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.

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