Rick Lilly has things a bit confused in the story on Buford football [“Sidelined no more,” September 23, 2008]. He says that one of the reasons that Lane High School’s football team was so good was that they would get kids from the junior high school programs. The glory days of Lane High School football were 1962 to 1967, as was noted. But the first junior high school opened in 1967 (in 1966 there was a Walker Junior High School and a Buford Junior High School, but they had no building—they (we) were splitting sessions using the Jefferson Elementary School building), and there were no football teams at either. The real reason that the Lane teams were so good in the 1960s was that Lane had a great junior varsity program. Lane was grades eight through 12 then, and the eighth and ninth graders could learn to play football the way that Tommy Theodose and Joe Bingler wanted them to. By the time they had been there for a few years, they had learned the fundamentals very well. When the city went to junior high schools in 1967, it was suddenly harder to get a junior varsity team together, and the quality of the “farm team” suffered.
I don’t know when the junior high schools (or middle schools, once we went to that system) got their football teams, but it wasn’t in the 60s, and it wasn’t during the time that Lane was so dominant.
Lane High Class of 1970
Thank you for your positive article on the Buford football team [“Sidelined no more,” September 23, 2008]. As the principal of Buford’s feeder school and the mother of a player, I have had the pleasure of personally getting to know many of the boys on the team and am pleased with their hard work, sportsmanship and dedication. I am sure I am among the many parents seeing a little fatigue but a lot of character being built.
While Walker does not have middle school grades, and thus no comparable middle school sports program, our fifth and sixth graders are participating in many afterschool clubs: girls volleyball, soccer, basketball, and boys lacrosse among them. We hope it is helping to interest kids in sports so that Buford can easily entice them onto teams.
I would also add my kudos to the coaches and Buford administration. They are getting frequent academic progress reports on each student and are even helping them study; take the recent day in study hour when Coach Spry had all of the seventh grade team members studying for a science test together. From their academic expectations to their requirement that the boys wear a shirt and tie on game days, the coaches are doing more than teaching football—they are helping to produce fine young men.
Terri L. Perkins
Principal, Walker Upper Elementary School