Eagles coach Henry “Hank” Daggett had to stop his son.
It was Sept. 11, 1970, and in the Daggett household, the longtime rivalry between Josey and Laney would take on new dimensions.
Tonight, Laney and Josey high schools resume their series that started in 1964. It’s a match-up that has divided families and draws in people from throughout the city. But few can match the experience of the now 60-year-old Ricky Daggett.
Trash talk was mostly absent in the Daggett home leading up to the Laney-Josey – or Josey-Laney – game. Because father and son left for different schools, the younger said the two didn’t have much time to chat about the 1970 game.
Truth be told, Daggett was more worried about staying healthy in the only game he would start at quarterback against his dad.
As he remembered, one big, fast Josey player had him targeted. Daggett thought it was probably because his father was being hard on the team during that season.
But Daggett, who was a senior, threw a 31-yard touchdown pass in the Wildcats’ 16-0 win.
“I’m disappointed. I wanted to throw two,” he joked.
That Sunday, as his family got ready for church, Daggett said his father thought his Eagles could have won if they had done what he wanted them to do.
“I would jokingly tell people that when I played my dad, where as a kid I might have gotten a spanking, well, that’s when I gave out the spankings.”
Daggett’s on-field success in the series wasn’t unusual for Laney, which is 33-14 all-time against the Eagles. Josey actually won on the scoreboard 15 times, but the 1992 game was forfeited due to the use of an ineligible player.
Both teams have also gone through dominant streaks in the rivalry. The Wildcats won the first three and 18 of the first 20 meetings going from 1964-1983. The Eagles would later win seven in a row from 1993-1999.
It’s been a Wildcat run since then, though, with Laney taking 10 of the most recent 11 games.
Back in the rivalry’s early stages, Daggett was in the stands watching Laney’s win in 1966. The teenaged Daggett was destined to be a Wildcat. He grew up on Miller Street, which zoned him to Laney. But he was a bit torn then because his father was Josey’s coach. The 1966 meeting had perhaps the best possible outcome. A year after Josey lost 34-0, the Eagles kept it close at 13-12. Josey then beat Laney for the first time the next year, 15-14.
When Daggett went to Laney, he played for David Dupree, who led the Wildcats to GIA state championships in 1961 and 1966. Dupree, who died last September, was one of the first two inductees into the Augusta City Classic Hall of Fame in 2011. The other was Hank Daggett, who died in December.
“I had the most envious position in that I was coached by one and raised by the other,” Daggett said.
“Some of the values (Dupree) instilled in me are still with me today. One of the things is, you were never out of it – never give up. And even if you’re going to lose, lose with pride.”
Except for those days watching college or pro football, Daggett didn’t get much advice about football from his father. Instead, dad told son to go to school, to finish homework and to work hard.
The older Daggett didn’t raise his son to be a player, much less a quarterback.
“He wasn’t a coach to me. He was my father,” Daggett said. “He raised me to be a man.”