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|Dallalio a link to Vidalia|
What a charging 250-pound lineman couldn't do, cancer did.
Joe Dallalio Sr. passed away from the dreaded disease Friday at the age of 76.
This is the same man who a few times took more hits on the football sidelines while working the chains than the quarterbacks.
It was just not in Joe's mentality to move out of the way. That would have meant losing the spot.
Even in his early 70s, Joe would stand firm on the sidelines, proudly holding up the down marker despite a thundering herd of linemen bearing down on him while chasing a running back or quarterback.
There were times when I was on the visiting sidelines covering a game and would help out with the clip that fastens to the chains to let the officials know where the ball was in case the chain crew had to bail out (everyone but Joe, that is).
I learned a long time ago that when the play even looked like it was headed toward my sideline to put one foot back and have the other ready to follow.
It just about had to be 22 guys coming at him for Joe to move.
But that's how serious he was about his duty.
And I have no problem saying that you will not find a better chain crew than what Vidalia had in Dallalio, the late Henry Cooley and Charles Partridge.
They could have held a clinic on how to run the chains.
As a matter of fact, there was a game where a veteran official walked up with a rookie official who would be in charge of the chain gang.
The veteran official looked over and saw Dallalio, Cooley and Partridge and told the young guy, "Don't worry about it, they'll be telling you what to do. And you need to listen."
Visiting coaches were always relieved to see this trio. They knew they had no concerns with the chain crew and that they were dealing with professionals on the job.
Oh sure, there were times — very few and in the most polite way — they questioned some calls. But they never crossed that line and most officials knew if these guys saw something, then no doubt they missed something.
You didn't have to worry about holding the game up because one of them ran off down the sideline with the marker when he wasn't supposed to or got too involved in the game.
Many a times they would see the flag or another reason not to move before the official on the sidelines would be yelling to keep their spot.
There would just be that sly grin as if, "Hey, this is not our first rodeo."
Yeah, when I think of Joe, I will think of him being helped up off the ground after being run over, displaying that grin and looking as if, "That was nothing. What else ya got?"
One thing is for sure, if they have a football game in heaven, they just got an All-Pro chain guy.
It's first and forever for Joe now. His pain is no longer. But Friday nights in Vidalia won't be the same without him.
But we sure do miss him down here.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|