Tri-City Ledger -

By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

Title game checks off 'bucket list' for some

After 94 years of football, state championship title os special; former Century Coach Joe Cardwell sends congratulations

 

December 13, 2018



It might not be Pearl Harbor Day, but Dec. 6, 2018 will be a day that will be remembered for eternity for the Flomaton community and the Hurricane faithful. On that day, the Flomaton Hurricanes captured the school's first football state championship after 94 years of playing football when they defeated Piedmont to capture the Class 3A title.

While it's a very special moment for the players and coaches, it's just as special for members of the community who have followed Flomaton football for decades.

Bo Brantley served as the 'Voice of the Hurricanes' for 55 years announcing home games over the public address system.

“I actually started in the fall of my senior year,” Brantley said. “T.C. Bonds was the principal and my best friend Mickey Harvin and I served as office aids. He asked if we knew anybody who could do the PA system at the football games and Mickey and I started together in the fall of 1955.

Brantley occupied that seat in the Flomaton press box until he stepped down in 2010.

He said he wanted to go to the championship game, but due to health reasons he stayed at home and watched it on a muted TV and listened to Earnie and White Shoes (Earnie White and Larry White) broadcasting the game on WPFL Radio.

Brantley was one of more than about 2,000 people who were at Flomaton High School last Thursday night when the team bus arrived back home.

“Watching Flomaton win a state championship was on my bucket list,” he said. “My ultimate goal was to be the announcer for a championship game at Flomaton. That never happened, but this ranks a close second.”

He said he always enjoyed Friday night's during football season and loved to use the microphone to pick on people he knew he could pick on. Even after he hung up the mic, he continued to follow the Hurricanes.

“I've got a notebook that dates back to 1925 listing Flomaton football scores,” Brantley said.

A 1956 graduate of FHS, Brantley said he has every score from 1954 through 2018 and is still trying to fill in a few years prior.

Larry White said he's been a Flomaton Hurricane supporter all his life and he always dreamed of seeing Flomaton win a state championship. He and his brother Earnie, broadcasted last Thursday's championship game from the pressbox at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

He said he's had the privilege to broadcast Flomaton winning a baseball state title and a girls' softball title along with a state football title for Northview.

Like Brantley, Larry White said broadcasting a football state championship game for Flomaton was on his bucket list.

“You look back and see all the players and all those who have supported Flomaton football for so many years, it makes it special,” White said. “This year has been special in a lot of ways – beating Atmore, Thomasville and T.R. Miller and then winning a state championship. They were able to accomplish goals that have never been accomplished.

White said there's a little sadness deep down when he remembers some of his friends who have died but spent their entire lives cheering for the Hurricanes.

“I know they are looking down and smiling,” he said. “I couldn't be prouder of a group of young men, Coach Vickery, the entire coaching staff and everybody who loves Flomaton football.”

He said the support showed last Thursday with the Flomaton faithful having one of the largest crowds on hand during the entire Super 7.

Earnie has been broadcasting Flomaton football on the radio for 45 years and has spent 32 or 33 of those years with Larry in the pressbox.

“It's one of those once in a life time things,” Earnie said of the championship. “It's great for the school, its great for the community and for everybody who supports Flomaton.”

Earnie said it was also special to see the entire county and beyond rally behind Flomaton, noting T.R. Miller, W.S. Neal, Escambia County, Jay and Northview fans were rooting for the Hurricanes.

“I was broadcasting games in the 70s when we lost 22 games in a row,” Earnie said. “It's difficult for a small school to win a state championship, but that trophy will remain in the trophy case for eternity.”

Flomaton also received praise and congratulations from an old rivalry foe with former Century head coach Joe Cardwell sending his congratulations.

“I want to congratulate the players, the coaches, the school and the community,” Cardwell, who now lives in Orange Beach, said. “They've been playing football a long time and the deserve this.”

Cardwell coached the Century Blackcats from 1979 to 1986 and returned in 1989 until Century and Walnut Hill combined to form Northview High School.

“We had some great games,” Cardwell said of the Century-Flomaton rivalry. “It was one of the greatest high school football rivalries in the south and I have great memories of those games.”

Cardwell never won a state title at Century but made it to the finals once.

“People don't realize the hard work that goes into football,” he said. “These kids, the coaches and the parents put a lot of time and effort into it throughout the year. You just don't come in in August and start playing football.”

“It's a great moment for those kids,” he said. “It's something they will remember for the rest of their lives and I'm proud of them.”

 
 

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