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          The 1979 football season in Mobile had been interrupted by hurricane Fredrick in mid September throwing every teams' schedule into chaos. Teams were forced to make up games during the week to get a full schedule in before the state playoffs were to begin in early November. As if the teams were not pressed to the limit enough, two teams decided to play one game a little longer.

          The annual battle between Murphy and Theodore usually decided which team would qualify for the playoffs and which one would sit at home. The 1979 game was no exception as Murphy entered the Oct. 26 game with a perfect 6-0 record while the Bobcats were 5-1. The winner would be crowned Region One champs and the loser would likely be knocked out of the playoffs. 

          Quarterback Greg Sanders scored on a 9-yard run to give Murphy a 33-26 victory over Theodore in seven overtimes to hand the Panthers the region title. William McSwain intercepted a desperate Bobcat pass in Theodore's final overtime possession to seal the win.

          Murphy dominated play most of the game but trailed 13-6 as the teams entered the final quarter of play. Future Alabama star and current South Alabama head coach, Joey Jones scored on an end around play to tie the score at 13-13 with just 2:16 remaining in the last period. Following the ensuing kickoff, neither team could score and the game went to overtime.

          The Panthers got the ball first in overtime but failed to score. Theodore coach, Curt Douglas, decided to kick a field goal on first down to win the game but the kick was wide right. Theodore had a pass intercepted in the second overtime and Murphy coach, Bob Shaw, also went for a field goal on first down with the same results. On to overtime number three.

          Murphy scored on a third down 5-yard run by Greg Sanders and went up 20-13 on their possession. Quarterback Tommy Hearn scored from the three for Theodore to once again tie the game and send it to the fourth overtime.

         Both teams failed to score during the fourth overtime as the Bobcats threw an interception and Murphy missed another field goal on first down. The Panthers failed to score to start the fifth overtime. Theodore moved to the Panther's one-yard line where they faced fourth down. Carlos Boyd blocked the attempted field goal to send the game to the sixth overtime.

          The Bobcats got the ball first and Stanley Connor scored on fourth down from the one to put Theodore ahead 26-20. Greg Sanders scored for Murphy on their possession to tie the game 26-26 and setup the game-winning extra point try. Stanley Morrow came in to attempt the kick. He had made 37 consecutive tries before having one blocked in the first quarter so it seemed automatic.

          Antonio Mitchell blasted through the Murphy line to block the kick and the teams were still tied at 26-26 and headed for an unprecedented seventh overtime. Sanders ran the ball in from nine yards out on second down to hand Murphy a 33-26 lead but not the game.

          On Theodore's possession, the Bobcats faced a fourth down from the four after an incomplete pass. McSwain came up with an interception in the end zone to preserve the win for Murphy ending the longest game in state history. The game lasted well over three hours and both team were completely exhausted following the final whistle.

          Murphy outgained the Bobcats 357-248 and collected 23 first downs to 10 for Theodore but six turnovers kept the game close. The Panthers lost in the first round of the playoffs to end their season with an 8-3 record while Theodore wound up 7-3.



Murphy .......................................  6  0  0  7  0  0  7  0  0  6   7 - 33
Theodore ....................................  0  7   6  0  0  0  7  0  0   6   0 - 26
Murphy - Washington 1-yard run (kick failed)
Theodore - Hearn 1-yard run (Hunter kick)
Theodore - (kick failed)
Murphy - Jones 14-yard run (kick good)
Murphy - Sanders 5-yard run (kick good)
Theodore - Hearn 3-yard run (Hunter good)
Theodore - Connor 1-yard run (kick failed)
Murphy - Sanders run (kick blocked)
Murphy - Sanders 9-yard run (kick good)




Murphy
1979

8/30 35 Baldwin County . . . . . 22
9/7 42 Toulminville . . . . . . 12
9/21 29 Blount . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/28 28 Shaw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
10/6 21 Vigor . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
10/12 17 Davidson . . . . . . . . . . 7
10/19 33 Theodore . . . . . . . . . . 26
10/26 38 McGill-Toolen . . . . . 14
11/2 0 Fairhope . . . . . . . . . . 24
11/9 47 Mary Montgomery . . . . 7
11/16 21 Enterprise * . . . . . . 31

311 9-2 156

* Playoff game
# State championship game
Theodore
1979

8/31 33 Satsuma . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/7 19 Williamson . . . . . . . . 8
9/14 23 Vigor . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/21 21 Mary Montgomery . . . . 7
9/28 1 B.C. Rain . . . . . . . . . 0
10/12 8 McGill-Toolen . . . . . 22
10/19 40 Blount . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
10/26 26 Murphy . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
11/2 14 Shaw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
11/9 0 Davidson . . . . . . . . . . 12

185 7-3 121

* 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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