Land­mark sea­son pro­duced only cham­pi­onship for Jack­ets in 1950

♦ Rock­mart is look­ing to end a nearly sev­en­decade state ti­tle drought next week in At­lanta

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - ROCK­MART By Jonathan Blay­lock JBlay­[email protected]

In 1950 a gal­lon of gas cost 18 cents, milk was still de­liv­ered door-to-door, Pres­i­dent Harry S. Tru­man was lead­ing the United States of Amer­ica in the Cold War and troops were fight­ing in Ko­rea, and the Rock­mart High School foot­ball team won its one — and so far only — state cham­pi­onship.

The world has changed greatly since then, but the 2018 Yel­low Jack­ets are look­ing for a lit­tle touch of his­tory re­peat­ing when they face Heard County next week for an­other shot at a state ti­tle.

The Yel­low Jack­ets and the Braves will meet on the field at Mercedes-Benz Sta­dium in At­lanta on Wednes­day at 1 p.m. with the Class AA ti­tle on the line.

That 18 cents-per-gal­lon of gas would’ve came in handy for the 1950 Jack­ets as they made the 275-mile trip down to Val­dosta, where they came away with a 52-21 win against the Wild­cats for the Class A state cham­pi­onship.

Rock­mart handed leg­endary Val­dosta coach Wright Baze­more one of only two losses in 16 state cham­pi­onship games, and put up the most points by a win­ning op­po­nent on Val­dosta’s Cleve­land Field, a mark that still stands.

The team, coached by JD Lan­g­ley, fin­ished with a per­fect 12-0 record, which cul­mi­nated with the Jack­ets play­ing in the Peanut Bowl, a game in Colum­bus on New Year’s Day that pit­ted the top high school team in Ge­or­gia against a top team from the North­east.

Play­ing the team from Holyoke, Mas­sachusetts, Rock­mart won the game 19-14 and fin­ished the sea­son outscor­ing its op­po­nents 430-85 for an av­er­age of 35.8 points per game, while al­low­ing only 7.1 points per game.

Play­ing on the field be­hind the old Rock­mart High School on Pied­mont Av­enue, the Jack­ets had fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son with the tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing Day game against Polk County ri­val Cedar­town. Rock­mart won 52-12, which would be its only win against the Bull­dogs in a span of seven years, ac­cord­ing to the Ge­or­gia High School Foot­ball His­to­ri­ans As­so­ci­a­tion.

The 1950 Jack­ets fea­tured six play­ers who earned all-state honors, led by team cap­tain Max Ma­son, who was named the Class A Player of the Year and the Touch­down Club of At­lanta Back of the Year.

Ma­son was also a Wig­wam Wise­man All-Amer­i­can, and con­tin­ued his col­lege ca­reer at Ken­tucky un­der Wild­cats head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Also earn­ing all-state honors for Rock­mart that sea­son were ends Marvin Hardy and Sammy Parker, guard Billy Pow­ell, and tack­les Low­ell Vanell and Paul Head.

Rock­mart had other chances at state ti­tles, ad­vanc­ing to the cham­pi­onship game in 1954 and 1957, but came up short each time.

The Jack­ets’ last cham­pi­onship game saw Val­dosta ex­act its re­venge for 1950 seven years later with a 13-6 win on the Wild­cats’ home field in a matchup of the top two ranked teams in Class AA.

Rome News-Tri­bune Sports Edi­tor Jeremy Ste­wart con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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