Trion football: 90 Years of Tradition

Featured Stories, TeamFYNSports

For many of our communities there’s not much that’s better than small town high school football in the fall. Trion High School, in tiny Trion, GA most certainly falls into that category. The Bulldogs will be kicking off their 90th anniversary of football this Friday, and there is plenty of history to look back on and a lot of anticipation for the upcoming campaign.

The 1933 Trion Bulldogs

Trion first took to the gridiron in the fall of 1933, and in the 89 years since, the program has produced a very impressive string of accomplishments despite having one of the smallest student populations in the state. The football program ranks 33rd in the state for all time wins with 556, it has produced a North Georgia state title (1942), and two outright state titles (1957 and 1974). The Bulldogs also have won twelve region championships, have forty-four playoff appearances (14 in a row between 1991-2004), and a very impressive 37 All State players.

Trion Wall of Fame with plaques for All State players

There have been several coaches, players, and teams who have helped build the tradition at Trion. Sam R. McCain Stadium and Clarence Blevins Field are both named after two of the school’s greatest coaches. McCain won 73 games along with two region and one state championship (’57) in his twelve seasons in Trion, while Blevins won 55 games, capturing four region crowns and one state championship (’74) in seven years at the helm.  The Bulldogs winningest coach is Tab Gable, who in two seperate stints at the school (’77-’81 and ’88-’98) won 108 games, four region titles, and had twelve playoff teams.

Coaches Sam R. McCain, Clarence Blevins and Tab Gable

Every program has teams throughout it’s history that the community remembers, and perhaps even lends a name to. In the town of Trion there are a handful of those as well. The state champion ’57 team, lead by All State players Ken Day (RB) and Richard Watson (C)…the undefeated ’74 team who had “The Four Horsemen” (Jeff Ware, Randy Peace, Tim Perry, Jeff Bowers)…the ’88 region championship team known for the “white sleeves in the endzone game” in which former players wearing their letterman’s jackets waved the offense down the field to score at the end of the game to beat Bowdon 14-10 and claim the region title…”The Dome Team” who in 2003 went 12-2, gave Calhoun (10-2 and 7-AA region champs) their only regular season loss, and then went on to win region 6-A and make it to the Dome where they lost a heartbreaker to Lincoln Co.

I cannot even begin to name the countless players who have contributed to the tradition and success at Trion, but there are a few names I will mention who went on to great success at higher levels. Wallace Clark, All State RB in ’65 and ’66, went on to play at Auburn and the Atlanta Falcons…Rick Camp, QB in ’69 and ’70, who many will remember for his pitching career with the Braves…and finally Stacy Searels, All State OL in ’82 and All American OL at Auburn. Searels was drafted by the Chargers and after 3 years in the NFL he has spent 30 years in coaching at multiple programs and is the current OL coach at UGA.

The tradition at Trion runs deep. The football team is something the community, school, and alumni are all proud of. After 89 years of history, the 90th year of Bulldog football will begin this Friday night, fittingly against longtime rival Gordon Lee. The team lost a large group of seniors from last year’s ‘Redemption Tour’ team that went 10-2 and four of whom are now playing at the collegiate level. Two of those players were All State last season, Brantly Wilbanks and the school’s all time leading rusher Rob Brown. That leaves a younger, less experienced 2022 team that will be lead by senior RB/LB and captain Logan Eller.  Eller is surrounded by returning starters: at QB is SO Kade Smith, JR Toby Maddox, who will be all over the field, Ezra Adams, who will anchor the o-line, Clay Chesley and Lucas Stoker who were big contributors on the defense last season. Coach Sean Patrick told us that they have been “working hard through the spring and summer and are eager to get under the lights and hit someone in a different colored jersey.” This season the Dogs will also be playing in a new region this year which includes some familiar names like Dade Co, Pepperell, Darlington, and old rival Chattooga, all of whom have been in other regions/classifications in recent years.

Entering into their 90th year, there is a lot to look back on, to be proud of, and to look forward to for the Trion High School Bulldogs.

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