His face was always one of the last ones I saw as I left the Brickyard after football games.
He'd always be standing outside, propped against the car, just taking in the atmosphere -- one more game among the hundreds he'd been to. He'd have a kind word, a pat on the back and a smile.
And he'd always ask about that picture I owed him -- the one from Jerry Randolph's first night at the microphone. I still have that picture.
That's my favorite memory of Cecil Poss, who spent nearly 20 years as the Voice of the Thomson Bulldogs. Mr. Cecil passed away Saturday, finally succumbing to years of battling his lungs. He was buried in black and gold -- wearing a Thomson Bulldog shirt and his favorite Bulldog hat, the band hat with the flag on it.
Mr. Cecil took over the microphone at The Brickyard in 1985, just as the Bulldogs won a state championship. His daughter, Sandy Lloyd, said he did it to stay involved with THS football after her band-member brother and cheerleader sister had graduated from the high school.
"It was everything to him," she said. "That's what kept him going."
He kept the spot, even as his lungs tired and an oxygen tank became a constant companion. He finally stepped away from the microphone following the Bulldogs' 2002 championship campaign -- a fitting end to his tenure.
But for Mr. Cecil, there never really was an end. He'd fill in for Jerry at times last year, leading the crowd in the pledge.
"Cecil meant so much to the program, not only in the booth but what he did outside the booth as far as what he did with helping the booster club and helping the kids," Mr. Randolph said.
That was shown Saturday night, as a group of players including Danny Verdun Wheeler, Jasper Brinkley, Deon Palmer and others showed up to visit and pray at the family home.
"It was awesome the way God put things right into place," Mrs. Lloyd said.
It's that kind of faith that was instrumental in Mr. Cecil's life.
"Cecil epitomized the spirit of the Thomson Bulldogs and will be sorely missed," said Thomson Defensive Coordinator John Barnett.Ý "He was a man of true Christian character who displayed undying loyalty to his family, church, community, and school.Ý Our world needs more men like Cecil Poss."
As for Mr. Randolph, there'll be and empty chair next to him in the booth next year.
"I'm going to miss him," the new Voice of the Bulldogs said. "I loved having him up there with me in the booth last year."
Jerry Randolph (far left) looks over information as he calls the Dogs' game against Screven County. Joining Mr. Randolph in the box was DeWayne Poss (standing), Lindy Tudor (middle) and the man Mr. Randolph replaced, long-time announcer Cecil Poss.
Jason B. Smith
Next year there will certainly be a void up in that booth, on the driveway outside and in the hearts of fans and players.
"He loved those Bulldogs, no doubt about it," said Mr. Randolph.
And they loved him.
No doubt about it.
Staff Writer Kristopher Wells contributed to this story.