Friday Flashback – Ken Stabler at Foley HS (AL)

gamestrat high school football sideline instant replay

We all know about Ken Stabler‘s accomplishments in the NFL and college, but not much has been written since his death about his time at Foley High School in Alabama.

It was during his high school career when Stabler earned the nickname “Snake”.  According to, Stabler got his famous moniker from his Junior High coach Denzil Hollis.

On Friday, Brenda Hollis told the story how her late husband came-up with the name — “Kenny was zig-zagging down the field for a touchdown run one night. Denzil told Kenny’s father that he was running like a snake. So when Kenny came back to the sideline, Denzil said, ‘Good job, Snake.’ It just kind of took off from there.”

Stabler, who was a Christmas Day baby, went 19-1 during his two-year high school career as the school’s starting quarterback.  The only loss came in the 1963 opener against Vigor.  If you include his sophomore year when he was the team’s back-up quarterback, Foley went 29-1 with Stabler in the program.

The 1961 team was declared Alabama 2A state champs by the Alabama Sports Writers Association and the Birmingham News.

According to his website, Stabler ran for 847 yards and passed for 862 yards during his senior season.  The 862 yards passing set a new record at the school, which has since been broken.  However, his completion percentage of 64.7% still stands as a school record.  Stabler completed 64-of-99 during his final year in high school in 1963.

Stabler, who is a charter member of the Foley Hall of Fame, also holds the school record for career passing touchdowns with 24.  He also rushed for 21 scores over his career.

“The Snake” was also good at picking-off passes, he intercepted five balls during 1963.

Stabler also excelled in baseball and basketball.  He averaged 29 points a game on the basketball court, which is still a Foley record.  On the baseball diamond he was a very good pitcher and first baseman.  As a pitcher, he was offered a $50,000 bonus to sign with the New York Yankees.

Small Player Big Play

small player big play

No More Fumbles

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.