2018-03-28 / Front Page

Community of “Spirit”

By Neely Young

Publisher, Georgia Trend Saturday’s festival reminded me of my friend Neely’s column in the April 2009 issue of Georgia Trend which appears below in part.

In 1958, the much-heralded Cedartown Bulldogs of famous coach Howard “Doc” Ayers came to Blakely/Early County’s Kolomoki Mounds State Park for summer football camp. I was on the team as a guard. Cedartown was a powerhouse and a few years before had won the North Georgia Football Championship, which at the time was the state’s highest “AAA” classification.

Soon Ayers arranged a scrimmage with the local Blakely team, which was classified in the smallest “A” category. They ran through us like we were wet paper bags. Every time they ran the ball they scored a touchdown. After the scrimmage they proved themselves to be the powerhouse football team, not us.

Later, Coach Ayers gave us a tonguelashing. “How could you let this small school whip you? They have more ‘spirit’ than you,” Ayers said.

That same “spirit” is still alive in Blakely and Early County today, more than 50 years later. Recently this southwest Georgia community has been cast in a bad light by the peanut contamination crisis. But the company that owns the peanut processing facility caught up in the national salmonella outbreak is not even owned locally. There is so much more to this town and county than the ability to grow peanuts.

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