Click here to view an article on the evolution of the state champion.

Thomasville - 1973  State Champion GHSA  AAA

THOMASVILLE 40, WHEELER 35
Date: Dec. 8, 1973
Site: DeKalb Memorial
Coaches: Jim Hughes (Thomasville) and Corky Kell (Wheeler)

SCORING
Thomasville: 7-7-20-6--40
Wheeler: 0-14-7-14--35

First Quarter:
Thomasville - William Andrews, 1 yd run (Kirksey kick)

Second Quarter:
Wheeler - Guthrie, 1 yd run (Marshall kick)
Thomasville - Al Fann, 34 yd run (Kirksey kick)
Wheeler - Guthrie, 1 yd run (Marshall kick)

Third Quarter:
Thomasville - Andrews, 11 yd run, (kick failed)
Thomasville - Fann, 12 yd run (Kirksey kick)
Wheeler - Guthrie, 9 yd run (Marshall kick)
Thomasville - Fann, 7 yd run (Kirksey kick)

Fourth Quarter:
Thomasville - Fann, 8 yd run (kick failed)
Wheeler - Romine, 8 yd pass from Dross (2 pt. conversion failed)
Wheeler - Romine, 10 yd pass from Dross (Dross to Romine 2 pt. conversion)

First Downs: Thomasville - 13, Wheeler - 17
Yards Rushing: Thomasville - 323, Wheeler - 206
Yards Passing: Thomasville - 0, Wheeler - 108
Total Offense: Thomasville - 323, Wheeler - 314
Passes: Thomasville - 0-3, Wheeler - 7-16
Passes Intercepted By: Thomasville - 1, Wheeler - 2
Fumbles: Thomasville - 2, Wheeler - 1
Punts: Thomasville - 1-25, Wheeler - 2-28
Penalties: Thomasville - 6 - 67-1/2, Wheeler - 7 - 64-1/2

GAME SUMMARY
The game got over too late for any details to be included in the Sunday morning paper. The Monday edition of the AJC had a disturbing account of the game by Randy Donaldson:

A state champion’s dressing room is supposed to be the scene of wild celebrations, but it wasn’t that way for Thomasville after winning the AAA high school football championship Saturday night. It was a somber place, and there wasn’t much back-slapping or yelling after the 40-35 victory over Wheeler in DeKalb Memorial Stadium.

“Our players were cursed, abused, and spat upon by the dirtiest team we’ve played,” Thomasville coach Jim Hughes said Sunday. “That’s why there wasn’t any celebrating. Our kids were disturbed by the nature of the game.”

It took a scoring explosion by Thomasville, however, to win the championship in a game dominated by official flags and unofficial fights. “To our kids’ credit, they never lost their control,” Hughes said. “They didn’t try to give it back. Of course, they were frustrated by this type thing. But they knew what they had to do and they did it under difficult circumstances.”

But despite the disagreements, Hughes was happy to sit back and enjoy the feeling of being No. 1. “We’ve lived in the shadow of Valdosta down here for a long time, and then Moultrie last year,” Hughes said. “So now, it’s very satisfying to know the job has been done as well as we could do it. The game was pretty unusual for us because we like to play defense, but we didn’t get that chance Saturday. It was a little like Arizona State playing San Diego State. Up until four minutes were left in the game, we had them 40-21, and then a couple of mistakes hurt us. So, the margin could have been worse. But that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we’re the champions.”

Notes: Thomasville apparently had the game well in hand when late in the 4th quarter, after having stuffed Wheeler, received a punt and promptly fumbled it back to Wheeler. With only 2:02 left in the game, Wheeler scored.

Wheeler tried an onside kick next which Thomasville successfully handled. However, the very next play Thomasville quarterback Jack Cannady fumbled and Wheeler was in business with 1:59 left in the game. Wheeler drove 47 yards in 8 plays and closed the gap 40-35.

Wheeler tried another onside kick, which Thomas Graham handled perfectly and time expired as Thomasville quarterback Jack Cannady was attempting to call another play.



AAA – THOMASVILLE (13-0) Coach: Jim Hughes; key players: David Mitchell QB, William Andrews RB (all-state junior), Jim Keyton G (all-state)
Aug. 31 Valdosta 6-0 W team #1 all year
Sept. 7 Tift County 40-7 W
Sept. 14 Cairo 48-0 W
Sept. 21 Crisp County 28-0 W
Oct. 5 Dougherty 17-0 W
Oct. 12 Bainbridge 54-0 W
Oct. 19 Lowndes Co. 17-0 W
Oct. 26 Albany 38-6 W
Nov. 2 Monroe of Albany 48-0 W
Nov. 9 Moultrie 20-0 W
Nov. 23 Tompkins 41-7 W at Savannah, Mitchell 3 TD runs
Nov. 30 Macon Central 6-0 W at Porter Stadium
Dec. 8 Wheeler 40-35 W at DeKalb Memorial, Wheeler’s coach Corky Kell
Randy Donaldson of the AJC wrote on Dec. 10: A state champion’s dressing room is supposed to be the scene of wild celebrations, but it wasn’t that way for Thomasville after winning the AAA high school football championship Saturday night. It was a somber place, and there wasn’t much back-slapping or yelling after the 40-35 victory over Wheeler in DeKalb Memorial Stadium. “Our players were cursed, abused, and spat upon by the dirtiest team we’ve played,”
Thomasville coach Jim Hughes said Sunday. “That’s why there wasn’t any celebrating. Our kids were disturbed by the nature of the game.” It took a scoring explosion by Thomasville, however, to win the championship in a game dominated by official flags and unofficial fights.

FINAL RANKING
1.
Thomasville 13-0
2. Wheeler 12-1 (beat Clarkston 24-14 and Henderson 14-8 in playoffs)
3.
Central Macon 11-1
4.
Henderson 11-2 (beat Lakeside 19-3 and LaGrange 8-7 at Memorial)
5.
Warner Robins 10-1
6. LaGrange 8-2
7.
Valdosta 8-2
8.
Lakeside 9-2
9. Tompkins
7-3-2
10. Waycross 8-2

AAA All-State: Steve Dennis (Central Macon QB Back of the Year), Stan Rome (Valdosta E Lineman of the Year), Bruce Hilton (Valdosta QB), Rick Perry (Clarkston QB), William Andrews (Thomasville RB), Charles Middlebrooks (Douglass RB), Ricky Payne (Rockdale Co. RB), Ed Guthrie (Wheeler RB), Tony Jenkins (South Cobb RB), Stan Rome (Valdosta E), Craig Fleming (Henderson E), Jesse Murray (Hardaway E), James Coleman (LaGrange E), Tim Nichols (LaGrange C), Jim Keyton (Thomasville G), Jerome McIntire (Moultrie G), Mike Sebastian (Columbus G), Mack Guest (Central Macon T), Ronald Mitchell (Tompkins T), George Collins (Warner Robins T), David Barron (Towers T), Hal Shaw (Wheeler LB), Tommy Bowen (Lakeside LB),

GHSFHA data is made available under the Open Database License. Under this license, you are free To Share, To Create, and To Adapt this data, as long as you Attribute, Share-Alike, and Keep open. For more details please refer to the license and the Plain Language Summary.