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The Sumter Item's Top 125 Sports Figures: No. 6 - Buck Flowers

Posted 12/11/19

It’s been over 100 years since he played an official football game in Sumter and almost 100 years since he played a college football game. However, what Allen Ralph “Buck” Flowers …

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The Sumter Item's Top 125 Sports Figures: No. 6 - Buck Flowers

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It’s been over 100 years since he played an official football game in Sumter and almost 100 years since he played a college football game. However, what Allen Ralph “Buck” Flowers Jr. did when he was on the field earned him the highest praise and honors.

Flowers was a standout college football player, first for Davidson in 1917 and then for Georgia Tech the next three years. Considered one of the great triple threat players of all time – running, passing and kicking – Flowers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955. He was the first Georgia Tech player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, which is very noteworthy since Tech was arguably the best college football program in the country in the early years of the sport..

During his senior football season at Edmunds High School in 1916, the Gamecocks lost only one game. Flowers, however, mainly handled the kicking duties on that team.

"I only weighed 115 pounds when I was in high school,” Flowers recalled later in his life. “I did all of the kicking but didn't run very much because I was so small.”

He enrolled at Davidson College in 1917 with help from his minister. He played that year and helped lead Davidson to one of the biggest upsets in Southern football history. The Wildcats beat Auburn 21-7 as Flowers returned a punt 65 yards for a score, caught a touchdown pass and set up the third TD with an 85-yard return.

Flowers decided to enroll at Georgia Tech the following year and play for someone named John Heisman. By this time, Flowers weighed 150 pounds and was a tremendous open field runner. He was a second-team All-American in 1918 and helped lead Tech to the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association title.

Flowers wasn’t an All-American the following year even though he was selected to the All-Southern team. Flowers was picked to the All-Southern team in his one year at Davidson but was not selected the next year.

In 1920, Flowers was a third-team All-American and an All-Southern selection. Reports vary on his rushing numbers that year, but one account in 1958 stated Flowers rushed for 1,425 yards as a senior. He led the nation in punting with a 49.4 averge.

In his final college game on November 25, 1920, Flowers displayed his full talent in a 34-0 win over Auburn. He returned two punts for touchdowns, one for 82 yards and the other for 65. He had a 33-yard TD run, threw a touchdown pass and had a 65-yard punt.

Flowers was selected to The Associated Press Southeast All-Time team for the era of 1869 to 1919, and he is a member of the Georgia Tech All-Era team during the era of head coach William Alexander as a quarterback.

To put things in perspective, Alexander’s first year as Tech’s head coach was Flowers’ senior season. Alexander would coach GT through the 1944 season. Alexander said Flowers was the best punter Tech ever had, and the best back he ever coached. Alexander called Flowers “pound for pound, my greatest player.”