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  School Football over the past 100 seasons.

Amazing Seasons 

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          Banks approached the 1973 season optimistic about defended their state championship. After all, quarterback Jeff Rutledge returned to lead the offense along with other starters.

          Coach Shorty White had built a dynasty at Banks and the players had no intention of slowing it down in 1973.

           The 1973 Banks Jets finished with a 13-0 record and a second consecutive Class 4A state championship. The Jets defeated Huffman 34-8 to cap off a perfect season after going 12-0-1 in 1972.

Coach George 'Shorty' White

  Ramsay         6  
  Banks             41  

           The first football game was against the Ramsay Rams. The defense held Huffman to just 111 total yards in a 41-6 victory. Joe Shaw got things going by blocking the first Vikings' punt of the game setting up the offense in great field position at the twelve.

           Three-plays later, quarterback Jeff Rutledge scored on a 4-yard run to give the Jets an early 7-0 lead. Rutledge also accounted for the second Banks' touchdown when he hit Bobby Morrow from 40 yards out for the score.

           Defensive back Milton Miles returned an interception 54 yards to the Ramsay one-yard line. Rutledge scored on the next play. Although the game was not close, Banks turned the football over five times or it may have been much worse for the Vikings.

  Berry 0   0   0   7   7  
  Banks 14   7   7   7   35  

           A crowd of over 12,00 fans watched the Jets defeat Berry 35-7 in week two of the season. The only score Berry came up with was an 11-yard fumble return for a touchdown after the game was well in hand. The Jets marched 60 yards for their first score. Murphree scored on a 3-yard run to put Banks up 7-0 early.

          Murphree scored again with 1:23 left in the first quarter to cap a 67-yard drive. Banks led 21-0 at the half after Milton Miles scored on a 3-yard run. Murphree scored again in the third quarter and backup quarterback Gary White threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Bob Martin to put Banks ahead 35-0.

  Jackson-Olin 0   0         6  
  Banks 7   7   0   21   35  

          Banks defeated Jackson-Olin 35-6 the next week. Once again Murphree led the rushing attack with 155 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets led 14-0 at the half and put the game away in the fourth quarter. Rutledge completed 9-of-17 passes for 146 yards.

           The defense was on top of their game and held the Mustangs to 18 yards rushing. Rutledge, Joe Wahl and Bob Martin scored fourth quarter touchdowns for the Jets.

  Mountain Brook 0   7         15  
  Banks 7   13         26  

          Next up were the Spartans of Mountain Brook. Rutledge scored the game's first touchdown on a 45-yard run for a 7-0 lead. The Spartans came back to tie the score at 7-7 before Milton Miles returned a kick 63 yards for a touchdown to give the Jets a 14-7 lead with 10:15 left before halftime.

          Rutledge hit Murphree in stride on a 70-yard touchdown pass just three minutes later for a 20-7 lead. Miles collected the final Jets score on a 63-yard run.

  Ensley 6   0   0   0   6  
  Banks 7   0   0   0   7  

           In the closest game of the regular season, the Jets defeated Ensley 7-6. Banks scored first on a double pass from Rutledge to Morrow to a wide open Rick Neal. The Ensley score came on a fumble recovery in the end zone later in the first quarter. Freddie Knighton broke through the line of scrimmage to block the extra point and the Jets still led 7-6.

           That score held up the remainder of the game mainly through the play of the Banks' defense. They held Ensley to only 10 yards rushing in the second half and 58 for the entire game.

  Jones Valley 0   0       7  
  Banks 0   14   14   9   37  

           On Oct. 11, the Jets beat Jones Valley 37-7 at Legion Field. Once again Rutledge got things going with a one-yard quarterback sneak early in the second quarter. In the final minute of the first half the Brownies drove deep into Jets' territory before Bo Landers intercepted a pass and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown to put Banks up 14-0 at the half.
           Murphree scored on a 3-yard run and Rutledge found Martin for a 30-yard touchdown pass in the third. The defense got in on the scoring spree when Bob Grefseng collected a safety. Joe Wahl wrapped up the scoring on a 41-yard run.

  Woodlawn 7   0   0   0   7  
  Banks 0   10   0   7   17  

           The Woodlawn Colonels were the next victim of Banks. On Homecoming, the Jets defeated the Colonels 17-7 and kept their star running back, Tony Nathan, in check most of the evening. The offense rolled up 342 yards of total offense and kept the football away from the dangerous Woodlawn offense.

           Woodlawn took an early 7-0 lead before Rutledge led a 67-yard drive in the second quarter capped by a Murphree 3-yard run to tie the score 7-7. The teams remained tied at the half. Wahl had runs of 33 and 24 yards in a drive to put the football at the 5-yard line before the drive stalled. Shaw booted a 22-yard field goal to give the Jets a 10-7 lead.

           Murphree scored the game clinching touchdown on fourth down with a one-yard run. Just 3:38 remained on the game clock and Banks had a 17-7 lead. The defense held the Colonels to just 17 yards rushing in the second half.

  Phillips 0   0   0   7   7  
  Banks       7   0   17  

           Banks jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead on Philips the next week and added a fourth quarter touchdown by Rutledge for a 17-0 lead before the Red Raiders scored late. The Jets were stopped several times inside the Raiders ten-yard line or the score would have much worse.

           Rutledge completed 8-of-15 passes for 140 yards and Joe Wahl ran for 81 yards on a dozen carries. Once again the defense was superb in holding Phillips to five first downs and 71 total yards of offense.

  Huffman       0   0   7  
  Banks       7   0   24  

           The Jets clinched one of only eight playoff spots the next week with a 24-7 victory over the Huffman Vikings. Murphree led the rushing attack with 116 yards on 24 carries. Rutledge completed 4-of-7 passes for 61 yards and ran for another 37.

           Banks built a 17-7 halftime lead before the defense took over in the second half. Rick Neal intercepted a pass and blocked a punt to set up a Jets' touchdown. The defense held Huffman to just 29 yards rushing in the first half.

  Homewood       0   0   10  
  Banks       6   22   35  

           Banks ran its unbeaten streak to 23 games against Homewood in the final regular season game of the 1973 season. The Patriots outgained the Jets in the first half before the offense scored 22 points in the last quarter to put the game away. After gaining only 69 yards rushing in the first half, the Jets ran for 192 yards after intermission.

           The Jets actually trailed 10-7 at the half for the first time all year. The Jets scored 22 points in the last 4:14 of the game. The last two scores came following interceptions by the defense.

  Wenonah             19  
  Banks             35  

           Banks won their first round playoff game with a 35-19 win over the Wenonah Dragons. The win was great but the Jets lost their star quarterback when Rutledge broke his left arm during the game. Despite the loss of their quarterback, the Jets came back to score two second half touchdowns after leading 21-13 at the half.

           The defense intercepted the Dragons three times with Rick Neal collecting two of them. Jerry Murphree threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Morrow to cap off the scoring.

  Butler 0   0   6   0   6  
  Banks 0   6   0   2   8  

           In the semi-final game against Butler, the Jets used Rick Neal and Gary White at quarterback but neither was effective as the offense struggled in an 8-6 win. The defense came through and shut down the Butler running game holding them to eighteen yards rushing the entire game.

           Murphree gained 113 yards rushing on 26 carries. Neal scored the only Banks touchdown following a Jerry McDonald fumble recovery. The extra point was missed but Banks led 6-0 with 5:48 left in the first half.

           Butler came back to tie the score in the third after missing the extra point. With the score tied, a snap from center on a punt sailed over the punter's head and rolled into the end zone where it was recovered by the Rebels for a safety. It was the only points the Jets needed in the second half in the 8-6 win.

  Grissom 0   0   0   0   0  
  Banks 0   7   14   0   21  

           In the Class 4A state championship game, the Banks Jets rolled over Grissom 21-0 without the services of Jeff Rutledge. They ran their unbeaten streak to 25 games with the win. Jerry Murphree led the offense with 147 yards rushing on 29 carries and Joe Wahl added 29 yards.

           Rick Neal handled the quarterbacking duties and played linebacker on defense. The Jets got on the scoreboard with two minutes remaining in the first half on a halfback option pass from Murphree to Bobby Morrow for 31 yards.

           In the third quarter, Banks missed a short field goal after driving to the Grissom one-yard line but got the ball back immediately on a Jerry McDonald interception at the Grissom 31 yard line. Murphree scored a few plays later on a 27-yard run to give the Jets a 14-0 lead.

           After the defense forced a three and out by Grissom, Jerry McDonald returned the punt 80 yards for a touchdown and Banks led 21-0. The defense shut down Grissom the remainder of the game and the Jets celebrated their second consecutive state championship. They outgained the Tigers 266-103 in a dominating effort by the defense.

          Players named to the first team all-state team by the Birmingham News included guard Fred Knighton, quarterback Jeff Rutledge, halfback Joe Shaw and end Rick Neal. Jerry Murphree was selected to the honorable mention team.


9/6 41 Ramsay . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
9/14 35 Berry Birmingham . . . 7
9/20 35 Jackson-Olin . . . . . . 6
9/28 26 Mountain Brook . . . . . 15
10/4 7 Ensley . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
10/11 37 Jones Valley . . . . . . 7
10/19 17 Woodlawn . . . . . . . . . . 7
10/26 17 Phillips Birmingham . . 7
11/2 24 Huffman . . . . . . . . . . . 7
11/2 35 Homewood . . . . . . . . . . 10
11/16 35 Wenonah * . . . . . . . . . 19
11/23 8 Butler * . . . . . . . . . . 6
11/30 21 Grissom # . . . . . . . . . 0

338 13-0 103

* Playoff game
# State championship game

1973  Banks Jets
24  Milton Miles   84 Bob Martin   73 Randy Duke
32 Joe Wahi   22 Jerry McDonald   44 Alan Howell
61 Robin Hunt   12 Gary White   33 Jerry Murphree
11 J.P. Vincent   31 Danny Beck   71 Kelley Pitts
60 Garry Burgess   64 Randy Frame   81 Joe Shaw
43 David Simmons   80 Rick Burkett   54 Frank Gunnels
21 Jim Smith   87 Kenny Cooper   75 John Shaw
62 Steve Wright   41 Bo Landers   76 Ricky Lott
45 Dennis Killian   15 Jeff Rutledge   16 Ronnie Whitten
34 Tommy Majors   55 Tank Murphree   67 Bob Grefseng
63 Greg Muse   74 Fred Knighton   77 Cliff Jones
42 Bobby Morrow   51 Don Day   66 Greg Ratcliff
78 Frank Attaway   72 Ed Blackmon   52 Steve Umphrey
14 Carl Carns   88 Gary Winsett   83 Rick Neal
82 Mike Griggs   85 Keith Dupre   50 Tom Parrish

Amazing Seasons, a series on the greatest seasons in high school football history

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