While preparing to write last week's column on the Knox family, I spent some time perusing some Thomson High yearbooks from the early 1960s. Many things have changed quite a bit in 40-plus years, including the Brickyard. About the only similarities remaining from then until now is the wall around the ballpark and the old building that now serves as the fieldhouse.
Looking at these pictures reminded me of a game that I attended in the Brickyard as a 12-year-old. This game was the 1970 Class A State Championship between Warren County High School and Roswell High School. I can't remember the final score, but Roswell was the winner. Roswell also won state championships in boy's basketball and baseball during the 1970-71 school year.
I attended this game with my father and his two brothers. His oldest brother was the industrial arts teacher at Roswell High at this time. I had already traveled with my uncle to Carrollton two weeks earlier to watch his Hornets, dressed in green and white, beat the Carrollton Trojans in a playoff game.
Recalling this game also made me realize that the look of the Brickyard is not the only thing that has changed over time. The size of the two schools in 1970 put them in what was then Georgia's second smallest classification, Class A. Thomson won Class A championships in 1967 and 1968.
Roswell is a town in north Fulton County. According to the GHSA website, Roswell High School now has 2,190 students and competes in Region 6 of Georgia's largest classification, AAAAA. Warren County High School is now listed as enrolling 253 students. Roswell is now almost nine times the larger school than Warren County. Thomson, in Class AAA, is listed as having 1,237 students. It's hard to believe that these schools once resided in the same classification.
Another interesting sidelight to that 1970 championship game was that a future Southern Mississippi University alumnus was the star player for Roswell. Like Thomson's Ray Guy, Roswell quarterback Jeff Bower later became a hero for the Eagles of Hattiesburg. Jeff Bower is now the head football coach at Southern Mississippi.
Bower originally signed to play for the University of Georgia. In fact, then Bulldog coach Vince Dooley sat in front of us with Bower's parents that cold night in the Brickyard. For reasons that I don't remember, Bower later transferred to Southern Miss.
Lots of future college and pro players have performed in the Brickyard. Is Jeff Bower the only major college head coach that ever played there? I doubt it, but I don't know for sure. There's been lots of games played over the years "Betwixt' the Bricks" and there will be many more.
That is one thing that will likely never change.