1960-1969

1960 would begin an amazing five year run. The Foley squad would post a 9-1 record, tied for most wins in school history.  One of the most exciting games of the season was a thrilling 14-13 win over U.M.S. Rick Blackwell scored from 15 yards out and Anthony DeMarlo ripped off an 80 yard scoring run. The one blemish on the record was to Bay Minette 19-0. The Lions took out their frustration the following week on Grand Bay by the score of 76-0, the third most points scored in a single game by a Foley team in school history. It would be three years and 23 games before the Lions would once again taste defeat.

The 1961 team opened with a 52-0 blasting of Theodore and a convincing 34-0 win over U.M.S. at Ladd Stadium. DeMarlo scored on a touchdown run, an interception return and an 85 yard punt return, still fourth longest in school history. The next game against Alba was ironic for a number of reasons. Alba, coached by former Foley coach Bill Meredith, trailing 41-0 late in the game, completed a long touchdown pass making the final score 41-6. It seemed rather harmless at the time but it proved to be the only points that the tough Lion defense would surrender the entire season, bettering the mark of seven allowed by the 1930 team. While Coach Meredith could take satisfaction in being the only team to avoid a shutout against his former team, Coach Jones recorded his 45th career victory at the school breaking Coach Meredith’s mark of 44 against him in head-to-head competition.

Victories over Robertsdale and Atmore set up the much anticipated rematch with Bay Minette. Bay Minette entered the game with only a tie on its record and sportswriters selected the game as the game of the week for the entire state of Alabama. The game did not live up to its billing as the Lions, eager to avenge the defeat from the previous year, jumped out to a big halftime lead and coasted to a 41-0 victory. The Lions steamrolled through the last four opponents, concluding with a 53-0 victory over Catholic. Quarterback Lester Smith concluded his Foley career with his finest performance, completing 9 of 11 passes for 109 yards and three touchdown passes. He threw 12 for the season and finished with 17 for his career, a new school record. Anthony DeMarlo finished the season with 21 touchdowns and his career with 37 touchdowns, both school records. The team scored 433 points, also a school record which is still the most points ever scored by a Foley team in the regular season. The team was voted by the state sportswriters as the state champions of Alabama. After the season, the city raised money to send the team to the Senior Bowl and then to the Sugar Bowl where they saw Alabama claim the national championship, the first for Paul William Bryant, by defeating Arkansas 10-3.

The 1962 team entered the season with great expectations but also with big shoes to fill. Many key players returned but a big question mark had to be answered at quarterback. It did not take long for junior quarterback Kenny Stabler to answer those questions. The season opened with a tough road game at Prichard against a tough Vigor Wolves team. With the score tied at 7, Stabler hit Jimmy Paul with a 22 yard strike with only 16 seconds left to lift the Lions to a 13-7 victory and their 14th consecutive victory. The following week found Foley on the short end of a 14-13 score. The junior again calmly led the team down the field in the final minutes of the game, this time an 11 play, 72 yard drive to pull out the dramatic 20-14 win. Foley steamrolled through its next six opponents leading to another showdown, this time with U.M.S. Undefeated U.M.S. was coached by Doug Barfield, future head football coach of the Auburn University Tigers. Stabler broke a 70 yard run on Foley’s first possession to set the tone for the game. The Lions staked out a 27-0 lead and coasted to a 27-7 victory. A 21-7 victory the following week against Fairhope capped a second straight 10-0 season, the first and only time in school history that Foley has had consecutive unbeaten seasons. The Foley Lions once again stood at the pinnacle of football in Alabama being awarded the state championship by the state’s sportswriters.

The 1963 season opened with much anticipation. Graduation had taken a tremendous toll on the team but Kenny Stabler was coming back for his senior year and he was already on the radar of the nation’s elite college football programs. Foley entered the opening game against Vigor with a 23 game winning streak, the last loss having been administered by Bay Minette in the 1960 season. After an 85 yard punt return by Jimmy Paul and a 12 yard touchdown run by Stabler, Foley clung to a 14-13 lead in the fourth quarter. The Lions fought tenaciously to keep Vigor out of the end zone but the Wolves put together a late touchdown drive to end the Lions win streak by a score of 20-14. Foley would run the table for the remainder of the season, the only serious challenge being made by Barfield’s U.M.S. team. Foley pulled out a 21-14 victory on the red hot left arm of Stabler who threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the game. The following week, Foley capped off the 9-1 campaign with a victory over Fairhope. Coming into the game, Fairhope running back, David Chatwood, had scored 21 touchdowns. With the Lions leading 20-0, Fairhope put together one final late drive and Chatwood scored his 22nd touchdown on the season, breaking DeMarlo’s record and setting what was believed to be the new mark for the county.

The 1964 edition of the Lions would open the season in Prichard, Alabama without the “Snake.” The Vigor game would be a thriller like the year before. In a hard fought game, Vigor returned a punt for a touchdown and got two field goals from R.L. Watson, the father of future Lion coach Todd Watson, to upend the Lions by a score of 13-7. After a narrow 7-6 victory over W.S.Neal, the Foley defense would put a deathgrip on the opposition, posting 8 consecutive shutouts, a new school record. Barfield’s once again undefeated U.M.S. squad posed the most serious challenge left on the schedule. The Lion defense stuffed the U.M.S. offense and recorded a 7-0 win. The season ended with a shutout over Fairhope to finish the 9-1 season. During this four year period, the Foley Lions won 47 games while losing only 3, two of those losses coming to Vigor by six points each.

The 1965 team opened the season by being overwhelmed by Scott Hunter’s Vigor Wolves 47-7 followed by a narrow 20-19 loss at W.S.Neal. Foley would put it together and finished the season with 8 consecutive wins. The U.M.S. game again proved to be very memorable. Trailing 3-0, quarterback Tommy Smith led the Lions down the field and completed a touchdown pass to William Lenz in the final moments to pull out the dramatic 7-3 victory. Foley won its fifth consecutive county championship, a new school record.

1966 opened with a frustrating 7-6 loss to Vigor. The team went on to post a number of impressive wins including a 25-16 victory over Bay Minette, led by first year coach Lyle Underwood, a former Lion standout. Marshall Underwood had a big game against the Tigers and Bill Paul returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, a record that would stand for 35 years. Foley would drop a close 14-6 game to Fairhope which would break a string of 18 consecutive county victories. The team posted a respectable 7-3 record.

The 1967 squad was a gritty team that pulled out a number of close victories during the season. Quarterback Mike Smith helped direct the Lions to a 14-13 victory over Vigor, the first win over the Wolves since the 1962 state championship team. The only setbacks were to the undefeated Fairhope Pirates and to Catholic. The Catholic loss took place on September 29th and first year assistant coach Lester Smith was distracted by the birth of his son earlier that day. A 15-7 win over Tate would give Coach Jones his 100th career victory. The team finished the season with a record of 8-2.

The 1968 team proved to be Coach Jones last team. The season started shaky but ended with a bang. Just prior to the Catholic game, Foley learned the state was forcing it to forfeit the first two games because of a player who was ruled ineligible. However, after losing to Catholic, the team would not lose again posting 5 consecutive wins. Included in that number was a 20-13 shootout with Robertsdale, a 13-8 win over Bay Minette and a 16-13 victory over Milton, in which Doug Wilson kicked the field goal which proved to be the difference. The final game was against Fairhope who was ranked number one in the state. Foley trailed 14-0 at the half but got a long touchdown run from Ray Parker to pull within 14-7. Don Chastain then directed the Lions on an 80 yard drive to salvage the dramatic 14-14 tie. After the season, Coach Jones stepped down as coach to get into administration. He walked away with a record of 108-28-3 and 10 county championships. He never had a losing record in his 14 seasons.

The man chosen to replace him was 25 year old Lester Smith, the quarterback and captain of the awesome 1961 team, Coach Jones’ greatest team. Foley opened the season against perennially strong Murphy. Coach Smith recorded his first victory by a score of 14-7. Don Chastain tossed touchdown passes to Neil Brannan and Freddie Wilson in the victory. The team posted one point wins over Catholic and Tate but lost close games to Vigor, Bay Minette, and Fairhope. The one that really stung was a 20-6 loss to Robertsdale, the first loss to the Bears since 1952. Despite that defeat, the Lions posted a winning record of 6-4.