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Amazing Seasons 

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          The 1972 Colbert County Indians are considered by many fans in the state to be one of the best high school football teams ever assembled. The team was led by veteran quarterback Phil Gargis who had two outstanding receivers in Thad Flanagan and Ozzie Newsome. A trio of running back led the wishbone attack that could not be stopped all season.

  Colbert County 16   0   7   7   30  
  Hamilton 0   8   0   0   8  

           The Colbert County Indians opened the 1972 season against the Hamilton Aggies on Sep. 1 on the road. The Indians crushed the Aggies 30-8. Quarterback Phil Gargis got the offense going on the Indians' second possession as they drove 65 yards in five plays for their first touchdown. On their next possession a three-play drive ended with a 54-yard pass from Gargis to Ozzie Newsome for a 16-0 lead with 1:02 left in the first after the two-point conversion.

           Colbert County led 16-8 at the half and tacked on 14 more points in the second half for their first win of the season. Jack King led the ground attack with 60 yards on nine carries.

  Colbert County 0   7   0   12   19  
  Hartselle 14   0   0   0   14  

           The Indians overcame costly first quarter mistakes to defeat Hartselle 19-14 in their second game. Ossie Jones fumbled the ball away on the Indians first possession of the game and Hartselle took a quick 7-0 lead.

           Following the ensuing kickoff, Jack King fumbled the football on the very first play. It was picked up by B.D. Thrasher and returned 28 yards for a touchdown and the Indians found themselves down 14-0 with 7:48 left in the first quarter.

           Colbert County did not push the panic button just yet and with good reason. Late in the second quarter, Thad Flanagan fielded a punt at his own 45 and raced 55 yard for the touchdown through the defenders. Just five seconds were remaining before halftime. The Indians had cut the lead to 14-7.

           Following a scoreless third quarter, Gargis found Newsome for a 14-yard touchdown pass. The Indians went for two but failed to convert and they still trailed 14-13. After forcing Hartselle to punt, Colbert County got the winning score on another Gargis to Newsome touchdown.

           This one covered 22 yards and gave the Indians a 19-14 lead. Ossie Jones intercepted the final pass of the evening by Hartselle and the Indians went back to Leighton with a fought win. Colbert County outgained the Tigers 274-89 but fumbled the football away three times to keep the game closer than it really should have been.

  Russellville 0   0   0   8   8  
  Colbert County 0   6   6   23   35  

           Flanagan was the star in week three. He scored touchdowns on a 33-yard pass from Gargis, a 70-yard interception return and a 78-yard kickoff return. He also added a two-point conversion. The Indians romped over their tradition rival Russellville 35-8 in the first home game of the season. The win avenged a 21-8 loss to the Golden Tigers in 1971.

           After Colbert County grabbed a 28-0 lead, Russellville finally got on the scoreboard with a 17-yrad scoring pass with 3:05 left in the game. Flanagan fielded the ensuing kickoff at his 22 and ran straight up field through the defenders for a 78-yard touchdown for the final score of the evening and a 35-8 lead.

           The Indians outgained the Tigers 330-96 holding them to just 24 yards rushing. All but five of those yards came in the last five minutes of the game for the Tigers. The defense also collected three interception thrown by the Tigers.

  Brighton 0   0   0   0   0  
  Colbert County 18   14   16   6   54  

           Brighton proved to be little trouble for the Indians as the rolled to a 54-0 victory. Colbert County jumped out to an 18-0 first quarter lead and stretched it to 32-0 by halftime. The Bears were outgained 388-41 and had only one first down the entire game. Ossie Jones rushed for 93 yards in the first half on just five carries including a 59-yard run to set up the first score for the Indians.

           Newsome caught a 43-yard scoring pass from Gargis for the second touchdown of the evening. backup quarterback Terry Powell threw two touchdown passes in the second half to seal the victory.

  Colbert County 23   28   6   0   57  
  Central Florence 0   8   0   2   10  

           The Central Wildcats from Florence were no match for the balanced attack of Colbert County. The Indians rushed for 236 yards and passed for 193 yards during a 57-10 rout of the Wildcats. Colbert County jumped out to a 23-0 first quarter lead and rolled it up to 51-0 by halftime.

           The Indians scored just three plays after the opening kickoff on a 55-yard pass from Gargis to Jones. Phil Gargis ran 48 yards for a second quarter touchdown and threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Ozzie Newsome just before halftime for a 51-0 lead. Newsome also scored on a 62-yard interception return in the first half.

  Sparkman 0   0   0   8   8  
  Colbert County 16   16   8   0   40  

           Following an open date, Colbert County built a 32-0 halftime lead against Sparkman and coasted to a  40-8 victory. Sparkman was not able to get on the scoreboard until all the starters were out of the game, scoring on a short drive. The Indians rushed for 247 yards, led by fullback Maurice Brawley, and passed for another 132 yards in the win. Sparkman managed just 131 yards of offense.

           Gargis found Flanagan on a 30-yard scoring strike and Terry Powell hit Newsome for another touchdown in the third quarter.

  Sheffield 0   0   6   6   12  
  Colbert County 7   15   6   0   28  

           The Sheffield Bulldogs visited the seventh ranked Class 3A Colbert County in week seven of the season and came away with a 28-12 loss. Once again the Indians built a 22-0 first half lead before cruising to the win. Phil Gargis scored twice on short runs and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Ossie Jones.

  Muscle Shoals 0   8   0   8   16  
  Colbert County 20   0   0   16   36  

           The sixth ranked Indians took on Muscle Shoals in week eight and came away with a 36-16 victory. Once again they got off to a fast start and built a 20-0 first half lead. Jones and King scored first period touchdowns on short runs before Gargis found Newsome for an 69-yard touchdown with 52 seconds left in the first.

           In the fourth, Gargis threw touchdown passes to Flanagan and Newsome for a 36-8 lead before Muscle Shoals scored with 1:14 remaining in the game.

  Colbert County 16   0   16   0   32  
  Deshler 0   0   0   0   0  

           Up next were the Deshler Tigers. The Indians traveled to Tuscumbia for the bout and jumped out to a 16-0 first quarter lead on an Ossie Jones 15-yard run and a Gargis to Newsome 14-yard touchdown pass. Gargis scored on an 11-yard run and found Newsome for another score from 7 yards out in the third period for the final points of the game in a 32-0 shutout of the Tigers.

           The Indians rolled up 213 yard rushing and added 87 yards passing while the defense held Deshler to just 31 yards of total offense in the game. Colbert County collected 16 first downs to just three for the Tigers.

  Cherokee 0   0   0   0   0  
  Colbert County 16   14   6   13   49  

           The Indians of Colbert County faced the Cherokee Indians in the final regular season game. It was a chance for them to do something no previous squad had accomplished in school history, finish a regular season with a perfect 10-0 record.

           The Indians had little trouble in achieving their goal and dismantled Cherokee 49-0 to clinch a playoff spot. They jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead behind the running of Ossie Jones who scored the first three touchdowns and gained 123 yards on just nine carries. His third score was a 61-yard gallop.

           Frank Johnson accounted for the final three touchdowns and ran for 117 yards on nine attempts. Maurice Brawley ran for 190 yards on six carries and caught a pass for another 27 yards. Brawley scored on runs of 83 and 65 yards in the second half.

           The Indians rolled up 452 yards rushing and 40 more through the air. The defense held Cherokee to 165 yards. As the final whistle blew, the Indians knew they were on their way to a second consecutive playoff appearance.

  Smiths Station 6   0   0   6   12  
  Colbert County 22   22   6   6   56  

           Colbert County hosted the Smiths Station Panthers in the first round of the 3A playoffs. Coach C.T. Manley had the team believing they could be the first to win a state championship in 1972. The Panthers came into the game with a 7-1 record and left on the short end of a 56-12 score.

            As they had done the last few games, the Indians jumped on the Panthers quick and built a 44-6 halftime lead. They ran a balanced wishbone attack that rushed for 212 yards and gained 167 more through the air. The second team on offense and defense played the entire last half of the game.          

            The No. 2 ranked Indians got going on their first offensive play when Gargis found Jones on a 40-yard strike following a Smiths Station fumble. Phillip Gargis threw five fist half touchdown passes. He found Newsome on scoring strikes of 25 and 36 yards and Brawley from 24 before connecting with Flanagan from 41 yards out in the second quarter. Gargis completed 9-of-11 passes for 187 yards in the first half alone.

  Oxford 0   0   7   0   7  
  Colbert County 21   7   7   8   43  

           In the second round of the playoff, the Indians hosted the Oxford Yellow Jackets. Colbert County destroyed the Oxford defense by rushing for 168 yards and throwing for another 212 yards in a 43-7 rout. The 43 points allowed by the Yellow Jackets defense were more than they had allowed all season combined.

           While the offense was clicking on all cylinders, it was the defense that stood out by coming up with seven turnovers. Newsome gathered in two fumble recoveries and Gargis and Flanagan intercepted two passes each. Ossie Jones also recovered a fumble to set up a touchdown.

           Gargis threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Indians jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead that grew to 28-0 by intermission. He completed 11-of-19 passes for 179 yards in the game.

  Colbert County 0   7   20   14   41  
  Cullman 0   7   0   7   14  

           The Colbert County team traveled to Cullman to face the Bearcats who had upset No. 1 Athens 6-0 the prior week. The bus ride to Cullman was not without incident as one of the buses made a bad turn and got stuck in a ditch along the way. The team was forced to wait until another bus arrived to take then to the stadium.

           They arrived just minutes before the scheduled kickoff and many players were still getting completed dresses as the officials signaled for the opening kick. The Indians got off to a very slow start. Cullman drew first blood and the teams went into the locker room at intermission tied at 7-7.

           After the break it was all Colbert County. They scored 34 points in the second half to walk away with a 41-14 victory and the first state championship in the schools long football playing history. The Indians were led by Phillip Gargis who completed 9 of 16 passes for 158 yards, ran for two touchdowns and threw a 70-yard pass to Ozzie Newsome for another. Frank Johnson, Maurice Brawley and Jack King also scored for Colbert County.

           Arguably the best high school team ever assembled in the state completed the 1972 season with a perfect 13-0 record. They outscored their opponents 520-109.

           Ozzie Newsome set a state record by catching 80 passes. Over the course of three seasons he caught 173 passes which was also a record at the time. In 1972 he scored 20 touchdowns. Phillip Gargis ran for eleven touchdowns and tossed 24 touchdown passes.

          Ossie Jones scored 13 TDs while King ran for nine. Maurice Brawley scored eight TDs rushing the ball and caught another four touchdown passes. Thad Flanagan scored a total of nine time in various ways.

           The defense was led by star players like Eddie Johnson and Calvin King at the tackles. Dan Campbell, Edward King and Karel Pruitt also stood out for the defense. The offensive line was anchored by Danny Stutts and Thomas Gargis.

           Ozzie Newsome, only a junior, went on the star at the University of Alabama before enjoying a hall-of-fame career with the Cleveland Browns. Thad Flanagan was a permanent captain of the Crimson Tide. Phil Gargis was named sophomore of the year in the SEC at Auburn University.

           Maurice Brawley was a standout player at North Alabama. Dan Campbell and Juston Clements played at Auburn. Eddie Johnson played junior college football in Mississippi.

Colbert County

9/1 30 Hamilton . . . . . . . . . . 8
9/8 19 Hartselle . . . . . . . . . 14
9/15 35 Russellville . . . . . . 8
9/22 54 Brighton . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/2 57 Central Florence . . . 10
10/6     OPEN . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
10/13 40 Sparkman . . . . . . . . . . 8
10/20 28 Sheffield . . . . . . . . . 12
10/28 36 Muscle Shoals . . . . . 16
11/3 32 Deshler . . . . . . . . . . . 0
11/10 49 Cherokee . . . . . . . . . . 0
11/17 56 Smiths Station * . . . 12
11/24 43 Oxford * . . . . . . . . . . 7
12/1 41 Cullman # . . . . . . . . . 14

520 13-0 109

* Playoff game
# State championship game

1972 Colbert County Indians
64 Dewey Ford     11 Terry Powell      
61 Billy Jones     22 Ricky Gargis      
60 William Parker     62 Jim Spangler      
65 Mike McCormack     70 Phillip Vandiver      
73 Anthony Oliver     67 Kirk Jones      
23 Ronald Turbyfill     85 Thomas Newsome      
20 William Goodwin     30 Karel Pruitt      
43 Jack King     12 Phil Gargis      
42 Ossie Jones     32 Frank Johnson      
41 Franklin King     84 Thad Flanagan      
40 Rucell Cobb     63 Calvin King      
19 Tim McGee     80 Ozzie Newsome      
51 Jerry Johnson     74 Garland Burden      
21 Jimmy Riley     75 Alan Gargis      
31 Maurice Brawley     50 David Hooper      
82 Edward King     81 Juston Clement      
71 Thomas Gargis     72 Dan Campbell      
52 Danny Stutts     83 Lawrence Flanagan      
19 Doyle Flanagan              

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

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