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





The Greatest Games


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          Sidney Lanier rolled through the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record including a season ending 10-0 win over arch-rival Robert E. Lee. The AHSAA had implemented a new playoff system whereby the top four teams in Class 4A would play for an actual state championship. The rankings placed the Poets as the number one seed and set them up to play the fourth seeded team from Shades Valley on Nov. 25, 1966.

           The Poets romped over the Mounties by a score of 47-7 and propelled them into a rematch against Lee in the first ever championship game. Defense was front and center from the opening kickoff of the title game as both teams kept the opposing offenses in check most of the game.

           Lanier scored first when Mike Kelly completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Danny Speigner in the end zone for a second quarter touchdown. Speigner missed the extra point and the Poets led 6-0.

          A few minutes later, Lanier capitalized on a Lee mistake and Randy Moore kicked a 32-yard field goal for a 9-0 halftime advantage. The Generals mounted a comeback in the third quarter when Tommy Traylor completed a 50-yard pass to Terry Beasley to the Lanier 8-yard line. Fullback Jerry Fontaine scored from the one-yard line a few plays later. Paul Scott booted the extra point to pull the Generals within two.

          Lee threatened again moments later when Traylor once again tried to hit Beasley near the goal line but the ball skipped through his hands and was intercepted by the Poets' Gregg Carr to end the threat.

          The General's defense held Lanier and force a punt giving them another shot at winning but another interception by Jimmy Rhodes thwarted the drive. The Poets mounted a drive that almost ran out the clock before giving up the ball allowing the Generals one final shot at the title.

          With only a few seconds remaining in the game the Generals attempted a 55-yard field goal that missed but an offsides penalty against Lanier gave them another shot at the field goal. The final try, with no time left on the clock, was also missed and the game was over.

          More than 25,000 fans poured into the Cramton Bowl to get a glimpse at the first state championship game and left knowing they had seen the two best teams in the state battle it out for the title.

           The Lanier line was led by Danny Speigner at tackle who played both ways for Lanier his senior season. Jimmy Speigner at guard and Sam Gellerstedt at defensive tackle were also instrumental in the Poet's success. Mike Kelly led the offense from the quarterback position.

           Spence McCracken collected ten tackles to lead the Lee defense. Sidney Lanier will go into the record books as the first team to win a state playoff championship game.




Lee .......................................   0   0   7   0 -7
Lanier ...................................   0   9   0   0 -9
 
Lanier: Danny Speigner 5 yard pass from Mike Kelly (Danny Speigner PAT no good)
Lanier: Randy Moore 32 yard field goal
Lee: Jerry Fontaine 1 yard run (PAT Paul Scott)


Sidney Lanier
1966

9/9 49 Parrish Selma . . . . . 7
9/16 10 Tuscaloosa . . . . . . . . 0
9/22 35 Phillips Birmingham . . 0
9/30 40 Leon Tallahassee FL . . 7
10/7 14 Ramsay . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/14 46 Tuscaloosa County . . . 7
10/20 57 Murphy . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/28 48 Davidson . . . . . . . . . . 0
11/4 28 Dothan . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
11/11 10 Lee Montgomery . . . . . 0
11/25 47 Shades Valley * . . . . 7
12/2 9 Lee Montgomery # . . . 7

393 12-0 42

* Playoff game
# State championship game
Robert E. Lee
1966

9/9 14 Ensley . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
9/16 33 Coffee . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
9/23 33 Ramsay . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/30 33 Dothan . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
10/7 41 Lee Jacksonville FL . . 0
10/14 31 Tuscaloosa . . . . . . . . 7
10/21 55 Phillips Birmingham . . 0
10/27 66 Benjamin Russell . . . 0
11/4 35 Vigor . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
11/11 0 Sidney Lanier . . . . . 10
11/26 46 Huntsville * . . . . . . 7
12/2 7 Sidney Lanier # . . . . 9

394 10-2 69

* Playoff game
# State championship game



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

David Parker
  AHSFHS.org
  dparker@ahsfhs.org



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