It’s been 25 years since the Gridiron Guessers predicted high school and college football games throughout 11 to 12 weeks of football season. The Gridiron Guessers consisted of a panel of five local sports fans. Philip Fults, Ricky Richards, James “Duper” Ladd, Tim Knight, and myself, Jody Hargis, made up the panel of football prognosticators.
Fults, who retired from the school system several years ago, spent many years as a welding teacher, vocational director, and maintenance supervisor. In addition to these duties, he was an assistant coach for girls’ basketball and a statistician for the football team.
Richards, the Hall of Fame head coach of the Lady Jacket basketball team, spent well over 20 years as the Lady Jacket mentor. He was the coach of the 1998 Class AA state champion Lady Jackets. His teaching career spanned 40 years or better at Coalmont Elementary School, Shook Elementary School, and GCHS. Coach Richards, also coached volleyball and assisted in football and softball.
Sadly, Duper Ladd and Tim Knight are no longer with us. Two of the most dedicated Yellow Jacket sports’ fans and dear friends to many, most especially to me, left us way too early. Ladd, a long time educator, passed away on April 13, 2001; while Knight passed away on July 11, 2014.Tim was a retired employee of TDOT.
So, 25 years later, we’ve decided to revive the old Gridiron Guessers with the help of a couple of newcomers. While Fults and Richards agreed to join me, we needed two more members of our panel. I felt the obvious replacements for our dear departed friends would be GCHS athletic director Steve Trussler and Knight’s son and former Yellow Jacket football player Jared Knight.
Ladd was a long time A.D. at GCHS, which made Trussler the logical replacement. Jared Knight, being the dedicated sports’ fan his dad was, said he “would be honored to replace him.”
We will select 10 games each week consisting of high school teams from the valley, the other side of the mountain, and the Yellow Jacket district foes. We will pick three or four marquee college football games once their season kicks off.
We hope you enjoy seeing how these so-called sports’ experts do in picking winners week to week. Hopefully, you all will keep up at home and see how you compare to their picks