At the final home game of the season on Nov. 13, the Red Devils celebrated the 75th anniversary of Jackson High School football, which restarted on Sept. 21, 1945 after a nearly 16-year absence.
T.E.Robison Jr., the only remaining member of the 1945 team who still lives in Butts County, was honored with a 75th anniversary banner. Robison was also honored for 71 years of carrying the downs marker at Red Devil Hill.
In the fall of 1945, 75 years ago, the United States was still recovering from The Great Depression and had just gone through four long years of war. Germany has surrendered on May 7, and Japan formally surrendered on Sept. 2.
Three weeks later, on Sept. 21, Jackson High School fielded a football team for the first time in more than 15 years. Jackson played football in the 1920’s, but The Great Depression shut the sport down and it stayed shut down throughout World War II, restarting that fall.
The football team that year was coached by O.L. Parker, a Navy veteran and physical education instructor who had never coached football. Parker had an equally inexperienced team made up of 23 players.
Robison said they were running a single-wing formation and that the quarterback had never touched a football before they started playing. Jackson lost eight games in a row. With one game left in the season against Monticello, they finally changed their offensive formation, and the change paid off. Jackson won the last game of the season, 20-0, to avoid going winless.
Robison, who graduated in the Class of 1946, attended the University of Georgia before returning home to work. In 1949, he started carrying the downs marker for Jackson, and has been doing so for the past 71 years. He noted earlier this season that he is retiring this year from carrying the marker.