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The 70's

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

The 70's

The Gene Brodie era began in the 1970s and his influence on the program will be felt for decades upon decades.  But, the first half of the decade wasn't to shabby, either.

In 1970 for example, the Devils went 7-3 under second-year coach Ray Dalton.  The three losses all came to ranked teams -- Thomasville (16-14), Moultrie and Valdosta.

In 1972, Wilbur Lofton came to Tifton as the Tift County head coach.  He went 6-4 in that first year after opening with three straight losses.  His reign may be best known, however, for the lack of numbers in the mid-70s.

The famed Dirty Thirty played in 1973, but the numbers were nearly as low in 1974.  Despite low numbers, spirit was high.

They had the misfortune of taking on powers like the state and national champion Thomasville teams of William Andrews and Coach Jim Hughes and some pretty good Valdosta and Moultrie teams, as well.

Lofton's last year began with seven losses in eight tries with the lone win being a 6-0 triumph over Monroe.  Lofton won his last two games in Tifton, though, as the team finished 3-7.

In 1976, everything changed.  Brodie and his core staff arrived keeping only a young Mayo Tucker from the previous year's staff.  From that point on, nothing would be the same.

The first year Brodie arrived, trouble with the GHSA caused a probation period, but soon thereafter, Tift became a fixture in the playoffs.

The Devils went 6-4 in 1976 watching Dougherty, Central Thomasville and Valdosta all go 9-1.  Tift lost to Central 3-0 and Dougherty 7-0.  Tift lost its four games by a total of 30 points.

In 1977, Brodie's team went 6-4 again, but the program was building.  The first playoff appearance for Brodie since winning the 1975 state title at Central Macon would come in 1978, which was also the first year of the AAAA classification.

In 1978, Tift went 8-2 in the regular season.  They lost to Valdosta and Crisp County in regular season and lost at Thomasville in the playoffs.

Momentum was building still in the last years of the decade, and in 1979, Tift fielded a state runner-up in Brodie's fourth year.

Tift won 13 of its 15 games that year losing the title game 20-10 at Clarke Central in front of the largest crowds ever at Clarke Central.  The Gladiators rolled up 353 yards of total offense that night including 313 on the ground.

In that season, the Warner Robins game was a satisfying victory, but the two wins against Valdosta were sweet indeed.

Tift had never before beaten Valdosta twice in one year and has not repeated the feat since.

Tift had not beaten Valdosta since 1967, but the Devils won in Death Valley 13-12.  In the playoffs, Tift hosted the Cats and beat them 24-6 rolling up 357 total yards compared to Valdosta's 194.

In the state semifinal game against Warner Robins, the Demons came in ranked No. 2.  Tift was ranked No. 4 and spanked the Demons 51-10 at International Stadium.

Kenny Hobby threw for a school record 420 yards in that win as Tift amassed 520 total yards of offense.  The Tift defense got into the act with seven interceptions.

Individual standouts in the 1970s include Tim Case ('78) who played for a national champion Georgia team.  Theopolis Bryant was an all-state linebacker in 1972 and played for Kansas State.  Hobby and Landy Ewing were both all-state in 79 and Ewing was the AAAA Lineman of the Year.  Ewing signed with Georgia and Hobby inked with Auburn and started as quarterback as a true freshman.

Danny Morris was a standout running back in the late 70s, and Theopolis' brother Larry was an all-region defensive player. 


Year Record Percent Devils Opp Coach
1970 7-3-0   119 71 Ray Dalton
1971 3-5-2   131 172 Ray Dalton
1972 6-4-0   181 158 Wilbur Lofton
1973 4-6-0   133 151 Wilbur Lofton
1974 2-8-0   93 205 Wilbur Lofton
1975 3-7-0   73 163 Wilbur Lofton
1976 6-4-0   182 113 Gene Brodie
1977 6-4-0   209 117 Gene Brodie
1978 8-3-0   236 108 Gene Brodie
1979 13-2-0   452 164 Gene Brodie
Totals          

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