The Alabama Pipeline: Town Creek's Own Kerry Goode
Kerry Goode was the star running back on Hazlewood’s 1982 state championship team.
He was named Player of the Year for 1982 by the Decatur Daily News, and was on the 1A All State team.
Kerry was part of Ray Perkin’s very first recruiting class at Alabama. He did not attract a lot of attention at the time.
After all, a lot of very good small school players didn’t work out at the college level, where the competition was a lot tougher.
Under Perkins, Alabama was changing over from the wishbone to a pro style offense for 1983. Even with the new offense returning, seniors Linnie Patrick and Joe Carter were the favorites for the starting job at running back.
The upperclassmen held the starter’s job to begin with, but the speedy freshman caught the staff’s eye, and by midseason, he had earned the starting job.
Kerry had a very nice freshman season, playing in all 11 regular season games, logging 693 yards rushing on 103 carries (second only to Ricky Moore), and adding 43 receiving yards on seven catches.
His longest run was an 86 yard touchdown versus Tennessee.
His best rushing game was 142 yards versus Auburn. (Obviously he understood what games called for big efforts.)
This team’s regular season mark was only 7-4, but it was very close to being much better.
A terrible call in the Penn State game negated Preston Gothard’s touchdown catch and allowed the Nittany Lions to beat us.
We were unable to hold a Fourth Quarter lead against Tennessee. Bo Jackson had a great game against us, but we were still in it until a torrential downpour throughout the Fourth Quarter made offense impossible.
Still, the team went to the Sun Bowl and hammered a highly regarded SMU team led by Eric Dickerson. Only the loss to Boston College in Foxboro was beyond being a win if things had been a little different.
Perkins second team opened the season against Boston College at Legion Field in a nationally televised game.
(That was a lot more significant in 1984 than it is today.)
BC was led by its great quarterback, Doug Flutie, who was the front runner for the Heisman. The Tide was breaking in a new quarterback (Walter Lewis had graduated), but still figured to have a powerful running game led by Moore and Goode.
The Tide also was still stinging from the late season loss at BC the previous season and looking for revenge.
For a half, it looked like Bama would avenge the loss in 83. With Goode leading the way, Bama stormed to a 24-14 halftime lead. Goode had already rushed for 68 yards on 10 carries, including a 25 yard touchdown run.
He had also snagged three passes for 32 yards, with an 18 yard TD reception. To top this off, he returned the second half kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, (for the Game Four KO returns for 199 yards) extending the lead to 31-14.
At this point, the Heisman candidate on the field looked to be Goode, not Flutie.
Then fate stepped in.
On Alabama’s next possession, Goode went down with a torn ACL, ending his season.
Flutie led a BC comeback and the Tide dropped this one 38-31.
Robbed of Goode’s explosiveness, the offense struggled the rest of the year and the Tide suffered it's first losing season since 1957.
Reconstructive knee surgery was primitive in 1984 compared with what it is today, and Kerry never quite got back to his early form.
He played sparingly in 1985, logging 26 carries for 76 yards and one reception for 11 yards. He saw a bit more action in 1986, with 47 carries for 210 yards and 12 receptions for 101 yards.
His 1987 numbers were similar as he was mainly a back up for Bobby Humphrey's.
Kerry’s college career was certainly distinguished, but he never got back to his early brilliance. If he hadn’t blown out the knee as a sophomore, he could well be mentioned today along with the greatest of Alabama runners.
Of course a healthy Goode might have meant no Bobby Humphries (bad) or no Gene Jelks (good).
Kerry did get a shot at the NFL.
He played the 1988 season with Tampa Bay, largely as a third down back. He started the 1989 season with the Dolphins, but another knee injury ended his playing days.
Kerry spent ten years working with Denver and Giant coach Dan Reeves as his strength and conditioning coach before leaving football.
After football, Kerry got into the trucking business and is still involved in it today. He lived in Atlanta for a time, but now has returned to his roots back in Town Creek.
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