1960 Football Season
Avondale’s 1960 Uprising
As the 50th reunion approaches for the AHS class of 1961, we are reminded of another reason to recognize this class. The 1960 football season got off to a good start on September 2, 1960, when Avondale defeated Sylvan 13-7 at Avondale Stadium. The Blue Devils had been decimated by graduation losses and had risen up into the AAA classification because student enrollment had swelled. There were uncertainties about playing it the state’s highest classification, but thanks to deep bench strength from the 1959 season Avondale was returning a solid corps of experienced players in certain positions. For the first time in almost ten years, the quarterback position was being turned over to an Athlete without prior quarterback experience. We all know how Charlie Pritchett treated us to an extraordinary performance and lead the team to a championship show down with Valdosta, but at the start of the season there were many question marks. After the first two games of the season, pollsters showed their respect for the newcomer to AAA football by ranking Avondale as #3. The 1960 Blue Devils proved to be a most remarkable team by being, perhaps, the only team to rise to AAA competition and play in the state championship in its first year. Coach Wright Bazemore’s Valdosta teams occasionally had “off” years when his Wildcats had to reload their talent, but this was not the case in 1960 with Avondale or any year after that during the Coach Ramsey era. Actually, we don’t have to be reminded about the 1960 season, because it was unforgettable because we saw “Avondale’s 1960 Uprising” when the Blue Devils defied all expectations.
Team Speed Keys Avondale
Pritchett Blue Devil’s Big Hope in Class AAA Football Debut
The Avondale football team this year is just like many of the ones Coach Calvin Ramsey has fielded in the past—it is lightweight but speedy. “We are strictly at a disadvantage at weight,” sighed Ramsey, but I’d rather have the speed than the weight. We don’t mind giving away a few pounds.” In reality there isn’t a man on the team who tops the scales at more than 180 pounds. Experience will be a problem for the Blue Devils this year because Ramsey only has three backfield men with vital experience.
“Ed Pritchett will have to be the workhorse in the backfield,” said Ramsey. Pritchett, a 170-pounder, will divide his attention between quarterback and fullback. Senior halfbacks Chuck Belcher and Jimmy Thompson will have to help with the load in the backfield if the Blue Devils are going to be the demons of the gridiron. Despite questions about the backfield, Ramsey claims his team is solid from tackle to tackle. Calvin Lott and Larry Puckett are returning lettermen at tackle. Three guards are lettermen—Bruce Tallant, Mike Herron, and Ronnie Campbell. Stanley Hunt, beginning his third season as a starter, lends experience to the center, but he weighs only 135 pounds and can only take so much battering. Ramsey says his ends have no experience, but he believes Junior Mike Stenson will develop into a good flankman. Also, at end is basketball sensation Freddie Guy.
Ramsey views the forthcoming season with alarm. He admits the team’s smallness is nothing new, but claims this outfit is not as fast as some in the past. “I don’t believe the winner of our side of the region (4-AAA) will go undefeated. Half a dozen teams could win it,” Ramsey Predicted. And if weight is not a necessity, Avondale might make a battle of it.
Avondale Tests Sylvan—September 2, 1960
Is this Sylvan’s year? The answer will be answered on Friday night. Avondale, making its debut in AAA, is the big obstacle for Sylvan’s Golden Bears, loaded for their 3-AAA campaign. This one is at Avondale, and an overflow crowd of better than 8,000 is foreseen.
The quarterback rollouts of Ed Pritchett, a converted fullback, and the halfback dashes of Jimmy Thompson key Avondale’s offense. Sylvan will go with quarterbacks Tommy Roberts and Tommy Chapman, tackle Mack Cobb, ends Charles Jordan and Mike Thurman, center Billy Seabrook, 215-pound fullback Alfred Spence, and halfbacks Butch Aiken and Jimmy Jordan.
The Avondale Blue Devils missed a shot at the Class AA state title last year by one point when they lost to Gainesville 12-13. This year the Devils move up a notch to Class AAA. How much this change will affect the team is an interesting question. Coach Ramsey claims that his team will not be as strong as last year’s squad. However, many a game is lost and won in the line, and even pessimistic Mr. Ramsey admits, “We are strong both offensively and defensively from tackle to tackle.” The loss of such fine players as Frank James, Mark Thompson, Ed Polley, and Tommy Wolfe has weakened the backfield and end positions. Full back Ed Pritchett has moved to quarterback to fill the gaping hole left by the departure of James. Steve Hunt is up from B-Team to try to fill the heavy brogans vacated by Pritchett. Jimmy Thompson and Chuck Belcher probably will be the halfbacks. Still the loss of four backs and two ends will be felt.
Calvin Lott returns at tackle, Mike Herron and Bruce Tallant at Guard, and Stanley Hunt at Center. All of these boys were first string last year. Avondale lettered 20 last year, and eight of these boys are back to harass their opponents once again. If Pritchett can play quarterback almost as well as he played fullback, and the young ends and backs prove themselves adequate, then Avondale has hit paydirt. But that’s a mighty big “if”.
“Magician” Pritchett Stuns Sylvan, 13-7
Avondale Quarterback Paces Early TDs in Big Shocker
Avondale’s lean, hungry football troops shocked favored Sylvan for a pair of early touchdowns, and then defended zealously to come up with a 13-7 upset in their AAA high school debut Friday night, September 2nd. Quarterback Ed Pritchett, a 170-pound magician of note, wielded a magic fake that sprung loose 155-pound halfback Jimmy Thompson for 57 yards and on the next play sent Thompson’s halfback running mate, Chuck Belcher, for 19 yards and the touchdown.
Pritchett, a magnificent figure in the form reversal watched by 5,500 at Avondale Stadium, kicked the extra point at 8:44 of the first quarter. On the Blue Devil’s next offensive series, Pritchett again called Thompson’s wingback reverse and got 26 yards. A roughing penalty made it 1-an-10 at the Sylan 26, and fullback Andy Wiley, a 160-pound sub, cracked for 11 yards. Pritchett hit Belcher, starting his first varsity game, for 15 yards and the touchdown.
Sylvan’s touchdown came gift-wrapped. A bad snap from center on fourth down forced the Blue Devils to yield the football at their five. Quarterback Tommy Chapman rolled to his right for a touchdown with 1:27 left. Butch Aiken’s PAT made it 13-7, but it was a case of too little, too late.
Avondale Coach Calvin Ramsey was pleased with the win. “We just wanted it more than they did,” he said while puffing on a post-game cigar. “Stickouts for us? Well, end Mike Stinson, tackles Calvin Lott and Larry Puckett, and linebacker Randy Clark were superb on defense and Pritchett proved he’s a player.” Ramsey also had praise for Sylvan tackle Raymond Wilbanks. “Only way we could defense him was to trap him.”
Jimmy Thompson was the leading ground gainer with 111 yards in 12 snaps. Belcher and Wiley added 38 and 22 yards each. Fullback Alfred Spence led Sylvan with 43 yards, quarterback Tommy Roberts, stifled in his passing until a late-game spread formation opened up the defense, rolled for 41. Pritchett recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass, the former killing a Bear scoring opportunity at the six-yard line. Clark picked off a pass, while Butch Van Dyke and Gene Reed got fumbles for Avondale.
The AHS vs. Sylvan Yardstick: First Downs: 13 vs. 8; Rushing: 178 vs. 129; Passing: 54 vs. 38; Penalties: 60 vs. 38 AHS Scoring: TDs—Belcher (run, 19; pass from Pritchett, 15 yards); PAT—Pritchett (kick)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 7 6 0 0 – 13
Sylvan 0 0 0 7 – 7
Avondale Rises in AAA Rankings to # 3
During weeks 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the 1960 football season, Avondale improved its record to 5-0 in its rise to class AAA and removed any doubt about the team’s ability to compete at this level. The Blue Devils were able to tune-up for two formidable foes with high-scoring victories over Briarcliff and Gordon. Avondale passed the tests presented by the Athens Trojans and R.E. Lee Rebels to prove that the Devils belonged in AAA football circles. An impressive unit emerged when linemen and backs who saw limited playing time in 1959 stepped up to complement veterans Ed Pritchett playing in a new position, Stanley Hunt at center, Calvin Lott at tackle, and Mike Herron in multiple positions. As the season progressed, the 1960 Blue Devils qualified as one of the BEST Avondale teams to be fielded in spite of heavy graduation losses in the class of 1960. At the half-way mark, Avondale still had to get past Decatur, Marist and Southwest DeKalb to prove it deserved the # 3 class AAA ranking and to earn playoff berths.
Barons Fall to Avondale, 34-0
Avondale High School smashed Briarcliff, 34-0, on September 9th as halfback Jimmy Thompson featured the game with a 95-yard punt return. Halfback Chuck Belcher and quarterback Lamar Hunt also scored for Avondale. Thompson and lineman Ronnie Campbell were named to the prep honor roll for their roll in the victory. Avondale’s prowess was recognized in the initial Class AAA football rankings—the Atlanta Journal ranked Avondale as #3 in Georgia.
Avondale Rolls Past Gordon, 41-0
On September 16, 1960, left halfback Chuck Belcher took off around right end on Friday night and ran 21 yards to lead Avondale to a smashing 41-0 triumph over Gordon High School. Belcher and Mike Herron, an Avondale lineman, scored two touchdowns within five minutes of the opening kickoff to rout the Generals in their first year of varsity football. Herron blocked a punt, then he ran 25 yards for a touchdown. Pritchett ran for a touchdown, passed for another, and kicked 5 of 6 PATs. Avondale is in its first year as an AAA football team. Avondale is now 3-0 on the year. Gordon was lead in rushing by Stanley Logan in the rushing department. NOTE: Both Pritchett and Herron were named to the Prep Honor Roll
The AHS vs. Gordon Yardstick: First Downs: 9 vs. 5; Rushing: 192 vs. 78; Passing: 57 vs. 7; Penalties: 75 vs. 45
AHS Scoring: TDs—Belcher (run , 21); Herron (blocked kick, run, 25), Guy (pass from Pritchett, 23); Pritchett (run, 2); Wiley (run, 5); Broadwell (run, 1); PATs—Pritchett (5 kicks)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 14 13 7 7 – 41
Gordon 0 0 0 0 – 0
Avondale in Convincing Win Over Athens , 19-7
The Avondale Blue Devils rolled into Athens on Friday, September 23, 1960, to meet the Trojans at Sanford Stadium. Since this was a late, out-of-town game, there was no game report. An effort was made to reconstruct details by calling several players; however, the passage of 50 years has erased most memories. Also, players have told me they are so focused on their assignment in a fast-moving game that they seldom had recall even days or weeks after the game. Calvin Lott remembers being awed that the night game was being played at the UGA campus at Sanford Stadium. This was the only time Avondale played in a college stadium. Mike Herron recalled that Andy Wiley had a big 100-yard plus game from his halfback position. Andy remembers making one long run, several runs for good yardage, and having another run cut short when he was caught from behind when he failed to cut back. Avondale faced a talent-laden Athens Trojan team featuring All-State candidates: quarterback Pete Dickens, halfbacks Ralph Bray and Woody Chastain, tackles Jimmy Yearwood and Jerry Cochran. Avondale took care of business by defeating Athens, 19-7 when the team could have been distracted and looking ahead for the pivotal game with R.E. Lee the following week.
Carlisle, Herron Pop R.E. Lee, 13-0
September 30, 1960, at Avondale Stadium - R.E. Lee
Avondale line coach Tip Goza, unable to get a message through to the offense from high atop the Avondale Stadium, delivered it in person at halftime. Goza insisted the Blue Devils change som blocking assignments and try an off-tackle play with fullback. The first time ran the play in the fourth quarter, third string fullback Tommy Carlisle popped off right tackle, through the breach created by bruising blocks by guard Mike Herron and center Stanley Hunt. Carlisle barreled up the middle for a 48-yard touchdown to spur Avondale to a key 4-AAA East victory over undefeated R.E. Lee. Ed Pritchett kicked the point-after to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead 8:07 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The final score was made with 8 seconds left in the game, after Ed Pritchett returned a punt 35 yards to the Lee 15, then hit off tackle on rollouts for 6 and 9 yards on his way for the final touchdown.
Lee was held scoreless in the first half when the Rebels missed their best scoring opportunities. After Lee recovered a Pritchett fumble at the Avondale 14, they drove to the nine in three plays, quarterback Leslie Watts passed t0 halfback Jim Cavan who was one step out of the end zone. Midway in the 2nd quarter, the Rebs faced a 4-snd-7 situation when quarterback Leslie Watts connected with Cavan on the 2 with nobody in front of him. As he fell backward toward the end zone, he fell over an official without crossing the goal line, so Avondale took over on downs.
Superior defending by Herron, who made 17 individual tackles, and by linemen Bruce Tallant, Calvin Lott, and Ronnie Campbell saved the victory. Coach Calvin Ramsey praised Herron: “If there is a better defensive player in the country, I want him shown to me. He was all over the field from sideline to sideline knocking down anything with a football in its hand. He’s doing this all of the time.” Avondale’s rushers were led by Carlisle, Wiley, Thompson, and Pritchett with 71, 17, 39, and 37 yards. NOTE: Mike Herron was named Lineman of the Week by the Atlanta Touchdown Club which described him as “a fellow whose specialty is stopping offenses.”
The AHS vs. R.E. Lee Yardstick: First Downs: 4 vs. 9; Rushing: 185 vs. 90; Passing: 3 vs. 27; Penalties: 25 vs. 20
AHS Scoring: TDs—Carlisle (run , 48); Pritchett (run, 9); PAT—Pritchett (kick)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 0 0 0 13 --13
R.E. Lee 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Devils Bite Bulldogs for Homecoming Treat - Decatur Bulldogs
After beating the bigger Class AAA Decatur Bulldogs for two years while placed in Class AA, Avondale had the satisfaction of handing its rival a third loss after rising to Class AAA. Thus, the Blue Devils proved that the Bulldogs were still not our football equals. The Homecoming celebration lasted too long, so the game officials penalized Avondale 15 yards for delay of game, but the time devoted to the festivities were worth the penalty and only delayed Decatur’s defeat. Sandra Reiley was crowned homecoming queen while accompanied by candidates Jimmie Gail Davis and Susan Tabor. The freshman class of 1964 won the float contest. The celebration was made complete with Avondale improving its record to 6-0 and boosting its lead in sub region 4-AAA East.
Avondaler’s Pitching Brings 18-6 Victory
Ed Pritchett, just learning his quarterbacking trade, taught Decatur a lesson in the art of throwing the long pass as unbeaten Avondale High rollicked to its sixth straight football victory, 18-6 in front of 5,000 home fans on October 7th. Pritchett, a non-throwing fullback last year, set up the Devil’s first touchdown in the initial quarter with strikes of 12 and 46 yards to Freddie Guy and Jimmy Thompson. After sophomore Tommy Carlisle had tramped the Imps into a 12-0 scoring bulge with a 35-yard romp in the 3rd quarter, Pritchett looped a 29-yard payoff pitch to Freddie Guy on the first play of the final stanza. The victory gave Coach Calvin Ramsey’s charges undisputed possession of the Region 4-AAA East leadership. The victory kept intact the Devil’s record of never losing a home-coming game or a game in their three-year old stadium in the 16 games they have played there. Sandra Reiley was crowned Homecoming Queen by Captains Mike Herron and Ed Pritchett.
Decatur received the opening kickoff but was forced to punt with a fourth-and-one situation from the 50-yard line. Pritchett returned the kick to the Avondale 31. Tommy Carlisle and Jimmy Thompson moved for a first down on the 42, followed by a jump pass from Pritchett to Freddie Guy on the Decatur 47. Thompson outran Decatur’s secondary and caught a Pritchett pass on the two, then Pritchett plunged over from the score for Avondale’s 6-0 lead on the 7th play of the drive. Decatur had an opportunity handed to them on a fumbled punt recovery at the Avondale 12 at the end of the first quarter. The Devil’s defense put up a stone wall and stopped Hue Rainey just short of the first down on the three, then Avondale took over and kicked out of the hole. Midway into the third quarter Pritchett returned a punt to the Decatur 38. After Thompson hard-nosed his way for two yards, Carlisle slanted over right guard, cut back across-field brilliantly and stormed the last 36 yards with a nifty piece of broken field running. In the fourth quarter Decatur kicked out from their 8-yard line to the 29. On the first play Pritchett faked to both of his halfbacks, turned and hit Guy who was alone on the goal line to give the Devils an 18-0 lead.
Avondale’s rawhide-tough defense, led by end Butch Van Dyke and guards Ronnie Campbell, Bruce Tallant and Mike Herron, held Decatur in a vise until midway in the fourth quarter. Additional help was provided by Bill Mobley who created a fumble that was recovered by tackle Gene Reed. Decatur’s only score was set up by an interception at the Bulldog 35. Then Kenny Ewing directed Charlie Hall’s Bulldogs 65 yards on a 15-play drive for Jeff Hollis to score on a one-yard plunge with only 1:15 left on the clock to make the final score 18-6. Triple-threat Pritchett was the guiding genius all the way—running, directing, punting, kicking off, and passing. Jimmy Thompson slashed for 40 yards on eight carries while Carlisle rushed for 70 yards on nine lugs. Notable support for the Blue Devil’s win was given by Andy Wiley, Calvin Lott, and Bill Mobley.
The AHS vs. Decatur Yardstick: First Downs: 10 vs.7; Rushing: 146 vs. 99; Passing: 87 vs. 31; Penalties: 25 vs. 45
AHS Scoring: TDs—Pritchett (run, 2); Carlisle (run , 36); Guy (29 yard pass from Pritchett, run)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 6 0 6 6 -- 18
Decatur 0 0 0 6 -- 6
Blue Devils Have a Breather Before Big Tests -
Avondale’s stingy defense preserved the Devil’s fourth shutout in seven games as they defeated Cross Keys, 26-0 – only one touchdown had been allowed in each of the other three games. This matchup gave Avondale a breather before the critical test against tough Southwest DeKalb in week # 8. The Panthers had been ranked as high as #5 but had slid to # 9 in Class AAA polls, so this face-off would give the winner a good hold on the lead for the 4-AAA East crown. Closing out the regular season, Avondale would face Marist and then Druid Hills, which had been ranked #6 in class AAA early in the season.
Blue Devils in Romp Over Cross Keys, 26-0
Avondale’s undefeated Blue Devils scored in the first three quarters here as they shutout Cross Keys, 26-0 on October 14th. Tackle Calvin Lott started the scoring by recovering a blocked punt in the end zone in the first quarter. In the same period, Jimmy Thompson, with two minutes left, returned a punt 55 yards for the TD. Ed Pritchett added six to the score in the second quarter as he ran 17 yards on a halfback- pass from Thompson. The game’s final TD came in the third quarter and was set up by Pritchett’s passes to Norman Smith for 25 and four yards. Pritchett capped the drive on a six-yard scoring run.
The AHS vs. Cross Keys Yardstick: First Downs: 11 vs.2; Rushing: 235 vs. 107; Passing: 46 vs. 9; Penalties: 60 vs. 50 AHS Scoring: TDs—Lott (recovered punt in end zone); Thompson (punt return, 55 yards and 17 yard pass from Pritchett); Pritchett (run, 6 yards); PATs—Pritchett (2)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 14 6 6 0 -- 26
Cross Keys 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Avondale’s Pritchett Cuts Down Panthers, 19-0 Southwest DeKalb
Sports writer Gene Asher was impressed with the way Avondale spoiled Southwest DeKalb’s homecoming and their last chance to grab at least a share of the 4-AAA East lead. As Coach Ramsey often warned before such games, “They will be as high as a Georgia pine”, but the Blue Devils decked the Panthers with a knockout pass one second before the half ended. This fake trap pass was the same play Avondale used to beat SWD two years before. One play turned a rugged, evenly fought battle into a rout. In the second-half, the Devils outrushed the Panthers 152-12 and out first downed them 9-2. Avondale was poised to win the 4-AAA East crown with a victory over Marist or Druid Hills.
Herron Leads Defense
It took Ed Pritchett just 46 seconds to turn one of the toughest battles of the year into a rout. Pritchett’s perfect execution of a fake trap pass for a 27-yard touchdown, committed in full view of 6,500 witnesses at Southwest DeKalb on October 21st, catapulted Avondale High into a 6-0 lead and set up at the homestanding Panthers for a 19-0 loss. Neither team showed marked superiority until after the Panther’s John White punted 29 yards, out of bounds on the Devil’s 28-yard ribbon, with 47 seconds left in the first half. But 72 yards and 46 seconds later, Pritchett gave Avondale a touchdown, putting the undefeated Imps on the road to their eighth victory and into the Region 4-AAA East driver’s seat.
Coach Calvin Ramsey’s “Mr. Do-It-All” faked to his right halfback, rolled to his left and fired a 24-yard pass down the right side to Freddie Guy, the 6-6 end, ran the option for 26 yards, missed his next target with an aerial, then zeroed in on skyscraper Guy 27 yards away in the end zone. That sudden burst of brilliance demoralized Dewey Alverson’s troops. Assistant Coach Ed Meyer said, “That one play beat us. It took all of the pep out of the team.” They were never the same in the second half, as Avondale outrushed the Panthers 152- 12 and out-first-downed them 9-2. Avondale, despite a 15-yard penalty, marched 61 yards to paydirt after receiving the second half kickoff. Chuck Belcher turned in the game’s best run, a 41-yarder, and led Avondale rushers with 94 yards in 12 carries. The last tally was set up with an interception by Mike Herron—then Ed Pritchett scored on a 5 yard run.
The AHS vs. Southwest DeKalb Yardstick: First Downs: 15 vs.4; Rushing: 236 vs. 51; Passing: 51 vs. 20; Penalties: 35 vs. 50
AHS Scoring: TDs—Guy (27 yard pass from Pritchett, run); Belcher (run, 9); Pritchett (run, 5). PAT—Pritchett (kick)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 0 6 6 7 --19
Southwest DeKalb 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Avondale Bombers Rip Marist, 32-7
Thompson, Belcher Star As Devils Clinch Title
Swift-striking Avondale, bombing from long range, ripped Marist with a five-touchdown barrage, 32-7, and clinched the 4-AAA East championship before 5,500 Avondale Stadium enthusiasts on October 28th . Calvin Ramsey’s Blue Devils “spooked” the Cadets on a trio of touchdowns by halfback Jimmy Thompson and a pair by Chuck Belcher. Thompson’s TDs came on a three-yard burst, a 53-yard pass from quarterback Edwin (Charlie) Pritchett and a 33-yard punt return. Belcher’s came on a whirling, swirling tightwalk job down the eastern sidelines for 53 yards and a 26-yard sprint, made simple by bone-crushing blocks from Pritchett, fullback Andy Wiley, and guards Bruce Tallant and Ronnie Campbell. Sandwiched in this touchdown foolishness was a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Terry Walsh to Marist halfback Tommy Fields.
Pritchett, the 6-1, 175-pound fellow with the knack for getting the Blue Devils going, boomed past the 1,000-yard mark in total offense, rushing for 72 yards on eight snaps and passing for 103 more. That gives him 533 yards rushing and 476 yards passing, plus five touchdowns through the air. For Ramsey and the people it was a triumphant entry into the highest rank of Georgia high school football, Class AAA. He had won two of the last three 4-AA titles, but many say he couldn’t do it in AAA. To prove ‘em wrong, the Blue Devils rolled effortlessly to nine straight wins, including seven in the sub-region. Thompson and Belcher zipped to 101 and 89 yards, moving their season’s yardage report card to 449 411. The arrival of these quick halfbacks, possibly more than anything else, buoyed the Devils.
The AHS vs. Marist Yardstick: First Downs: 13 vs.6; Rushing: 324 vs. 59; Passing: 103 vs. 40; Penalties: 41 vs. 40
AHS Scoring: TDs—Thompson 3 (run, 2 and 3 yard pass from Pritchett, and punt return , 33); Belcher (runs , 53 and run, 26);PATS-- Pritchett 2(kicks)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 13 7 6 6 -- 32
Marist 0 7 0 0 -- 7
Avondale Cashes in Big on Two Gambles against Druid Hills
Avondale gambled twice on fourth down against Druid Hills. The Blue Devils piled up 78 yards on the two gambles and converted them into touchdowns in a 25-0 conquest at Druid Hills on November 4th. The first gamble came with Avondale in front only 6-0. Ed Pritchett chargedt into the line behind a wedge, came out the other side running and turned the play into a 55-yard quarterback sneak, good for a score. The second gamble led to the next score, when Chuck Belcher burst for 23 yards and a first down at the 18. Pritchett went in from there on a sweep to build the lead to 19-0.
Druid Hill’s had a near-moment of glory when they drove 67 yards down to the one-foot line, but the half-time clock caught them short. Pritchett got the final touchdown passing. He managed to throw 28 yards to Freddie Guy while a tackler was holding him by the ankle. Then he went back to guy for a 30 yard touchdown reception. Pritchett’s totals went 145 rushing, and 83 passing. On defense he made a brilliant, leaping interception, a key tackle near the goal line, and a 65-yard punt return that was unfortunately nullified by a penalty. Avondale allowed only one first down after the failed push to the one-foot line by Druid Hill. Calvin Lott and Ronnie Campbell led the Blue Devil’s defense. The 25-0 victory over Druid Hills gave Avondale their first 10-0-0 undefeated, untied season in the school’s history. The Blue Devil’s next challenge will come in the Region 4-AAA championship game.
The AHS vs. Druid Hills Yardstick: First Downs: 14 vs.5; Rushing: 289 vs. 78; Passing: 83 vs. 0; Penalties: 25 vs. 0
AHS Scoring: TDs—Pritchett 3(1 yard run, 56 yard run, 14 yard run)Guy (30 yard pass from Pritchett); PAT-- Pritchett (kick)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 0 12 7 6 -- 25
Druid Hills 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Devil Line Smashes South Cobb, 33-13
Pritchett Scores Three TDs—Avondale Wins 4-AAA Title
Avondale High’s Blue Devils, who possess Georgia’s most lusty AAA prep offense, used the superlative talents of Ed Pritchett to rout the South Cobb Eagles 33-13, Friday night November 18th for the 4-AAA championship. Quarterback Ed Pritchett guided Calvin Ramsey’s Blue Devils to their quick 33-point decision. The victory was already secured in the first six minutes, as Avondale scored three touchdowns. The 6,500 fans at Avondale Stadium had hardly settled in their seats, when Tommy Carlisle recovered an Eagle bobble at the Eagle 37. Pritchett’s first touchdown jaunt came on the first play of the Devil’s initial possession as he scampered 37 yards untouched.
Calvin Lott coiled on another South Cobb fumble a play later at the Eagle 29. Running mates Chuck Belcher and Jimmy Thompson had the honor this try. Belcher ripped 19 yards to the ten. Thompson raced over on the next play with 9:00 left in the first quarter. After Ormand Anderson’s Eagles were unable to move, Buddy Turner punted. Pritchett ripped up the middle on a 61-yard keeper for the Devil’s third touchdown with 6:04 remaining in the first quarter.
Eagle fans were able to cheer as scatback Jerome Prince returned the fourth Blue Devil kickoff 88 yards as the third period ended. The Eagles opened their passing attack in the final period when quarterback Jackie Hines moved them 72 yards to the Avondale one. Prince scored on a one-yard keeper to narrow the Devil’s lead to 20-13. Halfback Tommy Carlisle scored the fourth Avondale touchdown in the closing minutes of the third stanza with a four-yard burst up the middle. Ronnie Campbell and Dayton Johnson were the defensive standouts for the tough Avondale squad. The difference between the two teams was the tremendous exhibition of blocking and tackling put on by the Blue Devil line. The holes through which the speedy Avondale backs squirted were big enough for a truck. Pritchett scored 21 points and lugged the ball 12 times for 160 yards.
Avondale will face the tough North Fulton Bulldogs for the North Georgia AAA Championship next week at Avondale Stadium. The Bulldogs have an undefeated-untied record while allowing only one opponent to score on them in their last regular season game. The Atlanta team is currently ranked # 2 in the state behind # 1 Valdosta.
The AHS vs. South Cobb Yardstick: First Downs: 13 vs.7; Rushing: 357 vs. 46; Passing: 29 vs. 95; Penalties: 70 vs. 5
AHS Scoring: TDs—Pritchett 3(61 yard run, 1 yard run,6 yard run) ;Thompson (10 yard run); Carlisle (4 yard run); PATs-- Pritchett 3 (kicks)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 20 0 13 0 -- 33
South Cobb 0 0 7 6 -- 13
Pritchett’s Heroics Tip Bulldogs, 13-6 North Fulton
Devils March Before 12,000
Ed Pritchett was a leering, lunging ogre who turned North Fulton’s sweet championship dreams into a nightmare Friday night, November25th as Avondale’s Blue Devils gouged out a 13-6 victory to win the North Georgia AAA crown. The largest DeKalb County high school football crowd in history, estimated at 12,000, saw the brilliant Ed Pritchett turn the tide of victory toward Avondale time and again after the invading Bulldogs marched for 66 yards to post a 6-0 lead. The 170-pound quarterback, destined for All-State, All-Southern, and All- American honors, was the leading character in a dramatic wrangle from moment he first stepped into the spotlight late in the initial quarter. He was the key runner, ball handler and tackler on crucial play after crucial play as Coach Calvin Ramsey’s unbeaten Blue Devils posted their 12th consecutive triumph and handed Frank Jernigan’s Bulldogs their first setback in a dozen 1960 starts. When the drama ended, Pritchett in the leading role ravaged the once impregnable North Fulton fortress for 122 yards on 19 carries and all 13 Devil points. In spite of “wounds” Jimmy Thompson turned in a fine ball game when he had a big pass interception and a 17-yard punt return.
With Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd marveling from the press box, Pritchett made two brilliant interceptions of passes—running one back 52 yards to the Bulldog 13 yard stripe just before halftime, and got off punts of 37, 38, and 40 yards. The do-it-all phenom made eight tackles, one of them a key downing of David Truby at the Avondale 12-yard line on a 26-yard pass play that easily could have spelled defeat for the Imps in the dying moments. This was a hard-earned victory for Avondale, as the heavier Bulldogs first smashed out that 6-0 lead. After falling behind 7-6, and then 13-6, North Fulton was knocking at the touchdown door seven yards out when the final whistle sounded. Had the Buckhead brutes tied a 13-13 knot in those frantic final moments, they would have won the game on the penetration system and the right to face Valdosta’s South Georgia champs for the state crown.
Truby, Cam Crockett, and Ronnie Fowler ground out 66 yards and the 6-0 lead after the opening kickoff. Truby nattered 30 yards in just five lugs, Crockett 26 yards on six, and Fowler who had jabbed for a seven-yard chunk, bulled over on the 13th play. Van Stayton, who kicked 34 of 38 PATs in regular season, kicked wide to the right this time. From this point Pritchett began playing hero. Later Jimmy Thompson ran for nine yards, Pritchett whiplashed for 22 to the Bulldog 27. After Chuck Belcher and Andy Wiley ripped out 22 more yards on three romps, Pritchett stormed around end for the final five yards. Pritchett faked the extra point kick, taking a “toss back” from Thompson, who was holding for the “kick”, and ran the extra point and a 7-6 lead behind a fine block by end Freddie Guy. Pritchett’s 38-yard punt died on the North Fulton 17, keeping the Bulldogs at bay for awhile, Just before half-time he stole a pass from orth Fulton 13. Truby and galloped a weaving 52 yard path to the North Fulton 13. Pritchett barely missed Guy on a pass, then slithered nine yards to the four as time ran out in the half. In the fourth quarter Pritchett converted a vital fourth down on the Devil’s 20 yard line. Ramsey mentioned after the game that this first-down play led to running four minutes off the clock and limiting North Fulton’s opportunity to score.
The AHS vs. North Fulton Yardstick: First Downs: 9 vs.14; Rushing: 194 vs. 201; Passing: 0 vs.45; Penalties: 15 vs. 45
AHS Scoring: TDs—Pritchett 2(5 yard run, 28 yard run) ; PAT-- Pritchett (run)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 0 7 0 6 -- 13
North Fulton 6 0 0 0 -- 6
Blue Devils Miss Title in Cliff-Hanger with Cats - Valdosta
Score in final 29 Seconds Gives Valdosta AAA Crown, 20-14
The Avondale Blue Devils were clinging to a mountain ledge high above the ground while a pack of Wildcats from Valdosta clawed and snapped at them. Meanwhile theWildcats, fighting for their championship lives against Avondale, ripped out the winning touchdown with only 29 seconds left and won their eighth state high school football crown in 21 years with a 20-14 victory in Valdosta on Friday, December 2nd. A screeching, shivering crowd of 8,500 at Cleveland Field will attest to the fact that Coach Wright Bazemore’s long-powerful Wildcats never had to fight as hard for any crown as they did for their first Class AAA crown as they handed Avondale a heart-breaking loss.
The Blue Devils, hamstrung on the ground by Valdosta’s gang-tackling tactics, fought so effectively through the air that they overcame an early 14-0 deficit and until the dying seconds had a 14-14 tie and a co-championship within their grasp. Brilliant Ed Pritchett, sorely pressed by a hard charging line, cocked his arm nine times for a whopping 176 air yards. Four times he connected with his target, hitting 51-yard and 27-yard scoring bullseyes to Freddie Guy and Mike Herron. Avondale’s plus yards in rushing were negated by the minus yards Pritchett absorbed while attempting to pass in the face of a fierce pass rush. In the end the relentless Valdosta infantry, led by Kenny Ruffer, Bernice Hiers, Bruce Bennett and Giles Smith prevailed over Avondale air power. That quartet, which smashed for all but two of Valdosta’s 233 yards on terra firma, gouged out 59 yards in 16 charges in a race against the clock and an aroused band of Devils to get the winning six points.
The first score was set up when Pritchett got off a bad 12-yard punt that gave Valdosta possession at the Devil’s 45-yard line. The Wildcats marched the distance in 13 plays with Bennett scoring from the one with 3:50 left in the first quarter. Valdosta scored again early in the second period as they drove 66-yards, climaxed by a 29-yard pass from Bennett to Giles Smith for the tally to put the Wildcats on top 14-0. Avondale stormed back by covering 65 yards in six plays highlighted by a 52-yard strike from Pritchett to Guy. The Devils scored again in the third quarter to tie it up 14-14 when the Devils tramped 80 yards in five plays. The key plays in the drive were a 48-yard screen pass to Tommy Carlisle and a 27-yard pass to Mike Herron for the touchdown. Pritchett’s second PAT of the night knotted the score. Pritchett almost broke open the game with a screen pass to Tommy Carlisle for 60 yards, which he carried to the 17-yard line. But the Devils made only three yards on the next four downs.
Early in the final period the Wildcats made a key play, when Pritchett on a third-and-five situation was chased and tackled for a 14-yard loss. This forced an Avondale punt and set up Valdosta for the winning drive. Bennett capped the Wildcat’s final 59-yard drive when he powered his way for the final yard with 29 seconds left in the game. Even then Avondale refused to concede defeat as back Tommy Carlisle barreled through to block Smith’s only unsuccessful conversion try. Right after Pritchett returned the subsequent kickoff to the Avondale 42-yard stripe, Valdosta’s dedicated, up-front troops—led by Bill Myddleton—smeared him for a 12-yard loss as he tried to pass. The two passes he did launch under pressure went awry.
The Blue Devils were out-scored, out-first-downed and out-rushed, but they were never out-fought as they closed out an impressive 12-1 record and came within 29 seconds of a co-championship in their first year in Class AAA.
The AHS vs. Valdosta Yardstick: First Downs: 6 vs.19; Rushing: 6 vs. 233; Passing: 175 vs.36; Penalties: 10 vs. 5
AHS Scoring: TDs—Guy (5 yard pass from Pritchett, run); Herron (27 yard pass from Pritchett); PATS-- Pritchett 2 (kicks)
Scores by quarter:
Avondale 0 7 7 0 -- 14
Valdosta 7 7 0 6 -- 20
Pritchett Heads AAA All-State Team
Avondale High quarterback Ed Pritchett were chosen my coaches and writers as co-captain of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s 1960 All-State Class AAA football team. The 6-0, 170-pound Pritchett who riddled North Fulton’s powerful defense for 122 yards on 19 carries and 13 points to net the Blue Devils a 13-6 victory and the North Georgia championship, is Coach Calvin Ramsey’s idea of the complete football player—being a top defensive performer, punter, passer, extra point booter, kickoff man, and a great runner. Mike Herron , a 165-pound gem of a guard, joined Pritchett for his role in leading the Devil’s defensive band. . Receiving Honorable Mention were Calvin Lott (tackle), Stanley Hunt (center), Chuck Belcher (back), Jimmy Thompson (back), Freddie Guy (end), and Ronnie Campbell (guard).
Avondale was represented on the All-Greater Atlanta Team by Calvin Lott, Mike Herron , and Ed Pritchett. Honorable Mention included Freddie Guy, Bruce Tallant, Stanley Hunt, and Chuck Belcher.
Ed “Charlie” Pritchett received additional recognition and honors to enshrine him as an all-time great football player for Avondale….and the state of Georgia: Atlanta Touchdown Club Back of the Year, All-Greater Atlanta, All State, Class AAA Back of the Year, All-Southern, and High School All-American.