Chuck Williams: Almost 40 years later, Warner Robins-Jordan game unforgettable

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 24, 2014 

James Brooks just smiled when he was asked about it.

It was the smile that only comes with a sweet memory — one you haven’t thought about in years.

“Do you remember the game against Jordan your senior year?” the former Warner Robins High football star was asked an hour or so before he went into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon.

“Sure do, 90-0,” he said.

How could he forget? It was one of the emphatic statements the Demons made on a magical run. That Warner Robins team was the best in the state and won the mythical national title.

But on Oct. 29, 1976, Warner Robins destroyed a depleted Jordan team. Warner Robins was anything but depleted with the Auburn-bound Brooks, Jimmy Womack — who played at Georgia — and Ron Simmons, who played at Florida State.

Brooks, who now lives outside Covington, Ky., also remembers it for another reason.

Coach Robert Davis let Brooks leave the stadium at the half with Warner Robins up 49-0 over the visitors.

“I caught a plane and went to Auburn for my official visit,” Brooks said.

I shared Brooks’ memory on Facebook Sunday afternoon. He wasn’t the only one who remembered that night.

Robert Smith, now 53, will never forget it. He was a Jordan sophomore, a second-team linebacker until the Warner Robins game.

“They had 100 players,” Smith remembers. “All of our juniors and seniors that started quit the week before from a racial issue at quarterback. All we had was sophomores and freshmen.”

And little chance against a team the Jordan players called University of Warner Robins, Smith said.

“They looked like Auburn University standing across the field from our 20 players,” Smith said.

Smith played almost every defensive snap for Jordan that night.

Columbus High baseball coach Bobby Howard was a young assistant coach on that Jordan team.

“It was a tough night,” Howard said.

If you are going to define tough night, 90-0 would be a great start.

In Jordan’s defense — not that they had much that night — the Red Jackets were just one of seven Columbus teams to lose to Warner Robins in 1976. Most of the games were lopsided with Hardaway and Kendrick the only ones keeping it close.

Mark Cantrell, now on the Muscogee County School Board, was a Jordan student who rode the spirit bus to the game.

“It was about as bad as it gets,” Cantrell said.

And that’s from a guy in the band.

He should have been where Smith and his teammates were. Even today, Smith calls it the worst beating he’s ever had.

Even 38 years later it still stings, Smith said.

“I still get an uneasy feeling when I drive through there,” he said.

Chuck Williams, senior editor for content, chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.co

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