Carver-Hill Sports History

History Of The Carver-Hill
Football Team

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 touchdown.

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 improvements.

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:

John Monroe-LE
Charles May-LT
James Means-LG
Johnny B. Adams-C
Charlie Conyers-RG
J. C. Franklin-RT and Captain
Archie Wilmer-RE
James Conyers-QB and Co-Captain
Hilton Thomas-FB
Leslie Harris-RH
Freddie Porter-LH

Carver-Hill High School Sports After 1955

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 and conference.

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 round.

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 baseball.

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.


Copyright 2011- Carver-Hill Memorial and Historical Society, Inc