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Amazing Seasons 


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          The 1999 Etowah Blue Devils looked forward to the 1999 football season with anticipation of winning a state title. The past two seasons had ended in disappointment as both teams fell in the Class 5A state championship game to Blount. In 1996 they lost 21-0 and the next season Blount won 27-20 in overtime.

          With twelve returning starters, the Blue Devils had a cast capable of winning a title. Star junior running back Carnell Williams and senior quarterback Anthony Mayo had played in both title games and had the experience to lead the Devils. A No. 2 preseason ranking, behind none other than Blount, placed Etowah front and center in the chase for a championship.


  Emma Sansom 0   6   0   0   6  
  Etowah 7   8   14   7   36  

          Etowah opened the 1999 season against Emma Sansom at Jim Glover Field. Carnell Williams rushed for 228 yards on 16 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the Blue Devils to a 36-6 win over the Rebels. Etowah rolled up 469 yards of offense as Mayo completed 8-of-16 passes for 164 yards. Donnell Horton returned a fumble 53 yards for a Devils' touchdown and scored another on a 14-yard run.


  North Jackson 0   7   0   0   7  
  Etowah 23   0   14   0   37  

          The Blue Devils jumped out to a 23-0 first quarter lead and coasted to a 37-7 victory over North Jackson in week two of the season. Williams raced 50 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter to put the Devils up 30-7 and Mayo found Josh Hutchins on a 45-yard scoring pass to complete the scoring for the evening.

          Carnell finished with 116 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns. The defense kept North Jackson from completing a pass in the game and intercepted two passes. Blount lost in week two and the Etowah Blue Devils assumed the number one ranking in Class 5A, a position they held the remainder of the season.


  Sylacauga 8   3   0   7   18  
  Etowah 0   21   7   7   35  

          Sylacauga feel in week three 35-18 as Williams rushed for 166 yards on 20 carries and scored another three touchdowns. The Aggies took an early 8-0 lead before the defense set up scoring plays with Sylacauga turnovers.

          The Blue Devils led 21-11 at the half and Williams scored on their first possession of the second half to put Etowah up 28-11. Williams wrapped up the scoring for Etowah on a 30-yard run and Sylacauga got their last score very late in the game.


  Etowah 7   14   7   7   35  
  Tuscaloosa County 0   0   0   0   0  

          Etowah avenged a 1998 loss to Tuscaloosa County in week four. The Blue Devils shutout the Wildcats 35-0 as Williams rushed for 160 yards on 14 attempts and the defense played their best game of the young season. The Wildcats were held to just 105 yards of total offense and four first downs.

          Etowah led 21-0 at the half as Williams scored on runs of 25 and 26 yards. Backup quarterback Justin Smith, playing for an injured Mayo, tossed a 33-yard scoring strike to Adam Gilmer for the other touchdown.


  Etowah 6   12   0   14   32  
  Oxford 7   17   7   0   31  

          The Oxford Yellow Jackets put a scare in the Blue Devils before falling 32-31 in Oxford. The Jackets led 32-18 late in the third quarter and were driving for another score before the defense stepped up and recovered a fumble. Williams raced 81 yards on the very next play to pull Etowah within a touchdown 31-25.

          Horton scored on a 26-yard run midway through the last quarter to give the Devils their first lead of the game after trailing since the first quarter. Williams finished the evening with 184 yards rushing on 21 carries and Anthony Mayo returned to his quarterbacking duties and completed 5-of-11 passes for 120 yards.


  Etowah             7   0   3   35  
  Gadsden             7   0   0   32  

          In what was just another fantastic game between Gadsden and Etowah, the Blue Devils pulled out a 35-32 overtime win to remain undefeated. Etowah led 25-3 midway through the third quarter before Gadsden rallied to tie the game and send it into overtime. Sean Barkley booted a 18-yard field goal in the third overtime to give the Devils the win.

          Carnell Williams finished the game with a season high 214 yards on 31 carries to pace the offensive attack. The win over the second ranked Tigers was the last close game the Devils played in the regular season.


  Boaz 7   0   0   0   7  
  Etowah 21   27   0   0   48  

          In week seven, the Blue Devils romped over Boaz 48-7 in an Area 14 game. Adam Gilmer got the scoring started when he returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown on the Pirates first play from scrimmage.

          Boaz cut the lead to 14-7 late in the first quarter but Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to put Etowah up 21-7. Williams only played in the first half as the Devils built a 48-7 lead and finished with just 60 yards rushing on nine carries.


  Etowah 0   20   12   0   32  
  Albertville 3   0   0   0   3  

          Following an open date, Etowah clinched the Area 14 championship in week nine of the 1999 season. The Devils defeated Aggies 32-3 to run their season record to 8-0. Carnell ran for 180 yards on 16 carries to lead the offense while Mayo completed 8-of-12 passes for 103 yards.

          Williams scored on a 49-yard run just before halftime to give the Devils a 20-3 lead. Donnell Horton returned the second half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and added the final score on a 7-yard run.


  Southside 0   0   0   0   0  
  Etowah 21   9   26   0   56  

          Etowah ended the regular season with a 56-0 thrashing of Southside at home. Carnell rushed for 230 yards on 13 carries and scored four touchdowns in the victory. Mayo connected on three scoring passes of 46, 10 and 32 yards. Special teams got in on the action as Jermaine Howard blocked two punts and a field goal attempt.


  Buckhorn 0   0    0   16   16  
  Etowah 14   20   7   7   48  

          In the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs, the Devils faced 9-1, eighth-ranked Buckhorn Bucks. Etowah ran all over the Bucks as Williams rushed for 160 yards on 16 carries and Horton added another 153 yards on 15 attempts. The 48-16 win was also important to head coach Raymond Farmer as he collected win number 150 in his high school coaching career.

          Etowah rolled up 441 yards of total offense as the Devils raced to a 34-0 halftime lead. Hutchins returned an interception 73 yards for a touchdown and picked off another pass which he ran back to the Bucks' 25-yard line setting up another score.


  Etowah 14   14         41  
  Jacksonville 0   0   0   13   13  

          Quarterback Anthony Mayo, playing with a plastic cast on his non-throwing hand, completed 7-of-12 passes for 156 yards in a 41-13 win over an undefeated Jacksonville team. The defense intercepted four passes and proved too much for the Golden Eagles. Carnell Williams raced 78 yards on a screen pass to give the Devils a 28-0 halftime lead. He finished the game with 123 yards on just 12 carries.

          The Devils led 41-0 before Jacksonville added two late touchdowns long after the final outcome was decided.


  Etowah 7   14         47  
  Walker 7   0   6   14   27  

          Carnell rushed for a season high 266 yards on 25 carries as the Etowah Blue Devils beat undefeated and second-ranked Walker 47-27 in the third round. The Devils finished the night with 501 yards of total offense against the top-ranked defense in the state. They rolled up 412 yards on the ground to totally run over the Vikings.

          The Blue Devils jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead and did not attempt a single pass in the second half as they relied on their running game to carry them to win number twelve.


  Gadsden 0   0   0   0   0  
  Etowah 7   9   6   14   36  

          The win set up a rematch with rival Gadsden, a team that took the Devils to overtime earlier in the season. The semi-finals matchup did not live up to expectations as Etowah totally dominated the Tigers 36-0  on their home field.

          Carnell Williams ran for a career high 304 yards on 28 carries as the Devils rolled up 522 yards of total offense. Mayo tossed three touchdown passes and ran for another score. The defense held the Tigers to just eight first downs.


  Williamson 8   6   6   6   26  
  Etowah 12   8   14   7   42  

          For the third consecutive season, the Etowah Blue Devils reached the Class 5A state championship game. This year things were different. First, Blount was not across the field from the Devils and second they had Mayo and Williams on their sideline.

          Turnovers were a big part of the 5A state championship game as Williamson made them and Etowah capitalized on them in a 42-26 win for the Blue Devils. The Lions threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles during the game but were able to keep it close until the third quarter.

          Jamarcus Russell completed 11-of-13 passes for 134 yards in the first half but his Lions quickly ran into trouble in the second half. Adam Gilmer intercepted Russell at the Lion's 48 yard line on the first offensive play in the third quarter. Etowah scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive and another shortly thereafter to take a 35-14 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter.

          Mayo completed 6-of-12 passes for 150 yards as the Blue Devils celebrated their first state championship after losing in the past two state title games. Jamarcus Russell finished the game by completing18-of-34 passes for 256 yards. Carnell Williams led all runners with 194 yards rushing and also scored on a remarkable 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

          Carnell Williams finished the 1999 season with 2,611 yards rushing on 262 carries. He scored 34 touchdowns rushing and 38 total touchdowns. He was named Class 5A back of the Year by the ASWA in 1999 and later Mr. Football for the state the next season. Following graduation, Carnell went on to become a superstar at Auburn university for the Tigers and played a few seasons in the NFL.

          Anthony Mayo performed brilliantly considering he spent much of the season with an injure hand. He completed 87-of-162 passes for 1,753 yards and 24 touchdown passes.

          Named to the first team all-state squad by the ASWA were Carnell Williams, defensive back Jermaine Howard and linebacker Kevin Worthy. Tight end Adam Gilmer, Anthony Mayo and lineman Lance Freeman were selected to the honorable mention team.

          The 1999 Etowah Blue Devils completed the season with a 14-0 record. It was the most wins by any team in school history. They also set a team record by scoring 560 points during the season. It was their first perfect season since 1958.




Etowah
1999

8/27 36 Emma Sansom . . . . . . . 6
9/3 37 North Jackson . . . . . 7
9/10 35 Sylacauga . . . . . . . . . 18
9/17 35 Tuscaloosa County . . . 0
9/24 32 Oxford . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
10/1 35 Gadsden . . . . . . . . . . . 32
10/8 48 Boaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
10/15 OPEN . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10/22 32 Albertville . . . . . . . 3
10/29 56 Southside Gadsden . . . 0
11/5 48 Buckhorn * . . . . . . . . 16
11/12 41 Jacksonville * . . . . . 13
11/19 47 Walker * . . . . . . . . . . 27
11/26 36 Gadsden * . . . . . . . . . 0
12/3 42 Williamson # . . . . . . 26

560 14-0 186

* Playoff game
# State championship game




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


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