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CCHS re-dedicates Tiger Stadium

Chilton County High School celebrated the 50th anniversary of Tiger Stadium during the Oct. 16 home game against Opelika. The 1965 CCHS football team members were the honorable guests of the event. (Photos by Brandon Sumrall)

Chilton County High School celebrated the 50th anniversary of Tiger Stadium during the Oct. 16 home game against Opelika. The 1965 CCHS football team members were the honorable guests of the event. (Photos by Brandon Sumrall)

Chilton County High School celebrated the 50th anniversary of Tiger Stadium at last week’s home game against Opelika.

The 1965 CCHS football team members were the honorable guests of the event, receiving a pre-game meal, reserved seats and recognition before the game.

While the stadium has received many renovations during its 50 year lifespan, members of the original team were pleased to see the progress made over time.

Twelve members of the 1965 CCHS football team and one member of the 1965 cheerleading squad were honored at the rededication of Tiger Stadium.

Twelve members of the 1965 CCHS football team and one member of the 1965 cheerleading squad were honored at the rededication of Tiger Stadium.

Jerry Penton was one of 12 football players who participated in the anniversary celebration.

A resident of Clanton, Penton was no stranger to the stadium’s various renovations.

“I have grandkids who’ve been involved in the school recently and I’ve got to witness the progress,” he said. “Friday night, I got to see some great guys I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Penton was a running back and linebacker for the 1965 team during his junior year.

“It was neat to tour the fieldhouse because I’d never been inside,” he said. “Our weightlifting was working in the summer carrying watermelons.”

Penton’s wife, Mickey Penton, was a cheerleader in the 1965 season.

Coach Paul Taylor led the team to a winning record during the program’s first year in Tiger Stadium.

“Coach Taylor was a tough guy,” Penton said. “But it was good for us.”

With 33 football players on the 1965 team, the program has grown to now include 96 players in 2015.

A picture of the 1965 CCHS football team. (Contributed)

A picture of the 1965 CCHS football team. (Contributed)

Tom Powers echoed Penton in appreciation over the honor and opportunity to rededicate the stadium.

“The Gridiron Club did a good job of getting us all back together,” he said. “So many things have changed, like the tunnel and fieldhouse.

“We used to put our uniforms on at the school and then they would bus us to the field.”

Powers played guard and linebacker during his junior year.

“Back then, everyone had to play offense and defense,” he said. “We had a pretty good team.”

The Tigers won their first game in the stadium 7-0 against the Wetumpka Indians.

A picture of Tiger Stadium.

A picture of Tiger Stadium.

“I remember that our quarterback Jack Moore threw a touchdown pass to Richard Maddox to score the winning touchdown,” Penton said.

Gridiron Club member and event organizer Melinda McCullough worked with Club President Chris Smith to coordinate the rededication.

“The program has grown a lot in 50 years, and we just wanted to invite them back,” McCullough said. “Coach [Brian] Bradford introduced them and recognized the players before the game.

“It was really special to have them back at the stadium 50 years later.”

The 1965 football team roster included: Mike Alexander, Roger Crew, Jack Moore, Larry Ready, Jerry Penton, Tommy Dennis, Larry Bodden, Bill Branch, John Sansom, Butch Wilson, Jerry Popwell, Robert Presley, Don Mims, Len Traywick, Kenneth Dale, Earl Monroe, Gary Williams, Steve Joiner, Reggie Hay, Jim Waters, Danny Armstrong, Johnny Blalock, Tommy Powers, James Partridge, John Rockett, James Blalock, Randall Foshee, Ferrell Norwood, Bo Eiland, Chipper Hay, Rex Edwards, Terry Bates, Gene Martin, Richard Maddox, Randall Wyatt, Edwin Wilson and Phillip Davenport.