Bobby Pope

Macon TD Club set for 71st season

Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb’s program is entering its fourth season.
Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb’s program is entering its fourth season.

The Macon Touchdown Club will hold its first regular-season meeting of the year Sept. 6 (yes, that is a Tuesday and the day after Labor Day) when ESPN’s Mark Schlabach will be in town to speak to the organization.

But the club has a bit of business to take care of before that first meeting. On Saturday, the club is sponsoring the inaugural Middle Georgia Kickoff Classic at Mercer’s Five Star Stadium. The 5 p.m. game pits Mount de Sales against Central in the first meeting between the two Macon programs, and the 7:30 p.m. game has Howard taking on FPD. This is not the first time the club has sponsored games locally. Back in the early 1990s, the club hosted an annual game between the junior college teams at GMC and Middle Georgia when they fielded a team.

The club’s executive director, Lloyd Perkins, has lined up an impressive list of speakers for this year’s meetings, including three who have never spoken to the club previously: Georgia Southern head coach Tyson Summers, Fort Valley State head coach Kevin Porter and Valdosta State head coach Kerwin Bell. Summers, who will speak Sept. 26, has a Macon connection. His father, the late Andy Summers, was a standout football player at Lanier in the late 1960s before going on to play at Florida, where he was a three-year letter winner. Andy Summers died in an automobile accident in Tifton, where he was an assistant coach at Tift County, at age 30 when Tyson Summers was just 12 days shy of his third birthday.

Porter, who was named to the FVSU position in June, is set to speak Oct. 24. The Warner Robins product was a standout at Auburn, where he was an All-American and a two-time All-SEC performer, and he also played in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets. You may remember that Porter coached the Macon Knights in the Arena 2 Football League at the start of this century (2001-03).

Rounding out the new speakers is Bell, a former standout quarterback at Florida, who coached at Jacksonville for nine seasons before taking the Valdosta State job in January. He won three Pioneer League titles while guiding the Dolphins. He speaks Nov. 21.

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has been one of the club’s most loyal speakers through the years and returns Oct. 17. He was a regular when he was at Georgia Southern, as well at the Naval Academy and has spoken annually since he has been at Georgia Tech.

Southern Conference coaches Chris Hatcher of Samford and Mercer’s Bobby Lamb will speak in back-to-back weeks. Hatcher, a Macon native who played at Mount de Sales, will be on hand Sept. 12 and be followed the next Monday by Lamb, who is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Bears.

Georgia fans will get two opportunities to hear about the Bulldogs. Former head coach Ray Goff is scheduled for Oct. 3 and longtime Georgia broadcaster Loran Smith will be on hand Nov. 14.

Rounding out this year’s speakers are coaching legends Frank Beamer and Pat Dye. Beamer retired following the 2015 season after 29 years at Virginia Tech and Dye coached Auburn to some of its greatest successes during the 1980s. Dye speaks in Macon on Oct. 10 with Beamer coming to town Nov. 7.

If you are interested in joining the Macon Touchdown Club, contact Perkins at 256-6374 or this year’s president, “Pud” Mosteller, at 474-7367

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