Top five teams in 50 years of Beulah football

Published 12:32 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Beulah fielded its first football team in 1973. Coming up on the 50th anniversary of Beulah football, it is a good chance to look at the talent that the Bobcats have had. With this article, we will be naming the five best teams in Beulah’s history. 

To come up with the ranking, I used the Alabama High School Football Historical Society’s website to check records, player awards and any other information about the teams. I also used any articles that I could find covering the teams.

To judge the teams, I used several different criterias. The criterias I used were overall record, historical significance, point differential, performance in rivalry games and playoff performance. 

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Rankings like this can often be controversial, and I understand that there will be different opinions. If any readers would like to share their rankings or opinions feel free to email me at pacey.strickland@valleytimes-news.com.  All of these teams are very talented but to conserve space I can only list some players for each team, so some others that could be deserving will not be listed. With all of that being said, here are the five best teams in Beulah’s history: 

 

  1. 1994 Beulah Bobcats 

Beulah finished with a record of 8-4, and the Bobcats were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. 

In 1994, Beulah was coached by Kelley Farrar in his eighth season as the head coach. With 12 seasons, Farrar is the longest tenured head coach in Beulah’s history. 

Some notable players for Beulah were Craig DuBose, Anthony Lockhart, Demetrius Murphy and David Byrd. No players for Beulah were selected to an all-state team. 

The Bobcats were led by their defense in 1994, which allowed just under 14 points per game that season. The defense held five opponents in single digits, and they produced two shutouts. 

The offense for Beulah was solid as well. That season Beulah ran the Wing-T offense. Their quarterback, running back and fullback excelled in the run game. The Bobcats averaged just over 25 points per game, and they scored 304 points in total. 

The 1994 team had some dominant wins. Beulah won all but one of their region matchups by 20 points or more. One of Beulah’s largest margins of victory came against Lyman Ward. The Bobcats shutout Lyman Ward and beat them by 52 points. 

Beulah only lost one region game in 1994 — Notasulga. Unfortunately, that one loss put Beulah in second place in the region. Finishing in second place gave Beulah a tougher road in the playoffs. 

Beulah dominated in the first round of the playoffs beating beat Autaugaville by 21 points, and the defense produced a shutout. The next week Beulah lost to Carrollton, who went on to win the state championship in 1A. 

It may be controversial to put the 1994 team this low because they had more playoff success than the two teams above them, but I felt better about ranking the next two teams higher on this list. 

If Beulah had beaten Notasulga in 1994, there is no telling how high that team could have been on this list. Still, the 1994 team is one of the best in Beulah’s history. 

 

  1. 2018 Beulah Bobcats

The 2018 team gets the fourth spot on this list, and they are the most recent team to make it to the top five. In 2018, Beulah finished with a record of 8-3. The Bobcats were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. 

Cody Flournoy was Beulah’s head coach in 2018, and it was his second season as the head coach. Flournoy would leave to become the head coach at Jackson after 2018. 

Notable players for Beulah in 2018 were Hunter Bryant, Lonzie Portis, Justin Hancock, Isaiah Glidewell, Grant Webb and Caden Dowdell. 

Bryant made the first team for all-state as an offensive lineman. Dowdell was named to the second team and Portis was an honorable mention. Portis went on to play college basketball at Emory University. 

Beulah’s offense averaged nearly 29 points per game in 2018, and they scored a total of 314 points. Beulah’s offensive coordinator in 2018, Matt Johnson, is now their currenthead coach. 

The Bobcats started the season with a five game win streak. Beulah won each of their first two matchups by more than 20 points, and Beulah only lost two games during the regular season. Unfortunately, both of those losses came against region opponents. Beulah dropped games to St. James and Bullock County, and the Bobcats finished second in their region. 

In 2018, Beulah hosted their first playoff game since 1995. However, some would argue that the postseason jitters got to them. The Bobcats would lose in what was a sloppy game on both sides. 

Despite the first round exit, the 2018 team is deserving of the fourth spot. The Bobcats showed dominance in several of their games, and they won close games against good teams such as Montgomery Academy and Pike Road. 

 

  1. 1995 Beulah Bobcats 

The 1995 team finished with a record of 9-2, and they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. The key difference between the 1995 team and the two below them is that the 1995 team won its region. 

Only three teams in Beulah’s history have won their region, and no team has done it since 1995. Therefore, I felt this team held more of a historical significance for Beulah’s program. 

In 1995, Beulah was coached by Kelley Farrar in his ninth season as the head coach. Once again in 1995, Beulah had no players make an all-state team. That seems like a major oversight when you look at the way the 1995 team performed. 

Some notable players for Beulah in 1995 were Anthony Lockhart, Demetrius Murphy and David Core. 

The Bobcats averaged nearly 29 points per game in 1995. The defense allowed just under 16 points per game. 

Wadley, Loachapoka and Notasulga were in Beulah’s region in 1995. Notasulga finished second in the region behind Beulah. The Bobcats shutout Notasulga and Loachapoka. Beulah also won both of those games by more than 20 points. Oddly enough, Beulah’s closest game in 1995 came against Wadley, which only won one game in 1995. 

The Bobcats beat Wadley by just six points in their regular season finale. Beulah only had one loss in the regular season, and that loss came against Beauregard. It was a blowout loss, but the Hornets were a solid playoff team that was three classifications above the Bobcats. 

All but two of Beulah’s wins in 1995 came by double digits. The Bobcats finished the regular season ranked as the 10th best team in 1A. 

Beulah hosted Marengo in the first round of the playoffs. Yet again, Beulah was upset in the first round as they lost that matchup by 16 points. 

It’s unfortunate that the 1995 team could not find more success in the playoffs because they could have possibly been even higher on this list. Still, this team is easily one of the best to play for Beulah. 

 

  1. 1984 Beulah Bobcats 

The top two teams for Beulah were basically a lock coming in. The 1984 team is easily Beulah’s second best team. 

The Bobcats were coached by Rusty Nichols in his second season as the head coach. Though his tenure was short, Nichols has the best winning percentage of any coach at Beulah. 

Beulah had no teams named to an all-state team in 1984. I guess the voters just did not watch their games because the players on the 1984 team deserved much more recognition than what they got. 

Some notable players for Beulah in 1984 were Henry Brooks, Derrick Burton, Eddie Shealey, Lummey Dunn and Ryan Johnson. 

In 1984, Beulah finished with 11 wins and just three losses. The Bobcats finished at the top of their region. The region may have only included three teams, but Beulah’s dominance against the other two teams is still impressive. 

Notasulga finished as the second best team in the region that year, and the Bobcats beat them by 15 points at home. Beulah traveled to Loachapoka for their regular season finale and shut them out in a 34 point win. 

Their non-region wins are even more impressive than their region wins. The Bobcats beat five teams in higher classifications. One key non-region win came against LaFayette. LaFayette did not have a winning record, but they were a playoff team in 4A. The Bobcats were still in 1A at the time. Beulah beat LaFayette by eight on the road. 

The biggest thing in the 1984 team’s favor is their playoff success. The Bobcats were the host team for each of the first two rounds. 

In round one, Beulah beat Donoho by 33 points. The next week, Beulah beat New Site, an eight win team, by eight. 

Then, Beulah went on the road for their third round matchup against Ariton. Ariton was a nine win team that had only lost one game to that point. The Bobcats went on the road to Ariton and won by 20. 

Beulah made the semifinals in 1984 for the first time in their history. Up to that point, the 1984 team was also the only team in Beulah’s history to win 10 or more games. The Bobcats would lose to Sweet Water on the road to end their season. 

The 1984 team set several benchmarks for Beulah’s program. In 1984, Beulah won their first region championship, had their first ten win season, they won their first playoff game in program history, and they made it to the semifinals for the first time. No Beulah team has ever made it further than the semifinals. This team could have gotten the top spot on this list, but the next team was just a bit more successful. 

 

1.1985 Beulah Bobcats 

The 1985 team tops the list for Beulah as they were just able to one up the 1984 team. In 1985, the Bobcats finished with 12 wins and just two losses. The Bobcats won their region for just the second time in their history. 

Beulah was coached by Rusty Nichols in his third season as the head coach. Nichols would leave after 1985 to become the head coach at Jackson. It is interesting to note that Beulah’s two winningest coaches left to coach at Jackson. 

Some notable players for Beulah in 1985 were Lummey Dunn, Ricky Brooks, Eddie Shealey, Ryan Johnson, Randy Pollard and Stoney Floyd. Dunn, Pollard and Floyd were all named to the first team for all-state. 

Beulah came out of the gates with a vengeance in 1985. The Bobcats shutout four of their opponents that season. 

The defense for Beulah allowed just 9 points per game in 1985. On offense, the Bobcats averaged 29 points per game. That’s impressive when you consider the style of play in 1985. 

Beulah’s one loss in the regular season came against Pacelli, Georgia by seven points at home. 

The 1985 team seemed like they got more recognition from the media than Beulah ever has. The Bobcats spent five weeks ranked as the top team in 1A and finished the season ranked fifth in 1A. 

Beulah once again had an incredibly successful playoff run in 1985. The Bobcats hosted Donoho in the first round and won that game by 29. Then, Beulah traveled to Notasulga, and they won by 21. Beulah defeated a 10-1 Wicksburg team by 26 to advance to the semifinals. 

Beulah traveled to Repton in the semifinals and lost in a back and forth battle by six to see their historic season came to a close. 

The 12 win mark set by Beulah in 1985 is still the most for any team at Beulah. The 1985 team was the closest team to a state championship in school history. No team since 1985 has made it back to the semifinals. 

The top spot on this list could not have gone to any other team. From their first game to their last, the 1985 team was the most dominant team in Beulah’s history. 

 

Honorable Mention: 

There were three more teams that I considered adding to this list. I considered the 1977, 1993 and 2007 Beulah teams. Of the three, the 1977 team was the closest team to making it. The 1977 team finished with a 7-2 record. The one thing that kept the 1977 team off this list is the amount of games they played. That season, Beulah only played nine gamesl and they did not have the benefit of playing in the playoffs. Unfortunately, I could not put the 1977 team over the other five on this list. However, that team is still one of the best in Beulah’s history.