Going undefeated in the regular season is something that has taken place only three times for the Daleville High School football team — 1990, 1992 and this year (2012).
“It’s difficult to have an undefeated high school record, especially when you come from a school, conference and state that has a rich football tradition,” former Warhawk linebacker Shawn Stuckey, who played on Daleville’s 1992 team, said.
Being involved in the Warhawks’ program is like being part of a family. A family that takes pride in each other no matter how many years it’s been since former players and coaches have been inside Warhawk Stadium.
“I was glad that I was a part of it 20 years ago, and I’m glad, in a small way, I’m a part of it now,” former Daleville coach Perry Swindall, who coached the undefeated 1992 Warhawks, said. “I’m still rooting and pulling for them.”
Even though his last year coaching at Daleville was in 1997, Swindall still keeps up with how the first team he ever coached is doing throughout the season.
“Daleville was always the first team I’d check on Saturday mornings, even though I was coaching at other schools in Alabama,” he said. “Still, when I check the score on Saturday morning, it’s always the first one.”
Former Daleville quarterback Jake Vest, who also played on the 1992 team, said he keeps up with the Warhawks as well, and enjoyed going to the Dale County game this season.
“I’m very proud of the guys,” he said. “Ever since I graduated, I’ve kept up with Daleville. I still wear my Daleville Warhawks stuff with pride I’m just really proud. Going undefeated is something that’s very hard to do. It’s a great accomplishment.”
The 1992 team went undefeated in the regular season when it defeated Pike County 26-6, and the players remember it like it was yesterday.
“That game was one of the most exciting games we had all year because they were our archrival at the time,” Vest said. “I recall it was a really cool night. We had a lot on the line. Everyone was pumped up and excited. The whole entire year was a magical moment.”
The year didn’t end there for the Warhawks, who went on to become state champions.
“It was a culmination of a goal that every coach has,” Swindall said. “It was a perfect season.”
For the players, the 1992 season was one the team can always look back on with pride. For most, it has never happened again.
Stuckey, who played in the NFL, NFL Europe and the XFL, hopes the 2012 team can understand how special it is to go undefeated in the regular season.
“I never came close to having an undefeated season again after that,” he said. “I didn’t cherish it that much that year. Since then I’ve been able to realize how special that was — doing something that most people never get the opportunity to do in their lifetime.”
Advice for the team came easy from the former Warhawks. They all said the same thing, and that was to cherish this season.
“Play every snap as if it will be something you will remember for the rest of your life, because you will,” Stuckey said. “Here I am, 20 years later, and I can still remember vividly plays that I took part in that season.”
Daleville will host Straughn in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs on Nov. 9, at 7 p.m., and former Warhawks all over the United States will be cheering for the team.