cheap polo t shirts for men The 1970 Chilhowie Warriors
The team didn’t care who you were. If you were apart of the 1970 group, you were family. ’70 defensive tackle Gary Tilson transferred to Chilhowie the year before. He was overwhelmed by how quickly he was accepted.
“It was wonderful because I never had a chance to play football before,” Tilson said. “These guys they’re just like brothers to me now. I’ll never forget how I was treated being an outsider.”
“People don’t realize we went 2 8,” ’70 head coach Ron Bales said. “The best team we ever had in Chilhowie might have gone 4 6 against that schedule because 7 of the 10 teams went 7 3 and better.”
But Bales said it was in the last of game of ’69 he saw hope for the future when the team went up against Churchhill, Tennesse.
“We came out of the dressing room, got off the bus, and we see the Churchhill’s 70 players on the sideline,” as Coach Bales told the story. “Everyone of them looks like they played for Virginia Tech.”
Churchhill’s defense hadn’t allowed a touchdown all season but at the end of the first half Chilhowie was up 22 15. In the end, Chilhowie would lose but Coach Bales says what he saw was a glimmer of glory for the 1970 season.
The ’70 Warriors
There was a lot of excitement and expectation at the start of the year. But the team would experience a quick reality check against their rival Marion in the first game of the ’70 season.
Coach Bales had installed a new balanced pass run spread offense. The kids had picked it up pretty well but Bales learned quickly it wasn’t weather proof. In a rain fest, the Warriors got throttled 30 8 by Marion.
“No one said the road to glory was easy,” Coach Bales said.
The Warriors picked themselves up and won the next three games but there was another road block waiting Patrick Henry high school.
“The Patrick Henry game was probably the worst game, worst loss I ever had,” Hill said. “We had the game won but we gave it away.”
The Warriors were up 24 12 with four minutes to go in the 4th but Patrick Henry would come back and beat them 26 14.
“Something happened after that game,” ’70 defensive tackle Mike Coe remembered. “We decided we weren’t going to be a 2 8 quality type of team.”
The Warriors would go on a roll,
winning their final 5 games of the season. In that stretch, Chilhowie’s defense allowed just over 9 points per game.
“We really started to take the game seriously,” Coach Bales said. “We went out and hammered people. This was the most savage group that I ever coached.”
The savagery inspired the Warrior’s offense as well. Bales’ new approach averaged almost 35 points per game. Finally, the innovation started to click.
“We knew that you had help, you wasn’t by yourself,” Compton said. “We cared for each other. We were just a big family.”
“You kind of get on a roll and you start believing in yourself,” Hill said.
The success kept coming. Chilhowie would beat Natural Bridge in the Region C Championship 31 6. Then it was on to the state semi final against Wise where history would be made.
It’s simply referred to as “The Play.” Coach Bales had ran a version of it in the regular season. The foundation of “The Play” was a fake field goal, reverse. Before the state semi final, Bales says Wise reviewed game tape of when they ran it earlier but for the state semi final game, he had something special planned.
“We did a walk through before Friday night’s game with Wise,” Bales explained. “Most of the team had gone in that field house right. I blew the whistle and brought everyone back to add a wrinkle just in case we needed it. We practiced that play one time and in the game we ran it to perfection.”
Bales’ tweek added an extra pass.
When you ask anyone on that ’70 team if they remembered “The Play”, in uncanny unison they all say “fake field goal reverse pass.”
Everyone seems to have their own memory of how “The Play” went down.
“I don’t even think I faked the kick. I think everyone knew it was going to be a kick. I just stood there watched everybody run around,” Hill, who was the kicker,