Documentary from Georgia Tech-UVA 1990 classic to air on ACC Network

Georgia Tech kicker Scott Sisson (9) and holder Scott Aldredge (5) celebrate Sisson’s game winning field goal over Virginia to win 41-38 on November 3, 1990. Frank Niemeir / AJC
Caption
Georgia Tech kicker Scott Sisson (9) and holder Scott Aldredge (5) celebrate Sisson’s game winning field goal over Virginia to win 41-38 on November 3, 1990. Frank Niemeir / AJC

With the perspective of no fewer than 10 of the key figures in the game, a documentary on Georgia Tech’s upset win over No. 1 Virginia in 1990 will air Monday night on ACC Network.

The hour-long show – titled “We’re #1 – The Story of 1990 ACC Football” – will debut at 7 p.m. and re-air leading up to Tech’s Saturday night game at Virginia, also to be broadcast on ACC Network. The meticulous look back at one of the most compelling and important games in Tech’s football history mixes video footage from that game and the season along with the recollections of participants and observers.

Interviews with Tech players Marco Coleman, Shawn Jones, Scott Sisson and Ken Swilling and coach Bobby Ross are included in the documentary, recalling memories from the season, the game and the run to the national championship.

Former Cavaliers players, including Herman Moore, Shawn Moore, Terry Kirby and Chris Slade, also give their commentary from the other side of the 41-38 thriller, won for Tech with a last-second field goal by Sisson. Other subjects include North Carolina coach Mack Brown, former ACC commissioner John Swofford and former Tech associate athletic director Mike Finn.

Two segments near the end are particularly poignant. Filmmakers brought the four Tech players together at the College Football Hall of Fame and were connected via videoconference with Ross, at his home in Richmond, Va.

“I think back now, I recognize that as a young man, I didn’t know what I was doing,” Coleman says, looking up at the video image of Ross, words that are particularly poignant given Coleman’s position on the Tech coaching staff. “None of us really did. So we had to lean upon the guidance of those in charge which, you were the head man and you were a magnificent leader.”

“I think of you often. I look at our film an awful lot,” Ross tells his four former players. “It brings back tears to my eyes because of the joy you brought to my life and to my family as a coach. You guys were very special, O.K, and I love you like I did a son”

In the following segment, the four Tech players are joined by Slade, Kirby and Shawn Moore to watch the fateful game together, seated at opposite tables. The interaction produces revealing insights into the game.

“As easily as y’all were moving the ball down the field, what were y’all really thinking?” Swilling asks as they watched the first half, in which the Cavaliers raced out to leads of 10-0 and 28-14.

Replies Moore, “We were thinking it was going to be a blowout, seriously.”

Watching a hit by Slade on Jones, in which the ball popped out of Jones’ hand, they banter about whether or not it was a fumble.

“I think that might have been a fumble,” Moore says.

“No, it was definitely an incomplete pass,” Coleman answers back.

“Come on, Shawn, you tell us,” Kirby says, prodding Jones for a first-person account.

The production further examines the game in the context of the ACC’s struggle to be recognized as a legitimate football conference, both teams’ ascension under Ross and Virginia coach George Welsh and the role the season played in leading to the conference’s expansion.

At the end, the players themselves try to put the game in context.

Says Sisson, “To be involved in something like that was beyond my wildest expectations.”

“Can anyone say there was really a better ACC game?” Kirby asks. “It has to be the greatest game in the ACC.”

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