Under the lights at Grisham Stadium, surrounded by a sea of black and gold, former Trojans looked up at the crowd while taking a trip down memory lane.
It has been decades since they last took the field, but their pride was evident as members of the 1961 and 1971 football state championship teams were honored for their historical seasons at Trojan Legacy Night on Sept. 3.
Paul Fitz-Simons, CHS athletic director said it was great to celebrate the teams.
“We were excited to honor members of these former state championship teams last week,” said Fitz-Simons. “So many of these former Trojans still show a lot of support for our athletics program and we are fortunate to have had an opportunity to celebrate them.”
In 1958, Charlie Grisham took over as the head coach of the Trojans and began a stellar run of five state championships, three state runners-up, and sixteen region championships. On the anniversary of Coach Grisham’s death, Joey King, the Trojans current head coach, started with a play right out of Grisham’s playbook running the Notre Dame Box to honor the former head coach and teams who played under him. Then, as if stepping back in time, Trojan Bryce Hicks answered the call with a fifty-yard touchdown on the opening down.
Coach Joey King said players were happy to honor former head coach Charlie Grisham by running one of his old plays.
“The team knows that Coach Grisham’s teams ran the box and when we told them that Friday night was legacy night they were pumped about it,” said King.
King also noted that it was special for the team to honor Trojans who helped lay the foundation for where they are today.
“We always talk about Trojans past, present, and future,” he said. “To see the guys that helped lay the foundation that our guys are standing on today, as well as running through a tunnel full of little Trojans that will be entrusted with the program one day, was a truly special moment!”
In 1961 the Trojans went undefeated in the regular season, winning the region and North Georgia championship, to play for the class A state championship against the Ware County Gators. More than 800 fans made the trek by train to Waycross to cheer on the team and several hundred more traveled by bus and car.
Ware County was a worthy opponent, but they ran head-on into a band of Trojans that were quick on offense, rugged on defense, and deep in talent. After the game, The Times Free Press reported “The Carrollton Trojans lived up to their advanced billing as an exceptionally fast team with a talent-ladened backfield, as they took 48 minutes out of their busy schedule en route to the state championship to teach the Ware County Gators the basic fundamentals of football.”
Coach Grisham was quoted as saying, “It takes horses to win. I have always had the horses.” That statement proved true ten years later during the 1971 regular season and playoff games. The team was the first to play for a state title on Trojan Field. Amidst a muddy field plagued with many fumbles, the Trojans continued the legacy capturing yet another championship defeating Turner County 31-21 in the final match-up.
1971 team member Darnell Powell scored all four touchdowns in the Turner County game and looked on with fellow team members at Legacy Night as they watched a video tribute to the teams.
“Scoring all four touchdowns and taking the state title was a result of the words our coaches would say. They said, ‘Give out, but don’t give up.’ Those words stay with me to this day. Your attitude determines your altitude,” said Powell. “Being honored on Trojan Legacy Night was priceless and something I will never forget.”
The Trojans took a 48-7 victory over the Jonesboro Cardinals to end the memorable night. As the saying goes in Trojan Nation, “There’s nothing like being a Trojan on Friday night in Grisham Stadium.”