MOULTRIE -- Darrell Strange remembers the time he was playing youth baseball in Moultrie and made the final out in a game his team lost.

He was dejected, feeling he was the reason his team had lost the game.

The first teammate at his side to console him and tell him the loss was not his fault was Dewey Cobb.

"He was just that way," Strange said of his youth football, youth baseball and high school football teammate and longtime friend.

"He was always a leader. Everybody always respected Dewey."

Tom White, who was the line coach when Cobb played for the Moultrie High football team from 1957-1959, remembers similar qualities.

"He was always a gentleman," White said of Cobb, who was hard-nosed blocker and tackler and a co-captain of the 1959 Packers team. "He didn't talk trash. After the game, he always went over to shake hands with you.

"All the players liked him. And we all had a lot of respect for him."

It was those leadership qualities, as well as his talent as a football and baseball player, that enabled Cobb to be selected as part of the 16-member Colquitt County Sports Hall of Fame class that will be inducted at the Nov. 7 annual banquet.

Those inducted this year also will be introduced at Mack Tharpe Stadium the next night before the Colquitt County-Valdosta football game.

Cobb, who is battling cancer, recently moved back to Moultrie from Charlton County, where he served as pastor of the Folkston Church of God.

After his playing and coaching days were over, Cobb served two years in the U.S. Army -- mostly in Korea -- and then became a Church of God preacher for 32 years.

He said much of what he learned from White, Knuck McCrary and baseball coaches Ben Kirk and Lowell Mulkey he applied to his long career in the ministry.

"Teamwork, getting along with people, discipline, bonds that are made," Cobb said, listing what he took to the pulpit from he days on the gridirons and diamonds of south Georgia.

"Helping people is what I enjoyed trying to do. And we all need it."

From the beginning, Cobb was the ultimate team player, Strange remembers.

Although not big by today's standards, Cobb was more muscular than other boys his age and was difficult to tackle when he played fullback for Riverside in Moultrie's youth football program.

"I can see him right now," Strange remembers. "You didn't want to get in his way. We all feared him. You didn't want to have to tackle Dewey.

"But he never would abuse you."

By the time he got to Moultrie High, Cobb joined Danny Hortman as one of White's "toy guards," and he later became one of the captains of the 1959 team.

Both were quick and fearless and helped pave the way for backs such as Don Porterfield, Mac Faircloth and Jerry Beverly.

"I wanted guys who were quick and tough," White said, and he had one in Cobb, who weighed about 165 pounds.

Strange says Cobb would have had a future in football had he been bigger.

"If had a big ol' body like some of these guys have today, there's no telling where he'd go," Strange said. "He was an over-achiever."

Cobb said he revered his Moultrie High coaches -- White and McCrary, both of whom are already Hall of Fame members.

"Coach McCrary was tough," Cobb said. "But he was fair. He loved his players more than people realized.

"He had a big heart."

And Cobb said White was the ultimate motivator.

"He knew how to motivate and just what to say," Cobb said. "His words worked more than if he had whipped me."

The 1959 Packers had big 40-21victory over Valdosta, but fell short of the Region 1-AAA championship when they were defeated by Albany 20-19.

Cobb helped open the holes that enabled Porterfield, who went on to play at the University of Georgia, to set the region rushing record with 1,073 yards and score 101 points.

But as good as Cobb was on the football field, where he won three letters and was a captain for the Packers, he may have been even better at baseball.

Cobb played third base, shortstop and catcher and was a four-year starter for the baseball team. The 1960 Packers advanced to the second round of the





state playoffs with Cobb in the lineup and Ben Kirk in the dugout.

"He was a good guy and an excellent coach," Cobb said of Kirk. "He knew the fundamentals."

Cobb briefly entertained the idea of playing college football and went to Troy State for a tryout. But a blocking session against a large former Bear Bryant-coached lineman sent to Troy to improve his grades convinced him that his future might be in baseball.

He played two seasons for Mulkey at Norman College, starting at third base and catcher and was the team's Most Valuable Player his second year.

The next two autumns, Cobb and Herbert Dixon coached the Moultrie High eighth-grade team.

"And he was a good coach," White said of Cobb. "The kids liked him."

One of those eighth-graders was Jack Montgomery, who went on to star with the Packers and at the University of Georgia and who also will be inducted to the Hall of Fame this year.

Cobb then was drafted into the U.S. Army and served 18 months in Korea. After his discharge, he began thinking about the ministry and by 1970 he became as Church of God pastor.

For most of the next 32 years, he has had churches in south Georgia, including ones Dublin, Denton, Iron City, Columbus, Colquitt, Offerman and Folkston.

Cobb also took off several years to become a full-time evangelist, but returned to preaching in 1987.

During his career, he served on the State Evangelism Board.

"Your peers elect you to serve," he said. "That was an honor for me."

He had served 3 1/2 years in Folkston, where he kept up with the fortunes of the successful Charlton County High football program and also scanned the radio dial to pick up Durwood Dominy, Jim Turner and his former teammate Darrell Strange broadcasting Packer football games.

"I had no intention of leaving there," Cobb said of Folkston. "I loved them and they loved me. One of the toughest things I've ever had to do was give that up."

But he had a kidney removed in May and his health has worsened. He and his wife of 33 years, the former Linda Baker of Norman Park, moved back to Moultrie recently. And he is looking forward to the Hall of Fame ceremony.

"I never dreamed of anything like this," Cobb said. " It's great honor."

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