Dunlap leads Red Devils to Class 1A title
AUBURN – Tommy Agee. Clarence Morton. Harold Morrow.
Terence Dunlap knows all the names. Growing up in Maplesville, knowing the football tradition of the Red Devils is almost as important as knowing your pastor.
“I know them very well,” Dunlap said. “They gave me a lot of support throughout this whole week, told me don’t worry about the team or listen to the people in the community telling us we’re going to win, just go out and play our ballgame.”
Dunlap and the Red Devils (14-0) played their game, completing an undefeated season with their seventh shutout of the year in a 49-0 win over Hubbertville on Thursday in the Class 1A state championship game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
And it was Dunlap, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound sophomore, who shined on the big stage by rushing for 241 yards and four touchdowns on just 13 carries. And while much of the attention was focused on Dunlap, he passed on all the accolades to his offensive linemen.
“All the credit to the five up front,” Dunlap said. “They’re the ones who got us here. They did everything. When we needed something, they came through.”
For Maplesville, a tradition-rich program that has reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs in 15 of the last 20 years and completed their 16th trip to the semifinals last week with a rout of rival Billingsley, the win avenged last year’s loss to Pickens County in the finals, just as a state title in 1996 came a year after losing to Courtland in the finals.
“I think a lot of people see we’ve been to the semis 17 or 18 times so they see a deep run and assume we have a bunch of championships,” Maplesville coach Brent Hubbert said. “We really haven’t. We’re 50 percent, two of four, so we want to try to get above 50.”
To get back to the finals next year, Hubbert will be counting on Dunlap, who rushed for 1,471 yards and 28 carries this year. It was his first year making a contribution to the varsity after being sidelined early last season.
“If people could just see him work in the weight room,” Hubbert said. “He’s not very big but the size he is, when he broke his ankle (last season) I had to make him quit doing power cleans and squats. He had a boot on his leg.”
It’s the mark of a special player, but Hubbert knows early fame can have a lasting effect in a small community.
“He’s never going to be as big as Tommy Agee and he’s probably never going to be as big as Harold Morrow, but he also does things that neither one of those two could do at his size,” Hubbert said. “But I’ve seen kids in the 10th grade disappear. So he’s going to have to stay level headed. He’s a good kid and a hard worker. Time will tell.”