There have been quite a few instances where two teams have met for an Alabama state football championship in consecutive years, the last being 2018-2019 when Central Phenix City and Thompson hooked up two years in a row. But 30 years ago, two teams met in consecutive years with both teams being undefeated going into both championship contests- the only time it has ever occurred in AHSAA history.
The Deshler Tigers and the T.R. Miller Tigers met on December 13, 1991 in Brewton in a rematch of the 1990 4A State Championship game that was played in Tuscumbia. Going into the 1990 contest, Miller was 13-0 and Deshler 14-0. The following season, Deshler won every game going into the title contest, running their win streak to 28 games. Miller did likewise, defeating a great Handley team in the semi finals with a come from behind 39-20 second half effort.
The games also pitted two Hall of Fame coaches-Tandy Geralds (pictured) of Deshler and a young Jamie Riggs of T.R. Miller.
The 1990 Deshler squad had set a state record by scoring 600 points, running a Wing-T attack led by quarterback Scott Thompson. But it was Miller that jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first half in Tuscumbia behind the running of their two outstanding "I" backs, Ron Gibson and James Fountain (pictured). Gibson (left) would rush for 2300 yards on the season. Deshler drove down and scored on a 5 yard run by Anthony Morris in the 3rd stanza, but Miller countered on a 21 yard sprint by Fountain and led 21-7 going into the fourth quarter.
Deshler's All State receiver Corey Donley caught a 83 yard pass from Thompson to tighten the score to 21-13. After a Miller punt and a great Conley return with time running out, Deshler scored on a 3 yard touchdown pass from Thompson to tight end Doug Garrett on the last play of regulation. On the two point conversion to tie the game, Deshler ran a quick pitch to Patrick Smith. When the officials ruled Garrett broke the goal line before being driven back, the game went to overtime.
Deshler had the ball first and used a shovel pass to get close and Smith scored from 2 yards out on the next play. The extra point was good to give Deshler their first lead of the game. Gibson bounced a run outside and scored for Miller on first down.. But when the PAT went wide, Deshler was state 4A champion with a 28-27 victory. (Pictured -the 1990 Deshler Champions).
It was one of the greatest games in AHSAA championship game history.
After the game, Riggs said, "Deshler made a great comeback. It seemed like we just couldn't get them stopped in the fourth quarter. I thought our guys played great and we did everything we could. But their second half shows that Deshler is a deserving champion."
The weather for the rematch in Brewton one year later was muggy and temperatures were in the upper 60s. Both teams scored on their first drive of the game. Miller quarterback Terence Samuel (pictured) scored on an 11 yard run and Deshler fullback Chad Gann scored on a 1 yard run after Tyrell Goodloe returned the kickoff to midfield. Chip Hines kicked a 44 yard field goal and Willie Smith capped a Miller drive with a 1 yard run to give the home team a 17-6 lead. Hines kicked a 32 yard field goal right before half and Miller had the same 14 point halftime lead as the year before.
On the opening drive of the second half, Miller sent Deshler the message there would be no comeback this year. On a 3rd and 22, Miller quarterback Samuel made the play of the game, avoiding a sack and throwing a 76 yard touchdown pass to Tim Pettis. The PAT made it 24-6 and the Deshler winning streak was done. The final ended at 46-6 as Miller's star runner James Fountain rushed for 200 yards and Miller ground up 500 yards of total offense.
Deshler's Tandy Geralds was classy after the game. "Our win streak had to end sometime. We just got hit by a buzz saw tonight. They outplayed us in every phase of the game. We got beat by a great T.R. Miller team tonight."
Deshler and Miller would meet for the state title one more time in 1998, with Deshler winning 38-6 behind All State running back Michael Owens.