Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

December 30, 2013

Valdosta Football in the Movies

VALDOSTA — Can't get enough football with the bowl games? Why not look up a few football movies with a Valdosta connection.

Admittedly, some of these Valdosta connections are a bit of a stretch, but we've thrown them in anyway.

So, pull up your favorite recliner, pop some corn and have a seat on the 50-yard line of your TV. It's time for football movies.

WE ARE MARSHALL (2006). In 1970, the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team was returning home, by plane, from an away game. The plane crashed and 75 people, most of the team and coaching staff, were killed. "We Are Marshall" is how the Marshall community dealt with that loss and how the team came back the next season to play again. This movie's Valdosta-Lowndes County connection: "Red" Dawson was a member of the Marshall coaching staff who was not on the plane that night. He lived and coached again. Dawson is from Valdosta. He has family still living here. He took an active role in the movie's production.

THE LONGEST YARD (1974). Adam Sandler is fun in comedies, but his remake of this original football film proved he is no Burt Reynolds. Considering that Burt Reynolds was also in the Sandler version, the remake unfortunately also proved that Burt Reynolds is no Burt Reynolds anymore either. But in '74, Reynolds was convincing as a pro football player whose wild life lands him in a penitentiary run by a football-crazy warden played by Eddie Albert, boiling down to a game of the inmates versus the guards. Good stuff, with that '70s mix of drama, action and comedy. This movie has a couple Valdosta connections: Burt Reynolds once sporadically visited Valdosta Wildcats practices in the '80s and '90s. Valdosta's Sonny Shroyer, most famous for playing Enos in "The Dukes of Hazzard," plays one of the characters in this movie.

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