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AHSFHS Article Series

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

1961 Sidney Lanier Poets

 1961    Sidney Lanier Poets
 Record: 9-1-0
 Head Coach: Bobby Wilson
 The 1961 Sidney Lanier Poets were chosen Class 3A State Champions by the ASWA


The Sidney Lanier Poets began the 1961 season with a 27-7 win over Selma High School. Jack Boyd returned a pass interception 85 yards for a touchdown and Ashley Cook completed all eight of his passes in the easy win to start the season.

Week two saw the only loss of the season when the poets fell to a strong Tuscaloosa Black Bear team by the score of 13-0. Normally the loss would have knocked the Poets out of championship talks but the team from Tuscaloosa faded late in the season to get Lanier back in the hunt for a title.

Sidney Lanier ran through the next seven opponents to set up a season ending matchup between the Poets and the Lee Generals of Montgomery. Lee had been the team to beat in the state for a number of years and a victory would go a long way towards a successful season for either team.

Both squads were highly ranked entering the game and it was setup to be a great game. It did not disappoint as Ben McDonald booted two extra points to seal a 14-13 hard-fought victory for the Poets. Jim Scott scored the first touchdown after a muffed punt by the generals had set up the offense in good field position.

Later in the first half, Lees Charles Crysel ran for a touchdown to knot the score at 7-7. Jimmy Poole ran eight yards for a score by the Poets early in the third quarter and McDonald was perfect on the PAT.

Lee scores a little alter but the extra point was partially blocked and went wide right for the final margin of 14-13.

The Sidney Lanier Poets were named AAA State Champions after that game by the Alabama Sports Writers.

 1961    Sidney Lanier Poets Team Photo

1961  Season
 Site   PF   Opponent   PA   W/L/T 
 27   Parrish Selma W
   Tuscaloosa 13 L
 27   Banks W
 27   West End W
 28   Dothan 13 W
 42   Ramsay 27 W
 34   Gadsden 14 W
 30   Murphy W
 34   Tuscaloosa County W
 14   Lee Montgomery 13 W
263 9-1-0 108
 Final Poll                           
 Rank   Team   Record   Votes    
1       Sidney Lanier (9-1)11 148 
2       Ensley (9-1)110 
3       Lee Montgomery (8-1-1)103 
3       Decatur (9-1)103 
5       Cullman (9-1)84 
6       Coffee (7-1-2)81 
7       Etowah (7-1-2)66 
8       Vigor (7-2-1)45 
9       Tuscaloosa (7-3)40 
10       Benjamin Russell (8-2)33 

1961 Sidney Lanier All-State Players
 Ashly CookB 3A 1  ASWA
 Wayne CookE 3A 2  ASWA
 Jim ScottB 3A 2  ASWA
 Ashby CookB 3A 1  ASWA
 Jim ScottB 3A 2  ASWA
 Wayne CookE 3A HM  ASWA
 Bobby WilsonCoach 3A 1  ASWA
 Ashby CookB 3A 2  ASWA
 Wayne CookE 3A 2  ASWA
 Jim ScottB 3A 2  ASWA
 Knox KershawT 3A HM  ASWA
 Ben McDavidG 3A HM  ASWA

1961 Sidney Lanier All-Star Players
 AHSAA-University of Alabama All-Star Game   
 Jim Scott FB 3A  ASWA
 Harold Mesaris C 3A  ASWA
 Ashley Cook QB 3A  ASWA

1961 Sidney Lanier Roster
10 Frank Hagood QB Soph.
11 Tommy Lunceford QB Soph.
12 John Glasscock QB Jr.
15 Ashby Cook QB Sr.
  Mickey Mask QB Soph.
  Kermit Dickey C Sr.
31 Charles Betts HB Jr.
23 Lanier Branch HB Sr.
33 L.D. Fitzpatrick B Sr.
  Jim Scott FB Sr.
  Randy Farmer FB Jr.
37 Jack Boyd B Sr.
33 Jackie Vann FB Jr.
40 Hunter Pope HB Jr.
41 Jimmy Poole HB Sr.
  John Little HB Jr.
  Wayne Cook E Sr.
  Piet Nieman G Soph.
57 George Young E Jr.
  Kenny Talley HB Soph.
  Denny Taylor HB Jr.
52 Larry Elliott E Jr.
  John Richardson T Jr.
  Knox Kershaw T Sr.
63 Gary Woolard T Soph.
  Pete Schaum T Jr.
  Ben McDonald T Jr.
  Mason Boyd T Sr.
74 David Petrey G Sr.
75 Spencer Swan G Sr.
  Lawrence Bear G Sr.
70 Billy Albright G Jr.
71 John Bateman G Jr.
  Dan Marks G Jr.
81 Gene Brooker C Soph.
83 Bob Sternenberg C Sr.
84 Harold Mesaris C Sr.

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