Forgotten Trails: Champions story continues
Published 11:16 am Friday, September 28, 2007
I want to continue telling you about The Champions that I started last week.
On weekends when Auburn was playing some other team he used to go up there for the games. Back in those days the college football players wore their hair long on the back of their head and neck - to protect it, I suppose. At one of these Auburn games two of the other players got one small Auburn player down on the field. Not realizing or thinking about what he was doing, Professor Brown jumped over the fence and rushed across the field and got the two players by the necks and dragged them off the field.
Football was played in those days something on the order of what it is today, only the rules were a little different. There were no “forward passes” or “kick-offs.” The football, looking more like a basketball than a football, was placed in the center of the 50-yard line. Each team was lined up on opposite sides. The whistle blew and the scramble for the ball was on. That is where the biting, eye punching and skin losing took place.
No other schools had teams for Professor Brown's team to play, so they got local boys who weren't going to school to organize a team to play against them. However they always lost to Professor Brown's team, who soon began calling themselves “The Champions.”
The champions' favorite play was one called “The flying wedge.” The point of the wedge was toward the other team with a large boy on the point and one directly behind him carrying the ball, thus making a splitting drive through the other line.
Some of these games were played on the old B.C.I. schoolyard. Others at what is now known as Liles Park, and the grandstand at that time, was located in the middle of the park. These were exhibition games and no admission was charged.
And now, after 54 years, 1950 finds Professor Brown and just six of his champions still living. D. Burke Hayes lives in Blountstown, Fla., and is general manager of the W.T. Neal Lumber and Manufacturing Company. Dorsey J. Parker lives in Birmingham. R. Aubrey Strong has continued to live in Brewton and is connected with the unemployment office. John James is a Methodist preacher but his present whereabouts is not known. Herbert C. Rankin is a lawyer and still lives in Brewton. R.C. Granberry is a college professor at some college in South Carolina. And Professor J.V. Brown, who married Miss Laura Parker of Brewton, lives in Auburn. And strange as it may sound about a man so athletic and active in his young days, Professor Brown is an invalid and confined to a wheel chair.
And so, just as the leaves fall one by one, so are the Champions being called from the game of life, only to reassemble again on a distant day, side by side once more, in the greatest game of all.
Until next week, happy hunting.