West: Cannon County sports fans ...
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:45 am
BY MIKE WEST
Cannon County sports fans would love to see a winning football record this fall.
Nothing would be greater than a return to the days of the mid 1970s when Woodbury Central had a perfect 10-0 record.
Those days are still talked about at places like Joe's and Parsley's restaurants. The Courier has also strives to keep the memory alive with our annual Sports Hall of Fame that's honored stars from the past like Al Smith, Steve Bullard, Ray Robinson, Dennis Banks and Charles Dillard.
It was Smith, at quarterback, who helped lead Woodbury Central to that 10-0 record. He earned All-District, All-Region and All-Midstate honors during that season. He ran the almost forgotten Power I formation to perfection.
But just as important was the coaching staff featuring head Coach Mike Mayfield and Coach Bob Melton.
"Things" were different in those days. Players stayed in condition by spending hot summers working on Coach Melton's farm. That's where Charles Dillard displayed some truly outstanding footwork avoiding a snake in coach's barn.
Coach Mayfield built his championship team from nothing, By the end of spring training, the 1973 roster was down to seven players, but Mayfield dubbed them "the Magnificent Seven."
Mayfield was faced with the possibility of ending the football program at Woodbury Central, but he fought it out with a mixture of toughness and humor.
When the 1974 season rolled around, Woodbury Central had been rebuilt into one of Tennessee's best teams.
Yes, that "Perfect Team" hit the field 40 years ago.
Since then, Woodbury and now Cannon County High School has had its ups and downs in football. There have been some great players like Charles Dillard in 1974-77 and Ray Robinson in 1980-83. Ray went from a lackluster Woodbury team to starting at UT.
Admittedly, Cannon County football has been in a slump the last couple of years.
But things feel better. The team is slowly rebuilding with more optimism both and off the field this year.
Win or lose, Cannon County fans are there to support their team both at home and on the road. Really, the support is amazing. On Friday nights, the whole town seems to turn out and head to Fred Schwartz Field. There's tailgating (maybe you call it picnicking) on the grounds and the mood is festive.
It's almost a throw back to the 70s with football the talk in Woodbury. Of course, in 1974, the town was constantly abuzz about the team's winning ways. Returning to those days would be great, but that is a slow step-by-step process. Part of that involves getting Schwartz field in shape. New lighting was installed last year and this year a new scoreboard.
Hope is building again. We shall soon see.