Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama to Host Junior Varsity Football Game


Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Thurman Ward

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After a 21-year absence, Alabama makes a return to JV football when the Crimson Tide plays host to Georgia Military College on Thursday, Oct. 10 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  Alabama is playing its first junior varsity football game since posting a 31-7 victory at Marion Military Institute in 1981.  The Crimson Tide is also playing its first JV football game in Tuscaloosa since a 23-14 win over Auburn on Nov. 22, 1980.


According to available archives, the first Alabama freshman football game was played Oct. 9, 1942 against Mississippi State in Starkville.  Now 60 years and one-day later, Alabama will again play a JV football game after a 21-year absence.  From 1942-59, Alabama played "B" team and freshman football.  The first known coach for Alabama freshman football is Coach Joe Kilgrow (1946-57), who was also an aide to Coach Tilden "Happy" Campbell on the baseball field during the Crimson Tide's heydey on the diamond in the 1940s and 50s.  In 1960, assistant coach Clem Gryska took over the freshman team and remained as coach until freshman football was abolished in 1971.  In 1972, freshmen became eligible for varsity competition and freshman football was abolished.  As a result, JV football was introduced in the 1972 season and was played at Alabama through the 1981 season.  Assistant football coach Jack Rutledge served as the Tide's JV coach from 1972-81. 


Alabama graduate assistant coaches Rick LaFavers and Woodrow Lowe, Jr., will serve as Alabama's co-head coaches against Georgia Military.

Georgia Military College coach Bert Williams is in his second season as head coach of the Bulldogs.  He has compiled a 17-0 record at GMC, including a 5-0 mark this season.  In his first season (2001), Williams led GMC to a perfect 11-0 mark and the 2001 Junior College National Championship.  GMC defeated Butler County Community College 31-19 in the Golden Isles Bowl for the national championship.


While the Crimson Tide has played freshman, B-team or junior varsity football since 1942, complete game-by-game results are not available until the 1963 season.  Since 1963, Alabama has compiled a 54-24-1 (.690) record.

*The first recorded game in Alabama freshman football history was Oct. 9, 1942 at Mississippi State.  The result of that  game as not available.

*The 1942 season is also the only time the Crimson Tide listed a junior college opponent on its freshman or junior varsity schedule.  Alabama played Hinds Junior College on Oct. 23 and East Central Mississippi JC on Nov. 20.

*The Crimson Tide did not play football in 1943 due to World War II and there is no record of a freshman or B-team in 1944 or 1945.

*Joe Kilgrow became freshman coach in 1946 and remained in that position until 1957.  He worked for Frank Thomas, "Red" Drew and J.B. Whitworth.

*Alabama played the University of Havana (Cuba) in Dothan, Ala., on Nov. 9, 1946.

*Beginning in 1948, the SEC limited its member schools to three freshman games per season. 

*The first Alabama-Auburn freshman football game took place on Oct. 22, 1948 at Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.  This was the first football meeting of any kind between the two schools since the varsity series was halted after a 6-6 tie on Nov. 16, 1907.   Later that season (Dec. 4), Alabama and Auburn resumed its varsity series at Birmingham's Legion Field.  The Crimson Tide won the game, 55-0.

*The Crimson Tide closed out that season on Nov. 25, 1948 (Thanksgiving Day) against the Kentucky Wildcats in a game played in Anniston, Ala.

*Former All-American Joe Namath was the Alabama freshman quarterback in 1961.

*Alabama made its first visit to Auburn on Nov. 4, 1963, posting a 21-14 win.

*The 1964 freshmen team posted a 2-2 record with the likes of Ken Stabler, Dennis Homan and Bobby Johns.

*Alabama completed the 1966 season with a 4-0 record led by Scott Hunter and Mike Dean.  Hunter threw five TD passes for the Crimson Tide in those four games.

*In 1967, Alabama posted a 3-1, including wins over Miss. State, Tennessee and Auburn.  The stars of the `67 freshmen team were Johnny Musso, Terry Davis, David Bailey and George Ranager.  

*John Croyle, the father of Alabama redshirt freshman quarterback Brodie Croyle, played on the 1968 Alabama freshman team along with future NFL Hall of Famer John Hannah.

*Alabama posted a perfect 5-0 record in 1970, the most wins in school history.  The 1970 freshman squad was led by quarterback Gary Rutledge (33-for-63, 3 TDs), halfback Paul Spivey (129-578-8 TDs), punter Greg Gantt (41 yard punting average), halfback Wilbur Jackson and placekicker Bill Davis.  Spivey's eight TDs are a single-season freshman record.

*In the final year of freshman football (1971), Alabama traveled to Annapolis, Maryland and defeated the US Naval Academy 28-23.  Coach Bryant, a member of the United States Naval Academy during World War II, arranged the game for his players to see the discipline it took to play football and serve in the military.  It was the same characteristics Bryant demanded of his coaches and players during his successful coaching career.

*The 1972 season marked the first year of junior varsity football at Alabama.  The Crimson Tide posted a 4-1 JV record.

*Alabama posted a 4-0 junior varsity record in 1977.

*Alabama defeated Auburn 23-14 on Nov. 22, 1980 in the last ever junior varsity football game played in Tuscaloosa.

*Alabama's final season of junior varsity football, the 1981 team posted a 3-0 record with wins over Ft. Benning (Ga.), Ole Miss and Marion Military.  All three games were played on the road.

*Craig Turner led the UA offense in 1981 with 52 carries for 426 yards (8.2 per carry) and three TDs.  Turner also averaged 142 yards per game for the UA freshman team.

The Bulldogs enter the Alabama game with the nation's longest winning streak at 17 games.  GMC's last loss was a 20-0 setback at Middle Georgia Junior College on Nov. 4, 2000.  The Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in the latest NJCAA polls (Oct. 8).  Georgia Military has won all five games this season, including wins over Air Force JV and Valdosta State JV.   The Bulldogs opened the season with a 35-19 win at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah.   Running back Andre Hill (Tampa, Fla.) has provided much of the ground attack for GMC this season, rushing 121 times for 866 yards and seven TDs.  He averages 7.15  yards per carry and leads the nation with 173.2 rushing yards per game.  As a team, GMC  has rushed the ball 234 times for 1,286 yards and 10 TDs this season, an average of 257. 2 rushing yards per game.  Hill has accounted for 67.3 percent of GMC's rushing total and seven of their 10 rushing TDs thus far.  His best game of the season was a 36-carry, 213-yard, 2 TD performance at Blinn JC.

GMC Statistical Leaders (Through 5 Games):

Rushing             (Rushes-Yds-Avg-TD)
Andre Hill          121-866-7.15-7 

Receiving           (Rec-Yds-Avg-TD)
Rick Stokes         23-420-18.3-6 

Passing             (Comp-Att-%-INT-TD-Yards)
Franco Johnson      44-98 (44.9)-6-10-714 

Punting             (Punts-Yds-Avg.)
Clay Crisp          25-1,319-43.97 

Interceptions       (No-Yards-Avg.-TD)
Brian Staley        6-7-1.7-0


The Crimson Tide will dress 54 players for its junior varsity game with Georgia Military College. 

*Of those 54 players, 19 have seen varsity action for the Crimson Tide. 

*Those with previous playing experience are Joel Babb, J.B. Closner, Nathan Cox, Brandon Dean, Von Ewing, Corey Ferguson, Tarry Givens, Hamid Haaq, Zac Holt, Matt Lomax, Danny Martz, Josh Smith, Roberto McBride, Carl McInnish, Spencer Pennington, Bart Raulston, Derek Sanders and Thurman Ward. 

*Babb has played in four games this season and made his debut with the Crimson Tide in 1998.

*Ferguson has appeared in 14 games for the Crimson Tide during his career.  He played in all 11 games last season, recording nine tackles.  Ferguson has played in three games this year and has added two tackles.

*Givens has appeared in two games for the Crimson Tide this season (North Texas and Arkansas) and made his UA debut against UTEP on Oct. 6, 2001 at Legion Field.

*Lomax has appeared in three games for Alabama, including two games this season (North Texas and Arkansas).  He made his UA debut last year at South Carolina on Sept. 29, 2001 in Columbia.

*Martz has also appeared in three games, including the North Texas and Arkansas games this season.  Martz made his UA debut last year against UTEP (Oct. 6) at Legion Field.

*McBride has played in 24 games for Alabama, recording 29 career tackles.  He has also added one TFL (-3) and five PBUs since making his debut in 1999.  McBride has played in three games this year, contributing two tackles and one PBU.

*Pennington made his Alabama debut on special teams against Middle Tennessee and played his first game at quarterback against North Texas.  He had two rushing attempts in the win over the Mean Green.

*Stubbs has missed the last two seasons while serving a foreign mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He last played for Alabama during the 1999, when he appeared in seven games.

*Raulston has appeared in two games for Alabama, making his debut against UTEP on Oct. 6, 2001 at Legion Field.  Raulston also played in the Crimson Tide's 33-7 win over North Texas (Sept. 14) earlier this season.

*Sanders has played in 27 games for Alabama since making his UA debut in 1999.  He has four career tackles.  The senior has appeared in three games this season with no tackles.

*Ward has played both offense and defense in his UA career.  The Starkville, Miss., native has appeared in 14 career games, including all 11 games last year.  He has made three appearances this season, his first year at wide receiver.

*In addition, Closner, Cox, Dean, Ewing and Holt all made their debuts for the Crimson Tide this season against North Texas on Sept. 14th at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

*Closner and Ewing made their SEC debut in the Crimson Tide's 30-12 win at Arkansas on Sept. 28, 2002 in Fayetteville.

*Haaq and Smith have not played this season, but did see action in two games last year.  Haaq appeared in UA wins over UTEP and Auburn, while Smith played against Miss. State and Auburn.


Alabama returns to action Saturday, Oct. 19 when they host the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised by CBS.