The Upson-Lee Knights will be celebrating their Homecoming game this evening when they entertain the Riverdale Raiders at Matthews Field. The week has been filled with special activities for all UL students and tonight’s game will put the final stamp on what has been a fun week. Hopefully a Knights’ victory will make it a perfect Homecoming week.
This will be the 22nd Homecoming game in Upson-Lee history and the Knights have an 18-3 record in their previous 21 games. UL’s last Homecoming defeat came in 2009 when they lost to Americus-Sumter by a 24-10 score.
I don’t know all of the records for Homecoming games in our community’s past but in my research for my book on R.E. Lee football I found that the Rebels won their last 15 Homecoming games from 1977-1991. They also had a 27-10-2 record in their Homecoming games from 1953-1991.
I don’t have any records concerning Upson High School’s Homecoming games, but I do have some personal memories about a few of them. Cheryl Reeves and I were in charge of Upson’s first Homecoming in 1973. Now this was the first year for the school so asking former graduates to return for the game was a bit odd but we called it Homecoming anyway.
We had a very nice Homecoming parade which routed around town through a few streets and then took off out Highway 74 to Yatesville. Just the wheeled vehicles made the trip. The band, cheerleaders, and other marching groups caught a ride. During Upson’s first football season they played their home games at Yatesville’s football field so it made sense for the floats to make their way to Yatesville. There was crepe paper on the sides of the road all the way out 74.
Did you ever wonder when the Homecoming tradition started? Well, I investigated and found out some information on Homecoming at the college level. It seems that the first Homecoming took place at Baylor University in Waco, Texas in 1909. They had a parade, reunion parties, and an afternoon football game.
Baylor did not have a Homecoming from 1910-1915 so the NCAA officially recognizes the University of Missouri as the birthplace of Homecoming. Missouri had their first Homecoming in 1911 when they played the University of Kansas for the first time.
Good Luck to the Knights tonight in their Homecoming encounter. It is always a colorful evening, with the young ladies in their bright gowns and dresses, as well as an exciting evening, with the crowning of the Homecoming Queen.
Try to make it to the parade this afternoon and then to the game this evening. You’ll really enjoy the pageantry, the fun, and the excitement of a wonderful American tradition.