Monday, December 22, 2008

A High School Athletic Hall of Fame

The year almost slipped by without anyone mentioning that 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Chapman High School 2A Class C State football championship team.

I was only nine at the time but remember the year vividly, since having the events of that phenomenal season replayed repeatedly in my ears by my older brother Abe, who played fullback that year, as well as others who played on that team. I’ve also heard frequent recollections of that year by those who were on opposing teams and noted, whether teammate or opponent, all recall with fondness that exciting year.

The legendary William “Pop” Wagoner coached the team that year, leading the Sharks into the record books, and enshrining the Apalachicola team into the memories and hearts of the Florida Panhandle for many years to come.

Because of Wagoner’s leadership, the Florida High School Athletic Association currently list Chapman High School as holding the high school football record for allowing the fewest net yards on defense in any championship game. To underscore the timeliness of that year, in April of this year, I met newly elected Circuit Judge Charles Dodson and he shared his memories of how the ‘68 Chapman Sharks subjugated Sneads High during his second year of high school.

In their 22-0 win over Moore Haven High, the tenacious defense of Chapman allowed 0 yards rushing and only 20-yards passing in their route to the only State championship in the history of high school sports in Apalachicola. The Sharks traveled to Moore Haven with only 776 in attendance after advancing to the championship game with a 26-0 win over Sarasota’s Cardinal Mooney in the Class C semifinals.

As a tribute to those fine student-athletes of yesteryear as well as to all student-athletes (including cheerleaders) who played at Dunbar High School, Quinn High School, Chapman High School, and Apalachicola High School, the City of Apalachicola would like to establish a High School Athletic Hall of Fame for Apalachicola and we need your help.

The goal is to preserve the rich heritage of Apalachicola’s student-athletes and to establish a repository for all memorabilia acquired. Therefore, if you have any high school sports memorabilia that you would like to donate to the High School Athletic Hall of Fame for Apalachicola, we would really appreciate it. You can drop them off at City Hall at 1 Bay Avenue in Apalachicola. Staff will keep the items in a secured place while we finalize plans for a suitable location for the Hall of Fame.

Although, there will never be another prep game played in the City of Apalachicola because our schools are now consolidated into one and located in the Eastpoint Community, through this endeavor, the establishing of this physical tribute to the dedicated student-athletes of Apalachicola, the memories that each of us own of those days gone by, can be shared and preserved forever.