Bobby Bowden played high school football in Alabama

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The game of football has lost one of its greats. Florida State announced Sunday that College Football Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Bowden died at the age of 91.

Bowden’s football life began as a young boy in Alabama in the 30’s. His dream of playing for Woodlawn High in Birmingham almost ended in 1943 when he was diagnosed with rheumatic fever.

After recovering, Bowden made the Woodlawn football team in 1948 for his junior season. Bowden became a 150-pound halfback on the Woodlawn team that ran the Notre Dame box.

Woodlawn played in the very tough Big 5 of Birmingham, which was made-up of Woodlawn, Ensley, Phillips, Ramsay and West End.

Below is a game story from Bowden’s senior season in The Birmingham News when Woodlawn played Ramsay before 21,000 fans.

18 Sep 1948, Sat The Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama)

Woodlawn and Ramsay met twice in 1948. The second game was played at the end of the season when the two played at Birmingham’s Legion Field in the Crippled Children’s Clinic charity game that decided the Big 5 city championship on Thanksgiving.

Ramsay won the championship with a 33-19 victory before 28,000 fans.

26 Nov 1948, Fri The Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama)

While Bowden was recovering from rheumatic fever, he was a part of the school’s band and orchestra. He showed-off those talents at the East Lake Lions Club banquet that honored the ’48 Woodlawn team.

08 Dec 1948, Wed The Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama)

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.