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AHSFHS Article Series

   The best of the best in Alabama High   
  School Football over the past 100 seasons.

Amazing Seasons 

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  from John Carroll Yearbook 1973-74

          The coaching staff at John Carroll is one of the finest in the school's history. This is evident in the results of the football games. Under the direction of Head Coach James McNally, the coaching staff, which includes coaches Kenny Gonzalez, Robert Hayes, Billy Hamilton and Jack Walden, produced the best AAA football team in the state.

          While Coach McNally worked with the offense and organized the coaching staff, Coach Hayes successfully coached the defense and Coach Gonzalez handled the receivers. Coach Walden and Coach Hamilton worked diligently with the B Team to produce a fine group of Cavaliers. Without the work of these  hard working and dedicated men, the athletic department at John Carroll would be virtually non-existant.

  John Carroll 0   7   0   6   13  
  Mountain Brook 0   0   7   3   10  

          In the first game of the season John Carroll overcame Mountain Brook in the fourth quarter to win 13-10. John Carroll was the first to score when Norman Mareno passed 14 yards to split end Bruce Perway for six points on a fake field goal attempt. The extra point was good. Mountain Brook tied the game late in the third quarter and the Cavaliers led 10-7 after a field goal early in the fourth quarter. Mountain Brook fumbled the football on their own 15 yard line, and the Cavaliers scored two plays later when Tom Donahue passed to Bruce Perway for 6 points and the victory.

  Abrams 0   0   0   0   0  
  John Carroll 7   14   9   13   43  

         John Carroll took complete control of the game and routed Abrams 43-0. Ronald Wright ran 14 yards around end for the first score, and Johnny Walker kicked the extra point. In the second quarter Tom Donahue passed 53 yards to split end Bruce Perway in the end zone for a touchdown, and then two yards to Perway in the end zone for another score. Both PAT's were good. In the third quarter Pat LaRock caught the Abrams quarterback in the end zone for a 2-point safety. John Carroll had a total offense of 400 yards.

  Shades Valley 0   0   0   0   0  
  John Carroll 0   7   6   7   20  

          The Cavaliers remained unbeaten after defeating Shades Valley 20-0. Ronald Wright and Mark Salem led the offense in rushing the ball 338 yards, passing it 13 and averaging 39 yards on four punts. Carroll's defense with linebacker Pat LaRock, guard Pat Mullen, tackle Bob Neil and end Bill Self held Shades Valley to only 18 yards on 22 rushes.

          John Carroll scored its first touchdown with 1:50 remaining in the first half when Mark Salem carried the ball for 18 yards and Ronald Wright ran 30 yards around left end for the touchdown. Johnny Walker kicked the extra point. Mark Salem made the second touchdown early in the third quarter in a 11-play 60-yard drive. Late in the fourth quarter Norman Mareno and Tom Donahue had 10 and 12 yard runs in a six play push for 65 yards and the final touchdown.

  Homewood 0   6   0   0   6  
  John Carroll 0   14   0   13   27  

          The Cavaliers, ranked third in the state, upset unbeaten Homewood 27-6. Carroll tackle Bill Self recovered a Homewood fumble, and ran 73 yards for the first touchdown halfway into the second quarter. Norman Mareno ran 57 yards with a punt to score, and then caught a two-point conversion pass from Tom Donahue to make the score 14-0. On the last play of the first half Homewood got its only touchdown after recovering a Carroll fumble. Two plays after Pat Mullen intercepted a tipped pass early in the fourth quarter, Ronald Wright went up the middle from the 17 yard line for 6 points. Mark Salem carried the ball the final 7 yards in 1 16-play, 73-yard drive for the last score, and Johnny Walker kicked the extra point.

  John Carroll 0   13   13   0   26  
  Fairfield 0   0   0   0   0  

          John Carroll gained its fifth victory by defeating Fairfield 26-0. The Cavalier's first score was set up when Mark Salem intercepted a pass at the Fairfield 27 yard line. After a roughing the kicker penalty on an attempted field goal, Salem scored from the two yard line. The second touchdown ended an 80 yard drive, with Ronald Wright running 42 of these yards and Salem scoring with a 9 yard run. The extra point gave Carroll a halftime lead of 13-0.

          In the third quarter Carroll started a 7-play, 94-yard drive in which Ronald Wright carried the ball for 25, 20, and then 11 yards to score. Two minutes later Pat LaRock intercepted a Fairfield pass, and on the next play Wright took a pitchout from Tom Donahue and ran 30 yards for the final touchdown. Johnny Walker kicked the extra point to make the score 26-0.

  John Carroll 0   7         28  
  Thompson 0   0         6  

          The Cavaliers scored their sixth victory over the previously undefeated Thompson Warriors. The Cavs were well contained in the first half, but the second half saw three touchdowns. Tom Donahue threw to Bruce Perway to score just before the first half ended. Johnny Walker kicked the extra point to make the score 7-0. Norman Mareno, Ronald Wright and Jerry Ferlisi made touchdowns in the second half. Mareno's touchdown came on a well executed 35 yard run. Tom Donahue threw to Jerry Ferlisi for the last touchdown. Johnny Walker added three extra points to end the scoring, with Carroll emerging  victorious 27-6 over Thompson.

  Glenn 0   0   0   0   0  
  John Carroll 7   13   7   7   34  

          The Cavaliers earned a 34-0 Homecoming victory over the Glenn Hawks, while Queen, Eileen McCarthy ruled from the sidelines. Carroll's defense, led by Pat LaRock, Pat Mullen and Sherwin Sledge completely annihilated Glenn's offense. Carroll's offense scored the first three times it had the ball. The first drive covered 52 yards with Mark Salem scoring on a 36 yard run. Salem ran in from the three yard line to score once again. The third score topped off a 81 yard drive with Ronald Wright picking up 61 yards and the score.

          The half ended with Carroll leading 20-0. The Cavaliers scored on their first possession of the third quarter, moving the ball 48 yards. Donahue threw to split end Jerry Ferlisi to set up Wright's run from the one. Salem kicked the extra point making it 27-0. Mike Muro and Bill Self combined for 70 yards, with Self scoring from three yards out. Salem's kick made the final score 34-0.

  Vestavia Hills 6      0   2   8  
  John Carroll 13   14   7   0   34  

          The Cavaliers chalked up number eight on their way to the state crown as they overpowered Vestavia by a score of 34-8. Ronald Wright and Pat LaRock had outstanding nights for the Carroll team. Wright rushed for 112 yards in 15 carries with 2 touchdowns. The Cavs had 342 yards of total offense, 224 of which came in the first half. Mark Salem had 89 yards in 14 rushes and, like Wright, Salem sat out the last quarter.

          Tom Donahue completed 5 of 8 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Vestavia took a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter. David Antonia recovered a punt-return fumble, and three plays later Norman Mareno ran 10 yards for the Cavs first score. Johnny Walker made good on the PAT. Still in the first quarter Ronald Wright ran 20 yards in a 50 yard advance for a second touchdown.

          Early in the second quarter Mark Salem gained 46 yards for the Cavs, and Tom Donahue continued this drive when he passed 21 yards to Norman Mareno for 6 points. Walker's extra point brought the Cavs lead to 20-6. Donahue threw a long pass late in the quarter to Bruce Perway for a 44-yard touchdown, topped with Walker's extra point. On the ninth play in an 80-yard drive Wright sprinted 24 yards fot he Cav's final touchdown. Walker again kicked the extra point for a final score of 34-8.

  John Carroll 7   7   7   0   21  
  Childersburg 0   0   0   0   0  

          The Cavaliers recorded their first unbeaten season with a 21-0 victory over Childersburg. In the first quarter Carroll took the ball 56 yards in 9 plays to lead Childersburg 7-0. Tom Donahue threw a 3 yard pass to Bruce Perway and Johnny Walker added the extra point. The next score came in the second quarter, topping a 71-yard drive, Ronald Wright too the ball on the 10 yard line and dashed into the end zone. Walker kicked the extra point. The third and final score came after Pat Mullen recovered a fumble at the Childersburg 25 yard line. Ronald Wright went over from the 4 yard line, and Walker's PAT finalized Carroll's first perfect season.

  Sheffield 0   0   0   0   0  
  John Carroll 0   0   10   0   10  

          Carroll won its first game of the state championship playoffs by blanking Sheffield 10-0. In the first half Sheffield outgained Carroll with 80 yard on three good drives, but Johnny Walker halted the Bulldogs first by intercepting a pass and then recovering a fumble at the Carroll 32 and then recovering a Sheffield fumble at the Carroll 21. Late in the second quarter Sheffield mounted a drive to the Cav 7 but two penalties checked this advance and both teams remained scoreless.

          After a rainy halftime, Carroll returned to push 53 yards to Sheffield's 6 with a 20-yard pass by Tom Donahue to Norman Mareno and a 25-yard run by Ronald Wright. Sheffield stalled the drive and Walker kicked a 23 yard field goal for 3 points. On Carroll's next possession Donahue passed 38 yards to Bruce Perway, and Bill Self followed with an 11 yard run. Then Ronald Wright ran 10 yards around left end for the touchdown. Walker's kick brought the Cav's point total to 10 and ended the scoring for the night.

          The Carroll defense allowed Sheffield only 16 yards and 3 first downs in the second half, two of which came on penalties, and the Carroll offense gained 215 yards to give the Cavaliers their tenth victory without a defeat.

  T.R. Miller 0   0   0   0   0  
  John Carroll 3   0   0   7   10  

          John Carroll's strength was proven in the hard earned victory over T.R. Miller in the second game of the 3A playoffs. This 10-0 win was Carroll's seventh shutout of the season. On its first possession, with the help of a 17 yard pass from Tom Donahue to Norman Mareno, Carroll drove to the Miller 5, but the Miller defense wouldn't yield so Johnny Walker kicked a 23 yard field goal. The biggest play of the game came with only 4 minutes of playing time left when the score was 3-0 and the line of scrimmage on the Miller 42.

          This play was Miller's last chance, but when Miller quarterback went back to pass he was tackled by a group of Cavaliers and he fumbled the ball, which Mike Muro quickly recovered. Two penalties brought the ball closer, and on the next play Ronald Wright scored the touchdown. Johnny Walker kicked the extra point to make the score 10-0.

          The Cavaliers boasted many outstanding players in the Miller game. Pat LaRock made 10 tackles and a 41-yard punt average on four kicks. Ronald Wright ground out 71 yards on 18 carries, and Mark Salem had 55 yard on 16 carries. This victory over T.R. Miller sent the unbeaten and untied Cavaliers into the championship game in Class 3A.

  Andalusia 0   7   0   0   7  
  John Carroll 6   11   6   7   30  

          John Carroll's awesome blend of offense and defense smashed Andalusia with a 30-7 victory to secure for the invincible Cavaliers the state high school 3A football championship. Carroll took the opening kickoff 70 yards in 11 plays to score, with an 18 yard run by Mark Salem, and a 24 yard Donahue pass to Wright. Salem made a tough 7 yard run for the touchdown.

          Andalusia took a 7-6 lead in the second quarter with a 16-play, 88-yard drive for the only running touchdown scored on the Cavaliers mighty defense all year. After Andalusia's kickoff, Wright turned left end and outran Andalusia 80 yards down the sidelines for a second score. Johnny Walker passed to Norman Mareno for two and Carroll led 14-7.

          Walker then intercepted a Mark Wiggins pass and returned 35 yards to the Andalusia 34. Tom Donahue passed 20 yards to Mareno, and 11 yards to Jerry Ferlisi to the Andalusia 7, where Walker kicked a 24-yard field goal to make the score 17-7 at the half.

          On its second possession after the half John Carroll drove 42 yards in 10 plays, with an 18-yard Donahue to Ferlisi pass and a Salem run for the six points. The final touchdown came in the last minute of the game when Pat Mullen intercepted a Wiggins screen pass and ran 41 yards for the score. Walker kicked the extra point with only 13 seconds remaining in the game to make the Cavaliers Number One with a score of 30-7.

John Carroll

8/31  13     Mountain Brook  . . . . . 10
9/7  43     Abrams  . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/14  20     Shades Valley  . . . . . 0
9/21  27     Homewood  . . . . . . . . . . 6
9/28  26     Fairfield  . . . . . . . . . 0
10/5  28     Thompson  . . . . . . . . . . 6
10/12  34     Glenn  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/26  34     Vestavia Hills  . . . . . 8
11/2   OPEN . . . . . . . . . . . . .
11/9  21     Childersburg  . . . . . . 0
11/15  10     Sheffield * . . . . . . . 0
11/23  10     T.R. Miller * . . . . . 0
11/30  30     Andalusia # . . . . . . . 7

296 12-0 37

* Playoff game
# State championship game

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

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