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  School Football over the past 100 seasons.

Amazing Seasons 

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          The 1988 Vigor Wolves were considered the best team in the state before the season opened. They returned 17 starters from a team that finished 13-1 and won the Class 6A state championship with a 19-13 win over Shades Valley.

          The Wolves also returned Darrell Williams who rushed for 1,706 yards on 235 carries before injuring his knee early in the championship game. Kelvin Simmons returned at quarterback. He threw for 1,498 yards in 1987 and accounted for 22 touchdowns.

          Kevin Lee, Bruce McGee and Ryan Blakeley returned at wide receiver. The trio known as "McBlakeLee" combined for 44 catches and 1,097 yards along with eight touchdowns. Virtually the entire defense returned.

          Linebackers Baron Owens, Mitch Davis, Tony Patterson and Willie Lambert were all starters last year. Barry Hunt, Adrian Jackson, Jerome Penn and D.J. Smith were back along the defensive front. Safety Bradley Craig anchored the secondary.

  Vigor 16   8   14   7   45  
  Theodore 0   0   0   0   0  

           Vigor opened the 1988 season ranked No. 1 in Class 6A against the Theodore Bobcats on the road. Senior quarterback Kelvin Simmons completed 9 of 11 passes for 201 yards and ran for 66 yards and a touchdown to lead the Wolves to a 45-0 win over the Bobcats.

           The Wolves' offense produced 234 first half yards while holding Theodore to only 36. For the game, Vigor outgained Theodore 399-73. The Wolves committed no turnovers and never punted in the game.

  Carver 0   0   8   6   14  
  Vigor 21   8   7   7   43  

           Week two proved to more of the same as the Wolves throttled Carver of Montgomery 43-14 at Prichard Stadium. The defense shut down Carver by holding the rushing attack to minus 42 yards on 21 carries. They harassed  the quarterback all evening sacking him five times and picking off four passes.

           Vigor built a 21-0 first quarter lead and claimed their second safety in as many games to take a 29-0 lead into the half. Carver scored on a Moore to Curtis Gunn 23-yard pass in the third and a 50-yard Moore to Baker pass with 1:49 remaining in the game. Both scores came after the outcome of the game was already decided.

  Vigor 0   6   0   13   19  
  Blount 0   0   0   0   0  

          The week three game against Central of Tuscaloosa was postponed, then cancelled, due to the heavy rains from Hurricane Florence. The game was scheduled for Tuscaloosa but was never played when the two schools could not reschedule the game.

          The Blount Leopards met the Wolves at Prichard Stadium in a matchup of cross-town rivals in week four. In a pouring rain, the game turned sloppy from the onset as both teams struggled to maintain possession of the football.

          The Vigor defense held Blount to 15 yards rushing on 24 carries and the Leopards only completed 5 of 16 passes for 73 yards and one interception. The game was closer than the score indicated as Vigor scored two late TDs to put the game away.

          Vigor didn't get on the scoreboard until the second period when Lectron Williams raced nine yards for a touchdown. He finished the game with 139 yards on 29 carries to pace the Wolves on offense. Vigor didn't score again until 8:43 left in the game on another 16 yard scamper by Williams.

          Vigor's last touchdown came on a 34-yard pass from third-string quarterback Terrance Peoples to Jerome Williams with 44 second remaining in the game. The Wolves rushed for 225 yards and passed for 42 more in the steady rain.

  McGill-Toolen 0   0   0   0   0  
  Vigor 0   14   0   15   29  

          In week five, the Wolves defeated McGill-Toolen 29-0. Lectron Williams proved his knee was completely healed by running for 200 yards on 26 carries and scored twice. But he also fumbled twice on the McGill goal line to thwart two other scoring drives. 

          The Yellow Jackets played the Wolves close for three quarters before Williams broke loose on a 64-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter to give Vigor a 22-0 lead with 11:33 remaining.

  Vigor 15   3   6   7   31  
  Shaw 0   0   0   7   7  

          Against Shaw, the Wolves chalked up their 17th win in a row with a 31-7 win. The Rebels fought all evening against the Vigor defense but the only pass they completed was caught by the Vigor defense. Vigor scored two quick touchdowns and led 15-0 just six minutes into the game.

         From there the Wolves seemed to coast to their fifth victory of the season. Down 24-0, Shaw drove 55 yards, scoring on a 20-yard run midway through the last period. Simmons completed 11 of 14 passes for 157 yards to lead the offense.

  LeFlore 7   0   0   6   13  
  Vigor 7   7   7   6   27  

          The next week, Vigor met the Leflore Rattlers and the game was just more of the same as Lectron Williams rushed for 131 yards and scored two TDs as the Wolves won 27-13 at Prichard Stadium.

          LeFlore kept the Vigor offense off the field for most of the first half. The Rattlers took the opening kickoff 65 yards in 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead in the first period. Vigor answered with a 62-yard four-play drive culminated with a Simmons nine-yard run to tie the score.

          Vigor scored on their next possession on a Williams fourteen yard run but the PAT was ruined on a bad snap. At the start of the third quarter, the Wolves wasted little time scoring on 3-play 69-yard drive when Williams ran it in from 13 yards out for a 21-7 lead.

          A Vigor fumble set up the last LeFlore score. The Rattlers took over at the Vigor 17 and scored three plays later to cut the margin to a final score of 27-13. 

  Vigor 3   7   7   7   24  
  Murphy 0   0   0   0   0  

          Before a crowd of 25,000 the Wolves defense held Murphy to a total of 5 yards of offense and defeated the Panthers 24-0 at Ladd Stadium. The win clinched the Area One championship for Vigor.

          Murphy could not get untracked at all as they were held to minus 20 yards rushing on 18 carries and completed 2-of-19 passes for only 25 yards and two interceptions. The Wolves rolled up 331 yards of offense but were turnover prone, giving away two fumbles and two interceptions.

  Vigor 7   0   7   7   21  
  Fairhope 0   0   3   0   3  

          The playoff bound Fairhope Pirates hosted the Wolves in the regular season finale. The Pirate defense held the Wolves to 223 yards after knocking Lectronout of the contest on the first play of the game. Vigor grabbed a 7-0 lead when Ryan Blakely returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown with 6:11 left in the opening quarter.

          The only Fairhope score came when the Pirates returned the second half kickoff 77 yards to the Vigor 13. However, three plays netted only two yards and the Fairhope booted a 27-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.

          Vigor answered right back when Simmons hit a streaking Blakely down the sidelines for a 60-yard TD pass. The Wolves put the game away with a 36-yard pass from Simmons to Bruce McGee with 5:49 remaining in the game. The defense held Fairhope to 42 yards rushing and 59 passing in the game. The Pirates completed only 5-of-21 passes with three interceptions.

  Mary Montgomery 0   0   0   0   0  
  Vigor 0   0   14   7   21  

          The Wolves gave their coach, Harold Clark, his 100th career coaching win with a 21-0 win over Mary G. Montgomery in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. In the first half the Wolves did not resemble a championship caliber team as the teams entered the half scoreless.

          The Wolves were stopped on two fourth down plays in Viking territory and managed just 68 yards of total offense. After halftime, Vigor scored on the second play from scrimmage when Cleon Jones raced 67 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The Wolves drove 72 yards in 8 plays for their final TD with Jones scoring from the three in the last stanza.

          While the offense struggle, the defense was superb, holding the Vikings to 41 yards rushing on 32 carries and 38 yards passing with two interceptions. 

  Shaw 0   0   0   0   0  
  Vigor 10   21   0   6   37  

          In the second round of the state playoffs, the Wolves completely shut down the Shaw offense holding them to 13 yards of offense and only 15 yards rushing on 38 attempts. The Rebels completed 1-of-8 passes for minus two yards.

          Vigor scored on two punt returns for touchdowns by Blakely and Bruce McGee to seal the 37-0 win. The Wolves lost three fumbles to stop the offense that managed 269 total yards. Shaw converted just 1-of-14 third downs and punted ten times.

  Vigor 7   14   0   14   35  
  Fairhope 0   0   0   0   0  

          In a rematch of the regular season finale, the Wolves defeated the Fairhope Pirates 35-0 to advance to the semi-finals of the state playoffs. Against the Pirates Simmons completed 7-of-14 passes for 111 yards and ran for 88 more.

          Lectron returned to the lineup after a couple of weeks on the sidelines to rush for 96 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. The Vigor defense set up three touchdowns by forcing turnovers deep in Pirate territory.

  Lee 0   0   0   0   0  
  Vigor 0   0   7   7   14  

          In the semi-finals, the Wolves faced an old foe in the Lee Generals from Montgomery. The two had met previously in playoff matchups and were very familiar with each other. There had been accusations of bad officiating in previous matchups but all that would not matter on this evening as the Wolves dominated the Generals.

          Vigor outgained the Generals 359-109 in a 14-0 win for the right to advance to the 6A championship game. The shutout was the eighth of the season for a defense that had not allowed a touchdown in 24 quarters.

          Darrell "Lectron" Williams was playing on a sore knee but still managed 151 yards on 22 carries to pace the Vigor attack.

  Berry 0   7   0   0   0  
  Vigor 14   7   7   13   41  

          The Wolves met Berry in the championship game. It was no contest. Vigor became the first team to win back to back championships in Alabama's largest classification since Mountain Brook in 1975 and 1976. The Wolves won their 25th straight game in fine fashion by using the same weapons they had all season.

          A crowd of over 20,000 fans, including Auburn Coach Pat Dye, Alabama Coach Bill Curry and Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden, looked on as Vigor put on a display and assured their legacy as one of the best high school football teams to ever take the field in Alabama. 

          A powerful offense and a stingy defense proved to be too much for Berry as it had for every other opponent. Ben Gamble led the way with 155 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 17 carries. Vigor led 21-0 early in the second quarter and 21-7 at halftime.

          Berry all-state quarterback, Stan White was unable to get untracked against the vigor pass rush. He finished the game completing 8 of 33 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown but suffered two interceptions.

          Darrell "Lectron" Williams, who injured his knee in last years' championship game elected not to test the knee just moments prior to the game and sat this one out. As it turned out the Wolves did not need him. Reserve tailback Ben Gamble earned MVP honors with 155 yards and three touchdowns.

          Berry did not cross midfield in the second half and were outgained 274 to 70 yards, and were 0 for 7 on third down conversions. Berry was able to get on the scoreboard shortly before halftime on a Stan White to Scott McFadden 16 yard touchdown pass. The score snapped a string of 25 scoreless quarters by the Vigor defense that surrendered only 44 points all season.

          As the final whistle blew, the Wolves had demolished Berry 41-7 at Legion Field in Birmingham. Vigor received national recognition following the season and were named by ESPN as the 1988 high school national champions. They finished second in the USA Today poll behind Pine Forest of Pensacola.

          Kelvin Simmons, 6-0, 175, finished the season by passing for 1,661 yards and 14 touchdowns. He played junior college football before ending up at Troy as the starting quarterback. Many other named from the Vigor roster were found over the next few seasons on college rosters.

          Darrell Williams, 5-9, 180, and defensive end Adrian Jackson 6-3, 210, went on to Auburn, while Kevin Lee, 6-1, 170, and Roosevelt Patterson, 6-4, 260, played at Alabama, where they helped the Tide win the national title in 1992.

          Duane Lewis, 5-11, 180, fullback played at Jackson State. Norvie Chambers, 6-0, 170, defensive back signed with Florida A&M. Bruce McGee, 5-9, 162, signed with Nichols State. Bradley Craig, 6-0, 170 defensive back signed with Memphis State. Linemen Wendell Kelly, 6-1, 245, and Corey Dunagin both signed with Alabama A&M.

          Four members of the team signed with Arkansas Pine Bluff. They were - Defensive lineman Daryl Hunt, Linebacker Baron Owes, linebackers Tony Patterson and T.C. Mack.

          Linebacker Mitch Davis, a junior in 1988, signed with Georgia the next year. Other members of the '88 team that signed after the following season were - Cleon Jones with South Carolina, Marcus Durgin, Ben Gamble and kicker Hasno Beausonovan signed with Samford.

          Five members of the 1988 team, Roosevelt Patterson, Kevin Lee, Kelvin Simmons, Mitch Davis and Marcus Durgin, went on to play professional football in either the NFL or Canadian Football League.


8/26 45 Theodore . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/2 43 Carver Montgomery . . . 14
9/9 OPEN . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9/16 19 Blount . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/23 29 McGill . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/1 31 Shaw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
10/7 27 LeFlore . . . . . . . . . . . 13
10/14 OPEN . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10/20 24 Murphy . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/28 21 Fairhope . . . . . . . . . . 3
11/4 21 Mary Montgomery * . . . 0
11/10 37 Shaw * . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
11/18 35 Fairhope * . . . . . . . . 0
11/25 14 Lee Montgomery * . . . 0
12/3 41 Berry Birmingham # . . 7

387 13-0 44

* Playoff game
# State championship game

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

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