Area teams' rivalry has storied history
By Matt Middleton | Staff Writer
Friday, September 18, 2009

There was no fiercer football rivalry in the area in the late 1950s and early 1960s than the one between North Augusta and Richmond Academy.

The schools combined to win three state titles from 1956-61, and in the 11 games they played between 1956 and 1966, the series was knotted 4-4-3.

The schools played every year from 1956-79, and when they renewed the series last year, North Augusta held the slimmest of all-time leads: 13-12-3, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.

"They were our biggest rival," said Dr. Randy Smith, who played at Richmond Academy from 1959-61. "When we beat them the year they won state (1961), we called ourselves the South Carolina state champions."

North Augusta players remember Richmond Academy being more than three times larger than their school. Former North Augusta coach Cally Gault maintained a strong friendship with Richmond Academy coach Frank Inman, which added another element of excitement to the game.

When the schools met in 1956, playing for the first time in four years, one player remembered a crowd of more than 7,000 watching the game.

"We respected Richmond more than any other team we played, partly because of the connection of (the coaches)," said Dick Day, a four-year varsity player and fullback on North Augusta's 1958 state title team. "Back then, if you beat Richmond, you really did something. They were the ones to shoot for."

The Georgia High School Association is realigning its regions in the fall, so it remains unknown if Richmond Academy's schedule will allow the series to continue.

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or matt.middleton@augustachronicle.com.

From the Friday, September 18, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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