Thomson lost one of the best to ever play Between the Bricks in August of 1999. Dexter Poss distinguished himself as both a Thomson and Georgia Bulldog and then had a successful 18-year career as a head football coach.
According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, Poss compiled a record of 121-65-9 while leading teams at North Habersham, Claxton, Warren County, Evans, Briarwood and John Hancock Academy.
Poss’ arrival as a member of the Thomson Bulldogs as a freshman in 1944 coincided with the return to the sidelines of Coach “Flash” Gordon, who had been in the military and missed the 1942 and 1943 seasons. The Bulldogs would finish 10-0 in 1944 and win the first of four consecutive District 10 football championships.
State championships were not established by the Georgia High School Association in all classes until 1948. In Poss’ senior season, the fullback would lead Thomson to a 10-1 season and be chosen to play in the state All-Star football game.
Dexter would sign a scholarship to play for the legendary Wally Butts at Georgia, lettering as an offensive and defensive end in 1950, ’51 and ’52, according to the University of Georgia football media guide. Freshmen were not allowed to play varsity football during those years. While not a part of Butts’ most successful teams, he was cited in Jesse Outlar’s book Between the Hedges, written in 1973 as the first history of University of Georgia football, as one of the leading receivers who caught passes from All-American quarterback Zeke Bratkowski.
He was teammates with future first-round draft choices Harry Babcock and Johnny Carson as well as future head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Marion Campbell.
After his Georgia career ended, Poss spent two years in the Army and played on the base team at Fort Jackson, S.C. He then returned to Georgia, earned his degree, and became head coach at North Habersham High School.
In 1957, he was named Region 4A Coach of the Year and led his team to the semifinals, where they were narrowly defeated by Forest Park. In Claxton in 1961, Poss’ team again reached the semifinals, only to lose a heartbreaker to Blakely-Union by a score of 9-6.
Dexter left coaching for several years and worked in various industries before returning to Thomson in 1970.
After working in the Juvenile Justice System of the State of Georgia for several years, Poss returned to coaching in 1977 at Warren County High School. There he amassed a two year record of 14-4-3 and won the region title in 1978, taking the Screaming Devils to the state playoffs for the first time since 1970
. In 1979, he was hired as head coach at Evans High School. He led the Knights to the semifinals in 1980, losing a hard-fought contest to eventual state champion Lowndes County. He remained as head coach at Evans through the 1984 season and remained active in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association. He was chosen by that organization to coach in the annual all-star game in 1985 and was its president in 1987.
Poss returned to coaching in 1988 and led Briarwood Academy to the GISA State Football Championship in 1989 with an 11-0-2 record. He finished his coaching career at John Hancock Academy in 1992, leading that team to a 10-0 record.
I met Dexter in 1970, but really didn’t get to know him until the winter of 1980 when I was a rookie coach attending my first coaching clinic in Atlanta. I ran into him in a hospitality room and spent several hours listening to him talk football and being thoroughly entertained with stories of his days at UGA and in coaching. Despite his appearance as a hard-nosed, old-school football coach, which he most assuredly was, he was a man with a great sense of humor who possessed a talent for telling a great story. I miss coaches like Dexter Poss. There aren’t many of them left anymore.