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  School Football over the past 100 seasons.

2014 First Year Teams

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          With several new teams making their appearance on the football field this season, a fan asked if any team had ever reached the playoffs in their first season. Actually it is a trick question.

          The new schools include, Helena, Park Crossing and Chickasaw. These schools will be venturing into the AHSAA on a varsity level for the first time this fall. Mars Hill is a school that has been around for many years but will field a football team for the first time. They have been successful in basketball at the 1A level and have participated in other sports over the years.

          Northside Methodist, near Dothan, will join the AISA this fall with their first attempt at playing football. Russell Christian joins the AISA but is actually in Meridian Mississippi. Good luck to these teams, coaches and fans. We wish you great success in your initial season.

          The answer is that no school in the AHSAA has ever reached the playoffs in their initial season if you do not include schools that were created by the consolidation of two or more schools. Chickasaw, Helena, Park Crossing and Mars Hill could do something that has never been accomplished previously.

          There have been schools that reached the playoffs in their first season but all were the result of combining schools or simply moving an existing school to a new location.

          One note before moving on, G.W. Long holds the record for most wins by a completely new school with an 8-2 record in 1966. I can find no other school that won more games in their first season as a completely new school. R.A. Hubbard went 14-1 but the school resulted from the closing of Courtland.

          So what are the schools that have qualified for the playoffs after being consolidated or moved to a new site? They include:

          Alma Bryant roared out of the starting gate in 1998 after Grand Bay and Alba were joined to form the new school. Coach Rush Propst led the Hurricanes to a 12-1 record in their initial season.

          Center Point opened in 2011 when Erwin closed. They finished with a 9-2 record and a playoff spot at the end of the season.

          Central Clay County, to the surprise of few fans, claimed a playoff spot in 2012 and finished with a 10-2 record. The new school came about when Lineville and Clay County were combined.

          Central high school in Tuscaloosa came about with the consolidation of Tuscaloosa and Druid high schools. They too claimed a playoff spot following the 1979 season and finished with a 7-3 record.

          Gadsden City finished the 2006 season with a great 9-2 record in their introduction in AHSAA play. The school came about when Gadsden, Litchfield and Emma Sansom were combined that summer.

          Greene County qualified for the playoffs in 2000 and completed their first season with a 10-3 record, reaching the semi-finals before losing to Clay County. The school came about through the consolidation of Paramount and Eutaw.

          North Jackson finished 8-3 in their first season in the AHSAA. The school was a result of the combining of Stevenson and Bridgeport.

          R.A. Hubbard opened when Courtland closed following the 2003 season. Courtland had been a very successful program for many years so it was little surprise when R.A. Hubbard continued the success. That first season resulted in a 14-1 record and a loss to Sweet Water in the Class 1A state championship game.

          South Lamar came about in 1986 when Kennedy and Millport were combined. They went 10-2 in their initial season.

          Sumter Central finished the 2011 season with a 4-7 record but still managed to capture one of the playoff spots following the regular season. Central was the result of combining Livingston and Sumter County high schools.

          There you have it. All the teams that qualified for a playoff spot in their initial season competing in the AHSAA. Could one of the new schools be the first to claim a playoff spot? We will just need to wait a while to answer that question. I think one of the schools will win enough games to reach the post season.

David Parker

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