While records and play-off wins are the lifeblood of a football program, the Oregon Ducks have shown us all that stunning uniform combinations add to the excitement. This uniform revolution is making its way through the collegiate level and the Tift County High School Football Team is leading the high school charge to incorporate the new trend in athletics.
Head Football Coach John Reid, who is in his second year with Tift County, has been focused on rebuilding the historically strong program.
“In rebuilding this program, we want to be at the cutting edge in everything we do,” he said. “We already have one of the best stadiums in Georgia, if not the country, and we wanted the look of our players to match that. We want our team and fans to be proud of themselves and create even more enthusiasm.”
They wanted a new look that would create excitement, but we definitely wanted to continue the strong traditions the program has. “We wanted a brand that would stand the test of time,” he said.
The “rocking T” has been a part of Blue Devil Football for nearly 30 years. It’s not only been adopted by the community, it represents some of the best seasons in Tift County history. But program leaders also had to think through how to distinguish themselves from the other Blue Devils and team with the same color scheme.
“We have kept the ‘T’ in all of our uniform combinations, and thanks to funds raised by our Touchdown Club, we’ve been able to purchase a new silver uniform and helmet.” The team will continue to use the traditional navy and white uniforms and navy helmet. This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the 1983 State Championship team, led by Coach Gene Brodie. “One of his early teams wore a silver helmet, so we knew our new helmet should be silver,” Reid said. “It is adorned with a big, bold rocking ‘T’.” The navy helmet has the “T” on the back with pitchforks on the sides. The silver “Stealth” uniforms will be used for special home occasions.
While excitement levels are what started discussions about a new uniform, safety considerations played a major role in the decisions. “Today’s new uniform materials are cooler, stretch more and holding padding in place much better,” he said. “Our new helmet is also the best available for concussion prevention which is a huge issue in athletics.” Once you factor in practices and the season, a varsity player wears and makes contact with his helmet for four months.
Having two helmets will lessen the stress and fatigue placed on the equipment and better protects our players. “This is adding to the pride and excitement of our current varsity players, but we know this will be there for our middle school and grade school students,” he said. “Continuing the traditions and legacy is what we’re about.”