Central High players receive rings at football banquet
By Mark Clark
The annual Central High football awards banquet was even more special this year as the players received their long-awaited championship rings this past Sunday afternoon at the school’s indoor facility. Over 400 attended the banquet, including players, coaches, parents and sponsors of the event who helped raise the needed funds to pay for the rings.
“And now is the time you have all been waiting for,” Central coach Jamey DuBose announced once the individual player awards had been presented. “I know this is exciting. It is time to receive your championship rings. But, before we do, we have to especially thank Mr. Roy Greene. I received a call after Mr. (Tommy) Vickers was on television talking about having to raise funds for the rings and that we were still short. Mr. Greene said ‘Coach, I do not want to see any kid not have a ring.’ He said he would make up the rest of the funds needed. We cannot thank him enough for what he has done for us.”
Vickers, the school’s principal, also expressed his gratitude to Greene.
“You will see a list of people and businesses that helped us get the funds for the rings. These people and businesses are from Phenix City and Columbus – really throughout our Valley community. Mr. Greene made this dream come true for these players in the end. We want to thank them all,” Vickers said.
The players were then instructed to go to their position coaches to pick up bags containing the rings, but not to open them until everyone had their bags. Once the bags had been handed out, the players were allowed to open the bags. While they were opening the bags, cameras were videoing the event to be used by the ring company, Herff Jones, for a national commercial to promote high school championship events. Central was the first high school used for the promotion while the University of Georgia has been used earlier to promote college championship ring ceremonies.
“Central is a championship program and has always been one. It has just taken a little while for us to get over the hump,” DuBose told the audience.
The Red Devils won the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 7A football championship on Dec. 5 at Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn University with a 52-7 pounding of Thompson High of Pelham. DuBose rattled off a list of achievements of the 2018 state championship team – especially the senior class members of the squad. The seniors have compiled a record of 51-3 since their eighth grade year. The seniors were 8-0 as eighth graders, 8-0 as ninth graders, 10-2 as sophomores, 11-1 as juniors and 14-0 as seniors. Their 14-0 record in 2018 was the first undefeated record by a Class 7A championship team.
The team won three region titles, won two semifinal runners-up plaques, a semifinal winner plaque, set the record for most points in a Class 7A championship game, set the record for biggest margin of victory in the championship game, set the record for most rushing yards in the title game, had the most first downs in the title game, set the record for most rushing attempts in the title game, forced the most turnovers in the title game, returned the only fumble and interception for touchdowns in the title game, set the record for most extra point kicks made in the title game with seven, had the longest interception return in the title game at 68 yards, scored the most points of any Class 7A team, set a new record for points for a season at the school, set the record for most total yards in the school’s history, set the record for most rushing yards in the school’s history, had the most players sign scholarships with 18 and became only the second team in school history to finish a season undefeated and untied.
The 2018 state title was the second in the school’s history. The first title came in 1993 in a 12-7 victory over West End High of Birmingham for the Class 6A title.
“Our goal each year is to be better than the last class. These guys set the bar so high that it is going to be very hard for the next team to better its accomplishments. If you ask me, the previous three teams were just as good as this one. The difference is that this team ignored all the negativity in the community that the others listened to. This team was not about the numbers. They were all about being a team. Winning individual awards is nice, but there is not one player on this team that would tell you he would give up his championship title for individual records. We did not have guys making a lot of the all-state teams because those teams are numbers driven. We had our starters leaving the game by halftime in most of our games. It is the starters’ jobs to get the game to a point that we can get other players into the game,” DuBose said.
See the award winners and photos online at