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Rockwood High School Tigers

1976 T.S.S.A.A. Class "A" State Champions

(Click Image for Larger Picture)

Row 1(L-R): Billy Springs(40), Randy Wicks(34), Darrell Brasel(50), Eric Cates(41), Jeff Cobb(15), Mark Clem(67), Wayne Brasel(2), Gary McCullough(12), Richard Holcomb(31), Mike Sanders(3)

Row 2(L-R): Travis Collier, Tracy Bledsoe(62), Mark Pemberton(7), George Treadway(25), Wallace Billings(73), David Devaney(70), Tim Layton(77), Dennis Collectt(57), Jeff Russell(66), Clayton Neal(55), Merle Crudup(51)

Row 3(L-R): Coach C.W. Pemberton, Coach Mike Collier, Coach Clarence Holloway, Randy Crabtree(22), Darrell Warner(80), Jim Mead(92), Steve Watson(97), Jeff Aytes(85), Ricky Hill(95), Lee Aronold Wilkerson(10), Leroy Chatman(35), Allen Marine(90), Anthony Chatman(44), Barry Fagan(50) Mgr

Row 4:(L-R): Mike Foster(65), Chris Collett(5), Troy Bowling(30), Gary Fulmer(18), Scotty Pugh(82), Allen Mingis(76), Mike Pemberton(75), Barry Evans(21), Mike Miller(52), Gary Hickey(83), Danny Bledsoe(72), Randy Collett(64), Mike Collier Jr.

The Story of the 1976 Season
In 1976 the Tigers were coming off an 11-1 season the previous year where they were ranked #1 all year long.  They suffered a shocking season ending home loss in the semi-finals to Walland HS 26-14.   Walland went on to win the 1975 Class A State Championship. The 1976 Tigers were determined to not let that happen again.  Coach Mike Collier had just returned to Rockwood after leaving the Tigers in 1975 for Knox. West. 

The Tigers opened the season on the road in Lake City and were fortunate to win a close game 7-0.  That next week a QB change was made.  First year Sophomore Mark Pemberton replaced Senior Gary Fulmer under center and the offense shifted into high gear averaging nearly 39 points per game leading up to the Harriman game.  As you all know anything can happen in a Rockwood-Harriman game. The lone score for the Tigers was a Gary Fulmer punt return for a touchdown.  Harriman scored late in the game and it looked like we would be headed to overtime but Tiger defensive tackle Allen Mingis would have no part of that as he crashed through the Harriman line to block the PAT attempt by Kevin Grigsby and preserve the win for the Tigers. The Tigers entered the play-offs ranked #1 and opened with a sound win over a Bo Hayden led South Pittsburg team in Rhea County 35-10.  That set up the rematch with Walland at Alcoa.  Rockwood was forced to punt on its opening drive and Walland moved quickly downfield breaking a 57 yard  run on their second play from scrimmage down to the Tiger 4 yard line where they were caught from behind by Gary Hickey.  Walland fumbled 2 plays later and Tiger tackle Allen Mingis rumbled 89 yards for the touchdown and the Tigers never looked back winning 27-7 and advancing to the State Championship game against Dyer Co. of West Tennessee. 

The game was played on Thanksgiving Day at MTSU on the turf.  The Tigers had practiced at Neyland Stadium and TTU leading up to the game.  Defense dominated the game throughout.  The Tigers did have one deep drive that ended in a fumble into the end zone for a touchback right before halftime and the game remained scoreless at the end of regulation.  The Tigers won the coin toss to start the first OT period and elected to go on defense first.  Dyer Co. FB, Richard Barnes, who weighed 225 LBS was given the ball 4 straight times and ended up inches short on 4th down and the Tigers went on offense.  Coach Collier was tempted to kick on first down but decided to run a few plays.  After 3 plays netted 4 yards, Coach Collier elected to send in Terry "Juice" Jordan for the field goal attempt. The ball was snapped by Mike "Brillo" Miller. The ball wall held by Lee Arnold Wilkerson and kicked thru the uprights from 23 yards out by Jordan to secure the 1976 Class A State Championship for the Rockwood Tigers.  Final score 3-0, their 7th shutout of the year. Fans poured onto the field in celebration as most if not all of the City of Rockwood were in attendance that day.  The game is still the lowest scoring game in state championship history.  I guess it is true, offense puts fans in the seats but defense wins championships!!!

1976 (13-0) STATE CHAMPS
Rockwood 7 Lake City 0
Rockwood 49 Madisonville 7
Rockwood 54 Wartburg Central 0
Rockwood 30 Oneida 0
Rockwood 37 Sweetwater 20
Rockwood 27 Midway 0
Rockwood 27 Harding Academy 3
Rockwood 47 Lenoir City 0
Rockwood 7 Harriman 6
Rockwood 14 Knox. Webb 0
Rockwood 35 South Pittsburg 10
Rockwood 27 Walland 7
Rockwood 3 Dyer County 0

Click here for Game Video from the 1976 State Championship Game!

Click here for Newspaper Pictures from the 1976 Championship Game!

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