The 1953-1954 school year started with a football season of historical significance. The 1953 football team became the first Yellow Jacket team to win the Tennessee Valley Conference championship. The season record was 6-3-1, with a 5-0 record in the TVC.
Team captain Hugh Hill and alternate captain George Clay led the team. Hill scored 97 points and set a new school record in scoring. Other honors garnered by Hill, included becoming the first GCHS player to placed on the All Mid-State team and also was named to the all-state second team.
The team had five seniors on the squad. Besides Hill and Clay, other seniors were Marshall Brown, Paul Campbell, and Joe Hardy.
Stevenson 6 Yellow Jackets 0
The team started what would be a successful season on a sour note by dropping their season opener to the Stevenson Panthers. The Panthers’ lone score came on what today would be called a Pick Six as they took the interception to the house in the second quarter for what proved to be the game winner. The Yellow Jackets dominated the game with 15 first downs to Stevenson’s three. However, the Yellow Jackets were never able to push a touchdown across the Panthers goal line.
Yellow Jackets 20 Dunlap 7
The Yellow Jackets opened their TVC schedule with an easy victory over the Indians. Hugh Hill scored three touchdowns in what was billed as one of the wettest games the team ever played. Dunlap led 7-6 at the half, but the Yellow Jackets completely dominated the second half to even their season record at 1-1.
Manchester 14 Yellow Jackets 7
This was tabbed as probably the hardest fought game seen on the Grundy County football field in more than a decade. Alton Scissom scored first for the Yellow Jackets and Marshall Brown added the extra point. The Red Raiders tied the game in the second quarter and the teams were deadlocked at 7-7 at the half. The Yellow Jackets had a touchdown called back in the third quarter due to a penalty that was considered a questionable call. Manchester added a third quarter touchdown and conversion and held on for the 14-7 victory, as the game ended with the Yellow Jackets on the move.
Yellow Jackets 31 Whitwell 0
The Yellow Jackets trampled the Tigers in what was supposed to be a tough contest. The Tigers were never in the game, as the Yellow Jackets scored at will. Hill again led the scoring with three touchdowns, having three more called back. The longest of Hill’s runs was an 85-yard return of the second half kickoff. Scissom and Stanley Hillis also figured in the scoring with one touchdown each.
Yellow Jackets 19 Marion County 7
The Yellow Jackets improved their TVC record to 3-0 and their regular season record to 3-2 with a 19-7 defeat of Jasper. The Yellow Jackets completely dominated the game as they led 19-0 before Jasper scored late on the Yellow Jackets second team. It was an entire team effort as the line stopped the Warriors cold every time they tried to advance the ball.
Yellow Jackets 32 Franklin County 20
For the first time in history, the Yellow Jackets handed the Rebels a loss. The Yellow Jackets outhustled, outfought, and outscored the heavily favored Rebels. Scissom opened the scoring on the Jackets first possession with a 40-yard run. Grundy County led 13-12 at the half. In the second half, the Yellow Jackets scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and the Rebels added a score in the fourth. Jack Jacobs ended the scoring by picking up a fumble on the last play of the game and carrying it to pay dirt.
St. Andrews 23 Yellow Jackets 13
The Yellow Jackets were flat against the inspired Saints, overlooking the game with Hixson looming the next week. The Yellow Jackets faltered in the second half of their Homecoming game after leading at intermission. This was deemed as the worst game played by the Jackets all year.
Yellow Jackets 32 Hixson 13
This game shaped up as the battle of the fullbacks when Hixson’s Bill Clark and Hill met in a showdown battle ceased to be such as Hill scored three touchdowns to Clark’s one and led the Jackets to the lopsided victory. The Jackets trailed 13-6 at the half, but totally dominated the second half as Hill scored two touchdowns, while Scissom and Bob Stinnett added one touchdown each. The Yellow Jackets ran their TVC record to 4-0 and their overall record stood at 5-3.
Yellow Jackets 27 McMinnville 27
The Yellow Jackets played this game without Hill who was hurt on the first play of the game. The team played inspired football throughout the game and never trailed. With eight minutes remaining, the Yellow Jackets led 27-14, but the Bulldogs rallied to tie the game in the last minute. Scissom led the scoring with long runs throughout the game.
Yellow Jackets 14 Bledsoe County 6
The Yellow Jackets ended their season with a 14-6 victory over Bledsoe County at Pikeville. The Warriors scored first in the third quarter, but the lead was short lived as the Yellow Jackets stormed back with two touchdowns and had another called back. Hill and Scissom scored one touchdown each. This game brought to a climax one of the best seasons in the school’s history.
The 1953 Yellow Jacket football team had a memorable and historical season with some impressive victories on their way to capturing the TVC championship. Congratulations to the 1953 Yellow Jackets on their 2016 induction into the GCHS Sports Hall of Fame