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Lincoln High football honors legacy of original team

These players were on the gridiron for Lincoln High nearly 60 years ago.
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Lincoln High School Trojans are taking the field Thursday night in a game against Fort Walton. Lincoln’s seniors - including several college commits - will be honored on the field before the game.

A few other “seniors” will be honored at half-time. Except these players were on the gridiron for Lincoln High nearly 60 years ago.

They are members of the original Lincoln High School Football team from the 1960s.

“I mean we were playing one night and I was running and there were like three guys in front of me and all I could see was a blur. I mean he wiped all three of them out and I just walked on in the end zone,” shared Willie Ellis, class of 1968.

“I was hitting the quarterback all night and on the 20 yard line and somehow he gave me the football and I ran 80 yards for a touchdown and that was a moment I’ll never forget,” said Leonard Barnes, Class of 1969.

Though these guys are in their 70s now, the gamedays still seem like yesterday.

We asked the retired players, “Of all the plays on this field, what do you remember most?”

“The night I lost all of my teeth making a tackle,” answered Jim Bellamy, class of 1964.

Back then, the field was called “Capital Stadium.”

“We won the state champions in the big 9 north conference here in Tallahassee,” said Raymond Henry, class of 1965. “During that time it was segregated. We didn’t play the white schools so it was among the black schools that we played. I wish it had been different but that was the times.”

All of them were members of the “original Lincoln high school” football team. The school in the heart of Frenchtown educated generations of African-Americans in the days before integration.

“It is great to be here to talk about that,” said Al Washington, class of 1964. “And let the ones participating now, let them know it wasn’t like this all the time. You just have a better opportunity.”

“We want to get a message across to these young guys that, ‘Do the right thing and you could be standing here 30, 40 years from now’,” said Rufus Brimm, class of 1964.

The Lincoln Trojans still don blue and white throw back jerseys once a year, as a nod to Lincoln’s past.

“Oh man, it brings back so many memories. Just look into the stands and just visualize some of the people who were here at the time, you can almost hear the band that was here at the time,” said Sam Graham class of 1962. “Look at the fellas that are out on the field with you and say, man we’ve come a long way. A long way. A long way.”

Hundred will come Thursday night to cheer for the legacy of these young men, who helped to pave the way for teens of all races to suit-up together, in the game of football and the game of life.

The group will be honored at half-time Thursday night.

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