By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Family ties run deep for Trojans backer
North Hall fans children, grandchildren all wore green and white
Placeholder Image

You can catch Red Elephants on the tube tonight

Gainesville High football fans will be decked out in red and filling Bobby Gruhn Field at City Park tonight when the top-ranked Red Elephants face West Forsyth.

But those stuck at home can still catch the game, which will be featured on CSS cable channel 37. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

The game is the CSS High School Game of the Week and was selected for broadcast by an online fans’ vote; more than 41,000 weighed in for the contest between Gainesville (5-0) and the Wolverines (3-2).

“I think this is a great opportunity to showcase our team, cheerleaders, band, and the amazing stadium we have to play in,” said Wayne Vickery, GHS athletic director.

Fans can choose another CSS telecast on Nov. 6 by visiting cssfanchoiceatlanta.com to select from four matchups.

“It’s exciting to get to play on television and for people to see who we are,” Red Elephants linebacker Thomas Sprague said.

This will be just the second meeting between the two schools. Gainesville won 35-16 last season.

From staff reports

Billy Thomas isn’t a football coach for North Hall High School, nor is he an alumnus.

Yet he is simply a Trojans superfan.

Thomas, 70, graduated from Commerce High School in 1955 and moved to the North Hall area in 1966 with his wife, Latrelle. He then quickly found a new hobby: spending football Friday nights with the Trojans.

His children, Danny Thomas and Janet Lathem, both attended North Hall High, which gave Thomas an extra reason to be a devoted fan. Danny was a football player for North Hall, and Janet played in the band. Danny Thomas now is an economics teacher at North Hall.

“It’s a real good school,” Billy Thomas said. “I’m real proud of the program that we have at North Hall.”

Latrelle and Billy Thomas both enjoy going to the football games together. They are so dedicated that they will even go to games in the rain.

Latrelle Thomas said that when they first started going to football games at North Hall in 1966, the stadium was only blocks and boards.

Although Billy Thomas says that Latrelle “is a big fan, too,” she doesn’t think anyone compares to her husband.

“I don’t know how much more of a superfan you could be,” Latrelle Thomas said. “He goes to every practice and all the outdoor pep rallies. He’s just really involved and encourages the boys when he sees them.”

Billy Thomas sports the green and white Trojan colors to every game.

Latrelle Thomas said that “he wears his caps out everywhere he goes and puts the stickers on his truck.”

Billy Thomas said that all of the games are interesting to him. He particularly enjoys watching the boys practice.

“That’s the fun of it, to watch them grow and mature and be a part of it,” he said. “Teamwork is a good lesson in life to learn.”

Everyone knows that an important element with football is the friendship and bond that is formed between the players.

Thomas believes that North Hall “is a real close-knit team.”

“We have a lot of senior leadership, which is real helpful,” Billy Thomas said.

Latrelle Thomas said that North Hall students know her husband by name.

“They still come up to him after they’ve graduated and shake his hand and say they’re glad to see him,” she said.

The Thomases have five grandchildren who all graduated from North Hall. Andy Thomas, a 2007 graduate, was a football player, and Dani Beth Thomas, an 2005 graduate, was a football and competition cheerleader. Both grandchildren now are students at the University of West Georgia.

Latrelle Thomas says the other three grandchildren also are football fans, and they attend games when they can.

So what does superfan Billy Thomas do when the Trojans win?

He laughed and said, “I go around grinning for the next week.”

Regional events