1955 State Champs reunite

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 18, 2002

The Greenville High School class of 1957 met recently for its 45th reunion, and among its members attending were seven players from the GHS 1955 State Championship football team.

They are Julius Head,

left halfback position; Tommy Tillman, fullback, middle linebacker and defensive captain; Aubrey Gibson, right tackle; Curtis Cook, quarterback; Wesley Henderson, offensive and defensive right end; Earnest Dean, left tackle; and Ray Dunn, left tackle.

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The group had a chance to tour the old high school building (now Greenville Elementary) and the new high school on Tiger Drive.

&uot;Our chewing gum was still under the desks,&uot; Earnest Dean said.

The alumni were impressed with the new high school.

&uot;It was great,&uot; Tillman said. &uot;If we'd had facilities like those when we were playing, we would have been world champions.&uot;

The state championship team had a 10-0 season. The State Sports Writers Association voted on which team would be state champions each year.

&uot;We were co-champions with Elba, who was also 10-0, but we were the team voted to be state champions,&uot; Tillman said.

&uot;When we beat Enterprise, we celebrated by letting anyone who wanted to come, into the locker room,&uot; Head said. &uot;We smoked cigars and had a great time.&uot;

The team had winning seasons their entire time at Greenville High.

&uot;In 1953-54, when Bobby Terrell was runningback, it was our freshmen year, and we were 9-3-1,&uot; Cook said. &uot;Then in '54-55, we were 9-1. Our senior year, we were 7-3, and everyone hated us.&uot;

The classmates said they all started out together in the Grasscutter League, which was the Junior High team.

&uot;We were undefeated both years of Junior High,&uot; Tillman said.

Tillman said a quote from the Boomerang (GHS' yearbook) sums up the team. &uot;Head is so fast, lightning could hit the ground three times, and never come close to catching him.&uot;

Other members of the 1955 State Championship team were: Doyle Bender n tight end; Rusty Porterfield n left end; Gordon Nix n left end; Douglas Flowers n right tackle; Billy Hudson n left tackle; Ben Singleton n left guard; Max Washburn n right guard; Billy Spann n left guard; Harry Wood n right guard; Wesley Hendrix n left guard; Noble Brown n center; Terry Burt n center; Bobby Wasden n left halfback; James Andress, fullback; Larry Newton n right halfback; Gene Autrey n right halfback and Billy Herring n left halfback.

The head football coach was Luke Whetstone, the assistant coach was Hubert Grantham, and the team manager was Warren McQueen.