1962's Unbeaten Team
The 1962 undefeated and once tied Fort Payne Wildcats had one thing in common with the 1935 and the 1943 unbeaten teams that have been featured earlier, they had a great coach. Vernon Wells, a former Mississippi Southern quarterback, coached at Albertville, Butler, Fort Payne and Plainview. He had over 200 wins during his career. While coaching at Fort Payne he had 65 wins, 36 losses, and five ties for a 61% winning record. His 1961 through 1964 teams won 33, lost five and tied two.
After DeKalb County High School left the DeKalb County School System and entered the Fort Payne School System the schedules had to be changed. The Wildcats started playing Pell City, Gadsden, Walter Wellborn, Talladega, Huntsville and Jones Valley, while continuing to play Guntersville, Albertville and Scottsboro.
Wells' 1962 football squad was fast and talented, featuring great line play, speedy running backs, outstanding receivers, and a gifted quarterback who was a strong leader.
Coach Wells was offensive-minded and could usually figure out how to attack his opponent's defense. Assisting him in 1962 were Henry Haskins and Nelson Ellis, father of current Fort Payne High School coach, Paul Ellis.
The 1962 record is shown below:
|Fort Payne High||12||Fyffe||0|
|Fort Payne High||26||Gadsden||6|
|Fort Payne High||40||Sardis||6|
|Fort Payne High||20||Pell City||0|
|Fort Payne High||41||Guntersville||7|
|Fort Payne High||0||Scottsboro||0|
|Fort Payne High||12||Albertville||0|
|Fort Payne High||39||Glencoe||14|
|Fort Payne High||33||Hokes Bluff||0|
|Fort Payne High||33||Valley Head||6|
Total points scored by Fort Payne High School in 1962 was 256. Total points scored by opponents - 39.
The 1962 Wildcats were ranked third in the state. Nine of the 11 starters signed college scholarships. The captains were Don Shankles and Morris Dutton. The outstanding back was Jerry Gregg and the outstanding lineman was Morris Dutton. All-NEAC were Don Shankles, Jerry Gregg, and Jim Chambers. All-state were Jerry Gregg and Jim Chambers. Leading scorer was Jerry Gregg (with 83 points).
The starting team consisted of Geary Walker, center, Morris Dutton and Bill Prestwood, guards, Gilbert Hixon and Rudy Womack, tackles, Johnny Jacoway, tight end, Jimmy Harris, split end, Don SHankles, quarterback, Jerry Gregg, tailback, Jim Chambers, wingback, and Scooter Howell, fullback.
View the player photos for some people on the 1962 football team.