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






Dynasties 


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          When a discussion about the best defensive teams in any classification arises the topic will always eventually come around to the Clay County Panthers. Specifically the teams between 1994 and 1997.

          Those four teams went 55-2 and outscored their opponents by a combined 1971-190. That is an average score of 35-3. The Panthers allowed only five of the fifty-seven foes to score more than a single touchdown in any game.

          Head football coach Danny Horn took over the program in 1989 when Richard Beverly retired and had led the Panthers to five fairly successful seasons before arriving at the start of the 1994 season.

          Although the Panthers had suffered only two losing seasons since 1966 they had only advanced past the second round of the playoffs once in team history.         

          The Panthers opened the 1994 season with a 3-0 loss at Class 4A Cleburne County, then proceeded to reel off 55 consecutive wins before falling again to Luverne in the 1997 playoffs. The 55 straight wins eclipsed a 43 year old record of fifty in a row set by Verbena in the mid 1950s.

          The 1994 team set things in motion by rolling to a 14-1 record and the first state championship in school history with a 24-0 shutout at home against Gordo.

          The Panthers outscored their fifteen opponents by a combined score of 408-22. That included the five playoff wins by a combined 102-9. The defense limited opponents to 54.8 yard rushing and 30.3 yards passing during the regular season.

          The 22 points allowed are still the least of any team since the playoffs began in 1966. The Panthers allowed 3 field goals, two touchdown passes, and an extra-point kick. The ten shutouts tied the state record for the most in any season held by several other teams.

         In the 1994 title game, Derrick Buchanan rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns for Clay County. Gordo had only 29 yards rushing and 87 yards of total offense for the night. Cody Glenn of Clay County intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble, rushed for one touchdown and passed for another in the Panthers' 24-0 2A championship win over Gordo.

         The defense was led by All-State players Adam Walker along the defensive line, Stanford Simmons from his defensive back position and Brain Brasscal on the offensive line.


         In 1995, the Panthers rolled through the schedule with a perfect 15-0 record with another nine shutouts. The defense gave up only 42 points the entire season while scoring a school record 601.

         The average score of all their games was an amazing 40-3. They ran through the first four playoff games with little opposition before edging Hazlewood 7-6 in the Class 2A state championship game.

The Clay County defense was always played tough

         In the championship game, Shannon Glenn ran for a touchdown and Stanford Simmons kicked the extra point as Clay County won its second consecutive state title. The point after the touchdown gave the Panthers all the points they needed for the win.

         Hazlewood got its only points from their defense when Courtney Rose picked up a fumble and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. The try for the extra point was no good.

         Clay County finished the year with their best record ever at 15-0 while Hazlewood was denied their eleventh title since 1970.

        An unlikely hero in this game was Ashland's senior linebacker Jesse Wood, who ran down O'Shaughnessy Jones on the kickoff following Clay County's only touchdown. Jones broke loose and appeared headed for the end zone, but Wood dove and tripped him up at the Panthers 19. Wood recovered a Hazlewood fumble just three plays later to halt the drive.

         The defense was led by junior RaJohn Myles on the line along with defensive back Cody Glenn and linebacker Kevin Zachery. Derrick Buchanan at running back and Stanford Simmons at wide receiver led the offense along with quarterback Cody Glenn.

         The 1996 version of the Clay County Panthers topped the previous two by scoring 613 points and allowing 42. They opened the season with seven consecutive shutouts before allowing Beulah to cross their goal line in a 79-12 win. The defense pitched a total of eleven shutouts in 1996 which is still a record.

         They went 10-0 in the regular season allowing only 18 points to be scored against them. In the first Super Six championship game held in Birmingham, they shutout arch-rival Lineville 42-0 after defeating them 21-0 to end the regular season. The two towns are separated by just five miles and were rivals since they first played against each other in 1922.

          Danny Horn's team outscored their five playoff opponents 188-24. It was the third straight Class 2A state title for the Panthers. Standouts RaJohn Myles and Vernon Marable were considered by some the best defensive linemen tandem to ever play on a small school team in Alabama.

          The Clay County defense led the entire state by allowing only 99.3 yards per game. The offense held their own by racking up over 368 yards a game.

Clay County High School


          RaJohn Myles was the heart and soul of a defense that posted a state record 11 shutouts and allowed only 3.3 points per games. He used his quickness at nose guard to rack up 80 solo tackles and 59 assists. Myles also collected 13 sacks while Marable had 12.

          He edged out his teammate Stanford Simmons for the Class 2A Player of the Year honors. A testament to how good the defense was in 1996. Simmons had eight interceptions his senior season as a defensive back and also played wide receiver on offense.

          In 1997, the Panthers cruised through the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record and very little resistance. In the second round of the playoffs they came up against a Luverne team that managed to shut down their offense enough to hand the Panthers a 21-14 loss, their first defeat in 55 games.

          It was also the first time that Clay County had allowed more than 14 points in a game since their last playoff loss to end the 1993 season, a string of 56 games.

          The 1998 Panthers again started off strong before falling to rival Lineville 37-21 to end the regular season. They were also defeated in the semi-finals by Lineville to end their 1998 season.

          Following the 2011 season Clay County High school consolidate with rival Lineville to form Central Clay County. One of the most heated rivalries in the state was now one. The new school has continued to win in the same tradition as Clay County.



Clay County 1994-98
Year Record Championship Game
1994 14-1 Clay County 24-0 Gordo
1995 15-0 Clay County 7-6 Hazlewood
1996 15-0 Clay County 42-0 Lineville
1997 11-1  
1998 12-2  


Clay County
1994

0 Cleburne County . . . . 3
28 Elmore County . . . . . 7
39 Central Coosa . . . . . 0
33 Randolph County . . . . 0
32 Vincent . . . . . . . . . . . 0
40 Bibb Graves . . . . . . . 0
50 Winterboro . . . . . . . . 0
8 Talladega County Central . 0
47 Horseshoe Bend . . . . . 0
29 Lineville . . . . . . . . . 3
48 Excel * . . . . . . . . . . . 0
6 Brantley * . . . . . . . . 3
7 Georgiana * . . . . . . . 0
17 Leroy * . . . . . . . . . . . 6
24 Gordo # . . . . . . . . . . . 0

408 14-1 22
1995

25 Cleburne County . . . . 0
56 Elmore County . . . . . 0
40 Central Coosa . . . . . 0
54 Randolph County . . . . 0
44 Vincent . . . . . . . . . . . 6
61 Bibb Graves . . . . . . . 7
47 Winterboro . . . . . . . . 3
44 Talladega County Central . 0
41 Horseshoe Bend . . . . . 0
26 Lineville . . . . . . . . . 6
35 Highland Home * . . . . 0
44 Reeltown * . . . . . . . . 14
28 Lineville * . . . . . . . 0
49 Georgiana * . . . . . . . 0
7 Hazlewood # . . . . . . . 6

601 15-0 42
1996

45 Cleburne County . . . . 0
54 Elmore County . . . . . 0
52 Central Coosa . . . . . 0
30 Daleville . . . . . . . . . 0
42 Randolph County . . . . 0
41 Winterboro . . . . . . . . 0
47 Reeltown . . . . . . . . . . 0
79 Beulah . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
14 Horseshoe Bend . . . . . 6
21 Lineville . . . . . . . . . 0
47 Straughn * . . . . . . . . 0
35 Paramount * . . . . . . . 0
27 Cottonwood * . . . . . . 10
37 Luverne * . . . . . . . . . 14
42 Lineville # . . . . . . . 0

613 15-0 42
1997

14 Cleburne County . . . . 7
21 Elmore County . . . . . 0
49 Central Coosa . . . . . 8
16 Daleville . . . . . . . . . 13
47 Randolph County . . . . 0
50 Winterboro . . . . . . . . 8
43 Reeltown . . . . . . . . . . 14
35 Beulah . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
33 Horseshoe Bend . . . . . 6
10 Lineville . . . . . . . . . 7
17 Paramount * . . . . . . . 0
14 Luverne * . . . . . . . . . 21

349 11-1 84
1998

25 Maplesville . . . . . . . 14
38 Elmore County . . . . . 6
43 Central Coosa . . . . . 13
57 Horseshoe Bend . . . . . 0
41 Talladega County Central . 6
35 B.B. Comer . . . . . . . . 20
40 Woodland . . . . . . . . . . 6
42 Oak Grove . . . . . . . . . 12
34 Ranburne . . . . . . . . . . 0
21 Lineville . . . . . . . . . 37
48 Fyffe * . . . . . . . . . . . 3
40 Sand Rock * . . . . . . . 15
42 South Lamar * . . . . . 0
18 Lineville * . . . . . . . 42

524 12-2 174

* Playoff game
# State championship game




          NEXT: Homewood Patriots 2000-2005
          The Dynasties, a series of articles on Alabama high school football's best teams.

David Parker
  AHSFHS.org
  dparker@ahsfhs.org


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