Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local Sports

August 29, 2007

’80s era the best in Thomasville-Central rivalry

THOMASVILLE — The 1980s was the golden era of high school football in Thomas County.

Charlie Ward Jr., Shawn Jones, Eric Curry, Myron Guyton and Danny Copeland were just a handful of players that carried their careers to the collegiate level.

“I don’t think it could’ve gotten any better,” said former Thomasville assistant coach Andy Jones, whose sons — Shawn and Mike — were standout performers during the mid-to-latter part of the decade. “With what we put on the field and what Central put on the field, I mean we had college coaches from all over.”

Shawn and Mike Jones were both part of the game many call the “Game of the Century,” referring to the 1987 Region 1-AAA Championship game. Ward and Jones lit up the Thomasville air for more than 400 yards passing and five touchdowns combined. The second play of the game, Ward connected with Tommy Rainge for a 75-yard touchdown pass.

From an excitement standpoint, there was nothing like it with a jam-packed Veterans Memorial Stadium watching, players and coaches recall.

“Standing room only was a mistatement,” former Thomasville offensive lineman Renny Thompson, a member of the Bulldogs’ 15-0 team in 1988, said. “It was from Jackson Street all the way to the street over there at the practice field. People were standing, it was pretty incredible.”

Central won 35-21.

“I can remember (Ward’s) senior year, and that was probably as talented a football team as we had at Thomasville when I was there,” former Bulldogs coach Mike Hodges said. “We had Shawn Jones and Eric Curry and Shawn's brother, Mike. They had a number of good players and we had a number of good players, too.”

Although the outcome stirs up painful memories for former Thomasville assistant coach Warren Field, there is one moment he’ll never forget.

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