SMITHVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)-Few things light up fall nights in small town across Mississippi more than high school football. That’s true for one Smithville man who has turned his vision for his team’s history into successful school fundraiser.
In 1992, Tony Summerford and fellow Lions Club members came up with a fundraising idea.
“Our football coach at the time was a secretary and he suggested a football book since it was the 30th year,” says Tony Summerford.
Tony didn’t stop there, another decade passed and then another. Now, three books contain football facts dating back to 1963.
“We scored 1701 touch downs in 50 years and we know who scored all of them but two,” says Summerford.
Smithville’s pigskin past, all recorded for future generations to enjoy. From statistics to stories, it is the hard fought victories that are remembered the most.
“Hamilton had beat us 22 consecutive years and in 1987 we beat them and that sort of put us on a roll to winning more games,” says Summerford.
Over the last 20 years…Tony Summerford has spent countless hours gathering information about Smithville football…and not even poor vision could slow him down.
“I was shot in the eyes in 1979 dove hunting. I only have one eye. One of them is a prosthetic. My vision is 2400 and I don’t have any vision where the pellet went in,” says Summerford.
With help from a magnifying screen, Tony continues to study the records. He even uses an old film projector to watch plays from the 1960s.
Tony’s son, Todd Summerford says he likes to test his dad on his research.
“It’s more of a recent thing I do especially since he has finished this book. I like to just throw random things at him. Oh, what happened in 1968? What was our record? And he usually pretty spot on with it. It’s pretty crazy how his mind just works to remember these kind of trying and he knows Smithville football,” says Todd Summerford.
Todd says he is happy all his father’s hard work finally paid off.
“I take great pride being able to say that my dad has made this book,” says Summerford.
And, thanks to Tony, the Friday night lights and the memories that came with those Seminole seasons will never grow dim.
The 50th year record book is on sale for $25. All proceeds go to the youth group at Smithville Baptist Church.