• 36°

A special year

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
Well, let me finally get this of my chest.
Roll Tide.
I have been waiting to say that in this space all season, but I have restrained myself from constantly letting you know how much I love Alabama football.
And this year is one that we will remember for years. Before the season began I realistically thought the Tide might win nine games if we played really well.
But as the season unfolded it looked more and more like a championship-caliber team.
That's what ultimately led up to a sports fan's dream this weekend.
Russellville played in the 5A state championship game on Friday night while Alabama took on a tough Florida Gator team on Saturday in the SEC championship game. Throw in a UNA Lions semi-final game and it was all you could ask for going into the weekend.
The closest thing I can remember to this took place 14 years ago.
In 1994, I was a 9th grader at Russellville High School when the Golden Tigers took on Homewood in the state semi-finals just one day before undefeated Alabama played Florida in the third conference title game.
To this day I still believe that 1994 Russellville team was as good as any that has played here.
I still remember talking to my dad about where we would stay on the following weekend when Russellville played Greenville for the state championship.
That was before the Super Six when the host site rotated between the north and south champion each year.
It didn't matter anyway. The best team in the state lost to Homewood that night, one game short of where we thought it would end.
On the next day, Coach Gene Stallings' best Alabama team lost 24-23 and were denied a shot at a second national title in three years.
UNA did win a second consecutive national championship that year, but for the Golden Tigers and Crimson Tide, it was heartbreaking.
At the time this column was written, I didn't know how the weekend would turn out. But I do know how special it has been to watch these teams this year.
Some things will never change.