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Amazing Seasons 


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          Head football coach Hugh O'Shields entered his sixth season at the helm of the Oneonta Redskins in 1971. Each of his first five teams had finished with at least seven wins but none were able to qualify for a playoff spot.

          All that changed in 1971 as the Redskins completed a perfect 10-0 regular season ranked No. 1 in Class 2A to grab a coveted post season spot.



Coaches Andy Page and Hugh O'Shields


  Sardis 0   0   0   0   0  
  Oneonta             35  

          Oneonta opened the 1971 season with an impressive 35-0 win over Sardis. The unranked Redskins were off to a good start in the 1971 season.



  Pleasant Grove 0   0   0   0   0  
  Oneonta             35  

          The Redskins followed it with a 54-0 shutout of Pleasant Grove for their second shutout in as many weeks. The Spartans were completely outmanned by a better team from Oneonta.


  Oneonta             45  
  Hanceville             8  

           In week three they beat Hanceville 45-8 to run their record to 3-0.


  Oneonta 7   14   0   20   41  
  Susan Moore 0   0   0   0   0  


          In week four, the Redskins defeated arch-rival Susan Moore 41-0 in a surprising game. Susan Moore had knocked them out of the playoffs the past two seasons so the victory was extra special for Oneonta and their fans. Oneonta jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and used great play from the defense to complete the shutout in the second half.


  J.B. Pennington 0   0   0   0   0  
  Oneonta  21   20   0   0   41  

          Oneonta raced out to a 41-0 halftime lead and held on for  a win by the same score the next week at home against J.B. Pennington. It was the Redskins fifth win against no losses in 1971. Five different players scored for the Redskins as Ricky Sanders, John Nesmith, Steve Patton, Greg Hill, Johnny Lowry and Hill again each got in on the scoring action. Coach O'Shields played reserves in the second half to keep the score respectable.         


  Boaz 0   0   0   6   6  
  Oneonta 14   14   6   7   41  

          Oneonta kept their unbeaten streak alive with a 41-6 rout of Boaz. John Nesmith raced 69 yards for a touchdown to give the Redskins a 14-0 first quarter lead. They extended it to 28-0 by halftime and 41-0 before the Pirates scored. Jim Patton returned the second half kickoff 95 yards to get things going in the second half. The Redskins cracked the top ten for the first time in 1971 as they came in at number ten in the rankings.


  Oneonta 14   7   6   8   35  
  Ashville 0   8   0   0   8  

          The Redskins cruised by Ashville 35-8 in a game that was thought to be close prior to the kickoff. It was anything but as Oneonta built a 21-8 halftime lead behind the passing and running of Stewart. Ricky Sanders raced 64 yards for a third quarter touchdown and Stewart found Patton on a 35-yard pass for the final points of the evening.


  Oneonta 7   0   7   0   14  
  Pell City 0   7   0   0   7  

          Pell City hosted the Redskins in week eight and played tough before falling by a score of 14-7. The win ran Oneonta's record to 8-0 and improved their ranking in the polls to No. 4.


  Hokes Bluff 0   0   0   8   8  
  Oneonta 21   13   6   6   46  

          The next week, Oneonta routed Hokes Bluff 46-8 behind an offense that rolled up 237 yards rushing and a defense that limited the Eagles to just 129 total yards of offense and recovered four fumbles.


  Oneonta 21   7   14   7   49  
  West End 0   0   0   7   7  

          The Redskins ended the 1971 regular season with a 49-7 thrashing of West End in Walnut Grove. The Redskins jumped from the fourth spot to No. 1 in the polls with the win and a perfect 10-0 record. They roared out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and stretched it to 28-0 by halftime. The offense rolled up 307 yards rushing on the evening.


  Oneonta 0   7   7   0   14  
  Susan Moore 0   0   0   0   0  

          Oneonta advanced to the first round of the state playoffs for the first time in school history. They were set to face the number eight ranked team from Susan Moore, a squad they had defeated 41-0 in the regular season. This time the game was much different but Oneonta came away with a 14-0 victory over the Bulldogs.

          Oneonta got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Robin Knight blocked a punt that Ricky Sanders fell on at the four-yard line. Tim Stewart got the touchdown on the first play to give Oneonta a 7-0 lead. Patton extended the lead to 14-0 in the third when he caught a touchdown pass. The two scores were all the Redskins needed as the defense played great in another shutout victory.


  Oneonta             38  
  Washington County             3  

          The Redskins rolled over Washington County in Chatom 38-3 in the second round of the playoffs to earn a trip to their first ever state championship game. Their opponent would be the No. 2 ranked team from southeast Alabama, Abbeville.


  Abbeville 0   0   0   0   0  
  Oneonta 0   0   0   0   0  

          The 1971 Class 2A championship game produced the first ever co-champions as neither team could cross the other teams goal line the entire game. The game ended in a scoreless 0-0 tie. There were no provisions for an overtime period so the game simply ended in a tie with both teams being deemed champions. The teams fought desperately to gain some score anyway they could during the contest but to no avail.

          Neither team could effectively throw the football as Abbeville missed on all six of their attempts and Oneonta connected on only one of seven attempts. Oneonta fullback Ricky Sanders rushed for 161 yards on 29 carries but found the going tougher once he got near the Abbeville goal line. The game was played in a cold steady rain which prevented either offense to operate effectively.

          Both teams entered the game with long winning streak with Abbeville sporting a 17 game streak and Oneonta with a 12 game streak of their own.

          Named to the Birmingham News second team all-state squad were end Jim Patton and back Tim Stewart. Selected to the honorable mention team were backs John Nesmith and Ricky Sanders, tackle Mark Hitt and end Steve Patton.

          The 1971 Oneonta Redskins finished the season with a 12-0-1 record and a share of the Class 2A state championship. They set a team record for most wins in a season and points scored with 453. The defense allowed only 47 points in thirteen games and pitched six shutouts. No opponent was able to score more than eight points against them in any game.




Oneonta
1971

9/3 35 Sardis . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
9/24 54 Pleasant Grove . . . . . 0
9/17 45 Hanceville . . . . . . . . 8
10/1 41 Susan Moore . . . . . . . 0
10/8 41 J.B. Pennington . . . . 0
10/15 41 Boaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
10/22 35 Ashville . . . . . . . . . . 8
10/29 14 Pell City . . . . . . . . . 7
11/5 46 Hokes Bluff . . . . . . . 8
11/12 49 West End Walnut Grove . 7
11/19 14 Susan Moore * . . . . . 0
11/26 38 Washington County * . . 3
12/3 0 Abbeville # . . . . . . . 0

453 12-0-1 47

* Playoff game
# State championship game




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


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