History Of The Carver-Hill
Okaloosa County's First Negro
Team Organized Here
By James Conyers
The first Negro team to play high school football in
Okaloosa County was the Carver High Hornets. Their first game was
played on September 25, 1953 at Richburg Stadium. Carver was defeated by
Jackson High Lions of Milton. Mr. Willie Cooper, social studies teacher,
served as coach. Nineteen boys stared out on the football beam.
Carver High Hornets played nine games and were defeated each game. Finally,
in a game against Covington County Training School, Andalusia, Alabama, Leon
Weighters intercepted a pass and ran 85 yards to score the Hornets first
The second year was like the first, all defeats, but many
things happened to the Hornets. They got a new coach, Mr. A. Woodard.
Also, a new school was constructed and the Hornets name changed. The
school was named Carver-Hill School and the team was named Carver-Hill
Panthers. Although the Panthers lost, they fought hard and showed great
The third year, the Panthers received their third coach, Mr.
Elliott Freeman (Deceased). Under Mr. Elliott Freeman the Panthers made much
progress. After tying their first game 0-0 with Jackson High Milton
and being edged by Tivoli High, DeFuniak Springs 6-0 in the second game, the
Panthers came through with their first football victory. They beat Booker T.
Washington of Pensacola 13-6, on October 8. Leslie Harris ran both of the
touchdowns and John Monroe made the extra point. Afterward, the
Panthers lost to Jackson County Training School 40-0 and defeated Booker T.
Washington, Pensacola in their second game with them of the year 6-0. Archie
Wilmer saved the day for the Panthers in the last quarter.
The Panther's starting lineup was:
Johnny B. Adams-C
J. C. Franklin-RT and Captain
James Conyers-QB and Co-Captain
Carver-Hill High School Sports
After the 1954-1955 first Carver-Hill High School school
year, Coach Woodard moved to DeFuniak Springs and Coach
Elliott Freeman (Deceased) took over the helm of the Carver-Hill sport's
scene. During his first year, the football team defeated T. R. Jackson
High of Milton to win their only game out of five. The boys basketball team
had a more successful year.
After the 1955-1956 school year, the football teams continued to win
until they won District Championship and Conference Championship by the
Dickson Rating System that was used to declare champions for the district
The Carver-Hill High School basketball teams were much
better in the win and loss columns. They also increased their winning
percentage each year. The girl's basketball team as on the move, also, in
the win and loss columns. Boys and girls won District Championships and went
to the State Tournament in St. Augustine but both were defeated in the first
The coach of the girl's team, Mrs. Dorothy Paul Wilson
(Deceased), had a very good group of girls who liked the game and played
hard to win.
The Carver-Hill Panthers and Pantherettes were a
representative group of students to be associated with in sports and
academics. They were all around high achievers. The sports
program as the highlight of the School Spirit, regardless of the whether it
was football, basketball , volleyball, tennis, soccer, speedball or
The Carver-Hill Panthers Sports Program has reflected over
into the everyday lives of the former students. Many who perform well in our
society today say the hard knots and work from school life have played an
important part in helping them solve their problems in our society today.
They have been able to better cope with the problems they had to solve.
The old Carver-Hill High School Sport's Motto is, "If a task is once
begun, never leave it till it's done. Be the task great or small, do it well
or not at all."
After completing college, two
Carver-Hill High School Sports standouts and alumni returned to join the teaching staff, Dwight
Dewitt Baggett (Dewitt to his teammates and schoolmates) and Novella Lee
Baggett. Both where standout plays on the school's basketball teams. Also,
Dewitt Baggett was an outstanding football quarter back on the football team
and later returned to join couch Freeman as assistant couch.
Dwight Dewitt Baggett is still an active leader in the community and
pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Crestview, Florida.