Friday Night Lights ca. 1900.

Front of broadside advertising high school football circa 1900s-1930s.

After a new courthouse was built in Lunenburg County in 2006, Circuit Court Clerk Gordon Erby asked the Library of Virginia’s Local Records staff to help identify what remained in the record room of the old courthouse.  

I found this broadside  − advertising a game between the Maroon Wave of Victoria High School and the team from Courtland High School − while processing the papers left there by John L. Yates, who served as clerk for 56 years, from 1878 to 1934. The year is not specified but, judging from the month and day, the game probably took place between the early 1900’s and 1930’s. Victoria, which grew up around the railroad, is one of two larger towns within Lunenburg County, the other being Kenbridge. Courtland High School may have been located in the town of Courtland in nearby Southampton County.

Yates left desks and drawers in the old courthouse stuffed with correspondence, personal financial records, and other pieces of ephemera. He or someone in his office used the backside of this poster as scratch paper for a running total of figures written in pencil.  His papers comprise nearly 4.5 cubic feet and are open to the public. A portion are processed but most remain unprocessed.

Lunenburg County had several high schools before consolidation in 1969 and its students are now served by Central High School. Football continues to be a strong tradition there; the school won four state championships between 1970 and 2009 and is a perennial title contender, ranked 8th all-time by VHSL-Reference.com.

Personal note/disclaimer: The first high school football game I ever saw was a Virginia Group A regional title game in which Lunenburg Central High School beat my hometown Spartans of Drewry Mason High School in 1987. It was DMHS’s final football game. No hard feelings.

-Dale Dulaney, Archival Assistant

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