So I heard Friday night’s game pitting Neville against Ruston was the 1,000th game for Neville High, which began playing football in 1931.
That made me curious about Ferriday High, which began its football program in 1927 (yes, the year of the flood).
So I went back to tally it up. WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS I THINKING?
I was saved a bit by former Sentinel Sports Editor R.T. Bonnette who put out an outstanding special tab in 1984 detailing each year of the Ferriday Bulldogs from 1927 to 1969 when the Bulldogs became Trojans with segregation.
So after a lot of tallying, I discovered that Friday night was the 1,107th game for a Ferriday High football team.
Ferriday’s 1,000th game was its final game of 2009, a 21-0 loss to Farmerville in the first round of the playoffs.
One neat tidbit I ran across was the fact that when Ferriday decided to start football, Rev. J.C. Stokes, pastor of Ferriday First Presbyterian Church was the first head coach. During a meeting to decide the mascot name, principal R. C. Childs glanced over at a light switch in the wall where it had a brand name on it. You got it — Bulldog.
In 1928, Ferriday played LSU’s freshman football team — the Kittens. The Kittens won 18-0.
In 1930, Ferriday defeated Selma, Ms., 90-0. That Ferriday team’s only loss was 7-0 to Natchez.
The Ferriday band was formed in 1938. The 1939 team went 9-1 in Billy Priester’s final year as coach.
There was no football in 1942 because of World War II.
Ferriday went 2-3 in 1943, playing two teams twice to save on fuel.
In 1944, Hugh Bateman led Ferriday to the Class B state finals as the Bulldogs finished 7-1 falling to Slidell 14-6 in the state championship game.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer Johnny “Red” Robertson took over in 1951 and led the Bulldogs to four straight state titles and 54 straight games without a loss, which still stands as a state record today.
Ferriday went 0-10 in 1976 and 1978.
Just for a quick history lesson, Jerry Bamburg was the first coach at Ferriday High in 1970 after segregation.
Bobby Marks was the head coach in 1969, but took over at Huntington, a new private school the following year.
Things were so hectic in 1970, that Ferriday did not come up with the nickname Trojans until AFTER playing its first game against West Monroe.
That must have been interesting — “Let’s go ........ Wait a minute, who are we again?”
The first four Ferriday coaches lasted one year.
Bamburg was followed by Clarence Richard in 1971. James Murphy took over in 1972, while Bob Ashley was at the helm in 1973.
Fred Marsalis was the first African-American coach at Ferriday High. He coached from 1974-77 before Ford took over for one year.
Jerry Baldwin was named head coach in 1979 before leaving to take an assistant coaching job at Louisiana Tech.
But before he left, Baldwin led Ferriday to a 12-1 record in 1981 as the Trojans fell to John Curtis 42-30 in the Class 2A state semifinals, a game I still consider the best played in Concordia Parish.
Ferriday went 11-3 in 1991 under Cordell Bailey, losing to Amite in the semifinals.
Bailey again led the Trojans to the semifinals in 1995 as Ferriday fell to Karr in Ferriday.
And now Stanley Smith has led the Trojans to two straight semifinals.
You will have to excuse me before I break down Vidalia High’s numbers. I need to catch my breath.