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






Dynasties 


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          Bob Newton took on the task of replacing the successful Gerald Gann when he accepted the head coaching duties at Homewood in 1995. The two had worked together for many years but this was a new challenge.

          He was up to the task as his first team finished 13-2, winning a state championship by defeating Blount 17-12. The Patriots returned to Legion Field in 2000 with another 13-2 record and a second title under coach Newton. That team beat Benjamin Russell in a classic 41-34 five overtime game.

          It was a championship game for the ages. In the fifth and final overtime Parker Gargis threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Colt Byrom and when Benjamin Russell failed to score on their possession the Patriots could finally celebrate the state championship.

          On fourth down and goal from the six, with the Wildcats needing a touchdown to keep their hopes alive, came up empty when Jordan Thomas lofted a pass intended for Demetrius Shealy in the end zone that Jonathan Herr batted away.

          After five overtimes, the game was over and the celebration could begin. Parker Gargis was named the MVP for his efforts which included 118 yards rushing and 109 yards passing as he completed 14 of 23 passes.

          The 2001 Patriots rolled through the regular season and into the 5A Super Six championship game riding a school record 25 winning streak. They came up against an old foe in Benjamin Russell a team they were very familiar with.

          This was the fifth meeting between the two teams in the past three years. The short series was tied at two games apiece and each team wanted to win the rubber match. Homewood came up short by losing in a rematch of the previous year's title match by a score of 20-13.

          Brandon Thornton rushed for 1,173 yards and scored 12 touchdowns to pace the Patriot running attack in 2001. Parker Gargis completed 84 of 128 passes from his quarterback position.

          In 2002, the Patriots avenged a late season loss to Briarwood Christian by defeating the Lions 35-25 in the semi-finals. The win propelled the Patriots into their third consecutive title game. This time they faced off against Russellville, a team they had defeated the previous two seasons in the playoffs. The 2002 season would be no different as the Patriots won 31-28.

          Brandon Thornton ran for 126 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Patriot ground attack. They scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to take the lead and seal their Class 5A championship.

          Parker Gargis completed 130 of 199 passes for 1,823 yard and 17 touchdowns in 2002. Freddy Young set school records by catching 77 passes for 1,154 yards and scored 9 TDs. Kicker Chris Suther set a state record by scoring 105 points. He made 11 field goals and 72 extra points during the season.

          The 2003 season saw the Patriots go 9-1 during the regular season, losing only to a good Vestavia Hills team in week ten. They would lose to Briarwood, a team they had defeated during the regular season, in the semi-finals of the playoffs to end their season and string of championship game appearances.

          As a senior in 2003, Brandon Thornton rushed for 1,951 yards on 249 carries and scored 33 touchdowns to lead the Patriots. He rushed for 4,573 yards and scored 83 touchdowns in his three year career at Homewood.

          In 2004, Homewood finished with a 14-1 record and defeated Russellville 35-21 for their fourth crown under Coach Newton. Homewood fell behind in the title game to Russellville 7-0 in the first quarter before scoring three touchdowns in the second to take a 21-14 lead at the end of the first half. The Patriots scored twice more in the third quarter to put the game away.

          Austin Hubbard scored three touchdowns in the championship game and threw for another. As a junior, Hubbard completed 191 of 322 passes for 2,550 yards and 26 touchdowns to lead the Patriot offense. Steve Freeman rushed for 1,504 yards on 262 carries and ran for 15 TDs in 2004. Tim Hawthorne caught 84 passes for 1,360 yards and 14 TDs which were all school receiving records.

          Homewood would repeat in 2005 with a perfect 15-0 squad and a 45-13 thumping of Buckhorn High School in the Super Six championship game. Except for a close 24-17 win over Benjamin Russell in the semi-finals, the Patriots faced little resistance during the season. The offense scored a school record 597 points topping the mark set in 2002.

          In the championship game, Homewood jumped out to a 38-6 halftime lead and coasted through the second half. Steve Freeman rushed for 194 yards on only nine carries and scored four touchdowns to earn MVP honors in the win. Austin Hubbard completed 12 of 16 passes for 170 yards and another two touchdowns.

          Hubbard completed 203 of 300 passes for 2,797 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior at Homewood. He finished his career with 5,347 yards passing and 52 touchdowns. Freeman rushed for 1,651 yards on 210 carries and scored 28 TDs in 2005.

          David Ross graded out at over 84 percent while starting in the offensive line for Homewood his senior season. He was rated as the number two center in the nation. Ross was a three year starter along the offensive front for Homewood.

          The defense was led by lineman Robert Gentry and linebacker Stan Galbralth. Wide receiver Tim Hawthorne finished his career with 206 receptions for 3,085 yards. He caught 73 passes for 1,360 yards in 2005 at Homewood.

          Newton's teams never had a losing record and won six region titles. His playoff record was a phenomenal 34-4 in nine playoff appearances. Between 2000-2005, his teams went 82-7 on the football field. Coach Newton turned over the head coaching reins in early August of 2006 after he spent time in the hospital with a staph infection. He never returned to the sidelines at Homewood.



Homewood 2000-2005
Year Record Championship Game
2000 13-2 Homewood 41-34 Benjamin Russell
2001 14-1 Benjamin Russell 20-13 Homewood
2002 14-1 Homewood 31-28 Russellville
2003 12-2  
2004 14-1 Homewood 35-21 Russellville
2005 15-0 Homewood 45-13 Buckhorn


Homewood
2000

18 Benjamin Russell . . . 25
14 Briarwood . . . . . . . . . 7
53 Pleasant Grove . . . . . 22
6 Walker . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
35 Curry . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
26 Jackson-Olin . . . . . . 0
34 Gardendale . . . . . . . . 0
58 Fairfield . . . . . . . . . 0
45 Erwin . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
34 Vestavia Hills . . . . . 24
27 Lee Huntsville * . . . 12
35 Oxford * . . . . . . . . . . 10
24 Athens * . . . . . . . . . . 13
28 Russellville * . . . . . 10
41 Benjamin Russell # . . 34

478 13-2 188
2001

18 Benjamin Russell . . . 15
19 Briarwood . . . . . . . . . 18
28 Pleasant Grove . . . . . 14
30 Walker . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
42 Curry . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
35 Jackson-Olin . . . . . . 15
31 Gardendale . . . . . . . . 0
47 Fairfield . . . . . . . . . 3
51 Erwin . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
46 Vestavia Hills . . . . . 22
63 Etowah * . . . . . . . . . . 26
45 Lee Huntsville * . . . 12
20 Gardendale * . . . . . . 0
31 Russellville * . . . . . 21
13 Benjamin Russell # . . 20

519 14-1 197
2002

56 Walker . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
48 West End Birmingham . . 6
58 Brookwood . . . . . . . . . 6
36 Jess Lanier . . . . . . . 12
31 Hueytown . . . . . . . . . . 6
42 Thompson . . . . . . . . . . 14
51 Jackson-Olin . . . . . . 15
28 McAdory . . . . . . . . . . . 0
17 Briarwood . . . . . . . . . 20
27 Vestavia Hills . . . . . 7
54 Wetumpka * . . . . . . . . 34
49 Fairhope * . . . . . . . . 25
28 B.C. Rain * . . . . . . . 7
35 Briarwood * . . . . . . . 25
31 Russellville # . . . . . 28

591 14-1 212
2003

52 Northridge . . . . . . . . 7
57 West End Birmingham . . 20
65 Brookwood . . . . . . . . . 13
28 Jess Lanier . . . . . . . 6
31 Hueytown . . . . . . . . . . 14
44 Thompson . . . . . . . . . . 38
45 Jackson-Olin . . . . . . 6
41 McAdory . . . . . . . . . . . 20
24 Briarwood . . . . . . . . . 14
13 Vestavia Hills . . . . . 41
49 St. Paul's * . . . . . . . 27
24 Charles Henderson * . . 0
21 Fairhope * . . . . . . . . 9
7 Briarwood * . . . . . . . 34

501 12-2 249
2004

22 Shades Valley . . . . . 12
48 Sylacauga . . . . . . . . . 14
33 Chilton County . . . . . 6
35 Hueytown . . . . . . . . . . 14
38 Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
43 Talladega . . . . . . . . . 7
18 Briarwood . . . . . . . . . 13
34 Benjamin Russell . . . 7
42 Shelby County . . . . . 14
14 Vestavia Hills . . . . . 35
34 St. Paul's * . . . . . . . 14
20 Charles Henderson * . . 7
28 Pleasant Grove * . . . 7
38 Stanhope Elmore * . . . 22
35 Russellville # . . . . . 21

482 14-1 199
2005

40 Shades Valley . . . . . 2
49 Sylacauga . . . . . . . . . 9
52 Chilton County . . . . . 6
52 Shelby County . . . . . 14
42 Hueytown . . . . . . . . . . 11
56 Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
42 Talladega . . . . . . . . . 14
35 Briarwood . . . . . . . . . 0
38 Benjamin Russell . . . 7
24 Vestavia Hills . . . . . 10
31 Paul Bryant * . . . . . 7
31 Stanhope Elmore * . . . 10
36 St. Paul's * . . . . . . . 12
24 Benjamin Russell * . . 17
45 Buckhorn # . . . . . . . . 13

597 15-0 132

* Playoff game
# State championship game




          NEXT: Robert E. Lee, Montgomery 1986-1993
          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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