Wall recollects on football career
Many players that have passed through the halls of W.S. Neal and T.R. Miller High Schools have great stories to tell, but perhaps one of the greatest of these is the story of 1965 graduate and Eagle quarterback, Bernie Wall.
Wall was born in Brewton in 1948.
He played his years of high school football on the fields of W.S. Neal High School and it was in this environment he met his high school sweetheart, who later would become his wife.
His playing career for WSN spanned the years of 1963 to 1965.
“In the 1964 game against T.R. Miller, it was storming and very wet. I was a junior that year. The sidelines were filled with water and the game was scoreless after the first half. In the second half, we came out and I remember telling Donnie that I was handing the ball off to him for him to run it in. I remember watching Donnie make that touchdown after the handoff. It was storming like crazy that game,” said Wall.
A story fondly remembered about that game, was one of people climbing trees to see.
Lightning at some point struck nearby and knocked everyone in the tree out.
Those were the days of football where weather delays were few and far between.
Wall graduated as the valedictorian for the W.S. Neal class of 1965 and was on his way to Marion Military Institute.
“I was sent to Marion for prep school. I wanted to enroll in the Air Force Academy but they said my grades were too low even though I was valedictorian of my high school class. I was recruited by the West Point after a year at Marion and was on my way to West Point, NY,” said Wall.
Little did Wall know, that these years at West Point would help shape his entire life.
Wall entered West Point as a freshman in 1967.
“As a freshman, you couldn’t play varsity football, so I started in my sophomore year in 1968,” Wall said.
The Army football team faced a rough schedule in 1968.
They faced teams like The Citadel, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Duke, Penn State, Boston College, and rival Navy.
Army ended that year with a record of 7-3.
In 1969, Wall started as quarterback for West Point.
“We were the only team to play in Yankee Stadium that year. We played against Notre Dame and that was a great game. It was a neat experience to play in that game” Wall said.
That year Notre Dame did meet the Army team at Yankee Stadium.
Notre Dame however
defeated Army 45-0.
West Point completed the 1969 year with a record of 4-5-1.
“We played Notre Dame both my junior and senior year and got beat pretty bad. I remember after my senior game against Notre Dame, Joe Theismann came up to me and told me good game and we made them feel really good. I thought to myself, “so, what”,” Wall said as he laughed.
“We had the toughest schedule in the history of Army football that year,” Wall said.
The 1970 Army football schedule has indeed been regarded as one of the most difficult schedules in West Point history.
That year Wall faced Nebraska, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Virginia, Penn State, Boston College, Syracuse, Oregon, Holy Cross and Navy.
The West Point record for that year was 1-9-1.
Wall was commissioned in 1971 in the U.S. Army field artillery and also married his high school sweetheart, Anita Wall.
He was stationed in Germany on two occasions with the Army, along with many other places.
From 1977 to 1980, Wall coached kickers at West Point for the Army football team.
Wall attended Auburn University and obtained a master’s degree in aerospace engineering after a second tour in Germany and worked on the Star Wars project at Redstone Arsenal.
After 21 years of service in the Army, Wall retired in 1992 at the rank of lieutenant colonel.
After retirement from the armed forces, Wall and his wife moved back to Brewton to be near his family.
He was employed with the City of Brewton for 22 years and also worked as a business manager for Jefferson Davis College for another seven years.
Wall has since fully retired and is enjoying it with his sweetheart Anita Wall.
They still reside in Brewton.