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          With eight minutes remaining in the 1980 Class 2A state championship game it appeared that the Southern Choctaw Indians were in command and on their way to the schools' first ever state title. Suddenly everything changed and the Gordo Green Wave took control of their destiny and a second championship.

          The game, played in Silas, pitted two teams with perfect 13-0 records against each other in an epic battle of wills. Both teams started slow and for the first quarter and a half they battled to a scoreless tie.

          Perry Skinner threw the first of his three touchdown passes to Brian Ray in the second quarter for a 6-0 Southern Choctaw lead with just over five minutes left in the opening half. Gordo came back to tie the game on a 4-yard run by senior Ken Thomas after the extra point was missed. Only 26 seconds remained in the half after the Green Wave score.

          Just as it looked as if the teams would go to the half in a 6-6 tie, Indians' quarterback Skinner threw a 45-yard bomb to Tim Pearson with just one second left in the half. He then completed a pass for the two-point conversion and Choctaw led 14-6 in dramatic fashion.

          The Green Wave came back to cut the margin to 14-12 on a 6-yard run by Ken Thomas. A pass fell incomplete on the two-point try on the last play of the third quarter. With 10:45 to play, Southern Choctaw scored on a 96-yard touchdown pass from Skinner to Travis McGrew. The two point attempt was good and the Indians led 22-12.

          Gordo could not move the football on their next possession and punted to the Indians. The defense held and Southern Choctaw was also forced to punt and the fireworks began at that point. Derrick Knox caught the ball on his 33-yard line and promptly returned the kick 67 yards to give the Green Wave some hope. Jeff Parker hit Knox for the two-point conversion and Southern Choctaw's lead was cut to 22-20 with 7:03 to play.

          Suddenly there was hope along the Gordo sidelines. The defense again held the Indians and after a short 22-yard punt, the Green Wave took over at the Gordo 46-yard line with 5:33 to play in the game.

          Knox converted a fourth and one play at the Indians 45-yard line to keep the drive alive. He than ran 26 yards on second down to the 17-yard line and a first down. Another first down placed the football on the seven. On third down, Parker scored on a three-yard run to give the Green Wave their first lead of the contest. A two-point pass fell incomplete but Gordo led 26-22 with just 1:42 to play.

          Skinner, playing defensive back, intercepted a Choctaw pass to seal the victory for the Green Wave. As the celebration began in the stands and among the players, Gordo ran out the last few seconds of the clock for a dramatic come from behind win in a state championship game.

          Gordo used an eleven-play, 54-yard drive to claim their first championship since the 1968 season. The fourteen wins in 1980 are the most school history. 




Gordo .........................................   0   6   6 14 -26
Southern Choctaw......................   0 14   0   8 -22
 
Choctaw - Brian Ray 20-yard pass from Perry Skinner (kick blocked) 5:10
Gordo - Ken Thomas 4-yard run (kick failed) 0:26
Choctaw - Tim Pearson 45-yard pass from Perry Skinner (Skinner to Ray pass) 0:01
Gordo - Ken Thomas 6-yard run (pass failed) 0:00
Choctaw - Travis McGrew 96-yard pass from Perry Skinner (Skinner to Pearson pass) 10:45
Gordo - Derrick Knox 87-yard punt return (Parker to Knox pass) 7:03
Gordo - Jeff Parker 3-yard run (pass failed) 1:42


Gordo
1980

9/5 26 Tuscaloosa County . . . 20
9/12 28 West Blocton . . . . . . 6
9/19 34 Starkville MS . . . . . 22
9/26 35 Holt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/3 28 Fayette County . . . . . 7
10/10 53 Northside . . . . . . . . . 8
10/17 39 New Hope MS . . . . . . . 8
10/24 33 Hale County . . . . . . . 6
10/31 41 Carrollton . . . . . . . . 0
11/7 26 Pickens County . . . . . 0
11/14 41 Winston County * . . . 14
11/21 36 Susan Moore * . . . . . 8
11/28 36 Lexington * . . . . . . . 15
12/5 26 Southern Choctaw # . . 22

482 14-0 136

* Playoff game
# State championship game
Southern Choctaw
1980

8/28 1 Fruitdale . . . . . . . . . 0
9/5 7 St. Paul's . . . . . . . . . 6
9/12 14 Choctaw County . . . . . 6
9/19 29 Leroy . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/26 14 Flomaton . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/3 18 Clarke County . . . . . 0
10/10 12 Millry . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
10/17 33 Washington County . . . 14
10/24 42 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/31 31 McIntosh . . . . . . . . . . 16
11/14 35 J.F. Shields * . . . . . 34
11/21 14 Headland * . . . . . . . . 7
11/28 14 Dadeville * . . . . . . . 9
12/5 22 Gordo # . . . . . . . . . . . 26

286 13-1 124

* 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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