Thursday, October 10, 2013

1981 CCHS football team was arguably one of the best in county's history

1981 Conecuh County High School Football Team
Jeff Castleberry paid a nice visit to The Courant’s office Tuesday of last week and provided me with some interesting local football history material. Many of you will remember Jeff from his playing days as an outstanding receiver for the Conecuh County High School Blue Devils in the early 1980s.

Jeff had been researching information about the 1981 season at CCHS on the Alabama High School Football Historical Society’s Web site,, and he noticed that the information wasn’t complete. He had a nice scrapbook filled with old newspaper articles about that team and asked if I’d contact the Web site’s administrator to have the information updated.

Jeff pointed out that the 1981 team at CCHS was a special team and was arguably one of the greatest teams ever fielded in Conecuh County. Looking back over their record, it’s hard to disagree.

That season, the Blue Devils posted a 7-3 overall record, which was the first ever winning season in school history. They recorded wins over Clayton (18-0), Lyeffion (8-0), Southern Normal (8-0), Hayneville (84-0), Frisco City (27-0), Marion Institute (43-0) and Alabama Christian (won by forfeit). They outscored their opponents 225-65 and all seven of their wins were shutouts. CCHS averaged 251 offensive yards a game to 110 yards for their opponents.

That season, CCHS competed in 1A, Area 2, which included Southern Normal, Lyeffion, Frisco City, J.U. Blacksher, Excel and Repton. CCHS suffered loses against Repton (7-0), Blacksher (20-14) and Excel (35-23) and finished the season as the Area Runner-Up. Back in those days, only the regular season area champion went to the four-round playoffs, and Southern Normal represented Area 2 in the playoffs that season. Southern Normal beat Leroy, 20-7, in the first round, but they lost to eventual state runner-up McKenzie, 22-0, in the second round.

Mike Williams, a former player at Greenville High School and Troy State University, was Conecuh County High School’s head coach in 1981, and The Montgomery Advertiser called him a “miracle worker” for his success at CCHS. He was named the Enterprise Officials Association’s “Coach of the Year” and was assisted on the sideline by Gerry Watson and John “Butch” Hanks. Williams nicknamed the 1981 team the “Blue Pride” and the team’s defense was called the “Busto Defense.”

In addition to Jeff Castleberry, other players on the team (and their jersey numbers) included quarterback David Dyess (11), end Jim Marino (25), back Robbie Warren (28), linebacker Jeff Madden (31), guard Tom Reed (54), tackle Jerry Weaver (55), guard Jim Reed (56), center Bill Marino (60), tackle Scott Smith (63), noseguard Mike Marino (65), guard Keith Salter (67), tackle Ricky Downing (77) and end James Peavy (88). Jeff wore No. 82.

Team statisticians were Terry Meeks and Mike Lanier. The managers were Johnny McIntyre and Willie McIntyre. Ezell Castleberry was the president of the Quarterback Club that year.

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The sixth week of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em contest came to a close on Saturday and the standings of our local contest are as follows – Hunter Norris, first place; Jeremy Matheny, second place; Lee Peacock, third place; Joey Matheny, fourth place; Mike Dailey, fifth place; Mark Peacock, sixth place; Ricky Taylor, seventh place; Aaron Albritton, eighth place; Sharon Peacock, ninth place; and Preston, Albritton, tenth place.

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Real quick, here are my picks for this week’s slate of Southeastern Conference football games. I like Alabama over Kentucky, Auburn over Western Carolina, Mississippi State over Bowling Green, LSU over Florida, Georgia over Missouri, South Carolina over Arkansas and Texas A&M over Ole Miss. Tennessee and Vanderbilt are off this week. Last week: 5-2. So far this season: 49-8.

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Week Six of the NFL regular season kicks off tonight (Thursday) with a game between the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. That game will kick off at 7:25 p.m. at Soldier Field in Chicago. Thirteen games will follow on Sunday, and the Monday night game will feature the Indianapolis Colts and the San Diego Chargers. Atlanta and Miami do not play this week. Tonight, I look for Chicago to beat the New York Giants. On Sunday, I like Green Bay over Baltimore, Cincinnati over Buffalo, Detroit over Cleveland, Houston over St. Louis, Minnesota over Carolina, Kansas City over Oakland, the New York Jets over Pittsburgh, Philadelphia over Tampa Bay, Denver over Jacksonville, Seattle over Tennessee, New Orleans over New England, San Francisco over Arizona, Dallas over Washington. On Monday night, I look for Indianapolis to beat San Diego. Last week: 9-5. So far this season: 56-21.

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