Looking Back: Football teams are lining up for the season

Published 9:29 am Friday, August 22, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back features past articles from The Tidewater News with commentary by local historian Clyde Parker.

by Clyde Parker

August 22, 1964

Area high school football teams are gearing up and practicing in preparation for their season openers.


The BRONCO football team following a little bit of a slump, is looking much better, according to Head Coach Roy Ledford. “The team won’t have much needed depth; but, if injuries are limited, this year’s team will win their share of games,” he said.

Here is the current enrollment for the Broncos: Charles Kannon, Barry Blythe, Cliff Cutchins, Dickie Surace, Welton Deshields, Freddie Hollowell, Frankie Rabil, Frank Whitehead, Tony Surace, Doodle Underwood, Waite Rawls, Dickie Bradshaw, Jack Williams, Billy Underwood, Ricky Carter, Ray Hassett, Bobby Eubanks, John Forrer, Chester Burgess, and Billy Atkinson.

Working with Coach Ledford are Assistant Coaches Gary Pierce and George Versprille.

The tentative starting offensive line-up, as of this writing, is as follows: Cliff Cutchins, quarterback; Billy Underwood, fullback; Fred Hollowell and Charles Kannon, halfbacks; Billy Atkinson and Ted Kingsbury, ends; Bobby Eubanks and John Forrer, tackles; Tony Surace and Doodle Underwood, guards; and Jack Williams, center.

Franklin’s first game will be played on September 11 against the “Red Raiders” of Suffolk High School.


The INDIANS football team, 46 strong and led by Coach Chris Caison, is being put through their paces in preparation for a predicted highly successful season.

Caison is the man who took the basketball Indians all the way to state semifinals last March, when few of the boys had ever played varsity basketball. Even before the basketball season was over, last February, Caison was named head football coach for Southampton, replacing Jim Sam Gillespie who left earlier for another position.

Caison’s assistant on the gridiron will be Dallas Hollingsworth who was contracted last spring. The two are old football buddies, playing a year together at Clintwood High School in Clintwood, NC.

The tentative starting offensive line-up for the first game of the season, coming up, against Emporia High School is as follows: Jimmy Westbrook, quarterback; Larry Harrell and Ben Ussery, halfbacks; Buddy Pope, fullback; Walker Gillette and P. J. Hedgepeth, ends; Johnny Bryant and Wayne Reames, tackles; Gene Beale and Wayne Rock, guards; and, Warren Edwards or Raymond Francis, center.

A young Jack Drewry will see some action. He has been very impressive, especially as a defensive guard.


Courtland’s Riverview High School EAGLES, under Coach P. D. Vann, are preparing for their season to open on September 11, in Courtland, against East End High School of South Hill.

The tentative offensive starting line-up is as follows: Charlie Williams or Herman Grant, quarterback; Vann Tennessee and Eddie Blow, halfbacks; Russell Warren, fullback; Jack Branch and Clarence Hamlin, ends; William Grant and Tyron Murphy or Hinton Magette, tackles; Clifton Hill and James Nichols, guards; and Ernest Cutler, center.

With 40 boys on the team so far, we will have plenty of opportunities to make substitutions in the line-up depending on how things go,” said Vann. “We’ve been practicing every day—even when it rains; then, we go in the gym for some workouts,” he added.


The Hayden High School WILDCATS are tearing up the turf, so to speak, getting ready for their opener next week against J. S. Russell High School of Lawrenceville.

“We now have 49 boys that have come out to play this year. But we lack experience. The interior of the line is strong but we lack experience in the end positions. Our halfback experience is limited. Two all-conference players are back this year; they are tackle Robert Harrell, Jr. and guard Gurney Blunt, Jr. And, fullback Wallace Jones is back,” Coach Robert Sandidge said.

The starting line-up is as follows: Willie James, quarterback; Kenneth Butts and Lafayette Majette, halfbacks; Wallace Jones, fullback; Clarence Artis and John Whitehead, ends; Robert Harrell, Jr. and Meade McClenny, tackles; Gurney Blunt, Jr. and Curtis Long, guards; and Milton Cheatom, center.


This year’s Windsor High School DUKES have far better morale, spirit and confidence than last year’s boys, according to Coach Brent Vann. “It’s important that they think they can win,” he said. “Last year’s boys thought they were beat before they started, especially the first games,” he continued.

There are 31 boys on the practice field now, 17 of them are lettermen.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is cpjeep99@yahoo.com