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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/RANDY MOLL Members of the 1979 Gentry High School football team, along with their coach, Dick Johnson, were honored on the field at the halftime of Gentry's homecoming game on Friday. The team holds the record for the most wins in a season for Gentry. The team was 11-0 and lost its 12th game in the semifinals of the state playoffs.

GENTRY -- Coach Dick Johnson and the 1979 Gentry High School football team were honored at halftime in Pioneer Stadium on Friday night for their unbeaten school record of 11 wins and 1 loss in the season. That single loss was in the state playoffs at Mountain Pine.

The next best season was a 10-0 season which ended without state playoffs.

At halftime, with the players at midfield, the following, prepared by team member and current Pioneer announcer Eldon Cripps, was read:

"Over the years, there have been many memorable Pioneer football season and teams, but this year marks the 40th year anniversary of a special Pioneer football season. The 1979 season eclipsed the previous best Pioneer season record of 10-0 held by the 1967 undefeated Pioneers (regular-season record, as there were no state playoffs at that time) by finishing 11-1.

"Tonight we want to recognize that team and the proud Pioneer tradition.

"Every good team needs good coaches, and this team was no different, starting with head coach Dick Johnson. Always at his side was his right-hand assistant, Gentry's own alumni, Rick Still Sr. Other assistants were Larry Duncan and the legendary Paul Cobb Bearden.

"The Pioneers were district champs in 1978 and reached the first round of the playoffs only to fall to the Danville Little Johns. The Pioneers repeated as district champs in '79 And headed back to the state playoffs, ranked No. 1 and with home-field advantage and a chance for redemption against none other than No. 2 ranked Danville, quarterbacked by future Hog quarterback Brad Taylor, who was selected as the 1981 SWC newcomer of the year.

"This time, the Pioneers prevailed and took their 11-0 record into the state semi-finals against the defending state champion, Mountain Pine.

"The 1979 Pioneer season came to an end to the repeat state champions, but their 11-1 record remains atop Pioneer football history."

Sports on 10/09/2019

Print Headline: 1979 Pioneer football team honored for its record on Friday

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