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HONORING THE BULLDOG GREATS: Andy inducts 6 new members into the AHS Football Hall of Fame

There was a large crowd on hand Saturday night for the 8th annual installation of the Andalusia High School Football Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony in the AHS volleyball gym.

Bulldog Quarterback Club president Bob Burkhardt started off the evening by welcoming everyone to the event, and the judge Ben Bowden came up and begin speaking as the event’s master of ceremonies.

AHS SGA president then led the crowd in the Pledge of Alligence, and Bulldog senior quarterback, Ethan Wilson, blessed the food.

As the food was being served, Steve Posey addressed the crowd on the progress and direction of the new additions that are coming to the stadium.

The crowd continued to eat their food and desserts as Bowden came back up to introduce the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

Denny Merritt was the first to come up and be inducted into the 2017 class.

Merritt told about the life lessons he learned while playing football at Andalusia, and also what he learned while playing for Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama.

Merritt was a part of two state championship teams while at Andalusia before going on two win a pair of SEC and national championship titles while playing for the Crimson Tide.

George Patton Gantt was next on the list to be inducted on Saturday night. His brother, Kyle Gantt, got up and spoke about him.

He told stories about the two of them growing up and what it was like to watch his brother play.

Gantt played offensive tackle for Andalusia for four years, and was recruited by many big colleges around the south. Gantt’s playing career, however, came to an end after he suffered a leg injury in the 1963 Alabama All-Star football game.

Paul Spears was then introduced by Bowden as the next inductee to the Hall of Fame.

Spears only played one season at Andalusia, but was named to the All-South Conference team and was a first-team All-State selection.

He signed a scholarship to play at Florida State University, but was drafted in the armed forces after his first year with the Seminoles. Spears had five interceptions in five freshman games while at FSU.

Next to be inducted was Dr. C.C. Baker.

Baker was introduced by Bowden and then Kyle Gantt came up to speak briefly about Baker.

Gantt talked about how smoothly integration went at Andalusia because of the things that Baker did.

Sammy Glover then came up to talk more about the impact that Baker had on Andalusia and the community as a whole.

Baker played an essential role in ensuring that Andalusia had a smooth transition from segregation to integration.

Sam Johnson was the next player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

Johnson was a three-year starter at Andalusia before going on to play at Southern Mississippi.

Johnson told about all the people that made him into the man he is today, and that without any one of them he wouldn’t have been able to succeed like he has.

Johnson talked about being more prepared than most kids when he got to high school because his older brothers always taught him what that learned at football practice when they would play in the backyard.

Kendall Taylor was the final inductee on Saturday night, and he gave an emotional speech about what Andalusia has meant to him.

Taylor was a three-year starter at Andalusia before going on to a 20-year career as a football official.

Andalusia head football coach Trent Taylor gave the closing remarks and introduced his senior football players to the crown before Sue Bass Wilson closed out the evening with the school’s alma mater.