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          As the 1984 season unfolded it appeared the Fayette County Tigers would not qualify for the playoffs. They started the season 0-4 and reached the last game of the regular season with a 2-7 record and needing a win over Carbon Hill for the last playoff spot in their area. The Tigers won easily and defeated Eutaw 43-28 the next week to advance to the second round of the playoffs with a 4-7 record.

          Hillcrest took a different path to this game. The Patriots were 11-0 and had beaten Fayette County 19-7 in an area game in mid October. Most thought the Patriots would roll over the Tigers and move on in the playoffs. Hillcrest had never won a second round game in the schools brief history but the prospects for this being the year were good.

          Early in the game the defenses dominated with the assistance of turnovers and penalties. Hillcrest finally got a drive going in the second quarter on a 39-yard pass play. Quarterback Randy Beck tossed a lateral to wide receiver Rusty Sansing who then threw to a wide-open George Cockrell down to the Fayette 27-yard line.

          Four plays later, the Patriots reached the five-yard line. The offense bogged down at that point and lined up for a 27-yard field goal attempt. The Tigers' Gene Deal broke through the line to block the kick back into the arms of a waiting Beck who ran it in for a touchdown. Deal came through again and blocked the extra point but Hillcrest led 6-0.

          The led held up as the half ended. The Fayette defense played superb in the first half, holding Hillcrest star running back Ralph Williams to just 15 yards on 10 carries. In the second half they got tougher. The Tigers held Hillcrest to a single first down and 39 yards of total offense.

          The Tigers opened the second half with a 57-yard, four-play drive capped by a Nate Hollingsworth 36-yard run. Following the extra point, Fayette County led 7-6 with 10:09 left in the third.

          Fumbles plagued the Tigers all evening and the third miscue cost them. Hillcrest fell on the Tiger fumble at the Fayette 19-yard line. Williams scored from one-yard out as the fourth quarter started to regain the lead 12-7. A two-point pass fell incomplete.

          With just five minutes left in the game, the teams traded turnovers as neither offense could move the ball. As the clock wound down it appeared the Tigers' hopes were disappearing.

          The Tigers had possession of the football on their own 38-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the game when the fireworks began. Fayette backup quarterback, Ronnie Hubbert threw a pass intended for Keko Billups that bounced off his hands and into the arms of Ronnie Enis. Enis grabbed the deflected pass and raced 62 yards for the game tying touchdown with just 17 seconds remaining in the game. The extra point gave them a 13-12 lead.

          As the Hillcrest faithful watched in disbelief, the Fayette County players and fans celebrated an unlikely comeback win over an undefeated Hillcrest team. Despite five turnovers, the Fayette County Tigers pulled off a major upset in 1984 on a deflected pass play.

          The next week, the Cinderella season came to an end as the Tigers lost to Tallassee 28-7 and finished with a 5-8 record.



Fayette .......................................   0   0   7   6 -13
Hillcrest ......................................   0   6   0   6 -12
 
Hillcrest - Randy Beck 10-yard run (kick failed)
Fayette - Nate Hollingsworth 36-yard run (Andre kick) 10:09
Hillcrest - Ralph Williams 1-yard run (pass failed) 11:52
Fayette - Ronnie Enis 62-yard pass from Ronnie Hubbert (pass failed) 0:17


Hillcrest Tuscaloosa
1984

8/31 34 Akron . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
9/7 18 Gordo . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
9/14 21 West Blocton . . . . . . 7
9/21 17 Greensboro . . . . . . . . 0
9/28 36 Sumter County . . . . . 14
10/5 36 Aliceville . . . . . . . . 15
10/12 27 Carbon Hill . . . . . . . 6
10/19 19 Fayette County . . . . . 7
10/26 15 Brookwood . . . . . . . . . 6
11/2 34 Hale County . . . . . . . 22
11/9 28 Paramount * . . . . . . . 20
11/16 12 Fayette County * . . . 13

288 11-1 144

* Playoff game
Fayette County
1984

8/31 6 Pickens County . . . . . 7
9/7 8 Hazlewood . . . . . . . . . 22
9/14 7 Winfield . . . . . . . . . . 14
9/21 12 Lamar County . . . . . . 23
9/28 34 Sulligent . . . . . . . . . 0
10/5 15 Gordo . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
10/12 22 Aliceville . . . . . . . . 6
10/19 7 Hillcrest Tuscaloosa . 19
10/26 15 Millport . . . . . . . . . . 29
11/2 41 Carbon Hill . . . . . . . 7
11/9 43 Eutaw * . . . . . . . . . . . 28
11/16 13 Hillcrest Tuscaloosa * . 12
11/23 7 Tallassee * . . . . . . . 28

230 5-8 206

* 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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