Who Will Be Next: High School Football Memories
We are two weeks and counting from the start of high school football. For those of you who listen to our shows regularly, or know me personally, you probably know that the start of the football season is probably my favorite time of the year. As the big day nears I feel like a kid awaiting the arrival of Santa on Christmas.
A new season brings a lot of anticipation and excitement every year. We all have high expectations for our teams and have hopes that this could be the year our team brings home the trophy.
I have many fond memories of high school football over the years. As a kid watching the Union Yellow Jackets play to being on the team myself and getting to represent my community, to now covering football in this area since my first job in media covering Lockhart High School in 2005.
As a kid I got to see a lot of great football at Union under Coach Shel Dula when Union was a 4A school and was in the region with Spartanburg, Gaffney, Rock Hill, Northwestern, and all those teams. Some of the first games I attended were in the 1990 season that saw Union led by running back Anthony Hunter face off against Spartanburg and Stephen Davis. The first game I really have any memory of is the 1990 4A State Championship in which Union defeated Lancaster led by Tracy Mcgriff on a late two point conversion caught by former Chapman head coach, Dorman OC, and know Union principal Kevin Farmer. Monty Means who would go on to play at South Carolina and become a target for Steve Taneyhill was also on that team.
I was in the 8th and 9th grades when a guy named Roscoe Crosby took the state by storm and become one of the most highly sought after football recruits in the country, as well as a potential early round baseball draft pick. His athleticism was incredible. He was a treat to score a touchdown every time he touched the football. Former Gaffney head coach Joe Montgomery found that out the hard way when he told his staff and players that they were kicking to Crosby to open the Union Gaffney game because they weren’t scared of him. Crosby promptly returned the opening kick for a touchdown and Montgomery ordered his players not to kick it to him again. He was one of the smoothest players I have ever had the privilege to watch.
As a player I got the chance to play with a lot of guys that went on to the next level. Several went to Carolina, one to Clemson, one to Tennessee, and many others went to schools around the state and country. We also played against some great guys too that went on to do big things. We were lucky enough to go 14-1 (Dang Newberry) and claim Union’s 5th State Football Championship. My favorite game from that year is probably the second round playoff game at Greenville. Greenville plays their home games at Sirrine Stadium, the former home of the Furman Paladins, a large stadium with a lot of seats. Greenville folks thought there was no way we could fill up our side and that they would have a great home field advantage. Not only did the Union fans fill up their side, there were also people standing everywhere and sitting on the Greenville side. Did I mention it poured rain all day and rained throughout the game. It was an amazing atmosphere.
The Red Raiders had a good team and were 11-0. They had a great wideout named Noah Whiteside who went on to play at South Carolina. We were down at the half, and coach Mike Anthony challenged us at the half, and it was like a different team showed up in the second half and we ended up cruising to a 42-25 win that led to an eventually rematch with Camden for the title, which we won.
Since I started covering high school football in 2005 I have also got to be around and see some really great players. Some of whom have gone on to great college careers and some now are even in the pros. I think about Troy Pride from Greer and getting to call games where he matched up against Shi Smith from Union. Both of those guys are now in the NFL. Both guys had super speed and great football minds. It was great seeing them both play. I think about Tavien Feaster, and the athletic abilities he had. Wiilie Korn, Marcus Lattimore, Malcolm Long, and so many others have made football in this area fun to watch. Covering Chapman and Dorman the last few years and the incredible runs those two teams have been on. I have been blessed to see some great football and I don’t think that is changing anytime soon.
The new season is almost here. Who will be the next to make a name for himself. Who will be the next great team. It all starts two weeks from today! I can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for all of us!