E.A. Sports Today

A look back – Anniston

EDITOR’S NOTE:The coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down these past few months and the absence of sports has been tough on avid sports fans. We can only hope the football seasons can go off as scheduled this fall. As we wait, there has been plenty of time to reflect on high school football in Calhoun County.
The following is part of a 14-part series compiled by East Alabama Sports Today contributor Brant Locklier that looks back on the past decade of football for each of the 13 county football-playing schools. The 2020 season that may or may not be will be center stage for the first time at the Calhoun County QB Club Media Day July 24.
Special thanks goes to Ashleigh Jackson, who keyed in all the scores and the website, “The History of Alabama High School Football,” for their information. 

Anniston – Bulldogs Return to Glory

Summary: The decade started with a deep play-off run in 2010 and 2011 and ended with a trip to the semi-finals in 2019. In between the Bulldogs had trouble scoring points as they only got above an18 points a game average for the season once in those seven years. The defense has been there the whole decade as they averaged giving up less than 20 points a game in a season seven times.
The Bulldogs always play a very strong schedule and the record does not always reflect how good they are. They were 55-57 during the decade, with 20 of the losses by a touchdown or less.
In 2019, they played three of the top four teams in the state during the regular season and lost by a combined total of just 27 points. They lost 14-13 to Catholic of Montgomery, 38-30 to Jacksonville and 24-6 to American Christian. The other regular season loss was 35-34 to Oneonta. 
Coach Rico White came on board in the 2018 season and has greatly improved the offense, while maintaining the stiff Bulldog defense and the Bulldogs are back at the top of the state-wide teams in their class. The offense has improved by 15 points a game over the 2017 season, up to 29.3 points a game.
The Bulldogs fared well in region play during the decade winning 40 and losing 30. This showed that the tough out-of-region schedule prepared them well for region play. 
High Point: The Bulldogs had two runs to the semi-finals during the decade (2011, 2019) and both times were beaten by region opponents. In 2011, they dropped a 21-14 game to Oneonta after winning the regular season game 34-31. In 2019, Jacksonville ended their state championship game hopes with a 34-13 win and a regular season win 38-30.
Low Point: In 2016 the Bulldogs started their season with five straight losses on their way to a 2-8 record. It was part of a seven -game losing streak that began with two losses to end the 2015 campaign. 
Home Record: The Bulldogs were 28-29 at home during the decade. Their best home records were in 2010 at 6-2 and 5-2 in 2019 
Away Record: Anniston went 27-28 on the road in the decade. They were especially good on the road during the first three years of the decade going 13-4 away from home. In 2014 and 2016 the Bulldogs were 0-5 each year on the road.
Play-Offs: The 2019 playoffs saw the Bulldogs defeat Fayette County 19-6, Fairview 35-7 and Deshler 30-13 before falling to Jacksonville in the semi-finals. In 2011, Anniston defeated Cherokee County 41-0, Dora 25-20 and Fayette County 14-0 before falling to Oneonta 21-14 in the semi-finals. In six play-off trips, the Bulldogs ended the decade with an 8-6 record.
Streaks: The decade began with the Bulldogs winning eight straight games in the 2010 season. The 2010-11 teams combined to win nine straight regular season games. The longest losing streak was seven games over the 2015-2016 seasons. 
Coaches: Eddie Bullock (40-47) was the coach from 2010 to 2017 and led the Bulldogs to four state play-off appearances. Rico White (14-10) arrived in 2018 and has had both of his teams in the play-offs. 
Players: A.J. Brown, Kaleb Jenkins and Tony Hunley were all-state performers in 2019. DeMarcus Thomas was all-state in 2013. Dontavius Blair (2011) and Auinton Royal (2010) were all state performers. Running back Troymaine Pope was all-state in 2010 and 2011. 
Toughest Opponent: Jacksonville has given the Bulldogs the most trouble in the last decade as they are 9-2 against Anniston, including nine straight wins entering the 2020 season. Oneonta and Anniston finished the decade 4-4 against each other and have met in the play-offs twice. 
Easiest Opponent:Anniston has a 5-1 record over Cleburne County in the last decade and posted 4-0 marks against White Plains and St Clair County.
Best Offense:The 2010 team had the best offense of the decade as they averaged 35.4 points a game and during an eight-game win streak scored over 30 points in all but one of the games.
Best Defense: The 2018 and 2019 were both at the top of the decade defenses. The 2018 team was the best giving up 14.3 points per game, while the 2019 team was right behind them only allowing 14.6 points per game.
Best Team: The 2011 and 2019 teams almost had identical seasons. Both went 9-5 and advanced to the semi-finals of the state play-offs. Both teams averaged 29 points a game on offense. The 2011 team allowed 17.5 points a game on defense and the 2019 team allowed 14.6 points per game.
2020 Anniston Schedule
(Pre-pandemic, opponent 2019 records in parenthesis)
Aug. 21 – at Wellborn (12-2)
Aug. 28 – vs. Ohatchee (10-1)
Sept. 4 – at Jacksonville (12-3)
Sept. 11 – vs. Cherokee County (6-4)
Sept. 18– Open
Sept. 25 – vs. Center Point (9-4)
Oct. 2 – at White Plains (3-7)
Oct. 9 – vs. Munford (5-5)
Oct. 16 – at Handley (7-5)
Oct. 23 – vs. Cleburne County (1-9)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login