Musing With Cecil Buffington ~ The Firecracker Run in 1958

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Musing with Cecil Buffington

My best memory from Madison County- Jefferson football over the years.

It was October 31, 1958; a cool, clear, crisp Halloween night, under the lights in Memorial Stadium.

The Jefferson Dragons were hosting the Madison County Red Raiders.

It was the first time the Dragons and Madison County had met on the football field. The class A school would finish the 1958 season with a record of - 3 - 5 - 1. The Jefferson Dragons would complete the season with an 8 - 2 season record and a final number 6 ranking in the Atlanta Constitution Top Ten Class B teams in Georgia.   1958 Top Ten Rankings in Georgia

The Dragons were coming off a big win over Thomson, 46 - 19. The following week the Jefferson team would pick up their first win over region rival Washington - Wilkes 13 - 0 in Jefferson. 

The Dragons closed out the season with a resounding 68 - 0 win over Lavonia. At the time the most points ever scored in a game by a Jefferson football team.

Morgan County, who beat the Dragons early in the season, won the state Class B title. Washington-Wilkes would wind up at number 10. Region 4-B south was a strong region in 1958.

I well remember standing along the wire cable that ran from one end zone of Memorial Stadium to the other end zone. I was standing on about the 30 or 40-yard line. Many of us ( men and students ) would follow the ball and move up and down the side-line, looking directly at the line of scrimmage, as the home team moved up and down the field. The small stands behind the wire cable were kept free of viewer obstruction by Jefferson Police Officer Hale Duke, Sherriff's Deputy Curtis Spence and often times Police Chief Albert Westmoreland. They walked back and forth in front of the stands to keep fans from standing along the cable in front of the stands.

The visiting side-line was set up in pretty much the same manner with only about 30 yards of stands that probably would be hard-pressed to seat 500 to 600 fans.

On this night the Dragons rolled to an easy 38 - 0 win over the Red Raiders.

Many long-time Jefferson fans still remember the famous "firecracker run" from this game. After stopping the Red Raiders on the one-foot line, sophomore quarterback Jeff Davis took the snap from under center and ran directly behind his center, Herbert Wilson, straight up the middle of the field toward the Madison County goal.  At about the opponent 30-yard line, someone from the Madison County sideline threw a firecracker almost directly into his path to the goal.  Davis was oblivious to the prank, as he never altered his path as he finished off his still record touchdown run of 99-yards. 

Another memory of Madison County was their 27 - 0 win over Coach Jim Stoudenmire's great 1975 team that went to the state finals in Class A. This season Jefferson lost their first two games to Oglethorpe County and Madison County, tied Central Gwinnett and then were not beaten until the state finals by Irwin County in Jefferson.  1975 Jefferson Dragons Record

That's the thing about memories; some are sweet and some are not, but that's what makes them linger in your mind. That's what makes them fond memories.  

Now its almost 60 years later. Madison County is coming back to Jefferson.

The Dragons have won 10 of the 15 previous contests between the two teams.

This is the first region game for the Dragons with North Oconee, Stephens County, St. Pius and Oconee County left on the region schedule.

Last season, the strong Jefferson team led the Red Raiders by 14 - 7 going into the fourth quarter. Jefferson was able to put up 14 fourth quarter points to make the final score 28 - 7.

I look for a similar result tonight in Jefferson Memorial Stadium on another beautiful,  but warmer night than back in 1958.

I don't expect any firecrackers on this night, but you never know what might happen in the world of 2017.

Jefferson Home Stands - About 30 yards long and 15 rows high. Seated about 1200 people.

 

 

Jefferson fans cheering on the Dragons.

 

Jefferson High School twice All-State halfback Jeff Davis. ( 1959 - 1960 )

 

All-State end Burton Riddle - 1958 Jefferson Dragons.

 

Madison County hosts Jefferson in 2016

 

The Jefferson Dragons host The Madison County Red Raiders on September 29th, 2017.