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Fitzgerald football team meets with 1948 state champion

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 5:09 PM EST
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OCILLA, Ga. (WALB) - The 2021 Fitzgerald football team joined a shortlist in Purple Hurricane history.

The Canes won the program’s second-ever state title earlier this month. Wednesday, they have the privilege of meeting one of the members of the 1948 state championship team.

Inside The Magnolia Place, an assisted living facility, the Fitzgerald senior class was in elite company.

The only two state championship teams in Fitzgerald history got together Wednesday after and talked all things Purple Hurricanes.

Johnie Williams, a member of that ‘48 championship team said the afternoon was, “Very rewarding and I just told these young folks here that being a champion carries a pretty high burden of performance through life.”

Williams was a sophomore running back when they won the school’s first state championship. 73 years later, he’s meeting the only other team to do what he did.

“You are a champion, you act like champions, and people will respect you for being a champion,” Williams said.

An afternoon that was rewarding for both sides a chance to relive the glory days and maybe be glad they didn’t face this 2021 team in the title game.

When speaking to the team, Williams said “In 1948 we had a good team. I have seen you guys play and I suspect you all could whip us pretty much.”

Fitzgerald Head Football Coach Tucker Pruitt said, “It was an awesome day and we really enjoyed getting to meet him and hear about his stories. He had a really good message for our kids and challenged them to be champions not only on the field but in their future endeavors.”

Senior running back Denorris Goodwin added, “Getting to hear how the experiences were back when he played and hearing how things were and hearing how big football was even back then and maybe bigger than it is now in Fitzgerald.”

And it wouldn’t be a proper meeting without talking about beating some of your fiercest rivals.

“He shared with us that on their state championship run they defeated Irwin County and in the South Georgia Championship they beat Thomasville. And those were two of the teams we beat 73 years later. So it was really neat and a lot of pride and that’s definitely carried through 73 years later,” said Pruitt.

A special day capped off by the state championship parade Wednesday evening.

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