Life in Valdosta :: The Bogart

The Bogart The Valdosta football team, Coached by Bobby Hooks, won its first state championship in 1940. In 1941, he was hired as the head coach at Mercer and the Valdosta board of Education hired one of his assistants, Wright Bazemore, as head coach at Valdosta High. The 1941 team was a good team, not as good as the 1940 one, but a good team. It had two distinguishing features which set it apart from all the others:

1. It was the first team to play in the newly purchased orange and white football uniforms. Yep, that's right orange and white. I would be an ingrate to the memory of historical accuracy if I did not report this debacle. A couple of years later someone looked up the original colors of Valdosta High and they were black and gold and VHS made the switch back to the original colors.

2. One of the halfbacks on this team, James "Scat" Shiver entered the Navy in 1942, attended Tulane University under a Navy scholarship and made "All American" at that institution. He was the first football player coached by Wright Bazemore to do so.

In 1941, Freshmen who 'went out' for the team were nic-named "Bogarts". Some of them were: Buddy Culbreth, Dicky Steward, Melvin Williams, Robert Dowling, Arthur Hutchinson, Fred DeLoach and Richard Hemmingway. They wore old uniforms and their chief function at practice was to hold the tackling dummies for the Varsity.

In one of VHS's home games (against Moultrie) the Cats were driving down the field. Coach Bazemore was squatting on the sidelines with his trademark piece of grass in his mouth. He turned around and called out "Culbreath". Buddy, who was sitting at the end of the bench with the "Bogarts", jumped up and ran up and down the line of game helmets, trying to find one that would fit. His mind was filled with nascent dreams of glory. He could picture the headlines in the Valdosta Daily Times. CULBREATH THROWS WINNING TOUCHDOWN or maybe a little more modestly, FRESHMAN BEATS MOULTRIE.

After finding a helmet that fit, he put it on and enthusiastically reported to Coach Bazemore, informing him that he was ready for duty, primed and raring to go.

Coach turned to Buddy and with a balmy complacency handed him a nickel and told him to "run over there to the concession stand and get me a bag of peanuts."

Told by Jeff Hunt, VHS class of 1946

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