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January 12, 2014

LOCAL SPORTS: Longtime Seminole Reddick reflects on Florida State playing days

(Continued)

CULLMAN — Playing Days

Upon arrival, Reddick didn’t really know what to expect the first day of spring practice in 1948. He was one of the youngest players who tried out for the team.

“Most everyone playing was a veteran, and I wasn’t,” he said. “Back then, you didn’t platoon. I ended up playing mostly in the defensive backfield, but I also played some running back, too.”

Florida State’s first game of the ’48 season was a matchup against Cumberland College.

Reddick scored the season’s first touchdown on an 8-yard run as his team rolled to a 30-0 win. The squad finished a solid 7-1 that year, claiming the first of two Dixie Conference titles.

The following season, the school opened with a road game at Whiting Field versus a Pensacola-based team. It remains to this day one of Reddick’s favorite memories.

And for good reason.

“They had a team that was supposedly good, but they could not beat anything,” he said with a laugh. “We won something like 70 to nothing. It was a great game."

Indeed, Florida State won the contest 74-0, and Reddick had the most impressive game of his career, scoring three touchdowns — a 55-yard catch, a 20-yard interception return and a 15-yard scamper — to help his team to the rout.

Things weren’t always great for Reddick, however.

“We played Stetson down in Jacksonville,” he recalled. “They were supposed to beat us, but they didn't. We played in the Gator Bowl Stadium and won 33-14. I broke my wrist in that game.

“The next week, I couldn't play, and we lost to Livingston. I went and thought, ‘If I had been in there, they never would've scored.’ I went to the doctor after that and played the rest of the season with a cast.”

Reddick’s career came to a close in the next-to-last game of the ’49 season, when he dislocated his hip and ended up in a hospital bed for several weeks.

Although he was “wound up pretty good,” he eventually came to peace with the setback and sacrificed another year of eligibility to take his “lady friend” to Cuba with him for a couple of years.

“I was very pleased to have been a part of it,” Reddick said of the experience. “I think about some of my very good friends and almost all of them are gone now. Roommates, teammates and fraternity brothers. I just don't know who's left out there.”

It wasn’t just Reddick who recalled the happiness those times brought to him.

Joan was there for most every game, cheering him on from the stands and supporting him in whatever way she could.

“I loved watching him play,” she said. “I loved football. Those were happy days, and I look back on them with pleasure.”

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