On Nov. 16, the Ashe Central Football Team from 1973 celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first football conference championship in school history, an undefeated record in conference play and the best three year record in school history (9-1 in 1973, 7-3 in 1972 and 7-2 in 1971).
Thomas Worth, 1973 team co-captain, served as master of ceremonies for the event which was attended by players, wives and family members, parents, cheerleaders and supporters of Ashe Central Football during these years.
Special guests were Gene Goss, the coach of this team in elementary school, Principal Ed Abee and many former coaches and teachers.
Special recognition was given to the family of the late Dr. Dean C. Jones, Jr. who served as team doctor. Deceased players and managers were remembered. Coach John Rackley, who guided these teams to the best three year record in school history, had predeceased this celebration but appeared in a video tape telling stories from an event he attended in 1993.
The guests were treated to food and drinks during the event, an invocation by former coach Carl Swift, and stories by David Desautels, Ken Blevins and Thomas Worth. Many other stories were told away from the microphone as players fondly remembered events and happenings from 40 years ago.
It was recalled that the teams in each of these three years played with intensity. Only one loss in 1971 and one loss in 1972 prevented three conference championships. While many individuals possessed special skills, each team member contributed. The teams played together and the success resulted from a total team effort.
Co-Captains Larry Sheets and Thomas Worth presented to each player a 75-page booklet containing newspaper clippings and pictures from all three years and an audio CD of the Ashe Central and Beaver Creek game from 1972 recorded from a WKSK broadcast, which Ashe Central won 26-0.
A memorabilia table contained the 1973 Conference Championship Trophy, pictures, letter jackets, pennants, pom poms and other items shared by the attendees. Cheerleaders were recognized by Phyllis Jones Yount and Diane Gambill Rawson who remembered exciting games and how cold it was on the sidelines on many game nights.
The attendees all recognized what a special time these years were in their lives, and even though some gray hair and expanding waistlines have resulted in physical changes, the shared memories and friendships remain and serve as a bond for these individuals for which they are grateful.