High School Sports

'Tidal Wave' football team made Beaufort proud in 1935

Anyone who has spent a fall Friday night at Beaufort High School's football stadium knows the fervor with which Beaufort backs its beloved Eagles.

And that was certainly the case in 1935, when the community rallied around the Beaufort High football team -- then known as the Tidal Wave -- that claimed the school's first state title in any sport by beating defending champion Great Falls in the Class B championship game.

"Everybody in town was behind us," Bertram Levy, an end on the championship team who died in 1999, told The Beaufort Gazette in 1997. "They were really behind us, and it made us proud."

Many area businesses shut down for Friday afternoon games that season, and spectators lined the field on the site of the old Beaufort High School, where Beaufort Elementary now stands.

And when the Tidal Wave hit the road, it took quite a following. Many Beaufort fans were among the estimated 2,500-plus who watched the championship game on Thanksgiving Day at a neutral field in Orangeburg.

And they didn't leave disappointed.

Beaufort High gave up the first points it allowed all season -- coach Dana McClendon's team would outscore opponents 274-7 -- when future Clemson All-American Banks McFadden tied the game at 7 just before halftime. But the Tidal Wave pulled away in the second half for a 19-7 victory.

Quarterback Emerson Bazemore gave Beaufort High the lead with his second touchdown run of the game, and running back Jim Collier added to the cushion.

Bazemore, Levy and Russell Bishop all were named to the all-state team, and they and their teammates lived on in Beaufort sports lore for decades after their storied season. In a 1954 poll by The Beaufort Gazette, the 1935 team was voted the best team in Beaufort's history.

"We were just a very good football team," Levy said in 1997. "We were better than everyone else, and it showed."

Beaufort High won its second Class B crown in 1945, but it hasn't won a state title in football since. The Eagles came close in 2007, reaching the Class 4-A Division II championship game before losing to Clover.