story of Wexler Jordan, Jr. is a story of an all-American boy. He was born on December 8, 1920 and grew up during hard times. He lived most of his life in Dublin and was a star football player for the Dublin Green Hurricanes. He was described by those who knew him as tall and handsome. He loved to play the violin and was tagged with the nickname “The Fiddling Fullback.” “Girls swarmed around Wex, who always took time to play with his dozen younger first cousins,” remembered his cousin Marilyn Brown.

Wex played football for Dublin High in the 1935 and 1936 seasons. In 1935, Wex played guard for a Dublin team, which ended the season as District Champions. In his senior season in 1936, Wex shifted to fullback where he did it all for the Dublin offense, passing and running for touchdowns and extra points.

After leaving Dublin High School, Wex played two seasons of football for Middle Georgia College. The following Fall, Wex enrolled at Georgia Tech. He was determined to make the team despite his small size. Weighing in at 175 pounds, Jordan tried out as a lineman. Before the season was over, he had been tabbed by his fellow players and coaches as “Hardrock.”

In the 1940 season, Wex Jordan rose to the top as a guard for the Ramblin Wreck. Georgia Tech was coached by the legendary W.A. Alexander. The backfield coach was another legendary figure at Tech. He was Bobby Dodd. Tech started off the season with a romp over the lowly Howard University eleven. Tech nearly came back to defeat the powerful Irish of Notre Dame in the second game. Wex was the defensive star in a 19 to 0 defeat of the Vanderbilt Commodores. Tech’s up and down season continued with a 9 point loss to Auburn. The Yellow Jackets stayed down with a drubbing by Duke and Kentucky in successive games. Following a one point loss to Alabama at home, Tech lost its fifth game in a row to Florida, followed by a loss to bitter rival the Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 21 to 19. The Yellow Jackets earned some consolation when they defeat the California Golden Bears on Christmas Day.

The year 1941 would become the most important year in the life of Wex Jordan. In fact it was probably the most important year in the lives of millions of other Americans. Tech began the 1941 season an easy victory over Chattanooga. Following a 20 to 0 loss to Notre Dame, the Jackets bounced back with a victory over Auburn. The winning streak was short lived when the Engineers lost to Vanderbilt and Duke. The Jackets defeated Kentucky before losing their last three games to Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Wex and other Tech defensive lineman gained one consolation from their loss to the Bulldogs. All American and Heisman Trophy winner, Frankie Sinkwich, was held to only sixty yards on the ground. Sinkwich praised the play of Wex and the other Tech guards. Wex was cited by his coaches as having his best games against Notre Dame, Alabama, and Georgia. He was awarded the Rhodes Trophy as the most valuable player for the 1941 Yellow Jackets.

For his outstanding play at guard, Wex Jordan was named to the All - Southeastern team by the sports staff of the “Atlanta Journal.” The only other Georgian on the team was his rival, Frank Sinkwich. The good news came on his 21st birthday. The bad news in the paper that day was the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese air force. The holiday game with California was never played, and things would never be the same again.

Wex, like all of the other male students at Georgia Tech, got their first taste of military life in R.O.T.C. In his senior year of Army R.O.T.C. at Tech, Wex was chosen as Captain of Company B of the First Battalion. He majored in Civil Engineering, attained honor graduate status, and was a member of the Army R.O.T. C. fraternity, The Scabbard and the Blade. Wex Jordan graduated from Tech in the spring of 1942. Wex Jordan entered the Army Air Corps and earned his wings in 1943.

It was a Fall Thursday morning - Veteran’s Day and the 25th anniversary of the end of World War I. It was a day which in the past ten years, Wex would have spent preparing for the next football game. It was a day to remember those soldiers and sailors who had given the last full measure of devotion. First Lt. Verne Yahne was leading a five plane formation at the Naval Air Station in San Diego, California. Lt. Yahne’s oxygen supply failed causing him to black out. The Lieutenant’s plane went into a steep dive and fell apart just as the pilot began to regain consciousness. Jordan, the second pilot in formation, was unaware of the lead pilot’s fate. He took his P - 38 fighter plane down following the leader’s dive. Jordan could not pull his plane out of the dive and bailed out. As he was parachuting to the ground the wing of his plane struck him, killing him instantly. Lt. Yahne made a safe landing in the bay.

B. J. Sessions, of Dublin friend of Jordan’s, was taking judo classes. An air raid alarm sounded - a usual occurrence in the early years of the war. Sessions ran outside in time to see to debris of the planes falling. The remnants of Jordan’s plane nearly fell on the building where Sessions had been taking judo classes. Sessions ran two blocks to the site of where Jordan’s body had landed. One look told him that the man was dead. Sessions didn’t get a close look and returned to his classes. The class instructor asked Sessions if he knew Lt. W.W. Jordan, Jr., who had just been killed in a air accident. Sessions was stunned. He had known Jordan all of his life and considered him a hero. Sessions wrote the Jordans and told them of his witnessing the tragedy.

Major Victor Walton, commanding officer of the San Diego base, had the difficult task of informing Jordan’s parents that their only son had been killed. The family was devastated. Mr. Jordan suffered what was believed to be a minor heart attack. Major Walton assigned Captain James Stevens to escort the body of the fallen hero back to Dublin for burial. Funeral services were held at the First Christian Church with the Rev. Robert S. Bennett officiating. A honor guard from Cochran Air Field in Macon performed the military rites during the services. The Jordans selected Wex’s high school buddies as pall bearers. Mike Harvard, Johnny Morrison, George Hadden, and Frank Hancock were allowed leave from their military service to carry the body of their fallen comrade to its final resting place. Also serving as pall bearers were friends Ed Harpe and Billy Hightower.

One of Dublin and America’s finest young man was laid to rest in Northview Cemetery. His life was all too short and his death, so senseless and tragic. Jordan lived his life as an example of what is good about America. He was a true - underline the word true - hero.

Sunday, May 10, 2009



Most football fans know that there are eleven men on each team. Quite a few don’t remember the days when a football player had to play on both offense and defense. In the small towns of Georgia before World War II, high schools had a hard time getting enough boys to outfit an eleven-man team. County School Superintendent Elbert Mullis first began organizing football teams in the county high schools in 1938. The first two teams were Brewton and Cedar Grove. In 1939, Rentz, Cadwell, and Dexter began to organize their teams. In 1940, the Laurens County - Oconee League went into full swing.

The boys played what was called six-man football. There were no guards nor tackles on the offensive line - only a center and two ends. In the backfield, there was a quarterback and two running backs. In some games there was only one referee, who obviously had to be in good shape to cover the entire field - there was no instant replay. Sometimes coaches from other teams officiated. The first game of the 1940 season was held in Cadwell. Mayor C.J. Bedingfield declared the day, October 3rd, a town holiday and urged all businesses to close for the team’s first football game ever. Cadwell, coached by Bob Shuler, destroyed the Dexter Boys, coached by Raymond Smith, by the score of 40 to 7. Five hundred spectators showed up for the game.

The second game of the season was between Brewton High School and Cedar Grove. This game was much closer. Warren Sapp scored the first touchdown for Brewton and Keiver Jordan threw a touchdown pass to Victor Moye. Cedar Grove scored a safety early in the game and scored once on a touchdown by right end Manus. Brewton held on for a 12 to 8 game. Neither team converted an extra point.

While all of the teams played full schedules, many of the reports of the games were never published. Cedar Grove had one of its best games of the season when it defeated Darien High School by the score of 39-13. Lamar Lowery was the hero for Cedar Grove that afternoon. Cadwell, led by a return of an interception by Wyman Mullis, defeated the heavily favored Peacock School from Atlanta, 24 to 12. Brewton continued its undefeated season on Oct. 20th with a 30 to 14 victory over Dexter at the latter’s home field. Warren Sapp drove through the center on the second play of the game for the first score. Moye scored on a pass from Jordan. Jordan who scored a few minutes later on a quarterback run. Jack Sapp returned an interception for a touchdown for Brewton. Moye ran nearly the entire length of the field, dodging several Dexter tacklers. Frost and English scored for Dexter.

Cadwell defeated the powerful Brewton team 14 to 12 for their only defeat of the season. Bedingfield and Daniell gained a measure of revenge for their 24 to 0 drubbing by Brewton in the first game. The two teams would play again before the end of the season.

Brewton smashed Dexter 41 to 8. Frost scored the only touchdown for Dexter, while Jack Sapp, Victor Moye, Swinton Walker, Keiver Jordan, and Warren Sapp, all scored for Brewton. Brewton, led by Swinton Walker and Warren Sapp, followed with a solid 25 to 13 victory over Rentz. Bracewell scored two touchdowns for the losers. In a second game against Rentz, on their home field, Brewton won 15 to 12 over the Rentz Yellowjackets, coached by David Frazier. Jordan passed to Maddox for the final score of the game.

Cadwell earned a spot in the title game with a 20 to 13 defeat of Rentz. C.J. Wynn and T. Bedingfield led the Cadwell comeback with one touchdown each in the second half. Wyman Mullis and Wallace Collins were outstanding on defense for the Cadwell Bulldogs. Bracewell, Grinstead, and Mackey played a good game for Rentz.

The county championship came down to one game. It would be played on a neutral field in Dublin. Coach Eugene Heckle’s Brewton boys and Coach Bob Shuler’s Cadwell Bulldogs had split their season series, 1-1, with each team winning their home games. The winner of the game would meet the champion of the Southwest Georgia Football Association for the state championship the next Friday night.

Brewton’s offense exploded in the first three quarters. Victor Moye ran back and forth across the field for a forty yard run down to the Cadwell one yard line. When the game ended, the score was Brewton 61, Cadwell 19. Scoring for Brewton were Moye, 3 touchdowns, Walker, Jack Sapp, and Jordan, with two touchdowns each. Warren Sapp kicked three extra points and Moye caught one pass for an extra point. With the score 43-0 at the start of the fourth quarter, Cadwell’s Bedingfield tried to catch up all by himself. He scored three touchdowns and one extra point in the final stanza, but to no avail.

Brewton met Cuthbert High in Cuthbert for the state title on December 5, 1940. During the season the Brewton team were eight and one. They scored 261 points to their opponent’s 106. Brewton’s lineup in the title game was: Keiver Jordan, at quarterback; Jack Sapp, at halfback; Warren Sapp, at fullback; Roy Graham, at center; Victor Moye, the team captain at right end; and Swinton Walker, at left end. The reserves were made up of Junior Watson, at quarterback; Donald Tipton, at end; Roger Green, at halfback; Stacey Lake, at end; Truett Fort, at fullback; and Albert Garnto, at halfback. Playing quarterback for Cuthbert was Charlie Waller, a former Dublin boy and an All-American candidate. Waller, who was a star footballer for Dublin in the two previous years, led in his league, the So-we-ga, in many offensive categories.

Waller showed why the University of Alabama had given him a football scholarship. He nearly collapsed from exhaustion after running for seven touchdowns. Brewton’s only score came in the second quarter when Victor Moye returned a Cuthbert fumble for a touchdown. Cuthbert scored 14, 24, 30, and 22 points in the quarters to take a 90 to 6 victory, a new high all-Georgia scoring record. Cuthbert’s fullback scored four touchdowns. The Brewton boys spent the night in a Cuthbert hotel that night. It was a long ride back home to Brewton that Sunday.

Their comrades at Dublin High played Monticello for the regular eleven-man district championship two days before. Dublin, leading 13 to 12 in the fourth quarter, was driving for a victory clinching score. Morgan intercepted a Dublin pass which he took back for a touchdown, giving Monticello a 18 to 13 victory. In 1941, the Cadwell Bulldogs, led by C.J. Wynn, came from behind to defeat Cedar Grove 38 to 21 to win the county championship. The game was played on Friday night, Dec. 5th. I think you know what happened the next Sunday.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Breezy Wynn, Tennessee Volunteers

Breezy Wynn, businessman, 1960s.

The Football and Business Career of “Breezy”

Herman D. Wynn was a star footballer for the Dublin Green Hurricanes in the mid twenties. His friends called him "Breezy." "Breezy" was highly sought after by college coaches. He was an all-around athlete, starring in football, basketball, and track. The 1926 edition of the Hurricanes were champions of the 12th Congressional District. After a 5-2-1 season, the Dublin team played Eastman for the district title. "Breezy" intercepted an Eastman pass at the Dublin three-yard line and ran it back ninety-seven yards for the lone score of the game. Ed Hall kicked the extra point. Wynn, along with George Scarborough, Lester Jackson, and Nat Lease were dubbed the "Four Horsemen" of the Hurricanes. After football season, "Breezy" led the Green Hurricanes to a second place finish in the district with a record of 13 and 2. Both loses came at the hands of Cochran, by a total of three points, and only after "Breezy" fouled out in the championship game. Highlights of the '26-'27 seasons were a 68 to 6 victory over Lyons High, a 56 to 18 victory over Emanuel Co. Institute, and 23 to 8 victory over Sigma Nu Fraternity of Mercer University.

"Breezy" played at Georgia Military College in 1928 and at Richmond Academy in 1929. He enrolled at the University of Tennessee where he played from 1930 to 1934. He broke his leg in the first game of the 1933 season - an injury which cost the Volunteers three defeats according to their legendary coach, Bob Neyland. Before then, the Volunteers had not lost a game when "Breezy" was on the team. When he arrived at college, he was driving an Essex without a top and had ten dollars in his pocket. He was considered one of the best fullbacks in the Southeastern Conference in his time. In addition to his duties as a running back, "Breezy" kicked for the Vols. During his career at Tennessee, Wynn played with all time greats, Beattie Feathers, Herman Hickman, and Bobby Dodd. Wynn was the recipient of the Amateur Football Award from the National Football Hall of Fame. In 1958, "Breezy" was nominated for "Sports Illustrated's" Silver Anniversary Collegiate Football All Star Team. The team was chosen to honor those athletes who had distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of employment.

"Breezy" became more famous for his career as an industrialist. While at Tennessee, "Breezy" began his business career operating Vol Dry Cleaners, a pool room, a barber shop, a meat market, and a collection agency. After graduation, he opened an athletic equipment company, The Southern Athletic Company. "Breezy" hired a few women to sew and borrowed some money to finance the business. He developed uniforms and equipment that were much lighter than the "old-fashioned kind." The idea caught on. Orders came in from high schools and colleges all over the country. At one time, Wynn controlled twenty-three plants, which employed thirty five-hundred employees and had contracts totaling more than twenty-five million dollars.

When World War II began, Wynn shifted his production line to manufacture barracks "duffle" bags. He proclaimed himself as "The King of Barracks Bags." More than nine million of them were turned out, usually about fifty thousand a week. Wynn's company also made the M-65 jacket. By 1945, Wynn's business had expanded to ten factories in Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and New York. Wynn's company shipped more than a million garments to eleven foreign countries. His company was making more than a million pairs of pants for the Lend Lease program. After the war, Wynn hoped to get into the army salvage business.

Wynn's business holdings also included the Southern Aviation Manufacturing Company, and Salvage Company of Tennessee. Southern Athletic continued to make sporting goods but also made all weather coats for the military and civilian customers.

Wynn was a top organization man in the Knoxville area. He served as a founder and president of the Knoxville Quarterback. He was President of the Knoxville Symphony Society. He organized an annual charity football game to benefit children with Cerebral Palsy. He also served as a director of Church Street Methodist Church, the Boys Club of Knoxville, the City Club of Knoxville, and the Tennessee Manufacturer's Association. While he was in college, "Breezy" picked up laundry for dry cleaning. Later he bought a dry-cleaning business. "Breezy" was generous with his money. When dogwood trees were needed to plant along trails, he donated a thousand trees. He solicited three million dollars for a hospital for children, one hundred thousand of which he gave himself. He brought the Symphony out of financial ruin.

In 1964, Wynn sold his remaining interest in the Southern Athletic Company to Diversa, Inc. of Dallas. Wynn remained President of the company until his retirement in 1965. At the time of the sale, the company was grossing fifteen to twenty million dollars a year.

After a short retirement, Breezy formed Wynn Industries, which took over the idle Apparel Corporation of America. Breezy put hundreds of persons back to work. The company manufactured clothing for men and women and boys and girls. In 1970, the company announced a 20 year contract worth forty million dollars. Wynn was a prominent member of the Republican party and a close friend of President Richard Nixon.

A disastrous fire in the Wynn Building destroyed all of his personal papers in February of 1977 - depriving all of us of more detailed accounts of his careers in sports and business. All the pictures, clippings, and memorabilia were gone. An entire lifetime of mementos was history, lying among the ashes. Breezy looked at it this way. "Look ahead. Yesterday is history, but tomorrow will always offer new challenges to be conquered. I can't wait until tomorrow." The legend of "Breezy" Wynn, "The Duke of Dublin," lives on, and no fire will ever take it away.