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  School Football over the past 100 seasons.





The Greatest Games


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          Although Gadsden high school closed following the 2006 school year, their rivalry with the Etowah Blue Devils is one of the oldest in the state. It dates back to the 1924 season. The two teams played more games against each other than any other two teams in the state. They met a total of 104 times on the football field.

          While other rivalries have been played longer these two schools played more games because they played twice so many times in the same season. They played in twenty-five Charity Bowls together and met in the playoffs another three times.

          While several of the contests between the two rivals were memorable, one stands out. On Nov. 27, 1998 they met in the semi-finals of the playoffs for a chance to advance to the state championship game in Birmingham. It would be a classic.

           The Tigers (12-1) hosted the Blue Devils (9-3) in the playoff game after having beaten them earlier in the season 28-21 to claim the Area crown. A standing room only crowd at Murphree Stadium watched as Gadsden fell to Etowah 27-26 in double overtime.

           The Blue Devils got the ball first in the initial overtime and scored in three plays on a Carnell Williams 3-yard run. A bad snap on the point after try forced quarterback Anthony Mayo to throw an interception in the end zone. The Devils led 26-20 knowing that a Gadsden touchdown and extra point would win the game.

           Gadsden quarterback, Luke Carlisle scored on the second play for the Tigers on a 1-yard run. All they needed was an extra point to win the game and advance to the title game. It did not work out that way as the snap went through the holders' hands and the kick never got off the ground forcing a second overtime.

           Gadsden got the ball on the ten-yard line and scored in two plays on a Robert Williams 9-yard run. Randy Smith's kick was wide right and the Tigers led 26-20. After a five yard penalty, Etowah cashed in on an Anthony Mayo 15-yard touchdown pass to Adam Gilmer. Sean Barkley's kick was true and the Devils were going to Birmingham.

           The Tigers got on the scoreboard first with a Luke Carlisle 1-yard run in the opening quarter to take a 7-0 lead. The short drive was set up when Wayne Bush returned an Etowah fumble 15 yards to the three. Carlisle scored two plays later.

           Etowah scored just before the half on a 95-yard drive in five plays. Carnell Williams' 5-yard run capped the drive with just 46 seconds left in the half. Carlisle completed two big passes of 28 and 38 yards to keep the drive alive. The game was tied 7-7 at the intermission.

           Robert Williams scored on an 18-yard run midway through the third to give Gadsden a 14-7 lead. The Devils answered just 27 seconds later on a Anthony Mayo 41-yard pass to Josh Hutchens with 5:00 left in the third quarter. The score was set up by Carnell Williams 37-yard run.

           Etowah blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt by Smith with nine minutes remaining in the game to keep the score tied 14-14. Later, Victor Gibson raced 45 yards to the Gadsden 25-yard line with a recovered fumble by the Tigers but Mayo's interception thwarted the drive. From that point, overtime was assured.

           Sophomore sensation, Carnell Williams finished the evening with 148 yards on 18 carries while Robert Williams led the Tigers with 150 yards on 26 carries. Mayo completed 5 of 11 passes for 129 yards but was intercepted once.

           Etowah played Blount the following Thursday in Birmingham and lost to the Leopards for the second consecutive year 27-20. The following season, 1999, Etowah finally broke through winning a state championship with a 42-26 win over Williamson in the title game. Along the way they again defeated Gadsden (36-0) in the semi-final round of the playoffs.

           The rivalry is no more but it will be remembered as one of the most fierce in the state. Gadsden leads the all-time series 56-41-6. Both teams were well represented over the years by good teams and played in several classic Charity Bowl games.




Etowah .......................................   0   7   7   0   6   7 -27
Gadsden .....................................   7   0   7   0   6   6 -26
 
Gadsden - Luke Carlisle 1-yard run (Smith kick)
Etowah - Carnell Williams 5-yard run (Sean Barkley kick)
Gadsden - Robert Williams 18-yard run (Smith kick)
Etowah - Anthony Mayo 41-yard pass to Josh Hutchens (Sean Barkley kick)
Etowah - Carnell Williams 3-yard run (conversion failed)
Gadsden - Luke Carlisle 1-yard run (bad snap on kick)
Gadsden - Robert Williams 9-yard run (Smith kick wide)
Etowah - Anthony Mayo 15-yard pass to Adam Gilmer (Sean Barkley kick)


Etowah
1998

8/28 30 Emma Sansom . . . . . . . 6
9/4 28 North Jackson . . . . . 6
9/11 19 Sylacauga . . . . . . . . . 20
9/18 14 Tuscaloosa County . . . 16
9/25 20 Oxford . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
10/2 21 Gadsden . . . . . . . . . . . 28
10/9 47 Boaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
10/16 OPEN . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10/23 54 Albertville . . . . . . . 13
10/30 47 Southside Gadsden . . . 6
11/6 35 McAdory * . . . . . . . . . 14
11/13 21 Jacksonville * . . . . . 0
11/20 14 Athens * . . . . . . . . . . 7
11/27 27 Gadsden * . . . . . . . . . 26
12/3 20 Blount # . . . . . . . . . . 27

397 10-4 196

* Playoff game
# State championship game
Gadsden
1998

8/28 35 Fort Payne . . . . . . . . 27
9/4 28 Pell City . . . . . . . . . 0
9/11 55 Litchfield . . . . . . . . 6
9/18 35 Emma Sansom . . . . . . . 0
9/25 38 Albertville . . . . . . . 7
10/2 28 Etowah . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
10/9 14 Midfield . . . . . . . . . . 28
10/16 54 Southside Gadsden . . . 19
10/23 48 Talladega . . . . . . . . . 0
10/30 63 Boaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
11/6 48 Pleasant Grove * . . . 0
11/13 21 Anniston * . . . . . . . . 17
11/20 46 Parker * . . . . . . . . . . 12
11/27 26 Etowah * . . . . . . . . . . 27

539 12-2 195

* 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 first football game played by a high school team in Alabama was in 1892 when Central Birmingham (Phillips) lost to Alabama 56-0 on November 11.