TEAM SPIRIT: FORMER STATISTICIAN REFLECTS ON CARROLLTON HIGH SCHOOL INDIANS
By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Keith Huffman
High school football is deeply rooted in Pickens County. As the local teams prepare to compete and defend their respective home territories this season, there is one whose time of extinction has reached a decade.
Ten years ago, students completed their final year at Carrollton High School as it officially closed toward the conclusion of the 2006 summer. The closing also served as an end to the school’s football team, the Indians, whose uniform shared similar colors as that of the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide.
Among those who upheld a distinct devotion to the Indians was Lewis Williams. A 69-year-old Carrollton resident, Williams remembers when the Indians once shared the same field that is now solely the home battleground for the Pickens Academy Pirates.
“No football for Carrollton anymore,” Williams said. “Try to get to watch Pickens Academy once in a while, but it just ain’t the same without Carrollton having a team.”
From 1962 to 1995, Williams served as the Indians’ official statistician. Storing all of his stat notes from 1963 to 1995, Williams documented games such as the Indians’ two state championship victories with the late head coach Billy McGee.
In the Indians’ first state championship win in 1974, the team beat the Zion Chapel High School Rebels from Coffee County 33-6. The Indians’ 1994 state championship accomplishment resulted after the team outperformed Winston County’s Addison High School Bulldogs 21-14.
“We scored right before at the end of the half,” Williams said in referring to the Indians’ 1994 state championship. “We missed a point, and they had us 14-6. We come back after in the second half and scored again and made a two-point conversion, tied it up. And they just had a long drive down to our goal line, and we stopped them. And we took the ball, and we went back down the field and scored the winning touchdown…”
Williams’s stat notes and memories of the Carrollton High Indians serve as a unique reference for a bygone era in rural West Alabama. Carrollton High School may have perished, but Williams’s keen appreciation for the Indians and football has persevered.