Dallalio, Jones given memorials at VHS

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 25, 2011

VIDALIA — Never one to have a lack of stories to tell, former Vidalia High School head coach Dee Faircloth knew one in particular about the late Joe Dallalio.

Dallalio, who cooked for the Vikings and ran the chain crew for 33 years, was in his later years on the job one season when the Vikings were playing on the road in McCall, La. Faircloth said he was offered to chance to have someone come run chain with the officials on hand.

“They had some little kids, couldn’t have been older than the sixth grade, and I said, ‘No, that’s not going to work,’” Faircloth said. “I told Joe to come down here from the stands and do it. He said, ‘OK.’”

Email newsletter signup

Later on, a measurement was required, and Faircloth said Dallalio, who couldn’t really run at that age, was put to the test when the chain crew was needed.

“They had three rookie officials, and one of them thought it was the Rose Bowl,” Faircloth said. “He ran out there and was dragging Joe (who was holding the other marker) with him. Everyone in the stands was yelling, ‘Let it go, Joe! Let it go!’ But he never would. You’d have to drag him through the dirt before he let go.”

Last Friday at Vidalia’s homecoming game, Dallalio was honored with a memorial plaque, along with Obie Jones, Vidalia High School’s first black football player.

Faircloth said he couldn’t say enough about Dallalio, and he also enjoyed coaching his two sons.

“We came to be friends, and he would always cook our steaks at our steak dinners and our spaghetti at our spaghetti dinners,” Faircloth said. “They were probably the best steaks you could ever eat.

“He would also go with me to scout teams on a Thursday night. I would call him up and say, ‘Hey Joe, you want to go to Kansas to see a game?’” Faircloth said. “He’d say, ‘What time do I need to pick you up?’”

Faircloth said Jones came to play for him as a senior in 1970 when Concorida High School consolidated with Vidalia High School.

“He came up and told me he wanted to play, and I told him that was fine,” Faircloth said. “He played defensive end for us, and he did a hell of a job.

“It was his first time playing football, and if he had another year’s worth of experience, he would have probably been All-State. He was a fan favorite, and his boys also played for me, and they played just like their dad.”

Faircloth said Jones’ choice to play also opened the way for other black athletes to join the team.

“I had six come out the next year, and it just grew from there,” Faircloth said.

Dallalio and Jones joined George Cupit, Jerry Roberts and Wayne Randall, which already had memorials at Dee Faircloth Viking Stadium.

“They all meant a lot to the program, that’s why (having the memorials) is so special,” Faircloth said.