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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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           In 1963, Gov. George C. Wallace made his famous "stand in the schoolhouse door" speech at the University of Alabama. Just five years later his thoughts on segregation were out the door. The all-white schools of Alabama were being integrated with or without the consent of the governor or anyone else in the state.

           The road to acceptance was not an easy one. It took a few years for students to accept the fact that no matter the race, all students were created equal. Before integration could take hold there were a few football contests between the segregated schools that went a long way towards easing the transition.

           In the fall of 1968 Cullman high school scheduled Carver high school in Gadsden to play a football game. Cullman actually reached out to Carver seeking to add them to the schedule. At first there was excitement from the Carver coaches and players. As game day approached the excitement turned to the reality of finally getting to prove who was the best team. 

           Most seasons it would have been just another game but not on Sep. 12, 1968 in Cullman. The two schools broke the color barrier for Alabama high schools in a game of football.

           Cullman won the game 35-6 but more importantly a wall had been knocked down. Details of the game aren't as important as the fact that it was played. The game went off without incident and Cullman traveled to Gadsden in 1969 to honor their two-year contract with Carver.

           The next week, Fyffe hosted the Norris Pirates in another game that tends to be forgotten. The following year Banks opened the season with a game against Parker in Birmingham. In 1969, Carver played Etowah, Emma Sansom, Arab, Gadsden as well as hosting Cullman. They lost all the games and the school closed following the 1971 school year.

           It took too many years but in May of 1968 the Alabama High School Athletic Association and the Alabama Interscholastic Athletic Association presented to the United States District Court a plan for the merger of the two organizations. It went into effect July 1.

           The merged associations were headed by Bubba Scott and his staff. All the bylaws and the constitution of the AHSAA remained in effect. It set the stage for the game between Cullman and Carver.

           Over the past 45 years a lot has changed. It took a few seasons for the fans to accept the fact that integration was here to stay. But fans, as fans are, readily accepted it when their team won. They tend to be color blind if their team wins. We don't see black or white football players. We just see players helping our team win.

            There were many athletes that went completely unnoticed prior to the integration of high school. Scouts from the state colleges were not familiar with the program or the coaches so most great black athletes were overlooked in high school.

            Without integration happening when it did in 1969, several great high school athletes would have never been given the chance to excel at their chosen sport in college. One such player was Wilbur Jackson. He played high school football for one season at D.A. Smith high school in Ozark before the school closed and he went to Carroll his senior season in 1969.

            Jackson played wide receiver for Carroll and did it well enough to be recruited by Pat Dye, an assistant coach at Alabama. Following graduation from high school, Jackson became the first black athlete to sign a scholarship at Alabama in the spring of 1970.


Cullman
1968

9/6 27 Butler . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
9/13 34 Carver Gadsden . . . . . 7
9/20 21 Arab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/27 21 Hanceville . . . . . . . . 6
10/4 20 Lee Huntsville . . . . . 20
10/11 35 Huntsville . . . . . . . . 26
10/18 25 Decatur . . . . . . . . . . . 7
10/25 33 Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
11/1 20 Walker . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
11/8 0 Gadsden . . . . . . . . . . . 26

236 8-1-1 146

* Playoff game
Carver Gadsden
1968

9/6 6 Cobb Avenue . . . . . . . 24
9/13 7 Cullman . . . . . . . . . . . 34
9/18 0 Carver Birmingham . . . 13
9/26 0 Carver Montgomery . . . 13
10/1 13 Parker . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
10/12 13 Norris . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/19 7 Hayes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/25 12 Wenonah . . . . . . . . . . . 19
11/1 7 Druid . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
11/9 OPEN . . . . . . . . . . . . .

65 2-7 164

* Playoff 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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Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History

The Alabama High School Athletic Association was first organized in 1921.