Talk about starting history with a bang.
The Georgia Bombers, a new semi-professional football team created in Hinesville, played their inaugural game Feb. 11 against the Lake City Falcons and registered a 44-0 win.
The Bombers were founded by former First Presbyterian Christian Academy boys’ basketball coach Darrell West. West said he was approached by several people asking about a football program. He said he knows that Hinesville already has the Hinesville Hurricanes, an established and championship-winning team, but wanted to provide a program during the spring for guys who wanted to play. Until this season, the Hurricanes played during the summer, but recently moved to a spring schedule.
West added that some of the interested players also are kids he has coached in basketball but needed something to do after they reached the age of 17. “So I looked into it and I found some leagues to play in …. after these kids are 17 … we have to give them something to do so they won’t be out there doing stupid or crazy things,” West said.
West also serves as the team’s offensive coordinator. Charlie Banks is the head coach, Brad Covington is the defensive coordinator and Lee Holston and Andy Mims are assistant coaches.
The Georgia Bombers squad is in the Elite Amateur Football League’s North Division and is the only team within the North Division representing Georgia.
“They are a small league, but I thought I would be better to start off small instead of trying to get into one of the big leagues because we didn’t really know how big of a team we would be able to form being our first year,” West said. “God bless, it came together but at first it was kind of scary.”
West said he has players from Liberty County, Savannah and everywhere in between.
“I have a lot of soldiers … Little by little, players brought in other players,” he said.
In the Lake City game, Bomber Chris Smith scored the team’s first rushing touchdown and Keith Sleders caught the first scoring pass.
Tim Darden led the defense, which shut down the Falcons’ offense.
However, on Feb. 18, the Bombers lost to the Glynn County Revolution, 20-14. The Bombers were scheduled to travel to Jacksonville on Saturday to take on the River City Commandos.
This season, the team is playing their home games at Devaul Henderson Park in Richmond Hill. On March 3, the Bombers will host the Georgia Fire Birds, a team from Tifton County that is a member of the Independent League.
West said the field in Richmond Hill is great, but he’s looking to bring the team closer to Liberty County or Long County next season.
As for his expectations, West is shooting for the sky.
“I want to win the championship the first year,” he said. “I know that sounds cocky but I feel like if you breed a team for winning, it will stay around. But if you start of losing, folks kind of get leery of you. I think we stand a good chance. We have the best defense in our league and once we get the offense clicking, we will be fine.”