Without a doubt, some of the best high school football in America is played right here in Georgia. The game is a thrilling distraction especially south of the gnat line where fans are very passionate about their boys. Maybe you’ve heard of Valdosta, Lowndes, Northside of Warner Robins or Camden. They’re the bigger schools. But there are smaller schools in rural southern Georgia whose boys will put the hurt on you just as quick. Ever heard of Clinch County? Charlton? Macon County? What about Fitzgerald? Certainly, you have heard of Fitzgerald. Everybody has. That town is famous as the old “colony city,” and they field a fine bunch of boys, big and hard to move. Well, in this book, you will get to know Fitzgerald’s little neighbor and its boys.
Welcome to Ocilla, the seat of Irwin County.
Take a tour, now, on the “Big Red” train through the community’s rich and colorful gridiron history as Ocilla native David Pierce, in his first published work, Our Boys -- a team, a town, a history, a way of life, vividly chronicles the origin and evolution of the Irwin County Indians football team.
Around Ocilla, even though the boys don’t always win, football is about the oldest tradition, besides church, that’s still celebrated. The boys of Irwin County High are a great source of community pride and joy, especially when they are winning.
Twelve years in the making, mostly given to research, interviews, condensing, writing and re-writing and three years in pursuit of a publisher, Our Boys is a delightful portrayal of life in Ocilla, Irwin County, at its intersection with football. The 369-page work covers from 1922 to present day. Pierce says he found enough material to make a book twice that size, adding the names of many old players and their stories and pictures did not make it into the volume.
“It’s a good book,” cries Larry Harper, who was an Indian in early ‘60s.
“Great book, David” bellows Jack Smith, who played football in Ocilla in the mid-1960s and later for the Philadelphia Eagles. In Ocilla, football “is the tie that binds” one generation to the next, Smith adds.
“… a treat to experience …” writes Jon Nelson of Georgia Public Radio.