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AHSFHS Article Series


   The best of the best in Alabama High   
  School Football over the past 100 seasons.






Best teams over the past 25 years

     A look back at the best high school football programs over the past twenty-five seasons reveals a few surprises and a couple of oddities. The first thing that jumps out is the fact that the two teams with the best winning percentages do not even play football any longer. Clay County with a winning percentage of 84.2% and Hazlewood 80.1% have gone the way of consolidation recently,

     Other teams most fans would expect to see in the top ten are not there. Prattville, UMS-Wright, Briarwood, Leroy and Homewood did not make our list even though the programs achieved much success over the past twenty-five seasons.

     The criteria for our list is simple. The top ten teams with the best winning percentages over the past twenty-five seasons (1988-2012). Each school must have fielded a team every season. Arguments could be made for different top tens based on wins, championships or combinations but we chose to stick to the most basic standards and select teams based on winning percentage alone.

      For a complete list of every team check out this list over in our won/lost records section.

 
10. Vigor Wolves
 Record: 227-77   (74.7%)     Playoff Record: 44-20
 State Championships: 1988, 2008
 Region Championships: 12
 Coaches: Harold Clark (1974-94) Record: 160-74-1
               James Perine (1995-2002) Record: 72-23
               Kerry Stevenson (2003-12) Record: 85-40
 Notes: The Wolves won a mythical National Championship following the 1988 season along with the State Championship. They would also win a title in 2008. Over the past twenty-five seasons the Wolves had winning seasons in all but two years (2005-6).

9. Russellville
 Record: 236-78   (75.2%)     Playoff Record: 53-21
 State Championships: None
 Region Championships: 13
 Coaches: Don Cox (1980-94) Record: 130-46
               Ted Ikerd (1995-97) Record: 15-17
               Perry Swindall (1998-2006) Record: 99-21
               Doug Goodwin (2007-10) Record: 46-9
               Michael Jackson (2011-12) Record: 14-9
 Notes: Russellville has the distinction of being the only team in the top ten that did not win a state championship during the past twenty-five years. The Golden Tigers did make it to the title game on seven occasions but managed to come up short in each game. They won at least ten games each season from 2000-2010. 

8. Alexandria
 Record 220-71   (75.6%)     Playoff Record: 36-19
 State Championships: 1995
 Region Championships: 10
 Coaches: Larry Ginn (1986-2006) Record: 196-53
               Frank Tucker (2007-12) Record: 43-25
              
 Notes: Larry Ginn set the standard for most of the twenty-five seasons by winning 196 games as coach at Alexandria. The Valley Cubs had twenty-three winning seasons during this time span and qualified for the playoffs in all but four seasons.

6.(tie)  Maplesville
 Record: 243-75   (76.4%)     Playoff Record: 49-23
 State Championships: 1996
 Region Championships: 13
 Coaches: Gene Mitchell (1988-89) Record: 23-4
               Jim Hubbert (1990-2000) Record: 144-43
               David Dirk Sistrunk (2001-02) Record: 18-8
               Brian Ford (2003) Record: 1-8
               Brent Hubbert (2004-12) Record: 88-21
 Notes: The Maplesville Red Devils made the playoffs in every season except the single season under coach Brian Ford in 2003. The Red Devils made it to at least the semi-finals in eleven seasons while losing in the first round only four times. They also won at least ten games seventeen times.

6.(tie)  Brantley
 Record: 240-74   (76.4%)     Playoff Record: 41-19
 State Championships: 1993, 1998, 2009, 2012
 Region Championships: 19
 Coaches: Ted Watson (1988-89) Record:
               Gary Pippins (1990) Record: 3-7
               Roland Jones (1991-93, 1995-98) Record: 58-28 
               Scott Lesley (1994) Record: 9-4
               David Lowery (1999-2012) Record: 156-27
              
 Notes: The Brantley Bulldogs won four state titles and nineteen region championships during the past twenty-five seasons. Since 1992 they have won an amazing eighteen of twenty-one region titles. The Bulldogs have a region record of 107-5 from 1992-2012.

5. Trinity
 Record: 224-69   (76.5%)     Playoff Record: 28-21
 State Championships: 2003
 Region Championships: 10
 Coaches: Randy Locke (1982-88) Record: 50-21
               Randy Ragsdale (1989-2012) Record: 218-66
              
 Notes: The Trinity Wildcats have been the model of consistency under the coaching of Randy Ragsdale for the past twenty-five years. They won at least six games in every season and are actually on a streak dating back to 1981 of finishing each season with a winning record. The Wildcats have also qualified for the playoffs in each of the past fourteen seasons. During the past twenty-five seasons they only missed the playoffs on three occassions.

4. North Jackson
 Record: 230-68   (77.2%)     Playoff Record: 31-23
 State Championships: 1993
 Region Championships: 17
 Coaches: Phillip Lolley (1988-98) Record: 92-34
               Jim Thomas (1999) Record: 3-6
               Mark Rose (2000-07) Record: 85-15
               Shawn Peek (2008-12) Record: 50-13
              
 Notes: North Jackson just made our list by the narrowest of margins simply because the school first fielded a football team in 1988 after the consolidation of Bridgeport and Stevenson. Therefore this is the entire history of the football program. The Chiefs have qualified for the playoffs in every season of the schools existence except the 1999 season. They won seventeen region championships with an overall region record of 118-13.

3. Hoover/Berry
 Record: 256-71   (78.3%)     Playoff Record: 68-12
 State Championships: 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2012
 Region Championships: 11
 Coaches: Bob Finley (1968-93) Record: 198-97-5
               Mike Thorsen (1994) Record: 4-5
               Gerald Gann (1995-98) Record: 22-21
               Rush Propst (1999-2007) Record: 110-16
               Josh Niblett (2008-12) Record: 69-6
 Notes: The Bucs won the most state titles of any team in our top ten with seven. They enjoyed most of their success in the last half of the surveyed era by going 172-19 since 2000. This could quite possibly be the greatest run in the history of high school football in Alabama. The Bucs have appeared in every 6A Super Six Championship Game since 2000 except the 2007 season and have a 57-6 playoff record during that time.

2. Deshler
 Record: 263-68   (79.5%)     Playoff Record: 64-22
 State Championships: 1990, 1998, 1999
 Region Championships: 20
 Coaches: Tandy Geralds (1984-94) Record: 101-36
                John Mothershed (1995-2012) Record: 193-49
              
 Notes: Deshler is the only team in the top ten to make the playoffs in each of the past twenty-five seasons. They also hold the distinction of winning 20 region championships, the most of any team in our top ten. The Tigers also won at least eight games in all but three seasons and won at least ten games in fifteen seasons. Deshler won three state titles and appeared in six other title games.

1. T.R. Miller
 Record: 271-58   (82.4%)     Playoff Record: 68-21
 State Championships: 1991, 1994, 2000, 2002
 Region Championships: 14
 Coaches: Joel Williams (1987-88) Record: 18-5
               Jamie Riggs (1988-2012) Record: 261-56
              
 Notes: The most amazing thing about the Tigers over the past twenty-five years is possibly the fact that they have scored in every game they have played. The streak is a state record 329 consecutive games through the 2012 season. The Tigers made the playoffs every year and made it to the second round in all but two seasons. Their only losing season came in 2007 when Miller fell to a 5-6 record.

Eighteen times the Tigers won at least ten games during a season.


David Parker
  AHSFHS.org
  dparker@ahsfhs.org










Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History

Bart Starr received coaching from Kentucky great Babe Parilli his senior season at Sidney Lanier in hopes of joining Bear Bryant at Kentucky. He had to settle for Alabama.