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Web site chronicles fascinating history of Georgia high school football




We live in the Information and Communication Age and computer technology has taken over our lives in so many ways. I have to admit, ashamedly, that I had to be dragged into the 21st century and resisted using computers for several years before my job as a teacher required it.

Frankly, had it not been for my keen interest in sports, I may have delayed using these vast resources for much longer. Now, I wish all this information had been so readily available when I was writing all those research papers as a history major.

I first became interested in using the Internet in order to follow my favorite professional sport, NASCAR. Then, I learned that I could follow Thomson's own Franklin Langham shot by shot when he played on the PGA tour. There are Web sites at which you can look up records and personnel on professional sports teams as well as your favorite colleges, not to mention follow games all over the country.

My wife and I even followed the Tennessee Lady Vols' win over Stanford in the Women's Championship Game while on a Caribbean cruise a few years ago.

For the past several years, one Web site has become a favorite. If you are a high school football fan, you will love it as well.

It's GHSFHA.org. That stands for Georgia High School Football Historians Association. While several people have been involved in this project, Bobby Hodges, brother of Thomson High coach Chris Hodges, is one of the charter members who established this amazing Web site.

He also established thomsonfootball.com several years ago. Hodges was joined by Todd Holcomb, a sportswriter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and founder of Georgia High School Football Daily (ghsfdaily.net) and several other people who had already established Web sites for their high school football teams.

After years of extensive research, almost every GHSA (Georgia High School Association) and GISA (Georgia Independent Schools Association) game played since 1948 is recorded on the site.

This cutoff was chosen because it marked the beginning of the GHSA's new region organization and state playoffs. Before 1948, statewide championships weren't recognized in Georgia.

The researchers continue to delve into what records are available for the pre-integration Georgia Interscholastic Association (GIA) in which the black high schools played. Through the contributions of its members, this site has become as complete as any chronicle of high school football in the nation.

One of my favorite areas on this site covers all the head coaches who have worked in Georgia since 1948. Former Westside/Augusta head coach Don Fendley has worked tirelessly on these records. I found that before becoming successful assistant coaches in the college ranks, several men had great success as high school head coaches in Georgia.

For instance, the legendary Erk Russell, in six years at Grady in Atlanta, compiled a 42-14-8 record and won a state AA title in 1953. It seems he was always a winner.

Mike Costronis, who coached at Georgia for 21 years, won a state title in Class B at Hogansville.

In 1956, former Georgia offensive coordinator Frank Inman won a state title at Richmond Academy, while amassing a 50-11-5 record. David Kelly won the state title at Dunwoody in 1993 and still coaches in the college ranks.

John Donaldson, who coached seven years at UGA, won 130 games and two state titles at Jesup, which was later consolidated into Wayne County.

Other interesting areas available on this site include extensive lists of state and region champions, season-long polls and final rankings, all-state teams for all classes and summaries of all-star games.

I've spent hours on this Web site. If you visit it, and I hope you will, I have to warn you -- it can be addictive.



Web posted on Thursday, September 08, 2011













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