Cedartown Football – Legends, Heroes and a Lot of Memories

(CEDARTOWN, GA) – Everyone is familiar with the former Cedartown Bulldog star who went on to play for the Georgia Bulldogs and has now reached star status in the NFL. Nick Chubb was as notorious for his on-field prowess as a running back for the Bulldogs as he was for his work in the weight room. His humility and work ethic make him a role model for young players across the country. But a peek into history shows another time someone at played a huge role for both Bulldogs, Cedartown and Georgia.

Cleveland Brown star running back Nick Chubb during his time at Cedartown

In 1941, the Georgia Bulldogs finished the season 8-1-1, their only blemishes were a tie to Ole Miss 14-14 and a loss to Alabama, 27-14. Led by Heisman Trophy winner Frankie Sinkwich, the Bulldogs were invited to the Orange Bowl where they faced the 7-2-1 TCU Horned Frogs. Sinkwich lead the Bulldogs to a 40-26 win down in Miami with 139 yards rushing and 241 yards passing. One of the big plays in the game was a 60-yard TD pass to Georgia Captain and blocking-back Cliff Kimsey.

Kimsey hailed from Cornelia, Georgia where he was a part of their 1936 undefeated team and later played in the 1938 Georgia North-South All-Star game.  He was a three-year letterman during his time in Athens and named to the All-SEC team. After his heroics in the Orange Bowl, he did what most players did during that era, he joined the military to fight in the Second World War.

Georgia Bulldog Captain Cliff Kimsey after the 1942 Orange Bowl Win

Captain Kimsey became a hero during his two and a half years of service. He led troops through three combat operations in the central Pacific. He was an infantry unit commander for thirty-three months and served as a platoon leader and executive officer with a rifle company. He was ultimately discharged from the US Army in November 1945.

Just a few months later, Kimsey was introduced as the new head football coach of the Cedartown Bulldogs, replacing the departed Lloyd Gray. Led by future Georgia Tech star Ray Beck, the Bulldogs finished the season 7-2-1. After the season, Kimsey returned to the North-South All-Star game as a coach, the first time someone had participated in the game as a player and coach.  Kimsey seemed to be upbeat about the future, at the Georgia Spring game in April of 1947, he said “I’m going to have some fine boys to send down to Georgia during the next couple of years.”

Kimsey’s 1946 Cedartown team was led by Beck, who played for Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech and Dick Philpot, who went on to play at Vanderbilt. Beck later played for the New York Giants and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

The 1947 Cedartown/Rockmart Game played in Cedartown. The game ended in a 6-6 tie

Unfortunately, things changed and Kimsey resigned just a month later and accepted the head coaching position at Parker High in Greenville, South Carolina. He success continued there; he took an inexperienced group to a record of 7-2-2 season. Two back-to-back successful seasons earned him a major college job with his former position coach at Georgia, J.V. Sikes.

After the 1953 season at Kansas, Kimsey left coaching entirely and returned to Cornelia where he settled into a long banking career. His son, Bucky was a high school star for South Habersham in the mid-60s and he also later played for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Many years later, Chubb made the Cedartown to Georgia Bulldog connection even more well known, but for one season, the sidelines for Cedartown were manned by a former college gridiron star, military war veteran and a future civic leader and father. Kimsey is why it’s important to reflect on the history football creates in Georgia high schools every Friday night. A gentleman, a leader and an American hero.

Rob’s Wrinkles –

1-Cedartown celebrated Ray Beck being named the first All-American from the town on February 27, 1952 when they declared it “Ray Beck Day” which included a parade downtown and a barbecue.

Ray Beck Parade in Downtown Cedartown – February 1952

2-Dick Philpot went on to a four-your college career at Vanderbilt

3- Author William Austin has done an exhaustive search of Cedartown football and has written a book about his work which is a must have for Cedartown fans.

https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/9781609497064/The-Cedartown-High-School-Bulldogs-The-History-of-a-Georgia-Football-Tradition

4-Doc Ayers became the Cedartown head coach in 1951 and remained for 13 seasons, including their state championship team of 1963. He was hired by new Georgia Head Coach Vince Dooley in 1964. Cedartown’s football stadium is currently named for Coach Ayers.

5-Cedartown won the 1963 State Championship against North Clayton 21-7. The Head Coach for North Clayton was Max Dowis, who had played quarterback for Ayer’s when he was the head coach at Lavonia High School.

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