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Amazing Seasons 


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          As the Russellville Golden Tigers prepared for the 1968 season, head coach Bill Doty knew the pressure was squarely on the Tigers as they were the defending state champions and riding a 21 game unbeaten streak. The Tigers had also won ten games in a row since tying Colbert County 20-20 in the second game of the 1967 season.

          Coach Doty entered his eighth season at the helm of the Golden Tigers with high hopes for the team. They did not disappoint and won their second consecutive playoff championship in 1968.


  Deshler 0   0   6   0   6  
  Russellville 7   0   0    6  13  

          The Golden Tigers defeated Deshler to open the 1968 season 13-6 for their 22nd win in a row. Running back Jeff Fuller rushed for 142 yards on 23 carries to lead the offense. Russellville committed four turnovers in Deshler territory that stalled scoring drives. Russellville struck first when Cleveland Young intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers led 7-0 with 8:26 left in the first quarter. 

          Deshler scored on a fourth and goal from the one-yard line in the third quarter but the extra point was blocked and Russellville still led 7-6 at the half. Joey Watson found senior end Rodney Jones for an eight-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter for the final tally of the evening.


  Russellville 0   2   7   7   16  
  Bradshaw 6   0   6   0   12  

          In week two, Russellville came back to defeat Bradshaw 16-12 on the road. Fuller rushed for 147 yards on 22 attempts and scored a touchdown in the game. Bradshaw too a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter before giving up a safety just before halftime. Harry Hardin returned the second half kickoff 93 yards to give the Bruins a 12-2 lead before the Russellville offense got untracked.

          Donald Jackson found Rodney Jones for a 27-yard touchdown pass with 3:55 left in the third to cut the lead to 12-9. Fuller scored from the six-yard line to give the Tigers a 16-12 lead with 11:03 remaining in the game. The defense held up the rest of the way and Russellville won game two of the season.


  Russellville 13  6   6   0   25  
  Colbert County 0   0   7   0   7  

          Russellville jumped out to a 13-0 first quarter lead on Colbert County before winning 25-7 over the Indians. William Bonds scored three touchdowns on receptions of 65, 53 and 65 yards in the contest. Star running back Jeff Fuller only played a couple of snaps as he nursed a sore ankle, so the Golden Tigers went to the air to defeat the Indians.


  Russellville 0   0   7   0   7  
  Coffee 0   0   0   0   0  

          In week four, the Tigers defeated Coffee 7-0 for their fourth win of the season. The lone score came with 2:43 left in the third period on an interception return by Ricky Saint. The defense played great to collect their second shutout of the season.


  Russellville 6   14   15   0   35  
  Haleyville 0   0   0   0   0  

          Following a week off, Russellville was back on the road for the fourth straight game to face Haleyville. The Tigers won convincingly 35-0 in a rout. Watson got the first touchdown on a nifty 30-yard run as the Tigers built a 20-0 first half lead on a 60-yard punt return by Mickey Boyles.

         In the second half, Fuller scored on runs of 65 and 3 yards and the defense tacked on a safety for the final margin in the third quarter. The defense also held the Lions to just 79 yards of total offense on the night.


  Cherokee 0   0   0   13   13  
  Russellville 7   20   6   7   40  

          The Tigers returned for a home game the next week and routed 5-1 Cherokee 40-13. Russellville raced to a 27-0 halftime lead and held on for victory number six. Joey Watson ran for 92 yards and Fuller added 95 yards rushing to lead an offensive explosion. Watson ran for two touchdowns and tossed three scoring passes, two to Bonds and one to Ricky Saint. The defense collect four interceptions.


  Tupelo 7   0   0   6   13  
  Russellville 7   7   7   13   34  

           Russellville topped Tupelo MS, the next week 34-13 to keep their unbeaten streak alive at 28 games. Tupelo jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before the Golden Tigers got things going on offense. Watson threw touchdown passed of 76 and 30 yards to William Bonds and scored one himself to guide the Tigers to another win.


  Sheffield 0   0   0   0   0  
  Russellville 0   7   13   6   26  

           The defense registered their fourth shutout and their eighth win of the season against Sheffield the next week. Russellville led just 7-0 at the half before they scored three times in the second half to put the game on ice.

           Tailback Robert Mullins scored on runs of 33 and 25 yards for the final two touchdowns of the game as the Tigers defeated Sheffield 26-0. Russellville rushed for 353 yards in the game while the defense limited the Bulldogs to just 85 yards of total offense.


  Russellville 0   0   6   14   20  
  Hartselle 0   0   0   0   0  

           Hartselle came to Russellville to play the Golden Tigers to wrap up the 1968 regular season. The two teams fought to a scoreless 0-0 tie in the first half after the Tigers held on a goal line stand in the final moments of the second quarter. Fullback Robert Mullins ran six yards for a touchdown midway through the third to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead.

          Junior tailback Mike Massingill capped a 90-yard drive with a 33-yard run and Rickey Saint fell on a Hartselle fumble in the end zone for the final points in a 20-0 win. The victory wrapped up the Tennessee Valley Conference Championship and assured the Golden Tigers of a playoff slot.

          The win was also the 30th consecutive game without being defeated. The offense rolled up 290 yards rushing while the defense held Hartselle to just 59 yards as they registered their fifth shutout of the season.


  Charles Henderson 0   0   7   0   7  
  Russellville 7   0   0   3   10  

          The Russellville Golden Tigers opened the 1968 Class 3A playoffs at home against Charles Henderson of Troy. The Tigers pulled out an exciting 10-7 win on a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Fuller with just seven second remaining in the game to advance to the championship matchup with Saks.

          Russellville scored the second time they had possession of the football in the first quarter on a 27-yard pass from Watson to William Bonds for a 7-0 lead. Henderson came back to tie the score in the third stanza on a short run.

          Fuller had a field goal blocked with 2:28 left before the game winning drive started on their 46-yard line with just 35 seconds remaining in the game. Watson hit Mullins for 21 and Saint on a 11-yard pass before throwing incomplete. The Tigers took their final timeout with 13 seconds left and the football at the Charles Henderson fourteen-yard line.

          Jeff Fuller calmly booted the kick and the Tigers escaped with a hard fought 10-7 win. The offense rushed for 248 yards and passes for another 146 but were hampered by three turnovers and penalties in the game. Charles Henderson managed only 109 yards rushing and 157 total yards in defeat.


  Russellville 13   12   19   7   51  
  Saks 0   6   0   7   13  

          The win set up a great championship game against an 11-0 Saks team that finished the season ranked No. 1 ahead of second ranked Russellville.

          The defending 3A state champions had little trouble retaining the title as they defeated Saks 51-13 Friday night in Anniston. The Golden Tigers scored in four plays once they gained possession of the football as 12,000 fans watched. Robert Mullins was the leading ground gainer for Russellville as he piled up 133 yards on 14 carries.

          Jeff Fuller was not far behind with 99 yards on 13 carries. Joey Watson, the Golden Tigers quarterback, also got in on the action by completing 7 of 11 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Saks just never could get going and mistakes hurt their chances all evening. The Russellville offense rolled up 388 yards rushing and 545 yard of total offense against 177 total yards for Saks.

          The win gave the Golden Tigers their second straight championship. It also was their 32nd consecutive game without being defeated. The streak reached 41 games before they lost to Muscle Shoals in the last game of the 1969 regular season.

          Named to the Birmingham News first team all-state squad were guard Doug Allen and back Jeff Fuller. Charles Badgett was named to the honorable mention team.




Russellville
1968

9/6 7 Deshler . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/13 16 Bradshaw . . . . . . . . . . 12
9/20 25 Colbert County . . . . . 7
9/27 7 Coffee . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/11 OPEN . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10/18 35 Haleyville . . . . . . . . 0
10/28 40 Cherokee . . . . . . . . . . 13
11/1 34 Tupelo MS . . . . . . . . . 13
11/8 26 Sheffield . . . . . . . . . 0
11/15 20 Hartselle . . . . . . . . . 0
11/22 10 Charles Henderson * . . 7
11/29 51 Saks # . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

271 11-0 65

* Playoff game
# State championship game




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


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The Alabama High School Athletic Association was first organized in 1921.