Winnfield Tiger Football

Description of All-time wins, losses, plays and teams.

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BEST WIN
   1982 vs. John Curtis (23-14) - 92% of the vote. The Winnfield program was declared the state champion in 1919.  Therefore, the 1982 win over John Curtis is the school's first and only state title won on the playing field.  So, the win over John Curtis had the most at stake and paid the highest dividends of any Tiger win. This win came against the vaunted John Curtis Christian School program who were the two-time defending Class AA state champs. In many respects, the 1982 title game win was a culmination of a 25-year program building effort.  Though Winnfield Tiger football began in 1909, no Tiger team had even played in a playoff game until the 1957 season. Twenty-five years later the 1982 team won the state title.  Between that 1957 season and the 1982 win over half (14) of the Tiger teams made the playoffs; including title game appearances by the 1971 and 1976 teams and semi-final round appearances by the 1979 and 1981 teams.  Many of the starters on the 1982 team were starters on that 1981 team so they had playoff experience as the 1982 season began and they knew the bitter feeling of losing in the playoffs. They say that if you keep knocking at the door you will finally get in.  Such is the case of the Winnfield Tiger football program. The 1982 title game would be an opportunity to showcase Winnfield's speed on the fast track of the Superdome. For Winnfield the game would be one of the longest road trips any Tiger team had ever made.  For John Curtis, they slept in their own beds the night before this game in neighboring River Ridge.  Winnfield exploded for three touchdowns the first three times they had the ball to jump to a 20-0 first quarter lead.  The first came when Tiger HB Garlon Powell scooped up a fumble and ran 28 yards for a touchdown.  On the Tigers second series, Tiger QB Thomas King kept the ball on an option and ran 76 yards for a touchdown on the first play of that series.  On the Tigers' third series of the night Powell was back in the endzone after he took a pitch from King and ran 56 yards for a touchdown.  At that point the game was beginning to have the appearance of a blowout, but Patriot head coach John Curtis and his staff knew how to make adjustments.  After the first quarter scoring barrage by the Tigers turnovers plagued both teams the remainder of the game.  The two teams combined for a Class AA title game record 12 fumbles, with John Curtis losing two of those and Winnfield losing one.  By the end of the third quarter John Curtis had scored  two unanswered touchdowns to move the score to 20-14.  In fact, when John Curtis gained possession of the football for the first time in the first quarter that marked the first time all game long they had possession of the ball with chance to take the lead.  However, John Curtis lost one of the two fumbles they would give up during the game on that drive.  Winnfield, in turn, drove down inside the Curtis 10 yard line and facing a fourth and long Tiger head coach Doug Moreau elected to have Tiger kicker Garlon Powell attempt a 25-yard field goal.  Powell had never attempted a FG in his career and he had been battling leg cramps throughout the fourth quarter.  None of that mattered as Powell booted the FG to give Winnfield breathing room with a 23-14 lead.  The Tiger defense shut down Curtis the rest of the way and the team brought home the Class AA trophy with a 23-14 win.
      1981 vs. Jonesboro-Hodge (34-29) - 77% of the vote. Winnfield came into this game riding a 3-game win streak over Jonesboro-Hodge.  For the third straight year the game would be the regular-season finale and for the third straight year the district title was on the line.  It was a bitterly cold night.  In the first quarter Winnfield had the ball three times and fumbled the ball away each of those times.  Likewise, Jonesboro-Hodge responded each time with a touchdown.  Winnfield ran 9 plays in the first quarter and Jonesboro had a 20-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.  In the second quarter Winnfield fumbled the fourth and fifth possession of the game.  Winnfield regained possession after the first of those fumbles but ended up punting to Jonesboro-Hodge.  Jonesboro booted a FG at the end of that possession.  Finally, Jonesboro-Hodge recovered their fourth fumble of the night after the fifth Winnfield fumble and capitalized on that by moving the score to 29-0 with 4:14 on the second quarter clock.  Some teams would have folded at that point, but not the 1981 Winnfield Tigers.  On their last possession of the first half, Winnfield held on to the ball and in doing so got on the scoreboard and tacked on a 2-pt. conversion to make the score 29-8 at the half.  Jonesboro only got the ball once in the third quarter and they only ran 5 plays on that series.  Meanwhile, Winnfield sandwiched touchdowns around that lone Jonesboro-Hodge possession to make the score 29-20 Jonesboro with the whole fourth quarter to play.  Talk about a flip-flop; Jonesboro-Hodge had scored the first five times they had touched the ball in the game, but had been shut down the next three times. Conversely, Winnfield had turned the ball five of the first six times they had the ball but had scored on three straight possessions, closing a 29-0 gap to a 9-point 29-20 margin. The fourth quarter would determine who the district champion would be.  After the two teams exchanged punts at the start of the fourth quarter Winnfield struck again to narrow the margin to 29-27 with half of the fourth quarter to go.  Give the Winnfield defense as much credit for this comeback, because had they not shut down Jonesboro Winnfield would have effectively dug themselves too deep of a whole.  But, from the second quarter on the Winnfield defense pitched a shutout and gave the team a chance.  With just over three minutes to go in the game Winnfield got the ball back for what most assumed would be the final time.  The series began at the Winnfield 40 yard line.  Two Greg Powell passes got the ball to the Jonesboro 28 yard line.  Then, with just under three minutes to go in the contest Powell kept the ball and weaved his way through the Jonesboro-Hodge defense for the go-ahead touchdown.  After the extra point was added Winnfield had moved to a 34-29 lead.  Jonesboro only ran six plays on their final series before Winnfield knocked down a fourth down pass.  Winnfield then took over and ran out the clock.  The win gave the school its 9th district title and the game marked the biggest come-back a Tiger team has ever made.
     1971 vs. Haughton (20-13) - 59% of the vote. The 1971 team made it to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs with an 11-0 record.  That matched the 1961 team for most wins in a season and equaled the 1968 team for the furthest any Tiger team had ever advanced in the playoffs. The game against Haughton would be played in Airline Stadium in Bossier City to accomodate the anticipated over-flow crowd.  Several Winnfield players had been plagued by the flu the week before the game. Haughton matched Winnfield where the Tigers had capitalized all season - with team speed.  In fact, Haughton had more speed than Winnfield.  Winnfield took a 6-0 first quarter lead but Haughton scored in the second quarter to take a 7-6 lead.  That marked the first time Winnfield had trailed all season long.  The lead changed twice in the third quarter, first when Winnfield took a 12-7 lead, then when Haughton regained the lead at 13-12. That marked four lead changes in the game. Midway through the fourth quarter a Winnfield punt return enabled the Tigers to start a possession at the Haughton 29 yard line.  In two plays the Tigers had it first and goal from the Haughton 4 yard line.  Three plays netted on 3 yards, setting up a fourth and goal from the 1.  The Tiger coaching staff spurned a field goal and took one more stab at the Haughton line but that play came up short as well.  There was a litte over four minutes to go in the game.  The Winnfield defense limited Haughton to only 3 yards in three plays setting up a fourth down punt from the Haughton end zone.  Anything could happen in that situation, not to mention the fact that Winnfield had already returned 7 punts for touchdowns during the season.  Winnfield got no return on the punt as the Tiger return man was hemmed in at the sidelines near the 40 yard line.  The Tigers were flagged for offsides on the punt and with the Haughton coaching staff frantically telling their captain to decline the penalty he did not get the message because he accepted the penalty.  That caused Haughton to re-punt the football.   This time Tiger return man John Wayne Williams was able to do something the Tigers were unable to do on the previous return.....get behind the wall.  After fielding the ball near mid-field and getting being the wall Williams was able to get down to the Haughton 18 yard line.  There was 1:24 showing on the clock.  Three plays later the Tigers were facing a second and goal from the 14 yard.  On that play QB Steve Adams dropped back and hit FB Randy Parker near the goal line.  Parker took two Haughton defenders into the end zone with him as the Tigers scored the go-ahead touchdown with 00:54 showing on the clock.  The Tiger defense held Haughton on the next series, thus making the 1971 team the first Winnfield football team to win two playoff games.  The win propelled the Tigers to a semi-final round game against Hahnville in Stokes-Walker Stadium.
  1968 vs. Winnsboro (21-7) - 56% of the vote. By 1968 the Winnfield Tiger football program had won four district titles.  For two seasons leading up to the 1968 season the program had been a runner-up in the district race.  In the 9th game of the 1968 season the district title would be on the line when Winnsboro came to Stokes-Walker Stadium.  Winnsboro came into the contest undefeated on the season and leading the district.  In fact, Winnsboro had not lost a regular season game in two years.  The season before Winnsboro was the Class A state runner-up and that loss was the only loss that program had sustained in the 1967 or 1968 seasons.  Winnfield was a half game back of Winnsboro in the district race with a 3-1 district mark.  Earlier in the season Winnfield had lost to Ferriday, but Ferriday had lost two district games, including a loss to Winnsboro.  So the task at hand for Winnfield was very simple - beat Winnsboro and claim the district title.  Lose to Winnsboro and stay at home in the playoffs because their district mark would drop to 3-2, putting them in a tie with Ferriday.  Winnsboro was the no. 1 ranked team in Class AA.  Winnfield was the clear underdog, so Tiger head coach Tommy Bankston was in his element.  He knew how to prepare a team and the two things that his teams were known for  - defense and special teams - would play a huge role in this game. Winnfield got on the board first with a touchdown on their second possession of the night.  The Tiger defense played inspired football throughout the first half and kept Winnsboro out of the end zone, thus sending the two teams to the locker room at half time with Winnfield leading 7-0.  The Tigers naturally wanted some breathing room and they got that in the most dramatic way when Randy Poisso fielded the second half kickoff and ran 85 yards for a touchdown to up the Tiger lead to 14-0.  Winnsboro had no quit in them as they got 7 of those points back late in the third quarter to narrow the gap to 14-7.  However, that is all the points that Winnsboro would get.  Winnfield pushed over one more touchdown in the fourth quarter to up their lead to 21-7 with six minutes to go.  In the end the school won its 7th district title by knocking off the No. 1 ranked team in Class AA. Considering what was on the line, the 1968 would rank as one of the biggest upsets in school history. 
     1976 vs. Catholic, Baton Rouge (37-13) - 55% of the vote. After going 8-2 during the regular season and coming in second in District 3-AAA, the 1976 team peaked in the playoffs and a large reason for that was the play of the Tiger defense.  In the first two playoff games of 1976 the Tiger defense only allowed one touchdown.  In Catholic, Winnfield was facing arguably the strongest defensive unit they had faced all year.  Catholic was unscored on in the 1976 playoffs and had, in fact, gone 27 straight quarters without giving up a touchdown.  This one had all the makings of a defensive battle.  Someone forgot to tell Winnfield that as the Tigers forged a 16-0 first quarter lead and expanded that to 30-7 lead at the half.  No semi-final round halftime lead should ever be "enough", but for all intents and purposes this game was in the bag at halftime.  Each team did score once in the second half to make the final score 37-13, so coming as it did in the semi-finals, this win was certainly one of the most convincing playoff wins in the history of the program.  It was as complete of a team win as you can have in the playoffs.  Start with the defense stats.  The Tigers only allowed 6 yards rushing and only 91 more yards through the air.  But, Catholic had won with their defense all year.  As it turned out, the Winnfield speed and power attack was too much for Catholic as the Tigers rolled up 220 yards rushing and 118 yards through the air.   That marked the first time a Tiger team had rushed for 200 yards and thrown for 100 yards in a playoff game. 
     1961 vs. Ruston (20-7) - 52% of the vote. Ruston High School was one of the premier high school football program during the 1940s and 1950s.  In those two decades alone Ruston played in four state title games.  During the span of those two decades Ruston and Winnfield met every season and, simply put, Ruston owned Winnfield.  Heading into the 1961 season Winnfield had gone 24 straight seasons without defeating Ruston.  The Tigers actually lost to Ruston 23 straight seasons heading into the 1960 game, so the 13-13 tie the Tigers had gained the season before seemed like a huge measure of success.  Still, there was no hiding the 23-3-6 record that Ruston owned in the Winnfield vs. Ruston series as the 1961 game approached, with the last win by Winnfield coming during the 1935 season. In other words, no Winnfield player was alive the last time that Winnfield had defeated Ruston.  Also, during the 24-game winless streak to Ruston, Winnfield had failed to post more than 14 points in all of those game.  Winnfield had jumped out to a 4-0-0 record to begin the 1961 season and had outscored the opposition 118-20.  It was enough to worry Ruston head coach Hoss Garrett.  The first half was a defensive battle, but Ruston got on the scoreboard first to take a 6-0 lead.  That marked the first time the Tigers had trailed all year.  However, just before the half the Tiger defense set up a Winnfield touchdown with an interception that was returned to the Ruston 15 yard line.  The Tigers capitalized on that turnover with a touchdown four plays later and also tacked on the PAT to take a 7-6 lead.  The score came on a 7-yard pass from Mike Tinnerello to Billy Barton. That marked the first time a Tiger team had led Ruston at the half since the Tigers last win in 1935. The defensive battle continued in the second half as neither teams added to their total in the third quarter.  Then, midway through the fourth quarter another Tiger interception led to another Tiger touchdown which gave Winnfield a 14-6 lead with only six minutes to go in the game.  The score came on a 1-yard run by James Lloyd Collins. Since the two-point conversion try had not been instituted in 1961 Ruston would need two possessions in the final six minutes and would need to score on both.  Ruston did the one thing they couldn't do on their next series as they fumbled the ball, which Winnfield recovered 17 yards away from the end zone.  Yet again the Tigers turned that turnover into points and took a 20-7 lead on a 17-yard run by Rusty Melton.  That lead held up the rest of the game.  "The Streak" was finally ended.
WORST LOSS
   1976 vs. Jesuit, Shreveport (7-0) - 75% of the vote. When considering criteria for most devastating losses the 1976 loss to Jesuit, Sp. fits most any criteria you can think of.  This game had the most at stake - a state title.  It was played at home in Stokes-Walker Stadium.  No team coached by Tiger head coach Larry Dauterive had ever been shutout. This was his first shutout.  Finally, Jesuit completed only one pass all night; it's just that this one simple screen pass went 68 yards for a touchdown and the only score of the game.  For the night Jesuit only had 40 yards rushing, they only completed that one pass and only had 4 first downs.  Had Winnfield found a way to score a single touchdown to tie the game, the first tie-breaker used in 1976 was first downs.  Winnfield had 9 first downs, so they would have won the game.  Couple all of that with the fact that Winnfield was inside the red zone twice, only to be turned away both times.  Plus, both of those potential scoring drives were impacted by key penalites. Add all of that up and you have all the ingredients to a very frustrating night and the loss fans voted the most dissappointg loss in the program's first 100 years.
   1971 vs. South Lafourche (10-0) - 74% of the vote. This loss also met the criteria of being a state title game loss.  The build-up to this game actually occurred over the course of 13 weeks, because that is how many weeks the 1971 team went without losing a game.  The game pitted the speed of Winnfield vs. the brawn of South Lafourche.  South Lafourche outweighed Winnfield's linemen by an average of over 50 pds. per man. So, Winnfield didn't even plan on attempting to run right at South Lafourche. Rather, the Tiger game plan was to throw the ball as much as possible and attempt to run around South Lafourche rather than right at them. All of that strategy was negated when rains on game-day made the field a quagmire.  Such was the possibility in a time when state title games were played outdoors in local stadiums instead of the present-day set up of playing all title games in the Super Dome.  Throw in the fact that the Tiger team had to maker the longest road trip in school history and the game was played in a part of Louisiana most Tiger players had never seen.  This led to a feeling of being in "foreign territory".  The Tiger defense played their usual stellar game.  South Lafourche only managed a first half field goal to take a 3-0 lead into the half.  Then, a second half punt return by South Lafourche to the Winnfield 31 led to the only touchdown of the game.  Winnfield made it inside the South Lafourche 30 yard line twice, but failed to score both times.
   1978 vs. St. Louis (21-20) - 66% of the vote. For a loss to be devasting and not be in the title game it would at least need to be in the playoffs or it would need to keep a Winnfield team from making the playoffs.  This loss came in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.  The similarity of this loss and the 1971 loss is that the 1978 also began the season with 12 straight wins.  Like the 1976 loss to Jesuit this one came in Stokes-Walker Stadium.  One other factor worth noting is that the Winnfield football program was still stinging from two state title losses earlier in the decade, with one being only two years prior to this one.  Winnfield had ended the regular season ranked #2 in Class AA, while St. Louis was ranked #5. Winnfield essentially spotted St. Louis a touchdown as a fumbled punt in the first quarter was recovered by St. Louis at the Tiger 1 yard line.  However, the Tigers took control of the game by scoring the next two times they had the ball to take a 14-7 lead, only to relinquish that lead with a late second quarter touchdown by St. Louis which tied the score up at the half. The frustrating night was made all the more so as the Tigers fumbled the first two times they had the ball in the second half.  Then, in the third quarter the Tigers gave up the longest run they had allowed all year when the St. Louis fullback bolted 71 yards to the Winnfield 7.  Three plays later St. Louis scored to take a 21-14 lead. The Tigers responded on the next series by getting back into the end zone, but the frustration mounted when the PAT was missed, leaving St. Louis still in the lead by a 21-20 margin.  The next to last time the Tigers had the ball they got into St. Louis territory and only needed a field goal from sure-football kicker Tommy Latham to take the lead.  However an interception ended that drive.  Neither team mounted another scoring threat. For the night Winnfield lost four fumbles and had one interception.  Simply put, St. Louis made fewer mistakes.
   1961 vs. Tallulah (12-0) - 57% of the vote. When a team goes through the regular season undefeated (like the 1961 team) huge momentum is gained and expectations are raised.  Those are two factors that contributed to this loss being such a let down.  The 1961 team won all 11 games of the regular season and basically rewrote the school record book.  Likewise, the 1961 team had been the top ranked team by the sportswriters all season long.  So, much was expected from the 1961 team come playoff time. One thing this team could do was score.  Therefore, one major factor that this loss shares with the 1976 loss to Jesuit and the 1971 loss to South Lafourche is that the Tigers were shutout out.  Both the 1971 and 1961 were the highest scoring teams in school history at the time.  Winnfield had home field advantage, so many of the elements of what leads to a frustrating and dissappointing loss were felt on this Thanksgiving day in 1961. 
BEST PLAY
     Thomas King run vs. John Curts - 1982 - 85% of the vote. In the 1982 title game Winnfield scored on their first possession and though Curtis put together a 10-play drive, that drive stalled out on an unsuccessful fourth and two attempt from the Winnfield 24-yard line.  Winnfield came into the game predicted by some sports writers to be a 9-point underdog to Curtis.  But, a touchdown on the Tigers first series and a key defensive stop by the Tiger defense on their first series gave Winnfield confidence early in the game.  That all set the stage for the play fans voted their favorite play in the entire first 100 years of Tiger football.  Coming in to the game John Curtis, Jr., head coach of John Curtis Christian School, had observed that the thing he was most impressed with was Winnfield's team speed.  He has already seen that speed on Winnfield's opening possession, but he would get a full dose of it on Winnfield second series.  On first down QB Thomas King took the snap and rolled down the left side of the offensive line, with the option of pitching the ball or keeping it himself.  He chose the later.  The only man near King when he turned the ball up the field was the defensive end for Curtis, who was covering the Winnfield pitch man and was thus out of position to stop King.  Therefore, King got into the clear quickly.  King wasn't met by a Curtis defender until he was ten yard down the field.  At that point, King faked a cut to his right, which temporarily froze the Curtis defender.  Just as quickly, King cut to his left, headed to the sidelines and was already past all of the Curtis secondary by the time he reached the 40 yard line.  One Curtis defender tried a shoe-string tackle at mid-field but he only grazed King's shoe.  That put King and the lone Curtis player who had a shot at King in a footrace.  The Curtis defender was coming across the field and appeared to have the angle on King.  However, just as that defender was about to make contact with King, King slowed just enough for the defender to over shoot him.  After that, King ran the rest of the way untouched.  The score came at the 4:19 mark of the first quarter.  Just that quickly Winnfield appeared not only to be every bit the equal of John Curtis but Winnfield's speed seemed to clearly be superior to that of  the Patriots.  The Superdome floor was being kind to Winnfield.  King 76-yard touchdown run was, and still is the longest scoring run by a Tiger quarterback in school history.
    Garlon Powell field goal vs. John Curtis - 1982 - 81% of the vote. The 1982 title game offered four diverse quarters of football.  The first quarter was all-Winnfield as the Tigers scored all three times they had the ball to jump to a 20-0 lead.  John Curtis made adjustments (they always do) and in doing so they kept the game from getting out of hand.  In the second quarter Curtis held Winnfield at bay and scored a touchdown to move the score at halftime to 20-7.  Turnovers plagued both teams in the third quarter so the scored remained 20-7.  However, Curtis got the ball late in the third quarter and on one play when the pile cleared Winnfield All-State linebacker Marcel Mills lay on the turf with a broken arm.  It would be his last play in high school.  Curtis went on to score on that drive two minutes into the fourth quarter.  That touchdown moved the score to 20-14 and suddenly Curtis was one play from tying the game.  Winnfield moved past midfield on the next series, but yet another turnover plagued the Tigers, this one in the form of a fumble.  However, the ball rolled out of bounds so Winnfield retained possession.  That drive stalled out and John Curtis took possession with 8:16 showing on the clock.  Curtis took possession of the football for the first time with a chance to take the lead in the game.  Curtis began a methodical drive, however yet another Curtis fumble ( their 6th of the game) was recovered by Winnfield at midfield.  In two plays Winnfield moved to the  Curtis 15 yard line.  Three plays only netted 8 yards, setting up a 4th and 2 from the Curtis 7 yard line.  Tiger kicker Garlon Powell had been battling leg cramps during the second half.  He had never made a field goal in a game.  Those were some of the things Tiger head coach Doug Moreau must have been thinking about when he called time out to mull over his options.  Moreau elected to have Powell attempt a 25-yard field.  Powell made the pressure-packed kick as he split the uprights to give Winnfield a 23-14 lead with 4:22 remaining int the game.  That kick gave the Tigers a whole lot of breathing room and for the first time since the first quarter the Tiger faithful could taste the state title, which they got after the Tiger defense held Curtis off the scoreboard the remainder of the game. 
     Steve Adams pass to Randy Parker vs. Haughton - 1971 - 66% of the vote. The 1971 team made it to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs with an 11-0 record.  That matched the 1968 for the furthest any Tiger team had ever advanced in the playoffs. Heading into the fourth quarter the lead had changed hand four times in the game.  Haughton was holding a 14-13 lead when Winnfield had the ball in a first and goal situation at the Haughton 4 yard line.  There was six minutes showing on the clock.  Winnfield was held out of the end zone on four straight plays.  The Tiger defense then shut down Haughton and a punt return gave the Tiger offense the ball back at the Haughton 18 yard line.  There was 1:24 showing on the game clock.  A first down pass netted 10 yard to make it first and goal from the Haughton 8, however a sack on the next play moved Winnfield back to the Haughton 14 yard line. A time out was called and when Tiger QG Steve Adams ran back to the huddle he brought with him regular Tiger SE Alan Carter who had not played a down at SE all night long.  Carter had been slowed all week with the flu so he was limited to his free safety duties during this game.  He would be used simply as a decoy.  With the ball resting on the left hash mark, Carter split out to the right and ran a flag pattern which effectively cleared out the right side.  The play offensive coordinator Robert Charles Payne had decided on called for Tiger fullback Randy Parker to  run a curl pattern straight up the middle of the field about 5 yards past the line of scrimmage.  Adams spotted a wide open Parker at the Haughton 8 yard line and hit him with a strike.  Parker took in the pass, turned and was met by two Haughton defenders at the 2 yard line.  Paker took those two defenders and the hopes of thousands into the end zone for the score and 18-14 lead with only 00:54 showing on the clock.  A successful 2-point conversion made the score 20-13, which is where it remained. 
     John C. Jones, Jr. pass to Antwun Barnes vs. E. D. White - 2001 - 64% of the vote. In the regional round of the 2001 playoffs the 10-1 Winnfield Tigers took on the 8-3 E. D. White Cardinals.  The contest was played at Winnfield's Stokes-Walker Stadium.  Since the fifth game of the season, when Winnfield sustained their only loss of the season in overtime to Many, the Tigers had played lights-out defense.  In that six-game time span the Tigers had shut out four opponents and had only given up 15 points, including only 6 to their first round playoff opponent Donaldsonville in a 34-6 win.  So, coming into the regional round of the playoffs nobody could have imagined the offensive shootout this game ended up being.  It didn't start out that way.  Winnfield jumped to an 18-0 first quarter lead, so considering the way the Tiger defense had been playing this game seemed well in hand.  However, the game changed at that point.  E. D. White moved the score to 18-14 in the second quarter.  Winnfield wouldn't score again until the third quarter when they tacked on two touchdowns.  By the end of the third quarter Winnfield still maintained a 31-22 lead; a lead they had held all game long.  However, almost in the blink of an eye, in the fourth quarter a blocked punt by E. D. White led to one touchdown and a fumble recovery on the next series led to another to enable E. D. White to take their first lead of the game at 35-31 with 6:27 showing on the clock.  The two teams exchanged punts after that, with the Winnfield offense going nowhere in three plays.  The last time the Tigers got the ball in the game there was but 1:12 showing on the clock.  Like the series before Winnfield went nowhere in three plays.  Facing a fourth and nine from the Tiger 27 yard line head coach Joey Pender had no choice but to go for it.  The Tigers were moving south to north.  Coach Pender called on a play that the team had used all year in their two-minute offiense.  On the play, SE Antwun Barnes split out to the left side of the Tiger offense and ran a pass route that took him across the field  to mid field.  QB John C. Jones, Jr. had enough protection and after he dropped back and he spotted a wide open Barnes behind the E. D. White secondary.  Jones hit Barnes in stride.  After catching the ball in the middle of the field near the 50 yard line Barner raced untouched into the end zone to give the Tigers the improbable touchdown and 38-35 lead.  There was but 00:42 showing on the clock.  (Note: I have had the good fortune of witnessing every one of these plays except the 1955 play.  I was on the field for the 1971 Haughton and Hahnville pass plays and was sitting in the Dome soaking in the plays vs. John Curtis.  In fact, it was later in the 1971 Natchitoches game that John Wayne Williams broke a 78-yard run for a touchdown on a 20-trap.  I can honestly say I have never felt the kind of exaltation I felt after that particular touchdown.  I have also never experienced a similar feeling as I did after the Jones to Barnes pass.  My vivid memory of the moment was that the Stokes-Walker crowd erupted and I felt surrounded by near-pandemonium.  My reaction was a little different - I stood there in stunned amazement at the play.)  Equally amazing, E. D. White also scored on 51-yard pass play two plays later to wrestle a 42-38 win away from Winnfield.  Though this is the only play on this list that came about in a Tiger loss, I endorse this play as one of the most amazing (and for me, stunning) plays in the first 100 years of Tiger football.
    Alan Carter punt return vs. Natchitoches - 1971 - 62% of the vote. The game featured the Class AAA #3 ranked Tigers vs. the #6 ranked Natchitoches Chiefs, with the district title on the line.  The two teams played a conservative game up to the two minute mark of the first half.  Winnfield dropped back for a punt return and Natchitoches elected to punt right to Winnfield instead of angling the ball out of bounds, even though the Tigers had already returned two punts for touchdowns during the season, including one the week before that the entire Natchitoches team had seen first hand because they had attended the Winnfield vs. Jonesboro-Hodge game in person.  Natchitoches punter Stuart Wright got off a 47-yard punt that was fielded by John Wayne Williams at the Tiger 18 yard line.  He headed to his right and handed the ball off to fellow return man Alan Carter.  The punt return formation used by the Tigers in 1971 that accounted for 7 punt returns for touchdowns was that criss-cross pattern, followed by the designated return man attempting to get behind the wall set up by the Tiger punt return team along the pre-determined sideline.  In this case the return called for the wall to come down the left or Natchitoches sidelines.  When Carter rounded the corner he did not see a single Natchitoches player behind the wall.  He thus turned on the burners, made it down the wall to the Natchitoches 20 yard line where there were only two people - Natchitoches punter Stuart Wright and Winnfield blocker Randy Parker.  Just as Carter arrived Parker got between Carter and Wright and to further help his cause Carter feigned a move to his right.  Stuart Wright bit on the fake and Carter cut back to his left and went into the end zone untouched.  
     Steve Adams pass to Greg Wagoner vs. Hahnville - 1971 - 61% of the vote. This semi-final game played in Stokes-Walker Stadium marked the first time a Tiger team had made it past the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.  Winnfield was ranked #2 and Hahnville was ranked #7 in Class AAA.  The night air was made frigid by a fall cold front that had come through the day before the game. The lead changed three times before the fourth quarter, first when Hahnville took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, then when Winnfield moved to a 7-6 lead in the second and then finally when Hahnville regained a 13-7 lead in the third quarter. On the ensuing series Winnfield began possession at the Tiger 38 yard line and moved to a first down at the Hahnville 27 in short order.  However, three plays only netted 2 yards setting up a fourth and eight from the Hahnville 25.  A pass from Adams to tight end Greg Wagoner picked up just enough yardage for a first down at the Hahnville 17.  Four plays later the Tigers were again facing a fourth down, this one being a fourth and four from the Hahnville 11.  When QB Adams came to the line he saw that the Hahnville free safety had cheated over to the wide side of the field, so he checked off and called for a dump pass to his tight end.  Wagoner caught the ball at the Hahnville 5 yard line and ran untouched into the end zone to give the Tigers a 14-13 lead.  Hahnville got the ball twice more in the contest but interceptions by Alan Carter and John C. Jones halted those two drives. 
     Dale Reeves halfback pass to QB Brooks Broussard vs. Neville - 1955 - 54% of the vote. The Neville dynasty began in 1955 because at the end of the 1955 season Neville would win that schools first state title.  They wouldn't do so with an undefeated record, because Winnfield upset Neville in the Tigers' season opener on the most improbable last play of the game the Tiger football program has ever witnessed.  Winnfield actually scored first in this contest and then put up a goal line stand on the ensuing Neville possession to make an early statement.  However, Neville tied up the score at 6-all just before the half.  The game was a defensive battle throughout and that is why it was so disheartening when Winnfield fumbled the ball five yards away from the Tiger goal line early in the fourth quarter to essentially give Neville a touchdown.  Neville did take advantage of that opportunity to take a 12-6 lead.  With three minutes to go in the contest Neville had the lead and the ball 31 yards away from the Winnfield end zone.  However, Neville self-destructed from that point forward as a series of penalties and a recovery of their own fumble moved Neville back to mid field.  Facing a fourth and long with under a minute to go Neville head coach Bill Ruple had no choice but to punt the ball.  Tiger return man Brooks Broussard fielded the ball near the goal line and got a return to the Winnfield 20 with time for only two plays.  The Tigers wasted their first play by fumbling the ball, which was recovered at the line of scrimmage.  That gave the Tigers only one chance to go 80 yards.  At the snap Tiger QB Brooks Broussard handed the ball to Tiger back Dale Reeves who took five paces in one direction, stopped and tossed the ball back to Broussard in the opposite direction.  Broussard caught the ball at the line of scrimmage out in the flat and took off for an improbable 80 yard touchdown run down the sidelines.  The final horn sounded during Broussard's run.  On the extra point Tiger fullback Mickey Frazier burst over the goal line to secure the 13-12 win.   
BEST TEAM
   1982 - 92% of the vote. Teams are judged on outcome and performance.  Give the 1982 team the highest grade there is for outcome because they are the only team in school history to win a state championship on the playing field.  On the offensive side of the ball - count the weapons. The team had two 1,000 yd. rushers in the backfield and a QB who ran the Veer Option just like you draw it up.  Add a burner at WR and you can see why this team scored more points (594) than any other Tiger team.  Yes, the defense gave up 72 points in the first two games, but give the coaching staff credit for recognizing that they needed to make changes and changes they made.  They went back to a  4-3 defensive scheme and in crunch time during the playoffs the defense allowed  54 pts. in five playoff games.  They are the first team to rush for over 4,000 yds. in a season are currently second on that list with 4,119 yds. For that matter, they are the only team in school history to rush for at least 3,000 yards and pass for over 1,000 yards. All total, the 1982 team amassed 5,255 total yards with is the highest total in school history.  They hold the school record for most rushing touchdowns scored (67) and total touchdowns (86) scored. The 1982 team returned 6 kicks for touchdowns, which is second most behind the 1971 team (9).  After dropping the season-opener to Neville, they posted 13-straight wins, which tied the 1971 team for most consecutive wins in a season and most wins by a Tiger team in a season.  
     1971 - 83% of the vote. The 1971 team was the first Winnfield Tiger team to compete for a state title on the playing field.  That title game appearance came after this squad rolled off 13-straight wins to begin the season.....the most consecutive wins any Tiger team has begun a season with.  The team set offensive, defensive and special team records that still stand today.  The offense was one of the most balanced offensive attacks in school history.  A school record 24 touchdowns were thrown and that was spread around 9 different receivers.  But, this offense was not built around just the passing game. This is the first Tiger team to rush for 2,000 yards and pass for  1,000 yards in the same season and remains one of only five teams to accomplish that feat. The team has the highest take-away to turn-over margin in school history as the Tiger defense had 47 takes aways, compared to 29 by the offense for a +18 margin. Along with the 1978 squad, the 1971 team is one of only two teams in Tiger football history to gain over 2,500 yards rushing (2,632 yds.) and 1,500 yards passing (1,722 yds.).  They are the first team to pass for over 1,500 yds. and their total is currently second highest of all time at the school.  As strong as the team was on offense, their defensive and special team numbers rank among the school's highest in many significant categories. The 1971 team holds the modern-day record for fewest points allowed during the regular season as the team only gave up 35 points.  The 1971 defense shut out 6 opponents, the most by any team since the 1928 season.  The gap between points scored during the regular season (398) and points allowed (35) is 363.  That is the largest point differential that any Tiger team has posted. Over the course of the 14-game season only 71 pts. were allowed, for a 5.07 pt. per game average, which is the lowest average in school history.  The 1971 team holds the school record for lowest passing yards allowed average with a 45.07 ypg. average.  Other school records set by the 1971 team are most passing touchdowns (25) and kick return touchdowns (9).  The team scored a touchdown via kick return in all but one regular season games, with 7 of those coming by punt return and two by kickoff return. They are one of only six Tiger teams to go through the regular season with an undefeated record.  Give the 1971 team points for having accomplished all of the above while playing against Class AAA competition.
     1976 - 76% of the vote. Fans obviously want teams to advance in the playoffs because the 1976 team comprises the third of three Tiger teams to compete for a state championship.  This is the only team selected among the finalist for the all-time team who did not win the district title.  However, the 1976 team exemplifies the adage "just get me to the playoffs where games really matter".  After going through an 8-2 regular season this team got stronger in the playoffs.  That was seen on both sides of the ball. The team gained 3,913 total yards for the season, which included 2,751 yds. rushing and 1,162 yards through the air. The 1976 team is one of only six Tiger teams to gain 2,500 yards rushing and 1,000 yards passing.  For the season the 1976 allowed 2,217 yards.  So, the 1976 team gained 1,696 more yards than they allowed.  That differential is the 7th highest in school history. They hold the record for highest single game total yard differential when they  gained 454 total yards against Jena while only allowing 10 for a total yardage differential of 444 yds.  The 1976 team ranks 8th in school history for fewest pts. allowed, with 117 pts. given up (8.4 pts. per game avg.).  They also rank in the Top Ten for fewest rushing yards allowed (1,273 yds.) and total yards allowed (2,217 yds.).  All total, the 1976 team is one of only six Tiger teams to allow less than 1,500 yds. rushing and 1,000 yds. passing.  Their 20 touchdown passes is second most in school history and their 4 touchdowns scored by their defense is tied for 4th best.  The 1976 team recorded 52 touchdowns, which is 9th most in school history.  Finally, the 11 wins posted by the 1976 team is tied for 5th most at the school.  The 1976 joins the 1971 team as the only teams among the team finalist in the First 100 Year Poll to compete at the Class AAA level.
     1978 - 73% of the vote. When you evaluate the 1978 team think of wins.  They were the fourth Tiger team to go through the regular season undefeated and their 12 wins is tied for 3rd most in school history, right behind the 1971 and 1982 teams. The next thing you think of is scoring.  When this team scored 478 points in the regular season that shattered the regular season record of 400 pts. set by the 1961 team.  The 1978 team was the first Tiger team to score over 500 pts. as they finished the season with 560 pts., almost 100 pts. more than the overall scoring record of 466 pts. recorded by the 1971 team. Their 43.1 per game scoring average is the best among all the teams that have played at Winnfield. They set a modern-day scoring record of 78 pts. against Coushatta, which is the fourth highest single-game total ever posted by a Tiger team.  Those points were generated by an offense that gained 5,092 yds. making them the first Tiger team to gain over 5,000 yards. The 1978 and 1982 team are the only two Tiger teams to gain over 5,000 total yards.  The team ended the year with 5,092 total yards; including 3,449 yds. rushing and 1,643 yds. passing.  The 1978 and 1971 teams are the only two teams to have over 2,500 yds. rushing and 1,500 yds. passing.  The 1978 team scored 80 touchdowns, which is the second most posted by any Tiger team. The 1978 team wasn't all about offense, however.  They could play defense too.  In fact, they hold the school record for lowest average rushing yards allowed per game, with a 58.54 average.  Through 13 games they only allowed 761 yards rushing.  They rank fourth all-time for lowest total yards allowed per game with a 148.5 per game average. The 1978 team is holder of the largest differential (3,310 yds.) between total yards gained (5,092) and total yards allowed (1,782).  They hold the school record for lowest rushing yards allowed average, as they allowed an average of 58.5 yds. per game. They also hold the school record for highest single-game total offense with 625 vs. Mansfield, as well as the third highest single-game total offense with 509 yds. vs. Many.  Their 3,904 total yards during the regular season is the school standard.  
    1979 - 72% of the vote. This team tends to get lost between the 1976 state runner-up team, the 1978 10-0 regular season team and the 1981 semi-finalist and 1982 state championship.  This team is best known for defense, plus the fact that they are one of only five Tiger teams to advance to the semi-final round of the playoffs. Their only losses came to Class AAA Minden and eventual Class AA state champion John Curtis in the semi-final round. They hold the school record for fewest rushing yards allowed in a regular season with only 363 yards given up.  Over the course of the entire 13-game season they only allowed 971 rushing yards.  That equates to a 74.69 per game average, which is the third lowest average of all-time at the school. They are the only Tiger team to hold an opponent to negative total yards for a game.  That came against Coushatta who they held to -61 total yards, including a school record minus 80 rushing yards. During the 9-game regular season they only allowed 61 pts., which is 8th lowest of all-time. They trail only the 1971 team (102.5 yds.) for fewest total yards allowed average during the regular season by allowing an average of 103.33.  They are the only team to hold their combined regular season opponents to under 1,000 total yards, as they gave up only 930 total yards. The 1979 team is one of only four Tiger teams to hold the combined regular season opponents to under 1,000 yds. rushing and 500 yds. passing and one of only six Tiger teams to hold all combined opponents (regular season and playoffs) to under 1,500 yds. rushing and 1,000 yds. passing.  The team wasn't all about defense, however, They scored 350 pts., which is 10th highest overall.   They have the second-highest turnover to takeaway margin, with a +12 margin there.  They allowed the third fewest points by any team of the modern-era (61 pts. in a 9 game regular season).  They are one of only eight Tiger teams to have 3 or more kick returns for touchdowns and their 42 rushing touchdowns ranks 9th at the school.
     1981 - 71% of the vote. The 1981 team holds the distinction of being one of only five Tiger teams to advance to the semi-final round of the playoffs.  So, if advancement in the playoffs is a critical criteria for a teams greatness, then any discussion about the best team in school history would have to include the 1981 team. They only lost two games….one in the season-opener against Class 4A Neville and the semi-final round game against E. D. White.  The team strung together 11 consecutive wins between those two losses, which is tied for 5th most consecutive wins in a single-season.  This team had one of the most balanced offensive attacks in school history as they are one of only six teams to rush for more than 2,500 yds. (they had 2,846 yds.) and throw for more than 1,000 yds. (their total was 1,019).  They scored 388 pts. (29.85 per game average) which is the 8th most points scored in school history.  Their 11 wins is 5th most in school history.  
     1961 - 58% of the vote. Before any of the great teams of the 1970s or early 1980s teams came along there is one team who stood tallest among all the teams fielded in the first half dozen decades of Tiger football......that being the 1961 team.  One must put the 1961 team in historical context.  During the three decades prior to the 1960s only 7 Tiger teams posted winning records and only one team (1948) posted more than 6 wins.  So, when the 1961 team went through the regular season undefeated with 11 wins that was eye-opening and unprecedented. This group was composed of players that had made up the nucleus of the two previous Tiger teams, so they had experience.  They also had talent.  Their 11 wins is the most regular season wins in school history and is tied for 5th most wins overall.  This team was a scoring machine as they became the first Tiger team to score 400 pts.  They finished the regular season with that exact total and though they didn't add to that total after a first round 0-12 playoff loss their 33.33 per game scoring average ranks sixth highest in school history.  The team relied mainly on their rushing game, mainly because that was so successful.  The 2,975 rushing yards they piled up in the regular season is the second highest total ever achieved by a Tiger team and their 3,133 total rushing yards is the 6th highest overall.  That ground game was complimented by an outstanding defensive unit.  The 1961 offense didn't score all of those 400 points because the 1961 defense recorded 6 touchdowns; the most touchdowns scored by any Tiger defense.  Four of those touchdowns came on interception returns, the most interception returns for touchdowns by any Tiger team.  The gap between the total yards gained by the 1961 team and total yards allowed is 1,716 yards.  That is the 5th largest gap in school history.  So the team frustrated you in two ways.....you couldn't stop them and you couldn't gain anything on them.  They pitched 5 shutouts during the season, which is 8th most in school history.  Overall they limited their opponents to 84 pts for a 7 pt. per game average.  That is the 5th lowest average of the modern era. They are the second, and one of only six, Tiger teams to post an undefeated regular season record.  

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