Verbena football title trophy found, to be returned to school

Published 10:35 am Thursday, April 17, 2014

The memories from one of the most dominant runs in the history of high school football are alive in the minds of many Verbena residents.

Unfortunately, tangible memorials are harder to come by.

A monument stands in front of Verbena’s school, with results from the Red Devils’ 50 consecutive wins and five consecutive state championships in the 1950s under coach James Porch, but none of the trophies awarded during that run can be found at the school.

Long lost: A trophy awarded to the 1955 state champion Verbena football team was found in the vacant Chestnut Creek Baptist Church parsonage.

Long lost: A trophy awarded to the 1955 state champion Verbena football team was found in the vacant Chestnut Creek Baptist Church parsonage.

That could change soon, after Jason Duskin, pastor at Chestnut Creek Baptist Church in Verbena, recently discovered the state championship trophy awarded to the 1955 team.

Duskin said the trophy was sitting on a fireplace in the church’s parsonage, which is vacant and up for sale.

“I had never been inside,” Duskin said. “At first, I didn’t know what it was.”

But Duskin soon realized the significance of the trophy. He did some research and found out about Verbena’s success on the football field in the 50s.

The 1955 squad was upset in its second game of the season, 7-0 by Elmore County to snap a 50-game winning streak, but won its next eight games and was named state champion for the fifth consecutive time by The Birmingham News. There was no playoff system at the time.

Porch left Verbena after the 1956 season.

“If I hadn’t found this trophy, I would’ve had no idea Verbena had won a state championship in anything,” said Duskin, a Cullman native who first moved to Chilton County in 2007 as youth pastor at Mulberry Baptist Church and returned in December 2013 for the position at Chestnut Creek.

Duskin contacted Verbena Principal Kelvin Boulware about the trophy, and it was decided to have a formal ceremony where Duskin would present the trophy back to the school.

Boulware said no date has been set for the ceremony, but it could be held in the fall before one of Verbena’s home football games.

Organizers would like for members of the 1955 team to attend the ceremony. The players, or anyone who knows how to contact the players, are encouraged to call the school at (205) 280-2820. Then, the players would be notified when details are set for the ceremony.

Boulware said a reception could be held in the school’s home economics kitchen.

Also, a photo of the 1955 team was found recently by another community member, and returned to the school.

“To have two items from that period of time is very exciting for Verbena,” Boulware said. “We’re excited about getting that trophy back to the school.

“I’m always looking for ways to reach out to the community, and I think this would be a great way. Having a chance to meet some of the players would be great, for our football players especially. Everybody talks about the 1950s Verbena football teams. We’d love to see them again.”