Matthew A. Perry: Vinson’s Nutter important in NFL, county history
When one thinks of Vinson High School sports, the first sport that springs to mind is not football, mostly due to the downtrend the program faced for the last few decades before consolidation. And, due to the fact that the Tigers were busy mauling people on the basketball court.
This is an injustice though because the history of Vinson football is actually quite storied and only adds to the pantheon of great Wayne County Sports.
Vinson has five state football titles of their own, and one of the backbones of their first state championship was a true legend of the gridiron Madison “Buzz” Nutter.
Nutter was born in Summersville in 1931, but soon moved to Westmoreland and made his childhood home there.
Attending Vinson High School, Nutter was a member of the 1949 State Champion football team the first of the five for the Tigers.
After his career at Vinson, he moved to Blacksburg, Va. to attend Virginia Polytechnic University, known better today as Virginia Tech.
While in Blacksburg, Nutter became a stalwart on the offensive line and garnered the attention of NFL scouts.
He was a lone bright spot for the Hokies - as the team lost every game his senior season but Nutter was dominant from his center position and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1953.
He was the first Hokie ever drafted by an NFL team.
Nutter’s stint with the Redskins didn’t last, as he failed to make the team, and took a year off from football to decide on his future.
Luckily for Nutter, a better opportunity arose, a chance to play for the Baltimore Colts, and become the center for arguably the greatest quarterback of all time Johnny Unitas.
Nutter excelled in Baltimore helping the Colts capture two NFL championships and taking part in what many NFL historians call the Great Game of All Time the 1958 NFL Championship game, played at Yankee Stadium, between the Colts and the New York Giants.
It was the first NFL title game to ever go into sudden death overtime, and Nutter and his Colts won the game on a dive into the end zone by Colts fullback Alan Ameche.
Nutter played a few more seasons in Baltimore and Pittsburg before calling it a career, but his role with two Colt Championship teams is his legacy.
Retiring to Maryland, Nutter passed away in 2008, but his memory and legacy will forever live in the pantheon of great Wayne County sports figures.
Matthew A. Perry is a local author and social studies teacher at Ceredo-Kenova Middle School and runs the website www.theoddpast.com.