When Blue Devil fans think back on the 1980's,
inevitably their thoughts turn to Gene Brodie.
While he came to the Friendly City in the 1970s and
retired in the 1990s, but the 1980s will forever bear
more to Tifton and Tift County than just football.
He motivated the entire community to build a stadium
that remains one of the finest in the state. The
track, the Andy Summers Racquet Center, the Devil
Diamond, the practice field....the list goes on.
Gene Brodie was Tift County football and athletics
during the 1980s.
Devils, in turn, left marks all over their opponents.
LaGrange still bears a few of those marks as the
Grangers suffered the worst loss in a state championship
game ever in any classification. You're smiling
now if you were fortunate enough to have witnessed that
59-6 beating in December of 1983.
But the 1983
season had its beginning in 1982 when all of those
seniors that won the heralded championship ring suffered
through four losses. Two of those losses came with
two weeks of each other against No. 1 Valdosta that went
on to win the state title.
Take one step
back, and the 1981 Blue Devils might have been one of
the best teams in Tifton history. Tift spent eight
weeks as the state's No. 1 ranked team before losing in
consecutive weeks by a total of six points to
Thomasville and Valdosta.
Tift's over all
record in the 1980s was an impressive 71-42 for a
winning percentage of 63%. Only the 1940s was a
better decade for the Blue Devils.
The first half
of the 1980s saw Tift go 45-15, but the second half of
the decade began with Brodie's only losing season -- a
2-8 year in 1985 -- and the Devils went 26-27 in those
always judge a book by its record, though. Take
for instance the 1988 team. After an outstanding
1987 campaign, Tift football was on the way up.
Because of that, no one wanted to take on the brutally
physical Blue Devils.
Enter Robert E.
Lee High of Montgomery. With 2,100 students, Lee
had lost only one regular season game since 1985 and was
a fixture on the USA Today Top 25 poll.
The Generals helped break in a new Tift QB with a 28-0
And Lee was
only one of the four top 3-ranked teams Tift played that
The list of
great individual players from the decade might not end
with Ken Hobby, but it sure starts with him. 1980
was Hobby's senior season, and he threw for 1,374 yards
bringing his career passing totals to a staggering
4,245. Oh by the way he also ran for over 1,500
There can be no
exhaustive record of all the individual efforts.
How many names would it take to do the 1983 team
justice? But Brian Massingill is on the short
list. He threw 40 touchdowns and 3,039 yards in
two years. That's even more impressive when
considering Michael Turner and Terry Revels ran for
1,410 and 908 yards, respectively, in one of those years
still holds a number of Tift receiving records:
most career yards, most kick off return yards, and
touchdowns in a season (tied) to name a few. Jay
Johnson's 1987 season earned him all-state honors at
Journal-Constitution first team all-state performers
in the decade include Ricky Holt, Casey King, Willie
Hill, Turner, Stan Shiver, Massingill, Teals, Tye Cottle
and Bryce Abbott. Holt and Hobby were also named