Fort Payne began the 1964 season as the top ranked team by the AP voters and
with the exception of week four held on to the ranking throughout the season
to win a state championship. They were coming off 9-1, 9-0-1 and 8-2 seasons
the past three years so expectations were high for the 1964 season.
They closed out a brilliant season with an impressive 34-6 victory over
Cherokee County that solidified their top ranking. The Wildcats fell behind
early but came back to command a 206 halftime lead. The win was necessary as
Shelby County finished just a single point behind in the final poll on
The biggest victory may have come in week six when the Wildcats defeated
Scottsboro for the first time in 54 years by a slim 7-6 margin. In a 41-13
win over Boaz, quarterback Dwight Brisendine completed 12 of 14 passes for
225 yards and six touchdowns. He also added five PATs for a total of 41
Brisendine would finish the 1964 season completing 72 of 96 passes for 1,220
yards and 19 touchdowns. He also averaged 5.5 yards a carry running the
ball. He connected on 18 of 22 PATs and punted for a 38.5 yard average.
The Wildcats would not finish the season undefeated as they fell to a good
Gadsden team 14-6 in week four. Four starters did not play in the game.
Gadsden was a higher classification and a larger school at the time.
Fort Payne was coached by Vernon Wells with John Holtzclaw serving as his
assistant. Coach Wells came to Fort Payne from Butler in 1958 and would
remain there through the 1967 season before moving on to Plainview and
Albertville. He would finish his career with a record of 210-135-11.
1964 was the first season the Associated Press would produce a poll that
included all four classifications. The voters were made up of sports writers
from around the state and was the predecessor to the current ASWA. Fort
Payne also was selected as champions by the Birmingham Post-Herald.
1964 Fort Payne Roster
Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History
Bart Starr, Ozzie Newsome, John Stallworth, John Hannah and Buck Buchanan are all members of the NFL Hall of Fame and played high school football in Alabama.