A good area: Bonaire High, football and the rise of Warner Robins

Houston County is seemingly perpetually growing.

The United States census gives credence to that. Starting with the 1940 census, Houston County has grown in every count. The county had 110,765 people in 2000, a growth from 89,208 in 1990. In 2010, the number was 139,900. Currently, the figure is estimated at 152,122.

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Eugene Cook’s high school football segregation fit

Most basic American history books point to a handful of big cases involving the rights of African-Americans.

There’s the Dred Scott decision. Voting rights established in the Constitution and the couple of Supreme Court cases where you can actually remember both sides: Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan. (1954).

Plessy v. Ferguson is commonly attributed as being the court case that established “separate but equal.” The latter, the Brown case, is supposed to have ended segregation entirely.

Of course, history is not as plain as that or as easy to enforce.

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When losing is perhaps your only option

The football season was not a good one in Morgan in 1955.

Calhoun High, the home team in that locality – not to be confused with Calhoun High in the city of Calhoun – had played five football games through the first week of October. In those five weeks, the squad had been shut out three times and had scored a grand total of two touchdowns.

An October 14 game against equally winless Sylvester might have seemed potential salvation, but not for head coach Wright Wilkins.

Already a small school, injuries had decimated the squad and local interest in football was waning.

Wilkins thought the right thing to do would be to abandon the rest of the season, forfeiting where necessary.

But not so fast.

The Georgia High School Association apparently told Wilkins that Calhoun had to play or else forfeit the guarantees for the contracted games.

In the midst of trying to prove that Calhoun could stay afloat without consolidation, Wilkins had little choice. They had to press on.

“Thus,” said the Sylvester Local, “Morgan has decided to field the best team they have to finish out the schedule.”

In a final jab to Calhoun’s troubles, Wilkins believed it was necessary to move the game from Calhoun’s home field location of Leary to Sylvester. Without local support, Calhoun did not see a home game as being financially worth it.

Sylvester, which entered with a six-game losing streak dating back to 1954, thankfully put Calhoun out of its misery early, rolling to a 25-0 win.

Wilkins and Calhoun managed to finish out the 1955 campaign, though they scored only 20 more points.

Calhoun played a partial schedule in 1956 before giving up football. The high school consolidated with Edison in 1963 to form Calhoun County. No further football would be attempted until 1971.

Sources: Sylvester Local, Oct. 13, 1955; Georgia High School Football Historians Associaton.