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Amazing Seasons 


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          The 1987 UMS Prep Bulldogs entered the season as an unknown. They had finished the 1986 season with a 5-5 record and had missed the playoffs for the second straight year. They were not highly regarded as they were not even ranked in the preseason ASWA polls. As a matter of fact they did not even break into the rankings until week seven of the polls and never reached higher than No. 4.

          With seventeen seniors and fourteen returning starters, the Bulldogs had the makings and experience to become a good football team. As it turned out they became a great football team.


  Clarke County 0   0   0   0   0  
  UMS Prep 0   7   21   7   35  

          The Bulldogs opened the 1987 season with a convincing 35-0 win over Clarke County. UMS exploded for three third quarter touchdowns to break open a close game as they routed the other Bulldogs from Grove Hill. Clint Duncan scored twice and led all runners with 84 yards rushing on just seven carries.


  UMS Prep 6   0   7   0   13  
  Alba 0   6   0   0   6  

          UMS traveled to Bayou La Batre in week two for a battle with the Alba Sharks. Steve Hancock scored on a 24-yard run in the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a hard-fought 13-6 win in a defensive struggle for both teams. The outcome was not decided until Clint Duncan intercepted an Alba pass with 10 seconds left in the game.

          Hancock and Duncan each rushed for 84 yards to lead the offense. The defense collected six turnovers from the Sharks and limited them to just 118 yards of total offense.


  Pace             3  
  UMS Prep             15  

          UMS faced off against Pace Florida in week three of the 1987 season and came away with a 15-3 win. Duncan score the first touchdown and David Lewis tossed one to Bryan Adams for the other score.


  St. Paul's 7   0   0   0   7  
  UMS Prep 7   21   7   13   48  

          Arch-rival St. Paul's came into Cooper Stadium for a visit in week four of the season and walked away disappointed in a 48-7 loss. Steve Hancock set the stage for the rout when he raced 70 yards on the Bulldogs first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Colby Maher completed all six of the passes he attempted for 103 yards and a touchdown.

          Hancock rushed for 119 yards and added another two scores on the ground. The defense completely shut down the Saints by holding them to just nine yards rushing and a total of 65 yards on the evening.


  Jackson 0   0   0   0   0  
  UMS Prep 0   0   0   0   3  

          Week five brought the Jackson Aggies to Cooper Stadium in what turned out to be a great defensive battle. Burton Pfeiffer booted a 35-yard field goal with 7:30 left to play in the game for the only points by either team. UMS came away with a 3-0 victory for their fifth win of the season.


  UMS Prep 0   3   0   0   3  
  Demopolis 0   0   0   0   0  

          In an improbable event, the UMS Bulldogs pulled out a second consecutive 3-0 win over the Demopolis Tigers in week six. Once again a 32-yard field goal by Pfeiffer were the only points scored in the defensive struggle. The game was not without suspense as the Tigers mounted a last minute desperation drive that reached the Bulldogs five-yard line with just 45 seconds remaining in the game.

          With no time-outs left, the Tigers ran three plays that moved the football to the one-yard line. With eight seconds remaining and the clock running, Demopolis was stopped at the goal line on fourth down as time expired. The 3-0 win on the road pushed the Bulldogs record to 6-0.


  UMS Prep 7   7   10   7   31  
  Southern Choctaw 0   0   0   0   0  

          The Bulldogs were on the road again in week seven against the Southern Choctaw Indians in a Class 3A Area One game. The defense played great as they collected their fourth shutout of the season in a 37-0 rout of the Indians. Clint Duncan returned an interception 35 yards for the first score. Scott Wells also intercepted two passes in the game.


  Washington County 0   0   0   0   0  
  UMS Prep 20   3   7   7   37  

          The Bulldogs finally broke into the ASWA ranking, making an appearance at No. 8 following their win over Southern Choctaw. At Cooper Stadium, UMS used special teams, defense and a running game to defeat Washington County 37-0. The Bulldogs got their first points of the evening from the special teams when Jay Faulkner blocked a punt and Aubrey Stadther returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.

          Pfeiffer booted a 37-yard field goal to give UMS a 23-0 halftime lead. The defense continued to play well and preserved another shutout in a 37-0 victory over the team from Chatom. The win also clinched the Area One title and a spot in the state playoffs for UMS.


  UMS Prep 7   10   7   6   30  
  Monroe County 0   0   0   0   0  

          In week eight, the Bulldogs faced another Class 5A team on the road at Monroe County. The Bulldogs disposed of the Monroeville team 30-0 for their ninth win of the season and their fourth against a Class 5A team. Once again special teams played a huge roll in the victory. Clint Duncan blocked a punt that Jay Faulkner recovered in the end zone for the Bulldogs first score.

          Sam Murray grabbed a fumbled Monroe County punt in mid air and raced 10 yards into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter to put UMS up 17-0 at the half. Bryan Adams returned the second half kickoff 85 yards for the third touchdown by the special teams in the game and a 24-0 lead.


  UMS Prep 21            60  
  Danville 0   0   0   0   0  

          The Bulldogs wrapped up the 1987 regular season with a 60-0 win over a helpless Danville team on the road. The Bulldogs scored on their first four possessions in the rout.

          The win gave UMS their first ever perfect regular season and the ten wins were the most in any season since they began playing football more than 80 years earlier.

          Clint Duncan galloped 94 yards with the opening kickoff and the rout was on. The defense limited Danville to just eleven yards of total offense while the offense piled up 320 yards. The shutout was the seventh of the season and the sixth in a row.

          As the regular season came to a close, the defense had not allowed a point in 27 quarters of football. They did not give up a single touchdown rushing all season long. Alba scored on a 54-yard pass play and St. Paul's got a touchdown on an 11-yard pass. Those were the only two touchdowns allowed by the defense all season.


  Wilcox County             8  
  UMS Prep             29  

          In round one of the 1987 state playoffs, the UMS Bulldogs defeated Wilcox County 29-8 behind the running of Steve Hancock. He rushed for 116 yards and scored three touchdowns as the offense rolled up 410 total yards while limiting Wilcox to minus eleven. Clint Duncan added 124 yards rushing on 11 carries and scored on a 40-yard run.


  UMS Prep             10  
  B.B. Comer             6  

          An 8-3 B.B. Comer team entertained UMS on the road in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs. The Bulldogs came away with a hard fought 10-6 victory to advance to the third round for the first time in school history.


  UMS Prep 0   7   6   7   20  
  Elba 0   0   0   14   14  

          The Bulldogs scored on a 59-yard run by Clint Duncan to carve out a 7-0 halftime lead against the Elba Tigers in the third round of the playoffs on their way to a 20-14 victory. They marched 62 yards with the second half kickoff to take a 13-0 lead before Elba scored to make it a 13-6 game in the fourth quarter.

          UMS got an insurance touchdown with just 3:56 remaining and again Elba came back to score to cut the lead to 2014 with just over three minutes left. Following the ensuing kickoff, the Bulldogs never gave the Tigers another chance as they held on to the football the rest of the game to secure the win.


  UMS Prep 7   0   0   14   21  
  Luverne 0   7   0   0   7  

          The Bulldogs face Luverne in the semi-finals of the playoffs. The two teams were tied 7-7 as the fourth quarter opened. Steve Hancock scored on a 49-yard run to break the tie with 10:19 remaining in the game. David Kahalley scored from the 14-yard line to give UMS a 21-7 lead with just under four minutes left and Hancock returned an interception 55 yards for the final points of the contest just a few minutes later.


  Oneonta 0   7   0   0   7  
  UMS Prep 7   0   21   0   28  

          The victory advanced the UMS Bulldogs to their first ever state championship game. For a team that had never gotten further than the second round of the playoffs it was uncharted territory to say the least. Head coach Ken McWilliams, in only his second year as the head football coach, had accomplished something no one prior to him had done.
         
          UMS capped a perfect 15-0 season with their first state championship with a 28-7 win over a one-loss Oneonta team at Cooper Stadium. The Bulldogs scored three touchdowns in just over three minutes in the third quarter to break open a close 7-7 game.

          Tailback Steve Hancock rushed for 70 yards on only nine carries and scored three touchdowns on runs of 5, 10 and 10 yards and linebacker Aubrey Stadther returned a fumble 13 yards for another score. Oneonta tailback Kris Jennings had been averaging over 200 yards a game in the four playoff games but the Bulldog defense held him to 19 yards on 20 carries.

          The UMS defense, which recorded eight shutouts during the season, held the run oriented Redskins to just 14 yards in the second half. The fans in Mobile celebrated a state championship for one of the most unlikely teams ever. To go from a 5-5 team to a 15-0 state title winner is a rare accomplishment in any classification.

          The previous season had concluded with a 5-5 record but four of the losses were by less than a touchdown and the other was by ten points. The difference was that in 1987 the UMS Bulldogs found a way to win the close games that they had lost in 1986.

          Steve Hancock rushed for 1,046 yards and scored 14 touchdowns to lead the offense during the 1987 season. As a linebacker, he registered over 130 stops and grabbed three interceptions.

          Linebacker Byron Adams was named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association first team all-state squad. Running back Steve Hancock was selected to the honorable mention team.



UMS-Wright
1987

8/28 35 Clarke County . . . . . 0
9/4 13 Alba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
9/11 15 Pace FL . . . . . . . . . . . 3
9/18 48 St. Paul's . . . . . . . . . 7
9/25 3 Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/2 3 Demopolis . . . . . . . . . 0
10/9 31 Southern Choctaw . . . 0
10/16 37 Washington County . . . 0
10/23 30 Monroe County . . . . . 0
10/30 60 Danville . . . . . . . . . . 0
11/6 29 Wilcox County * . . . . 8
11/13 10 B.B. Comer * . . . . . . 6
11/20 20 Elba * . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
11/27 28 Luverne * . . . . . . . . . 7
12/4 28 Oneonta # . . . . . . . . . 7

390 15-0 58

* Playoff game
# State championship game




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


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