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Dynasties 


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Coach Louis White

          Louis White grew up in Courtland and was a graduate of Central High School in Courtland in the days before segregation. He returned home and accepted a position at Courtland as an assistant to Coach O.B. Owens for a season before taking over the program in 1975. His teams struggled for a few season before learning to win on a consistent basis. White's first team actually finished 0-10.

          Entering the 1986 season, Coach White was searching for answers as his team had lost seventeen starters from a 9-2 squad the previous season. The key returning starters were seniors, quarterback Fred Young, tight end Tim Newman and receiver Bryant Davis.

          With a cast of 38 players the Chiefs entered the 1986 season with a lot of unknowns. They were coming off a string of four straight playoff seasons and were looking to make a deeper run into the playoffs.
           Head coach Louis White led the Chiefs to a 6-2 regular season record with losses to 3A Lamar County and 5A Colbert County. They rolled into the schools first ever Class 1A championship game appearance against powerhouse Sweet Water.

           Courtland kept the title game close before Sweet Water pulled away for a 26-14 win. The Chiefs narrowed the margin when Deano Orr scored on a 7-yard run and a two point conversion by Young made the score 20-14. But, Sweet Water put the game away with a 21-yard run by Kelvin Johnson in the fourth quarter.

           In 1987 the Chiefs lost to 2A Hazlewood and 5A Colbert County during the regular season before falling to Carrollton in the second round of the playoffs.

           They came back in 1988 behind senior quarterback Mark Evans to capture their first ever state championship. The 1988 Chiefs lost their first two games of the season to 2A Hazlewood and 4A Colbert County but regrouped to win their remaining games.  The only games they played in 1988 against 1A competition were the two area games they won. They defeated Class 4A Fairfield 20-0 and 4A Wenonah 31-0.

           In the 1A championship game, Deano Orr scored twice for Courtland as Billingsley missed an extra point late in the game that would have tied the score and sent the game to overtime. Courtland led 22-8 at the half before Billingsley staged a furious comeback attempt.

           On a fourth and 7 play, Billingsley's Deon Timmons completed a double reverse pass to Anthony Johnson for a touchdown with 1:46 remaining. The Bears fell one point shy when the point after try failed. Courtland held on to win their first state championship after seven previous playoff appearances came up short by a final score of 22-21.

           Mark Evans finished the season with 371 yards rushing on 80 carries. He also passed for 549 yards, completing 29 of 91 passes including four touchdowns. He played though the playoffs with a severely injured shoulder and leading his team to a championship.

           In 1989, the Chiefs again began the season slow due to a most difficult schedule. They started 1-4 after losses to 2A Hazlewood, 4A Colbert County, 4A North Jackson and 4A Wenonah. From there they cruised into the title game against Excel riding an eight game winning streak.

           In the Class 1A champiosnhip game, the Chiefs struggled on offense with mistakes but the defense came through when it was needed. Following an interception by quarterback Jonathan Orr, the defense held Excel at the one-yard line on fourth down. The following play produced a safety when Tecumseh Mayes was tackled in the end zone.

           The Chiefs came back with two scores in the third quarter to capture their second consecutive state championship by a score of 13-2. Although Courtland did not complete a pass in the game they rushed for 233 yards and controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the game.

           In 1990 the Chiefs returned 15 starters from a championship team the previous season. To say the Chiefs' 1990 schedule was difficult would be an understatement. During one stretch of the season they defeated 2A Hazlewood 28-6, 4A Colbert County 14-0, 3A Lamar County 28-0, 5A Emma Sansom 20-3, 5A Oxford 23-0 and 4A Cherokee County 35-7.

           While Courtland had an enrollment of just 111 students, the other schools ranged from Hazlewood with 172 to Oxford with 660. To top it all off, the Chiefs played all of these and actually every game except a win over Speake on the road.

           It may simply be the greatest accomplishment by any team from a lower classification in the history of high school football in the state. The Chiefs outscored their opponents by a combined score of 438-41 including seven shutouts in thirteen games. They outscored the 1A teams 290-25.

           A rare three-peat came in 1990 when the Chiefs defeated Autaugaville 18-0 for their third title in as many years. In the title game, Jonathan Orr passed for 132 yards and Courtland's defense limited Autaugaville to 196 yards. Courtland scored all of its points in the second quarter and the defense took over from there for the win as Autaugaville only crossed midfield twice in the game.

           The third consecutive title was great, the perfect 13-0 record was great but the most amazing thing about this season was the schedule of teams the Chiefs defeated along the way.

           The Chiefs were led by quarterback Jonathan Orr who guided Courtland to three consecutive Class 1A state championships between 1988-1990. Other members of the 1990 Chiefs included WR Brett Mason, LB Cornelius King, RB Juan Bailey, OL Kevin Jackson, DL Lee Cowan, LB Montalesia Carter and DB Marcus Gholston. The line was also anchored by the future state championship winning coach at Tanner, Laron White, who also happened to be the son of head coach Louis White.           

          The 1991 team lost 14 key seniors to graduation from the previous season. This is a huge number for a Class 1A team where the number of players is always limited. The Chiefs could not quite match the previous season. They defeated the only two 1A teams on their regular season schedule by a combined 65-6 and the first four teams in the playoffs 124-26.

          They lost close games to 2A Hazlewood and 5A Oxford during the regular season before falling to McKenzie in the Class 1A title game by a score of 15-7.

          Courtland's bid for an unprecedented fourth straight Class 1A state football crown was denied by a stingy McKenzie defense on the road. Courtland led 7-6 at the half but McKenzie went ahead for good on Chris Merrit's 43-yard touchdown pass to Robert Shufford with 8:02 left in the third quarter. Courtland's last two drives after a 23-yard field goal by Jared Dour ended with interceptions and McKenzie eventually won 15-7.

          Courtland went 59-15 during this span of six seasons but the record does not tell the whole story as they only lost three games to other Class 1A teams and two of those were in state championship games. In 1992 the Chiefs only played six regular season game because other teams, even the larger schools, had decided to take them off their schedules.

          The Courtland Chiefs won fifteen consecutive region or area championships between 1985-1999. During that time they did not lose a region game.



Courtland     1986-1991
Year Record Championship Game
1986 10-3 Sweet Water 26-14 Courtland
1987 6-3  
1988 11-2 Courtland 22-21 Billingsley
1989 10-4 Courtland 13-2 Excel
1990 13-0 Courtland 18-0 Autaugaville
1991 9-3 McKenzie 15-7 Courtland



Courtland
1986

12 Hazlewood . . . . . . . . . 8
18 Colbert Heights . . . . 6
26 Appalachian . . . . . . . 3
0 Lamar County . . . . . . 21
25 Fyffe . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
32 Madison Academy . . . . 6
0 Colbert County . . . . . 23
10 Speake . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
30 Sand Rock * . . . . . . . 7
38 Valley Head * . . . . . 0
20 Meek * . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
8 Maplesville * . . . . . 0
14 Sweet Water # . . . . . 26

233 10-3 119
1987

6 Hazlewood . . . . . . . . . 20
38 Colbert Heights . . . . 6
35 Appalachian . . . . . . . 9
20 Lamar County . . . . . . 14
48 Madison Academy . . . . 0
14 Colbert County . . . . . 17
26 Speake . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
41 Valley Head * . . . . . 6
20 Carrollton * . . . . . . 21

248 6-3 93
1988

12 Hazlewood . . . . . . . . . 25
6 Colbert County . . . . . 18
20 Fairfield . . . . . . . . . 0
31 Wenonah . . . . . . . . . . . 0
38 Madison Academy . . . . 0
37 Parrish . . . . . . . . . . . 0
13 Cordova . . . . . . . . . . . 7
46 Speake . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
26 Cedar Bluff * . . . . . 0
48 Hackleburg * . . . . . . 14
35 Sand Rock * . . . . . . . 7
48 Carrollton * . . . . . . 6
22 Billingsley # . . . . . 21

382 11-2 98
1989

7 Hazlewood . . . . . . . . . 34
0 Colbert County . . . . . 28
36 Fairfield . . . . . . . . . 0
16 North Jackson . . . . . 28
12 Wenonah . . . . . . . . . . . 13
42 Madison Academy . . . . 0
40 Parrish . . . . . . . . . . . 7
33 Cordova . . . . . . . . . . . 12
41 Speake . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
41 Sand Rock * . . . . . . . 6
35 Meek * . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
54 Valley Head * . . . . . 6
41 Maplesville * . . . . . 7
13 Excel # . . . . . . . . . . . 2

411 10-4 149
1990

28 Hazlewood . . . . . . . . . 6
14 Colbert County . . . . . 0
28 Lamar County . . . . . . 0
20 Emma Sansom . . . . . . . 3
23 Oxford . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
35 Cherokee County . . . . 7
43 Speake . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
40 Madison Academy . . . . 0
59 Gaylesville * . . . . . 0
65 Brilliant * . . . . . . . 0
39 Meek * . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
26 Maplesville * . . . . . 11
18 Autaugaville # . . . . . 0

438 13-0 41
1991

6 Hazlewood . . . . . . . . . 14
20 Colbert County . . . . . 13
36 Emma Sansom . . . . . . . 7
12 Oxford . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
47 Cherokee County . . . . 41
32 Speake . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
33 Madison Academy . . . . 0
46 Gaylesville * . . . . . 0
20 Brilliant * . . . . . . . 0
37 Cedar Bluff * . . . . . 6
21 Parrish * . . . . . . . . . 20
7 McKenzie # . . . . . . . . 15

317 9-3 136

* Playoff game
# State championship game




          NEXT: Clay County 1994-1998
          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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