Lamar County H.S. Football
According to an excerpt from the 1993 Valdosta High School
football media guide, the game of football was introduced to the citizens of
the Peach State on January 30, 1892 when the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Bears of
Mercer at Herty Field in Athens, 50-0.
The exciting and colorful sport was an immediate success and it
was a scant five years later that the pastime filtered down to the high school
level. In 1896, the Cadets of R.E. Lee Institute in Thomaston fielded the first
ever high school team in the state losing to the sub-varsity of Gordon
Institute in Barnesville, 54-0.
The following is an account of this first ever prep gridiron
battle from the Thursday, December 17, 1896 edition of The Barnesville Gazette. ‘Saturday (December 12, 1896) afternoon at 3 o’clock the second
team of Gordon Institute and the R.E. Lee Institute team of Thomaston played a
game on the campus of Gordon Institute and Barnesville won easily. Fully as
large a crowd was in attendance and the games were full of interest. The score
in favor of Barnesville was 54-0.
Dexter Blount (right halfback) and Lamar Hunt (quarterback) did
some playing that created wild enthusiasm.’ Gordon Institute was located where the Barnesville Library
presently sits on Thomaston Street and, according to local historian and Lamar
County Old Jail Museum curator Shanna English, the field the game was played on
that day was located behind the school located on land now occupied by the old
Carnegie Library at the corner of Holmes and Greenwood Streets.
Eight years after that first ever high school game in the state,
Gordon Institute claimed the first ever state high school football championship
with a 39-0 win over Georgia Military Academy of College Park in 1904. It would
be the first of eight state championships for Gordon, the last coming in 1920
when the Institute beat Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, 21-14, on
November 25 for the Georgia Interscholastic Athletic Association title.
In 1928, Gordon Institute was the last school from Barnesville
to play for a state championship losing to Tech High at Grant Field in Atlanta,
26-6, on December 15. Through the years, Barnesville has had its share of football
tradition with teams from Gordon Military College, Gordon Military High School,
Booker High School, Barnesville Academy and now Lamar County Comprehensive High
In 1970, segregation brought about the creation of the Lamar
County school system and the Trojan mascot was chosen by a vote of the
prospective student body narrowly beating out the alternative – the Lions.
The Trojans played their first game on Saturday, September 5,
1970 beating Morrow High School 6-0 in the rain at Tara Stadium in Clayton
County. Willie Lockett scored the first touchdown in school history on a
one-yard run with 2:23 to go in the third quarter.
Under the school's first head coach Oscar Wimberly, who had been
the head football coach at Booker, the county's black high school, the Trojans
would win one other game in their inaugural season but went winless in 1971.
Home games were played those first two seasons at Tiger Field on the campus of
Booker which had become the home of Lamar County High School on Forsyth Road.
Following the '71 season, Coach Wimberly stepped down as
football coach and took over the boys’ basketball program where he became a
Lamar County legend coaching for the next 20-plus years.
Former Gordon Military All-State quarterback Eddie Smith coached
the Trojans in 1972 and Lamar went 2-7-1, moving their home games to historic
Summers Field Memorial Stadium after Gordon Military dropped prep football.
The Trojans enjoyed their first winning season in 1973 as Gene
Swantic led the team to a 7-3 record. Sophomore Bobby Barkley set the school
rushing record with 281 yards against Central Carrollton and lineman Randy
Holland became the school's first All-State player earning first team honors.
Holland went on to play collegiately at the University of Georgia.
In 1974, racial tension raised its ugly head as many players
boycotted football leaving Coach Swantic with a skeleton team that went 1-9.
Swantic stepped down as head coach.
In Richard Plagge's only season at the helm of Trojan football,
Lamar went 5-5 in 1975 and Bobby Barkley was named honorable mention All-Sate
and went on to run track at Georgia Tech.
Ken Upton took over in 1976 and the Trojans raced out of the
gate winning their first five games before falling to Jackson at Red Devil
Hill. Two weeks later they took a 6-1 record to Forsyth to face fifth ranked
Mary Persons and shocked the Bulldogs winning 7-6 on a late touchdown plunge
from fullback Levi Whatley and the PAT kick by Paul Boggs. The Trojans,
however, missed out on a chance to make the post season losing a heart breaker
at Harris County the next week and falling to Troup County in the season finale
to finish 7-3.
Lamar opened the '77 season ranked tenth in the state and moved
up to number eight after winning their first two games but dropped a one-point
decision at Taylor County and the season spiraled downward to a 6-4 finish. The
highlight of the year came in the season's final game at Troup County when
junior quarterback Ron Hinson set the school and state record for yards passing
in a single game throwing for 524 yards in a 48-28 win.
Hinson and junior wide receiver Ronnie Barkley, Bobby's younger
brother, were both named first team All-State for their efforts in 1977.
Hinson's record stood for 32 years until Lassiter quarterback
Hutson Mason tossed for 545 yards in a game against Milton in 2009.
Hinson was also named first team All-State in 1978 despite the
team going 3-7. Barkley was injured in the first game of the season and played
only one more play the rest of the year. Hinson went on to play at Georgia
Tech, Jacksonville State and Georgia Southwestern.
The Trojans suffered through some lean years under Al Guy,
brother of NFL All-Pro punter Ray Guy, winning just four games in 1979-81.
The '79 team produced offensive lineman Kenny Green who went on
to play at West Georgia College where he earned a NCAA Division III National
Championship ring with the Braves in 1982.
Lamar County returned to respectable football under Charley
Brown in 1982 going 5-5 and 6-4 in '83 losing to Mary Persons in a region
playoff game, the school's first ever post-season appearance. Running back
Frankie Phillips was named All-State honorable mention in '83 and went on to
play at East Tennessee State University.
In 1984, the Trojans enjoyed their most successful season to
date with a 9-1 regular season finish including a 7-0 win over Mary Persons.
Lamar went on to beat R.E. Lee in the region playoffs for their tenth win but
lost a rematch with Mary Persons in the region championship.
Three Trojans garnered All-State honors in '84 as senior wide
receiver Derrick Jackson, junior lineman Craig Ogletree and junior quarterback
Rodney Fletcher were all named honorable mention.
Ogletree (first team) and Fletcher (honorable mention) would
repeat as All-State players the next year as the Trojans opened 1985 as the
pre-season number two team in the state. Lamar dropped two of their first four
games but rebounded to finish the regular season 7-3 including another win over
Mary Persons but, once again, fell to the 'Dogs in the region playoffs.
Ogletree went on to play at Auburn where he was an All-Southeastern
Conference player at defensive end and went on to become Lamar County's lone
NFL player spending one season with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Fletcher played quarterback at a junior college in California
before finishing his football career as a wide receiver for Clemson.
The '85 team also produced Junior Jackson who went on to become
an all-conference linebacker at Tennessee-Chattanooga.
In 1986, the Trojans fell to 1-9 and Coach Brown resigned giving
way to Jeff Conley who also went 1-9 in his first season before rebounding for
a 5-5 record in 1988. Lamar went 3-7 in '89 and Conley resigned.
Mike Pack took the reins in 1990 and went 1-9 in his first
season before the team began to steadily improve going 5-5 in '91. An 8-2
regular season in '92 propelled the Trojans into the post season where they
beat Heard County in a region playoff game before falling to Monticello in the
school's first appearance in the state playoffs.
Lamar was ranked ninth in the state in the final Class A polls.
The Trojans went 5-4-1 in the regular season in 1993 and lost to
Brookstone in the region playoffs. Offensive lineman Scott Smith (first team)
and running back Terrell Smith (honorable mention) were both named All-State.
Lamar would improve to 7-3 in '94 falling to Central Talbotton
in the region playoffs. Terrell Smith was again named All-State honorable
mention and went on to play at Troy State. Alex Richardson was named honorable
mention as a running back and first team as a kicker.
The Trojans fell to 3-7 in '95 under Coach Pack who left andMark Wilson was hired to take over the head coaching duties going 2-8 in his
first campaign before improving to 6-4 in '97 and earning a berth in the state
playoffs where the Trojans fell to Jeff Davis in the first round.
Lamar went backwards in '98 going 2-8 with running back Toreico
O'Neal, who played college ball at Furman, making All-State honorable mention
but improved vastly in 1999 finishing the regular season with a 7-2-1 record
and winning their first ever state playoff game over Jeff Davis in the first
round before falling to Swainsboro in the second round.
Quarterback Danny Williams and wide receiver Jerrell Murphy were
both named All-State honorable mention in '99.
Williams repeated as honorable mention All-State in 2000 as he
led the Trojans back to the state playoffs despite a 6-4 finish in the regular
season. Lamar became road warriors in the post season winning at Chattooga in
the first round and shocking Greater Atlanta Christian in the second before
falling to Cook in the quarterfinals by one point after falling behind 27-0 at
Lineman Clarence Respress was named first team All-State and
went on to play for 2003 NJCAA national champion Butler (OK) Community College
before joining his brother Earnest at Alabama-Birmingham where he played in the
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in 2004.
In 2001, the Trojans won the first region championship in school
history going 8-2 in the regular season before beating Chattooga in the first
round of the state playoffs and bowing out to Washington-Wilkes.
Lamar again won the region in '02 with the school's first
unbeaten regular season at 9-0. But the Trojans were shocked in the first round
of the state playoffs falling to Albany at home. Quarterback Travis McCall was
named All-State honorable mention and went on to play at Presbyterian (SC)
before transferring to West Georgia where he played baseball.
Calvin Scandrett took over in 2003 and the Trojans finished 5-5.
Led by honorable mention All-State quarterback Tristen Buckner, Lamar shocked
seventh ranked Jackson 26-17 at home and the scoreboard stayed lit throughout
the Buggy Days weekend, a tradition that continued with home wins until
Memorial Stadium closed after the 2008 season.
Although only 3-7, the 2004 team offered several highlights
including the first female player in school history as sophomore Brittany Giles
played defensive back. Senior kicker Noah Huggins set the school record for
longest field goal with a 44-yarder in a win over Rutland. And defensive
lineman Clifford Respress was name All-State honorable mention and went on to
play at Duke University.
Scandrett's Trojans went 2-8 in '05, 6-4 in '06 and 1-9 in '07
and he decided to step aside and take over as the school's athletic/activities
director. The '06 team produced offensive lineman J.T. Sutton and defensive
lineman Isaiah Banks who both went on to play at Rochester (MN) Tech and earned
a NJCAA and Minnesota state championship rings.
Jason Strickland was hired from prestigious Charlton County to
take Lamar to the next level. The Trojans went 1-9 in Coach Strickland's first
year, the final season of football at historic Summers Field Memorial Stadium
which opened in 1936 and had been home to the Trojans for 36 years.
The Trojans opened the 2009 season on the field turf of their
brand new home, Trojan Field, against Spalding and Devin Couch returned an
interception for the first touchdown in the new stadium as Lamar went on to
pummel the Jaguars 31-0 on their way to a 7-3 regular season and second place
finish in the region.
The Trojans earned the right to host a first round state playoff
game falling to North Oconee 34-14 to close out the year.
Senior quarterback Mike
Bloodser was lauded as an AP All-State honorable mention selection and signed a
letter-of-intent to further his academic and athletic career at Holmes
Community College in Mississippi.
In 2010, Lamar went 7-4
finishing second in the region for the second consecutive year falling to
McIntosh County Academy 22-14 in the first round of the state playoffs at Trojan
Field. Junior quarterback Maurice Bloodser became the first player in Trojan
history to run and pass for over a thousand yard each in the same season and
was named Region 4AA Player of the Year.
Offensive linemen Lekevious Lyons (Georgia Military College) and
Joshua Blocker (Virginia Southern) and linebacker Rodnique Brown (Albany State
University) signed letters-of-intent to continue their academic and
The highlight of the season was a thrilling, come from behind
20-17 win over then unbeaten Pike County at home in what was dubbed “The Battle
of Potato Creek”.
The 2012 season turned out to be the best in school history as
the Trojans went undefeated during the regular season and beat Bleckley County
and Blessed Trinity in the state playoffs before falling to Appling County in
four overtimes in a heartbreaking thriller in the quarterfinal round to finish
12-1 and ranked sixth in the state.
The Trojans were led by All-State players Frederick Walker,
Denarius Rutherford, Nicolas Heminger and Qua Searcy. Walker (Colorado State),
Rutherford (Reinhardt), Maurice Bloodser (Shorter) and Jarvis Merritt (Point)
all signed college scholarships. Strickland left Lamar County to take the head job at Fitzgerald.
Dr. Franklin D. Stephens, Jr. to kickoff the Trojans 2012-2012 season. Stephens comes from Tucker
where he accumulated a 64-6 record and won two state championships in five
years (2008 & 2011).
To date, Lamar County has an overall record of 193 wins, 242
losses and four ties. 106-116-2 at home, 83-125-2 on the road and 4-1 at neutral
sites. The overall post season record for Lamar County is 8-14.
The Trojans have won four region championships and produced 36
all-state players including 12 first teamers.
The Trojans have had 12 different head coaches and played 81
During the 2012-2013 season the Trojans finished 14-1-1 with the best record in school history by earning a semi-final appearance for the first time in school history against the Calhoun Yellow Jackets.