By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
The 2012 prep football season started out like any other for Cullman’s Mark Britton.
By its conclusion, however, the Bearcat head coach had plenty of milestones to reflect on.
Britton led his senior-laden team to a 10-3 overall record, making it all the way to the third round of the Class 5A playoffs before falling to eventual state runner-up, McAdory, by a final score of 28-22.
The first of the head coach’s accolades came in a Week 6 matchup with Russellville, a rival that stood in the way of Britton and his 100th career victory at Cullman.
The game was a back-and-forth affair with neither team giving up an inch to the other.
After a 2-yard touchdown run by Cullman running back Garrett Crider to give the Bearcats the lead in overtime, the Golden Tigers responded with a score of their own to make it a 21-20 game.
The Golden Tigers opted to go for the win rather than the tie, but the Bearcat D stood tall, forcing a fumble on the 2-point conversion attempt to secure just their second win over the Russellville in 13 tries and push Britton into triple digits regarding career wins.
The Bearcats rode the momentum of their 11th-hour victory to win five of their next six games, setting up a third-round showdown with McAdory, an unfortunate six-point, season-ending loss for Cullman.
The defeat left Britton just one win short of tying Oliver Woodard’s 40-year record of most wins all-time at Cullman with 106.
And, even though Britton is all but certain to pass the legendary coach next season, he said he can’t ever see himself equaling the man the Bearcats’ fairly new football stadium is named after.
“I don’t think I’ll ever put myself in the same category as Coach Woodard,” Britton told The Times in November. “I really can’t. That’s the guy I looked up to. I just can’t see being equal to him.”
Britton’s success doesn’t come with a lack of humility.
In fact, he was the first to point out during the season that he couldn’t do it without his coaches or his players.
“I can’t say enough about my coaching staff. They do a great job,” he said. “My staff is head and shoulders above any guys I’ve ever been around. The extra hours, the extra effort and they do it for the kids. They do it for the right reasons.”
This year’s Cullman squad wasn’t chalked full of superstars, but rather, full of team players who could shine on any given night.
“They’re not the fastest. They’re not the most talented. But, it’s not an individual sport,” Britton said. “They epitomize going out and playing as a team. A team can win a lot of game even without individual starts because week in, week out, somebody different shines for us.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.