The museums received an inquiry about a picture of men who met in 1990 and claimed to be a football team. The question came from a descendant of the Jones’ who were identified by her in the picture. We recognized this as a copy from the Independent which we display in the museums. Lest you have not heard, we share the tale here.
At the fall reunion in 1990, 9 men took their picture and gave an interview about their first football team. They recalled a group of 20 boys who tried out for this the first football team at Fuquay Springs High School. Mr. W. E. Fleming, the principal, hired Dutch Parker as a teacher at the high school under condition that he take the football coaching job, too. According to the team, Parker knew exactly nothing about football but was sent to a two-week training camp at Chapel Hill to learn the sport.
Over that season, they played six games. They opened with Spring Hope High School and came away on the short end of a 60-0 score. A couple of them insisted the score was really 68-0. They also insisted they did not care about the outcome of the season, as they knew they knew nothing. They were out to have FUN. The team enjoyed two victories, both over Angier which was also fielding its first year team that 1930 year.
Benton Bullock recalled that the only one of the team who had ever played a game of football was Bill Stinson. Stinson he described as the reason Bullock scored their “first touchdown” against Angier. Stinson was told to run down for a pass, which he did, accompanied by great hollering so that the whole Angier team followed him. Under cover of this distraction, Bullock kept the ball and ran 50 yards for their first touchdown.
Besides the 9 who came to the reunion and are identified, they listed other names. Jack Blanchard and Robert Lee Dale were still alive but not attending the reunion. Deceased were John Henry Jones, Graham Brooks, Maynard Keith, Wilber Blalock and Percy Atkins. Listed as brothers were the Jones boys: Fred, Kenneth and Caleb who when stirred up became “a bunch of wasps.” Three other sets of brothers were William and John Smith, Allen and John Rogers, and Chester and William Holland. (The writer cannot quite find 20 names total but certainly 18 are named. Perhaps 2 did not make the team.)
The parents could not afford cleats so they either wore tennis shoes or nailed cleats into their brogans. Helmets were like leather caps and flew off heads when tackled. The field was back of the original high school building and evidently just that— a field. The boys recalled that in 1934, as a WPA project, the government leveled the field for the first time. Team training consisted of running a mile during their hour-long lunch break. They did have a practice after school but had to hurry home for chores before darkness overtook them. The Holland brothers insisted that they also ran a mile and half stretch to their home in the afternoon. They paid $5 for a driver to take them to away games on a flatbed truck. No admission was charged for games but they did pass the hat for contributions of a nickel or so.
(The writer wonders if Angier’s field was the notorious 10 yards short on one end field at he old Angier High School site. The team which played that end of the field was required to return the ball to the ten yard line and gain 10 more yards to score. BUT this tale awaits another telling.)
Shirley Simmons (Source: Nov. 7, 1990 Independent story and clipping by Holland family.)
Picture inquiry: Janice Britson in Pittsboro