Good ol’ Tigers

Published 12:02 am Thursday, October 9, 2014

1009 spt-1948 tigers

1948 Red Level Tigers: Rex Martin, Earl Weingo, Mike Findley, Jerry Coffman, Carl Strickland, Cirous Granthem, James Spivey, Hoggy Pitts, Charles Paulk, J.T. Cauley, Wheeler Foshee, Jimmy Baggett, E.E. Caton, Ollie Webb, James Ingram, Lomax Ingram, Dwight Manard, Lloyd Rodgers, Curtis Lambert, Clifton Horton, Sylvan Bowland, Billy Joe Mitchell, Wayne Sowell and Tommy Glidewell. Coach: Richard Strife. | Courtesy photo

Red Level to induct inaugural HOF class Friday

Red Level High School’s Sports Hall of Fame inaugural class will be inducted at halftime of the Tigers’ home game against Pleasant Home on Friday night.

RL’s 1948 football team, along with Jimmy Coxwell, Jack Ed Walker and Willie Bradley, comprise the first class.

The 1948 Tigers were the first group of players the school had since the 1934 team, according to the Alabama High School Football Historical Society’s website.

Wheeler Foshee Jr., one of the 1948 Tigers, said the decision was made to bring the game back to the school.

“We got to see the principal, Reese White, and my dad was mayor or Red Level for a long time,” Foshee said. “We told him we wanted a football team. He (White) said, ‘we don’t have any money. It’d take $2,400 to suit up 24 football players. And, we don’t have no place to play.’”

Foshee, 84, said he grew up in Red Level in the white house just across from the school. Every day at lunch, he’d go over to get something to eat.

“I went home at lunch and he (my dad) came at lunch that day, I jumped him about the football team,” Foshee said. “He said, ‘we ain’t giving the county nothing, but I tell you what I’d do. I’ll get the county to build the football field, the city will build the stadium and pour the concrete slabs.’

“That’s how we got started in football (at Crystal Springs Park),” he said. “We played nine games, and scored exactly two touchdowns for the whole year.”

Foshee scored on an 84-yard punt return in a game against Florala. The other TD was scored in a game against Dozier.

It was during the game against the Wildcats, Foshee said he had his fondest memory.

FHS beat RLHS 74-7 and the Montgomery Advertiser wrote an article, where it put “Where did the seven come from?” right under the headline, Foshee said.

Foshee went on to play football at Auburn and currently has two sons teaching at the university.

James Ingram, who played guard on the offensive line for the 1948 Tigers, said he really enjoyed playing football at RL.

“It’s been so long ago, I can’t remember much,” Ingram said. “I do remember I enjoyed it. We got beat every time we played. I didn’t get hurt bad. It was fun.”

The Tigers finished 0-7 in 1948.

Walker played for RLHS from 1950-54 at right linebacker on defense and right halfback on offense.

He said he has so many good memories of his playing time, that “I couldn’t hold out to tell you.”

After Walker’s senior year, the former Tiger went and tried out for a football team at Southern Mississippi.

He said the SM coach told him not to tackle their star players on a drill they were running. After about six or seven of those players where they were running over him, Walker said he decided that he was going to hit the next player head on.

That was a mistake because Walker ended up blind in one eye as a result of the hit.

“Coach said I told you not to hit my star player,” Walker said. “It knocked both of us out, and I played several games with one eye.

“To make a long story short, I decided to come back home,” he said. “That’s a funny feeling to go blind. I was in the service for two years, came back, and tried out again (for football). The same thing happened, so I married and decided to give it up.”

Additionally, Walker wanted to give a shout out to former RL quarterback, Ham Curry. He said Curry was the best quarterback to come out of Red Level.

“I know because he handed the ball off to me many, many times,” Walker said. “It was always right on the ball.”