Valdosta Daily Times

September 27, 2013

Cook battles Thomasville tonight

Jamie Wachter
Special to the Times

THOMASVILLE — As it turns out, Thomasville’s homecoming game against Stewart County was a dress rehearsal.

For the second time within a month the Bulldogs will have to deal with all the hoopla and festivities that surround a homecoming game as Cook’s visit to Veterans Memorial Stadium for an 8 p.m. kickoff today coincides with the school’s celebration for its 100th year of football.

“It’s going to be a grand event,” Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Sabrina Boykins-Everett said.

And a grand celebration it will be. Inviting all former players, coaches and cheerleaders back in honor of the landmark occasion, Thomasville is expecting several hundred “celebrity” participants in the festivities.

That includes a 5:30 p.m. tailgate at the MacIntyre Park cafeteria as well as a halftime ceremony honoring those individuals and the program’s achievements — THS has won five state championships (1945, 1958, 1973, 1974 and 1988), 26 region titles and the 1974 national crown; while Douglass won a district championship in 1956-57 and four state titles (1958, 1959, 1967 and 1968).

“The enthusiasm and swell of excitement we’ve been getting as responses have been pouring in,” Everett said. “There’s been a number of wonderful items brought to us that we will have to show.”

Among the notable former THS players that are expected to be in attendance include Charles Bostick, the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs’ last state championship team who then went on to play at Georgia Southern including the Eagles’ 1990 national championship team; Larry McPherson, a two-time SIAC defensive player of the year while at Fort Valley State, where his number was retired in 1979; Stacy Murry, who was a second-team All-American at Troy in 1997. Charlie Ward Sr., who starred at quarterback for the Lions, is scheduled to attend as is David Lewis, Douglass Class of 1949.

The oldest known living Bulldog, Leighton Eason (1938) is also planning to be present.

Everett said there are participants from as far as Texas and Kansas, as well as Miami and the Carolinas, scheduled to attend.

While the honoring of that history is nice, Thomasville coach Leroy Ryals is more worried about how his Bulldogs perform when the spotlight is on them and not their predesessors. After an open week, 2-2 Thomasville now dives into Region 1-AA?play against the 10th-ranked Hornets (2-1).

“You hit the nail on the head in that it is kind of a second homecoming,” Ryals said. “And the way we treat homecoming is all the hoopla around us, that isn’t our concern. Our concern is winning the game so that the hoopla can be a success.

"That’s our part. Our part is to try and go out and win a football game so that everybody can have a good time. We can’t worry about the tailgating and all the pregame festivities. That’s for the people of Thomasville to enjoy, and hopefully a lot of them will come out and enjoy it.”