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  School Football over the past 100 seasons.






Dynasties 


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1907 UMS Prep football team
           UMS-Wright, one of the oldest schools in Mobile, began playing football as far back as 1905. The school opened in the fall of 1893 on Conti Street in Mobile and was named University Military School by founder Julius Tutwiler Wright.

           In 1988, UMS Prep and Julius T. Wright School for Girls combined to form UMS-Wright. Prior to that year UMS Prep was a boys only school.
           Over the next 100 years of playing football, UMS Prep won about as many games as they lost. As a matter of fact their record between 1905-1986 was exactly 311-311-25. In 1987 the school won their first ever state championship with a perfect 15-0 record under head football coach Ken McWilliams.

           Following the 1987 season, McWilliams resigned and the Bulldogs went through six coaches over the next eleven seasons. The school was ready for stability and looking for a new head coach as they entered the 1999 season.
    
           After retiring from the public school system, Terry Curtis took over as head coach at UMS-Wright in 1999 and promptly led the Bulldogs to 9-4 and 10-3 records in his first two seasons at the helm. Curtis had been a successful head coach at Shaw and Murphy before taking over the football program at UMS-Wright.

           In 2001, Coach Curtis led the Bulldogs to an undefeated 15-0 season and a Class 4A State Championship with a 28-12 win over Cleburne County High School.


UMS-Wright Coach Terry Curtis
           In the championship game, Barry Ballard threw two touchdown passes to Matt Pierce to provide the offensive spark and a swarming defense put the finishing touches on Cleburne County at Legion Field. Pierce, a senior who came into the game with 53 catches on the year, caught five passes from Ballard for 91 yards including touchdowns of 12 and 26 yards to give UMS-Wright a 15-12 lead at the half.

           Cleburne star athlete Tyrone Prothro did his best to prevent a Bulldog win. He had three punt returns for 29 yards, two kickoff returns for 55 yards, including a 32-yarder to start the second half, rushed for 25 yards and caught two passes for 12 yards.

           In the second half, Johnny Strada ran 20 yards for the Bulldogs' third touchdown of the night in the third period. Less than two minutes later Bruner Binion intercepted a Cleburne County pass at the 6-yard line and Ballard ran for the last score of the evening to give the Bulldogs a 28-12 victory.

           Cleburne County quarterback Josh Forrest battled under a heavy rush from the Bulldogs all night. That pressure forced him into two interceptions. The defense also kept Prothro in check most of the evening.

           Receiver Matt Pierce caught 59 passes for 912 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2001 season. He also returned 20 punts for 539 yards and four scores. Barry Ballard completed 115-of-195 passes for 1,676 yards and 14 TDs while running back Johnny Strada ran for 1,641 yards and 21 TDs.

           In 2002, the Bulldogs lost 12 starters from the previous season's undefeated team. They opened the season with a hard-fought 14-13 loss to Class 6A McGill-Toolen then proceeded to win their next thirteen games to reach a second consecutive Super Six title game at Legion Field in Birmingham.

           Josh Stapleton made a diving catch of a low throw in the end zone that was the game-winner for Bulldogs 7-3 win over North Jackson, giving the Bulldogs a second consecutive Class 4A state football title. The play came on a third-and-6 situation at the North Jackson 15 with just 3:19 remaining in the game. It was set up by a Forress Rayford fumble recovery at the North Jackson 39 a few minutes earlier.

           The two teams entered the fourth quarter in a scoreless tie before North Jackson got on the scoreboard with a Josh Grider 42-yard field goal with 11:19 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs next offensive possession saw them reach the North Jackson 24 but fail to convert on a fourth-and-3 play setting up the late game heroics by Stapleton.

           The running game was led by junior back Milan Williams who rushed for 1,237 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Bulldogs in 2003.

           The 2003 season opened with the Bulldogs winning their first nine games before falling to 5A rival St. Paul's 28-24 in the last regular season game. The Bulldogs ended their season short of another title when Demopolis beat them 19-7 in the third round of the playoffs at home.

           In 2004, UMS-Wright rolled through the regular season and into a rematch with one of the best offensive teams of all-time in Demopolis. In the semi-final game, Demopolis earned a 29-15 victory over the Bulldogs and won the state championship the following week.

           The 2005 team rolled through the season with only a 29-24 win over region foe Thomasville being anything resembling a close game. The team scored at least 25 points in every game including the title contest. The offense set a school record by scoring 660 points during the perfect 15-0 season. It was the record third 15-0 season for the Bulldogs. No other team, until Hoover matched it in 2013, had ever completed three 15-0 seasons.

           In the championship game, UMS-Wright quarterback Michael Scott led the Bulldogs to the Class 4A state championship in a 42-16 win over Deshler at Legion Field. He was selected as the game's Most Valuable Player by completing 11 of 16 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns.

           Scott led an offense that collected a whopping 434 total yards. His longest pass play was a 40-yard screen to senior tight end Preston Dial for a touchdown with only 25 seconds remaining in the first half. That score gave the Bulldogs a commanding 21-3 halftime lead. The Bulldogs scored on the opening drive of the second half and the rout was on.

           The defense forced three fumbles by Deshler and also collected an interception. They held the Deshler offense in check most of the evening limiting the Tigers to 180 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs won their third title in five years under Coach Curtis.
 
           The 2008 Bulldogs beat up on Cherokee County 41-7 in Auburn for a fourth championship. In 2012, UMS-Wright once again traveled to Auburn and came away with a 42-14 victory over Oneonta High School for Coach Curtis' fifth state championship during his head coaching career.

           Coach Terry Curtis currently remains as the head coach at U.M.S. and holds a career record of 243-77 over 26 seasons. His playoff record stands at 54-17 and his region record is among the best of all-time in the state at 117-19.

           Between 1995-2006, the Bulldogs won 56 consecutive region games. From 1994 through the 2009 season they won sixteen consecutive first round playoff games.

         


UMS-Wright     2001-2005
Year Record Championship Game
2001 15-0 UMS-Wright 28-12 Cleburne County
2002 14-1 UMS-Wright 7-2 North Jackson
2003 11-2  
2004 13-1  
2005 15-0 UMS-Wright 42-16 Deshler


UMS-Wright
2001

28 McGill-Toolen . . . . . 14
27 Robertsdale . . . . . . . 14
42 Opp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
35 Clarke County . . . . . 8
41 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 13
38 Thomasville . . . . . . . 16
20 T.R. Miller . . . . . . . 7
34 Choctaw County . . . . . 14
24 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 7
46 St. Paul's . . . . . . . . . 0
61 Tallassee * . . . . . . . 7
23 Daleville * . . . . . . . 7
33 Trinity * . . . . . . . . . 9
33 T.R. Miller * . . . . . 7
28 Cleburne County # . . . 12

513 15-0 149
2002

13 McGill-Toolen . . . . . 14
30 Monroe County . . . . . 12
37 Choctaw County . . . . . 0
43 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 14
28 Robertsdale . . . . . . . 13
37 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 0
26 Thomasville . . . . . . . 8
35 Gulf Shores . . . . . . . 0
35 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 10
24 St. Paul's . . . . . . . . . 8
42 Rehobeth * . . . . . . . . 0
38 Handley * . . . . . . . . . 6
35 Daleville * . . . . . . . 18
17 Demopolis * . . . . . . . 0
7 North Jackson # . . . . 3

447 14-1 106
2003

41 McGill-Toolen . . . . . 28
49 Monroe County . . . . . 13
41 Choctaw County . . . . . 24
42 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 20
10 Robertsdale . . . . . . . 0
31 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 0
52 Thomasville . . . . . . . 26
50 Gulf Shores . . . . . . . 7
45 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 14
24 St. Paul's . . . . . . . . . 28
33 Greensboro * . . . . . . 2
35 Southside Selma * . . . 6
7 Demopolis * . . . . . . . 19

460 11-2 187
2004

19 Robertsdale . . . . . . . 0
51 Escambia County . . . . 7
59 Choctaw County . . . . . 6
17 Alma Bryant . . . . . . . 0
42 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 0
21 Thomasville . . . . . . . 20
62 Gulf Shores . . . . . . . 13
46 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 20
28 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 7
42 St. Paul's . . . . . . . . . 21
43 Tallassee * . . . . . . . 6
38 Opp * . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
45 Elmore County * . . . . 13
15 Demopolis * . . . . . . . 29

528 13-1 156
2005

25 Robertsdale . . . . . . . 0
53 Escambia County . . . . 8
55 Choctaw County . . . . . 0
51 Andalusia . . . . . . . . . 10
35 Alma Bryant . . . . . . . 3
49 Hillcrest Evergreen . . 8
29 Thomasville . . . . . . . 24
56 Gulf Shores . . . . . . . 9
63 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 7
48 St. Paul's . . . . . . . . . 20
38 Ashford * . . . . . . . . . 7
42 Elmore County * . . . . 7
34 Geneva * . . . . . . . . . . 3
40 Thomasville * . . . . . 13
42 Deshler # . . . . . . . . . 16

660 15-0 135

* Playoff game
# State championship game





          NEXT: Leroy Bears  2004-2010
          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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