Friendly rivalry

Published 5:25 pm Monday, October 30, 2006

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
The T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal teams that met on the football field 60 years ago were friends; they already knew each other from friendly rivalries on the basketball court and the baseball diamond.
Sixty years and a lifetime later, they met again for a reunion filled with memories and laughter - and the score of the game didn't matter anymore aside from some good-natured ribbing.
The crosstown rivals had never played each other on the football team until the hospital board came up with the idea for a charity game to raise money for new medical equipment. Miller and Neal were able to rearrange their schedules and play each other on Nov. 22.
By the time the game rolled around, as Laurence Self remembers it, many of the players were injured from practices or other games.
Self had broken his shoulder in practice the Wednesday before the game - and didn't have it taped up until Friday morning.
Each player remembered specific moments from the game, which ended in a 25-0 victory for Miller.
Ballard, who played right end, transferred from Miller to Neal the year of the game.
Charles Jones was Ballard's counterpart for Miller. &#8220It went off without a hitch,” he said. &#8220All of the kids mingled all the time anyway.”
Likewise, Bradley remembers the game as a friendly rivalry.
Many of the players left Brewton for distinguished careers in the military, business or other fields - but they said they remember the game well.
Self went on to become a military police officer for the U.S. Army - where he was recruited to work security details for presidential visits.
When he left the Army, he joined the Secret Service officially and protected every president from Eisenhower to Nixon. He later spent 17 years training Marines and Army soldiers at Fort McClellan and now lives in Dothan.