DAYS GONE BYE: The Fields Back Home in ’41 (Retread from 13 OCT 1999)

Published 10:00 am Sunday, June 25, 2023

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There would be a heap of fellows dodging around in foreign fields after December 7, 1941, but before that, they played foot, base and basketball in America. Basketball was played on a dirt court in Linden, as it still was when I started to school in 1946.

In  the old Blackbelt League baseball was strong, and Jimmy Pierce struck out 14 Demopolis batters, while Fred Barr and Tommy King got 3 hits apiece, with Judge Dunn whacking a homer.

I believe that was the first year for football at U.S. Jones with the lineup of Henry Johnson, Bernard Thomas, Albert Charles, Charlie Robertson, John Young, Vanderbilt Clark, John Scott, James Taylor, Sammie Patterson, Jerome Davis and Willie Allen at quarterback.  Coach was Ed Mills.

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Some of the returning lettermen for Demopolis High were Albert Lucas, Bud Hatch, Frank Griffin, Frank Herndon, Phil Kyser, and Sam Braswell.

When the Linden Red Devils met Demopolis, Linden was 5-1, and the Tigers 6-0.  After the smoke cleared, Leonard Kyser had scored, the extra point made by Tommy King, followed by Ed Drinkard scoring, resulting in a 13-0 win by the Devils.

My old friend, Mildred Tucker, from down at Jeffrey Motor Company, sent me a 1941 Linden program, showing some advertising such as Sunshine Cleaners, still in operation to this day, A&C Market, Sanitary Market with a telephone number of 46, and an ad proclaiming, “Jump and Jive at the Green Lantern.”

Some of the “big” seniors on that Linden team were Ed Drinkard at a soaking wet 140 pounds, Jack Quinney at 145, Captain Harold Glass a 160, Co-Captain Fred Barr, 155, Kiker at 160, and Howard King coming in at another 140 pounds.  Fearsome fellows.  Ezell Whitcomb was in the 10th grade, and he tipped the scales at 115 whole pounds, where his fellow Sophomore, Bill Scott, had already filled out to 160.  One of my high school coaches and hero, Billy Quinney, was the youngest on that team, weighing in at 130 pounds.

Bill Scott told me that the center, Jack Quinney, complained to Coach Al Stutz that he needed to run the ball. Stutz told him he could when they scored 60 points, which happened against Pine Hill.  Quarterback Kiker went to center, and commenced to hupping the ball to Jack  until finally the newly christened quarterback crossed the goal line, making the final score 66-0.

Now, that was not the worse whupping the Devils put on anybody.  That was reserved for a licking of Magnolia 69-0.  Those Linden boys were practicing licking folks in a way that  many of them would help do to Germany, Japan and Italy in the coming years.

It didn’t say so in the program, although it ought to have, but after checking around with folks , it seems that the gals cheering on the Devils in 1941 were the likes of Anne Grant, Jean Carter, and Alyce Cochran.   “Go, Devils, Go!”

A real jumping and jiving bunch.  I wonder if any of ‘em jumped and jived at the Green Lantern?