Douglas County High School welcomed back the 1964 State Championship team last Friday for the Tigers’ Homecoming Game against visiting Westlake. DC honored players, coaches and cheerleaders in a ceremony before kickoff.
The 1964 season was a memorable one for the local community, and one that culminated in the ultimate prize, a state title, something that no other local school or football team can bag.
Led by first year head coach, Don Denning, the ’64 squad finished the regular season with an undefeated 9-0-1 record. After winning the sub-region title, Douglas County defeated North Clayton, 20-7, for the region crown in Fairburn.
In the following playoff contest, the Tigers topped the Cairo Syrupmakers, 28-7, to claim the AA South Georgia Crown. DC would now meet perennial power, Dalton High School, in the state title game. The Catamounts reached the title game by beating Hart County, 20-7, to claim the North Georgia Title.
The championship was a slobber-knocker, played under wet conditions in Dalton on Dec. 4, 1964. The game was a grueling defensive battle from start to finish. The Catamounts scored first when Joe Bill Faith recovered a Charles Whittemore fumble, and took the ball to the end zone from 28 yards out. Whittemore, who did not have a great start to the game, fumbled the ball again on the ensuing DC possession. However, he would make up for the plays as the game went on.
After the second fumble, which Dalton recovered inside Douglas County territory, coach Gene West’s defensive line held the Catamount offense, and did not allow a first down.
With Dalton driving later in the game, Whittemore began to turn his game around, recovering a fumble at the Catamount 35-yard line. After a loss of yards, Whittemore caught a apes from Robert Malcolm for 18 yards. After a penalty on DAlton, Malcolm hit Whittemore one more time, this one for a 9-yard score. Malcolm connected on the extra point, and DC took a 7-6 lead.
After a little controversy when the first half ended, Douglas County came out after the break, scoring on their opening drive. The Tigers took the kickoff and eight plays later found the end zone when Macolm and Whittemore connected for their second TD, this time on a 14-yard strike. The kick hit the crossbar, but DC now held a seven point advantage.
The Tiger defense dominated the rest of the game, ending two Dalton drives on interceptions by Harry Carter and Don Latham. The interception by Latham sealed the Douglas County victory.
Whittemore may have opened the game with two fumbles, but he finished with a fumble recovery on defense and two touchdown receptions to help lead DC to the title.
Dennis Chandler was also a standout at defensive end, and both he and Malcolm would later be named to the AA All-State squad. Quarterback Rusty Dennis and Latham were named Honorable Mentions. Denning would be named the AA Coach of the Year.