Dora Bulldogs First Football Season in 1925
With all the innovations and changes in today's football Ralph Harbour claims the game really hasn't changed too much.
"The object of the game has always been to score points on offense and prevent the other team from scoring." Harbour said.
Harbour, now 81 years old, was a member of the inaugural Dora High School football team in 1925 as a seventh grader.
According to Harbour the team consisted of about 17 players and he played right guard on the offensive line. for two years and left halfback for three years.
The first game Dora played was a 7-0 loss to Bankhead High. "Our First coach, Coach Hall, didn't know the rules of the game so a merchant had to come out of the stands and show us how to line up on the kickoff." Harbour said.
Dora has been blessed in the early years with one legendary name as a head coach, according to Harbour. Snitz Snider, who Jess Lanier's football stadium is named after today, coached the Dora team in Harbour's senior season of 1930.
Of the members of the inaugural team, Harbour claims that three other players besides himself are still alive today.
Bulldog Johnson who went to college at Birmingham Southern College lives today in Anniston where he once coached on the high school level. Also living is Lee Phillips who resides in Georgia and Lawrence Samuel who resides in New Orleans Louisiana.
Several Aspects of the game, as should be expected, have changed in the years between 1925 and 1991 according to Harbour.
In today's game teams make the trek to play opposing teams on school busses or charter busses. In 1925 the Dora team made road trips in the back of a freight truck.
"A man in the community named Tom Woods had a truck that we all loaded in and went to the road games in" Harbour said. " Jumbo Cannell and Sam Watkins, who was mayor of Dora in 1925, were also interested in football and helped out.
The team played its football games in the area of Dora now titled "Horse Creek" where the high school was then located. The admission price to see a Dora football game was either $.25 or $.50 according to Harbour, who could not remember the exact price.
When Harbour played the team was not possessed with the luxury of a fieldhouse as later teams were. "We dressed in a small wooden bath house." Harbour said. "We didn't have lockers so we hung our uniforms on a nail. We didn't have hot water so we used cold water year round."
Speaking of the uniforms, Harbour offered a bit of nostalgia on the bulldogs suit. "We voted before that first football season on a mascot name Bulldogs and blue and gold for our colors."
The players had to buy their shoes and shoulder pads, but trousers and game jerseys were furnished. The team played in leather helmets with no face guard and the goal posts on the field were located at the front of the end zone. instead of the back.
Dora never beat Walker County High School during Harbour's playing days even thought hey came close his senior season. "We never played Walker until my last two years in school. Walker beat us 6-0 in a rain storm my senior season," he said. "Jimmy Jones returned a punt in the rain for the only score. Walker had more people and better material than we did back then."
Because of the size of Walker, they were not Dora's biggest rival, according to Harbour, "Cordova was or biggest rival," Harbour said. " We also played Eldridge Baptist Academy, Carbon Hill, Curry and Parrish."
The 17 or so men that began playing the game with a oblong shaped ball made of pigskin created a legacy that will live on in east Walker County for many years to come.
NOTE: I do not know the source of this article. It was sent to me by email. I assume it is from a Dora yearbook.
In 1969 the two point conversion was adopted for play following a touchdown. Until that time all conversions were worth one point.