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The 60's

 
Tift County Football .........Through the Decades

The 60's

The 1960's were a turbulent time in America and Tifton was not immune.  The Korean War was ending and Vietnam was becoming more than just a place on a map.  Racial tension was coming to a head and radical pop culture was reaching all the way down to southwest Georgia.

The interstate was constructed.  Tifton High gave way to Tift County High and Wilson High integrated slowly into the county system despite remaining a football power among black schools.

Clearly, the 60's brought a lot of changes to Tifton.

The structure known now as the county's administration building housing Tifton High from 1917 until the spring of 1962.  The school on Eighth Street opened its doors in the fall of 1962.  The new school combined the old Omega school and other surrounding schools and would forever be called Tift County High School.

The school, which elected to keep the Blue Devils nickname, continued to play its home games at a field that borders Second Street where Burgess and Conner Parks now reside.  Tift County Stadium was opened for the 1966 season.  (See History of Brodie Field)

The 60's opened with a new coach, Kermit Perry.  Perry's team went 6-3-1 in his first year in Tifton.  In four years, Perry guided Tifton through some lean years and left after a 3-6-1 year in 1963.

In 1964, Tommy Guillebeau took over the Blue Devil program after getting the Ware County football program on its feet.  He would eventually serve as the head of Georgia High School Association for years.

In 1965, Guillebeau got Tift County to the 1-AA playoffs.  The Devils went 7-2-1 and faced Thomasville in the postseason.  the Bulldogs beat Tifton 27-7, but the game marked the Devils' first trip to the postseason in nine years.

In 1966, Tift County High had grown so much that it joined the big boys for good.  The Blue Devils entered 1-AAA that season and have played in the toughest football region in America ever since.

In that region were teams like Valdosta, Moultrie, Willingham (Macon), Lanier (Macon), Baker (Columbus), Albany, and the brand new Dougherty County High.

After a pair of road games, Tift County opened what would become known as The Devils' Den on September 16, 1966 against Moultrie.

Bud Willis' Packers were ranked No. 1 by "The Atlanta Journal, but quarterback Hugh Gordon, and tackles Mayo Tucker and Roger Womack led a stunning 19-14 upset that christened Tift County Stadium in style.

The Moultrie Observer wrote that "9,000 frenzied fans" were on hand to cheer the Devils to victory that night.  Tift went on to finish third in the region during their first campaign in 1-AAA with a 7-3 record.

While 1967 was losing a season at 4-6, any year Tift beats Valdosta is a good one.  Tift topped the Cats 13-7 on a very, VERY happy homecoming Friday night in 1967.

In 1968, the Devils went 7-3 in Guillebeau's final season at Tift.  Tift's losses came to Valdosta, Moultrie and Albany, but some new faces joined the region.  Lowndes, Coffee, Wayne County, Monroe Albany and Ware County all joined 1-AAA.

New coach Ray Dalton ushered out the 60s with a disappointing 4-6 campaign.  It included a loss to Coffee that gave the team then known as the Comets their only win against 19 losses in two years in 1-AAA.

Year Record Percent Devils Opp Coach
1960 6-3-1 65 117 139 Kermit Perry
1961 7-3-0 70 186 90 Kermit Perry
1962 4-6-0 40 157 163 Kermit Perry
1963 3-6-1 35 102 168 Kermit Perry
1964 4-6-0 40 127 131 Tommy Guillebeau
1965 7-3-1 68 147 106 Tommy Guillebeau
1966 7-3-0 70 197 127 Tommy Guillebeau
1967 4-6-0 40 121 132 Tommy Guillebeau
1968 7-3-0 70 143 100 Tommy Guillebeau
1969 4-6-0 40 93 129 Ray Dalton
Totals 53-45-3   1390 1285  

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