Valdosta High School football is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life for the residents of Valdosta, Georgia. This iconic football program has a rich history dating back decades and has left an indelible mark on the community. From legendary coaches to exceptional players, Valdosta football has built a legacy of excellence that continues to shine.
History of Valdosta High School Football
Valdosta High School has the most wins in high school football in the United States, with an impressive record of 975 wins, 237 losses, and 34 ties as of the 2022 season. They have achieved great success over the years, winning six national championships, 24 state championships, and 42 regional championships since 1913.
The team plays their home games at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, which is located behind Valdosta State University Campus. Their cross-town rivals, Lowndes High School, also have a strong football program, with five state titles to their name.
Valdosta High School’s historical record against Lowndes County is 37 wins to 24 losses, with no ties. On average, Valdosta High scores 20.9 points per game, while Lowndes County scores 10.1 points per game. In 2011, Valdosta High ended a dry spell by winning 21-17 in a come-from-behind victory after losing seven straight games to their rivals.
In 2008, Valdosta gained national recognition when it was featured on ESPN as a candidate for TitleTown USA, a segment that celebrated towns and cities with strong championship traditions. After fan voting, Valdosta was declared Titletown, United States.
During the 2020 season, the head coach was Rush Propst, who had previously coached at other schools. He faced controversy and probation in early 2021 for allegedly paying players for their housing costs. Due to some players being declared ineligible, the team was fined and banned from the 2021 postseason by the Georgia High School Association.
Currently, Shelton Felton is the head coach and is in his second season at Valdosta. In the 2022 season, the team achieved an 8-2 record in the regular season and a 2-2 record in region 1-7A, including a victory over their rivals, the Lowndes High Vikings, with a score of 13-6. Coach Felton will return for the 2023-2024 football season. The team’s upcoming season opener will take them to Ohio for a historical high school football game.
MOST WINS IN THE COUNTRY: TitleTown USA
In 2008, ESPN SportsCenter organised a special event called “TitleTown USA.” It lasted throughout the summer and aimed to find the best city, town, or area in America that had a strong connection with its winning sports teams and athletes.
This event was all about the fans! Around 2,000 nominations were sent in by sports enthusiasts, nominating their favourite places with a special love for sports.
A group of judges, including 12 SportsCenter anchors and 19 media professionals not from ESPN, carefully reviewed all the nominations. They looked at the sports achievements and how much the local community supported their teams.
But the most exciting part was the fans’ role! They got to vote for the community they thought deserved the title of “TitleTown USA.”
Overall, “TitleTown USA” was a fun and interactive initiative that celebrated the passion for sports in different places. It showed how sports can bring people together and create a strong bond between a community and its successful sports teams and athletes. The winning community proudly earned the title and recognition as a place with a deep love and pride for its sports achievements.
Valdosta Wildcat Museum Details
The Valdosta Wildcat Museum, named after David S. Waller, Sr., is taken care of by the touchdown club and is open during home games. Right beside the museum, you’ll find a special memorial courtyard with personalised bricks that have the names of past Wildcat players. It also has monuments honouring Valdosta High’s coaches, Wright Bazemore, Nick Hyder, and former superintendent A.G. Cleveland.
Inside the museum, you can discover a collection of sports memorabilia, trophies, uniforms, helmets, and many other historic items related to the Valdosta Wildcats. It’s like a treasure chest full of the team’s history and achievements.
Even fans from the opposing team are welcome to explore the museum before the home Varsity games. It’s a great chance for everyone to enjoy and learn about the proud legacy of the Valdosta Wildcats.