Coleman ran wild on CHHS in ’88

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 5, 2001

It was billed as "speed vs. speed" and "Steve vs. Steve" on Aug. 26, 1988 at Memorial Stadium when Charles Henderson and Pike County met on the football field after a brief two-year hiatus.

The Bulldogs featured Steve Coleman at tailback, while his counterpart on the Trojans side was Steve Darby, a player who had acquired numerous track titles at CHHS the previous year and was largely regarded as the fastest high school athlete in the State of Alabama.

Under seven-year head coach Wayne Grant, Pike County came into the first game of the year against their rivals with eyes on a Class 4A State Championship, after finishing 1987 with a 9-4 record. Since his arrival in Brundidge in 1982, Grant had turned the Bulldogs, once hapless of victims of other team’s homecoming games, into a 4A football power.

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The Trojans, meanwhile, had a new coach in John Fulkerson and were just trying to break a streak of four losing seasons, including two consecutive 2-7 marks in ’86 and ’87.

But the Trojans’ defense had no answer for Brundidge’s Coleman, who finished the night with 209 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Coleman scored on runs of 86, 4, and recovered a CHHS fumble to race 26-yards for a touchdown on the defensive side of the ball for Pike County, handing Fulkerson and the Trojans a 36-7 defeat.

The Bulldogs’ defense forced three fumbles and held CHHS to 224 yards of total offense, with just 110 coming on the ground. Darby managed just 17 total yards in the game.

However, the Pike County offense was clicking on all cylinders. The Bulldogs had 446 yards offense for the game and 21 first downs to the Trojans’ 10. Quarterback Fred Holland, now an assistant under Grant in Brundidge and the Bulldogs’ head baseball coach, passed for 85 yards and completed 4-of-6 passes against Troy.

There were 16 seniors on the Bulldogs’ 88 roster, including Holland, Coleman and Fred Baxter, who went on to play for Auburn and the New York Jets. By the end of the season, Pike County and Grant would realize their championship dreams by taking a 17-8 win over Tarrant in the Class 4A state title game.

CHHS quarterback David Long finally got the Trojans on the scoreboard with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Earnest Ousley in the latter part of the fourth quarter, preventing the shutout.

The Trojans ended the 1988 season with a 1-8 record.