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AHSFHS Article Series

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

The Greatest Games

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           The Tuscaloosa Black Bears' run through the 1926 season was to say the least, amazing. They defeated every opponent by at least 35 points and shutout the last seven teams they played.

           The final game against Senn high school from Chicago, Illinois was billed as the national championship game at the time. Senn was considered by most to be the premier program in the country. The game was the brain trust of two men, Champ Pickens in Alabama and Walter Eckersall in Illinois.

           Eckersall was an official and sportswriter in the Chicago area and thought Senn to be the best team he had seen all season. Pickens, who later organized the Blue-Gray game in Montgomery, felt the same way about the Bears.

           The two teams were set to play at 2 p.m. Dec. 3, 1926 on the University of Alabama's Denny Field which was located behind the President's Mansion.

          The Senn team arrived in Tuscaloosa the day prior to the matchup and some of the Tuscaloosa players were getting tired of them. Just before kickoff Coach Paul Burnum told his team that their opponents were Yankees, who back during the Civil War had come through the south, burned their homes, stole their horses and took meat from their smokehouses.

          The speech lit a spark under the Black Bears who proceeded to trounce the most respected team in America at the time by a score of 42-0 before over 6,000 fans. 

          Tuscaloosa scored two minutes into the game on a Dwight Deal 45-yard interception return for a touchdown. Hillmon Holley scored on a pass from Frank Kendall a short time later and the rout was on. The weather had turned off unseasonably hot for December and the northern team did not seem ready for the temperature to be in the 80s after coming from the frigid Chicago area.

          Some years later a reporter working on an article about the game inquired to the Chicago school about any records of the contest. To his amazement the school, library and yearbooks had no mention of the game ever occurring. Perhaps they choose not to remember it for a good reason and tried to erase it from their memories.

          The Black Bears would conclude the 1926 season with a 9-0 record, outscoring their opponents 532-16 along the way. The 59.0 per game scoring average is still the highest mark in high school football history in Alabama. They also laid claim to the National Championship with the win over Senn.

          The winning continued until the Black Bears lost to Holt to open the 1932 season. The string of 64 consecutive games without a loss still stands as the longest non-losing streak in Alabama high school football history. The Black Bears of Tuscaloosa went 61-0-3 from 1925-1932 to put them in any conversation about the greatest high school football teams in Alabama.


87 Lamar County . . . . . . 7
55 Hueytown . . . . . . . . . . 9
82 Jones Valley . . . . . . 0
42 Fairfield . . . . . . . . . 0
56 Pickens County . . . . . 0
67 Cullman . . . . . . . . . . . 0
66 Berry Fayette . . . . . 0
35 Bessemer . . . . . . . . . . 0
42 Senn High IL . . . . . . 0

532 9-0 16

* Playoff game
# State championship game

  The Memorable Games, a series on the important and memorable games in high school football history

David Parker

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Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History

The first night game played between high school teams in the state occurred on September 23, 1927 when Pike Road and Cloverdale met in the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.