Top Five teams in LaFayette’s football history

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023

LaFayette High School fielded their first football team in 1925. Since then, the Bulldogs have only not fielded a team once. With so many seasons, there have been a plethora of teams that have made an impact in LaFayette. With this article, we will be narrowing it down to the five best seasons in the history of LaFayette’s football program. 

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 the precautionary stuff out of the way, here are the top five best teams in LaFayette’s history.

 

  1. 1991 LaFayette Bulldogs

The 1991 team finished with a record of 8-5 and lost in the semifinals of the playoffs. Several teams that I decided to leave off this list have less losses on their record than the 1991 team. However, this team is significant because of their run in the playoffs. 

No other team in LaFayette’s history has ever made it to the semifinals except for the 1991 team. In my opinion, that makes the 1991 team significant enough to put on this list. Also, their losses during the regular season came early on. The team went on a seven game win streak before finally losing in the playoffs. 

In 1991, LaFayette was coached by Chauncy Whatley in his fifth season as their head coach. Some notable players for this team were Clifford Story, Tony Roberts, and Terrance Presley. 

Presley was an honorable mention for all-state. Story made the first team for all-state as a linebacker and he was also an honorable mention as a quarterback. After high school Story went on to play football and baseball at Jacksonville State University. 

As many of you will know, Story also has had a successful career as a coach and athletic director for Lanett High School. 

In 1991, LaFayette largely leaned on their defense. LaFayette allowed just over 12 points per game in 1991. LaFayette only allowed 20 points or more three times in 1991. 

It is also worth noting that LaFayette played an extremely tough schedule in 1991. The Bulldogs opponents finished with a combined record of 80 wins and 65 losses. 

All but one of LaFayette’s losses came against playoff teams. The one loss against a non playoff team came against Dadeville, and Dadeville was a classification higher than LaFayette in 1991. 

One of the more significant finishes came against Lineville High School in the third round of the playoffs. Lineville beat LaFayette by five points earlier in the season, and Lineville won the region that LaFayette was in. In that playoff game though, LaFayette’s defense showed up. 

LaFayette’s defense shutout the Aggies and the Bulldogs won that game by just six points. LaFayette would lose the next week to Luverne. Luverne would go on to win the state championship. 

It’s hard to say where this team could have been on this list had they won a few more games. One thing is for certain, the 1991 team was one of LaFayette’s closest chances to winning the elusive state championship. 

 

  1. 2017 LaFayette Bulldogs 

The 2017 LaFayette Bulldogs finished with a record of nine wins and three losses. That season, the Bulldogs were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. 

That season, LaFayette was coached by James Lucas in his fourth season as the head coach. Lucas spent six seasons as LaFayette’s head coach. 

Some notable players for the Bulldogs were Robert Houston, Omar Boston, Jaelin McCurdy, Lajareon Bryant and JaQuavion Boston-Gaines,

Bryant, Houston and Gaines were all named to the first team for all-state. Boston was named to the second team. Houston was the key to LaFayette’s offense. The offense scored 27 points per game and was dominant in the rushing attack. 

LaFayette touted an extremely talented offense in 2017. The Bulldogs scored an average of 27 points per game in 2017. Each of their nine wins were double digit victories. 

LaFayette’s biggest win came against Horseshoe Bend. The Bulldogs shutout the Generals and won that matchup by 40 points. 

In 2017, LaFayette’s three losses came to Dadeville, Lanett, and Fyffe. Lanett went on to win the state championship and Fyffe was undefeated when LaFayette faced them. 

The Bulldogs finished second in their region in 2017 and touted an undefeated home record. With nine wins, 2017 is one of the winningest seasons in LaFayette’s history. 

 

  1. 2005 LaFayette Bulldogs

The 2005 Bulldogs were a hard team to place on this list. I could have had them a spot higher, but I believe that this is the right spot. 

In 2005, LaFayette was coached by Ike Grant in his 13th season as the head coach. Grant is one of the best coaches in LaFayette’s history. 

Some notable players from the 2005 team were Courtney Ray, Napolean Goodman, MeKale Hugley, Desmond Holloway, J.R. Jones and Chris Carlisle. 

Holloway should have gotten more recognition from the state media for his play in 2005. Holloway was dynamic both on the ground and through the air. 

Ray and Hugley were both invited to play in that year’s All-Star Game. Ray made the first team for all-state. Goodman was an honorable mention for all-state as an offensive lineman. 

The Bulldogs started off their season with a 17 point loss to Elmore County. After that loss, LaFayette rattled off 10 straight wins before losing in the playoffs. 

The Bulldogs finished the season as region champions, finally topping Montgomery Academy. Montgomery Academy had won the region the previous three seasons. 

It is also worth noting that this team was the first team at LaFayette to ever win their region. This feat has only been done once since 2005. LaFayette finished with an undefeated record in their region. They also won all but two of their region games by double digits.
Some notable wins for LaFayette came against Lanett and Dadeville. LaFayette beat Lanett by five and Dadeville by 11. 

The Bulldogs would end up losing to Springville in the second round of the playoffs in what most would consider to be an upset. 

The offense had another stellar season in 2005. The offense averaged just under 29 points per game and won six of their matchups by double digits. The defense for LaFayette allowed just under 19 points per game. 

 

  1. 2003 LaFayette Bulldogs

The 2003 LaFayette Bulldogs finished with a record of 10 wins and two losses. They were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. 

In 2003, LaFayette was coached by Ike Grant in his 11th season as the head coach. Grant still currently has the most wins for any coach at LaFayette. 

Some notable players from that team were James Burns, Kevin White, Montavious Goodman, Joshua Dowdell and Bruce Mackey. Burns was named to the first team for all-state as a defensive back and he also was the Bulldogs’ leader at quarterback. 

When you look at the dominance that the 2003 team had, it seems like a major oversight that only one player was named to an all-state team. 

LaFayette’s offense was electric in 2003. The offense averaged nearly 38 points per game and all ten of their wins were by double digits.
The Bulldogs’ defense was just as stout in 2003. That season, LaFayette had four shutouts and allowed just over 15 points per game. 

One of LaFayette’s biggest wins in 2003 came against Lanett. The Bulldogs shutout the Panthers and won that matchup by 27 points. 

LaFayette also won seven of their games by 30 or more points in 2003. The dominance that the Bulldogs had that season might be the most impressive in their history. 

LaFayette’s only losses in 2003 came against Montgomery Academy and Tarrant. One negative against this season is that both of the losses were big time blowouts. LaFayette lost both of these games by over 30 points. 

However, that still should not take away from the impressive season that the Bulldogs had in 2003. Had this team had more success during the playoffs, they could have taken the top spot on this list. 

The 2003 team just barely edges out the 2005 team due to a few factors. The 2003 allowed less points and scored more. Despite their two blowout losses, the 2003 team also showed more dominance over the course of the season compared to the Bulldogs in 2005. 

 

  1. 2016 LaFayette Bulldogs

The Bulldogs of 2016 take the top spot on this list for several reasons. As far as historical significance, no other team on this list was able to do what the 2016 team did. 

LaFayette finished the season in 2016 with a record of 12 wins and just one loss. This team holds the record for most wins in a season at LaFayette. The Bulldogs one loss came in the third round of the playoffs to Fyffe. 

As any high school football fan will know, Fyffe is easily one of the best programs in the state. After beating LaFayette, Fyffe went on to beat Lanett and Aliceville by double digits to win the state championship. 

In 2016, LaFayette was coached by James Lucas in his third season as the head coach. Even with just six total seasons as the head coach of LaFayette, Lucas is one of the more successful coaches in Bulldogs’ history. In his six seasons, the Bulldogs only missed the playoffs once. 

That season, LaFayette had eight players be mentioned for an all-state team. Some notable players from 2016 were Courtney Holloway, DeAngelo Kimbrough, JaMarquez Boston-Gaines, JaTarvious Whitlow, MyKale Trammel, Robert Houston, Zarian Heard and ZyQuez Mitchell. 

Holloway and Trammell were both invited to play in the All-Star Game. Whitlow won 2A Back of the Year that season and was also named to the Super 12. 

Whitlow went on to play running back at Auburn for two seasons. He totaled over 1500 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns while in college. 

The offense for LaFayette in 2016 was completely dominant. The offense averaged over 49 points per game. The Bulldogs won 10 of their games by double digits. LaFayette also won five of their games by more than 40 points. 

Some notable victories came against Lanett, Vincent, and Woodland. LaFayette beat Vincent by 56 points in their third game of the season. LaFayette shutout Woodland and beat the Bobcats by 64 points. 

LaFayette’s most impressive win was against Lanett. The Bulldogs beat the Panthers by 40 points. It is impressive because that Panthers team was also no slouch. That season the Panthers only lost three games and went all the way to the semifinals. 

Out of all the teams listed, I believe that the 2016 team standouts the most. In 2016, LaFayette won their region for just the second time in their history. This feat has not been done since. This team also won more games than any other team has at LaFayette.  

 

Honorable Mention

The 1980, 1978, 1975, and 1957 teams were all teams that could have made this list. In each of these seasons, LaFayette only lost two games. The fifth spot on this list was a tough decision, but ultimately I decided to choose the 1991 team over these four teams despite the 1991 team finishing with five losses. The main reason for this is the playoff run that the Bulldogs had in 1991. I felt that season had one of the best playoff runs in LaFayette’s history, and I believe leaving that team off would have been an error. That does not take anything away from these four teams, these four are still some of the best in LaFayette’s history.