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1981 coaches; Baynes, Curry, Autery, Weaver, McDaniel, Posey

A Century of THS Football
Part I - The Beginning

By Michael Butler

Tallassee High School fielded its first football team in 1921. World War I was behind the country as well as the Spanish Flu.

Today, THS is closing in on 100 years of football and the U.S. is trying to put another pandemic behind it.

While 2021 will be the landmark 100th year since the first football game. 2020 - if it happens - will mark the 100th season.

Go back 100 years. Warren G. Harding was succeeding Woodrow Wilson as president. There was no television. The first radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, was new to the airwaves.

The 1916 Tallassee High School. The building burned down in 1928.
Courtesy Virginia Noble Golden - "A History of Tallassee for Tallasseeans"

According to an article written by Jimmy Ballentine in the Sept. 2, 1971 edition of the Tallassee Tribune commemorating 50 years of THS football, Tallassee went 3-4 in its inaugural season. Arthur Noble was listed as the head coach.

"Noble, after seeing the interest in the game, decided to help in the capacity of coach of the team," Ballentine wrote. "At that time, coaches held other jobs other than that of coaching. Mr. Noble was an employee with Tallassee Mills."

Born in Tallassee in 1888, Noble played halfback at Auburn from 1908-10. According to local historian Bill Goss, the 1920 US Census listed Arthur Sanford Noble Jr.'s occupation as a merchant (ice manufacturing and soft drinks). Noble died in 1964. His son Arthur Sanford Noble III (1923-1998) would become a civil engineer at the mill and married Ann Ogletree (sister to Bill Patterson's mother).

Coach Noble's daughter, Virginia Noble Golden Walker wrote the book, "A History of Tallassee for Tallasseeans." Interestingly, she referenced the first team but not the coach.

"Tallassee's football team has been a winning one every year since it was organized in 1921. Sports are widely enjoyed in Tallassee, baseball and football being the favorites, and the most popularly attended."

The first team - 1921 Tigers
Front row, left to right: Edgar Hoyle (substitute), Willie Langley (right tackle), Henry Homer (right end), Jim Hurston (right guard), Morrell Horn (center), Dan Mason (left guard), Jack Wright (left tackle), Louis Taunton (substitute). Back row, left to right: Morland Hornsby (quarterback), Jake Catchings (halfback), Tom Mason (fullback), Austin Buce (halfback). Photo by Bilbrey Studio. Courtesty of Talisi Historical Preservation Society from "Images of America - Tallassee"

Assistant coaches to Noble in '21 were: Reid Langston, with First National Bank of Tallassee; Dr. Henry Jones, a local medical doctor; and Dan Herren, Sr., a farmer and businessman.

In Balletine's account he pointed out that, "all of the coaches had football backgrounds and Mr. Herren played at Auburn where he was named to the All Southeastern Conference team."

Ballentine also found the roster of players noted in the '71 article: Edgar Hoyle, Willie Langley, Henry Homer, Jim Hurston, Morrell Horn, Dan Mason, Jack Wright, Louis Taunton, Whit Hornsby Jack Catchings, Tom Mason, Austin Buce, Ralph Gantt, Leonard McGhar, Horace Mann, J. T. Hudson, Austin Horn, Luman Mann, Herbert Griffith, Carmen James, Sam Mason, and Whitfield Herren.

The Alabama High School Football Historical Society has a partial record of the Tigers' first football team. The website indicates that the first game was played on Oct. 14, 1921 against Barnes, a school out of Montgomery, and won by the Tigers 14-7.

In the coming weeks, look for a series of articles on Tallassee's football history. We will highlight some of the best games, the fantastic finishes, the all-star players and coaches.

The 100th season is scheduled to kick off on Aug. 20 vs. Reeltown at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium.

*Proud to Be A Tallassee Tiger by David Weldon (1984)