Swindall reflects on career at Russellville

By Staff
Mike Self, Franklin County Times
Perry Swindall won an amazing 99 games in just nine seasons as head football coach at Russellville, but two stood out in his mind more than all the rest.
"There are two games that I look at as turning points in my career at Russellville," said Swindall, pausing to reflect on an extremely successful tenure that ended Thursday when he announced his resignation. "One was the Deshler game in 1999. They were the No. 1 team in the state in Class 4A, and we didn't really match up well with them on paper. The game was at Howard Chappell Stadium, where they hadn't lost in about four years.
"We upset them 35-32 thanks to the Oscar Bonds show. It was a great game, an exciting game, right down to the wire. It was that game that helped our kids realize they could compete with anybody."
The Golden Tigers took the next step toward becoming a perennial powerhouse the following season, advancing to the Class 5A semifinals with a memorable win over Walker.
"The quarterfinal game against Walker in 2000 would be the other one," Swindall said. "It had rained about six inches, and everything was soaking wet. We beat them 7-6, and we probably didn't even belong on the same field with them. It was a huge win for our program."
That marked the first of six straight appearances in the state semifinals for Russellville, a streak that ended this past season with a 19-14 loss to J.O. Johnson in the quarters. Under Swindall, the Golden Tigers won an astounding 87 percent of their games (87-13 record) from 2000-2006 and made three trips to the Super Six.
They fell short of winning a state championship each time, but Swindall said he doesn't lose any sleep over it.
"I've always said, if winning a state championship is the best thing to happen in your life, then you haven't lived a very good life," said Swindall, who won a state title at Daleville in 1992. "And if losing the state championship game is the worst thing to happen in your life, then you're in pretty good shape. I wish we had won all three of those games, but it just didn't work out that way. There's a lot of luck involved in getting to the championship game, and there is more luck involved in winning it. There are a lot of coaches, better coaches than me, who never got the opportunity to coach in a state championship."
Regardless of who replaces Swindall, Russellville will be expected to contend for a state title again next year.
"I hope they win one," Swindall said.

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