The Kings Mountain Herald … /
Sept. 1, 1983, edition 1 /
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From Here It Looks
Like Shelby-KM Finish
With another football season beginning Friday night, it’s again time
for ye olde prognosticator to give his yearly opinion on who’ll win and
lose in the area high school and college races this fall.
The only thing that can be correctly predicted is that most of the
predictions in this column will not come true. However, I must say, I
did pick the Southwestern 3-A Conference winner (Crest) last year.
High school races are hard to pick, because injuries and attitude
play a big part in winning and losing. Teams that sometimes appear
strong on paper turn out to be weak because some or all of the players
have a don’t-care attitude. I can remember several instances in past
years when teams that were loaded with talent experienced losing
seasons because players didn’t care whether they won or lost.
Most of the teams in the SWC this year appear to be improved, and
if they were playing in most other leagues, their record would probably
be better. The only two teams that don’t look better on paper are Crest
and East Rutherford (they were 1-2 in the SWC last year) but don’t let
this statement fool you. Both teams have some talented players return-
ing, plus both have outstanding junior varsity teams coming up.
At this point in time, it appears that the teams that finished in the
top four last year (Crest, East Rutherford, Shelby and Kings Moun-
tain) have the best shot at winning the conference this year. But other
teams like Chase, East Gaston, South Point and North Gaston, R-S
Central and Burns, should be much-improved.
Many years ago, the SWC championship always came down to the
Kings Mountain-Shelby game. Those two teams will stand good
chances of letting their fans relive those good old days this year.
Should the title come down to that game, it would be a Hollywood
finish to the SWC season as that contest is slated for the final Friday
night of the season in Kings Mountain. John Gamble Stadium would
never hold the fans.
After looking over last year’s rosters and the number of people com-
ing back at each school, I've finally settled on the final predictions:
1 - Shelby. To win a championship in football, a team must have a_
good quarterback. Shelby has the best one in the conference in All-
Conference standout Billy Gamble. He’s smart, is a good passer and
runs the option play well. The Lions also have an outstanding group of
running backs, and have some big, experienced linemen.
2. Kings Mountain. The Mountaineers will have to do a lot of im-
proving to make this prediction come true. Fans are talking a lot about
the KM running backs, and first-year coach Denny Hicks is blessed
with some outstanding runners. They’re not only quick, but are big
and can run over people. But I recall a statement that the veteran Lin-
colnton Coach, Von Ray Harris, told me years ago when I was a
young sportswriter. I asked him his opinion on why he thought his
best runner, Bobby Joe Easter, was left off the Shrine Bowl team, and
he said, “The world is full of good running backs. If you have a good
line, you can hand any fast runner the football and he can pick up yar-
dage.” The line will be the key to the Mounties’ success. If the line does
its job, and the KM secondary can stop the pass, the Mounties will win
the SWC. ;
3. Crest. Crest, under former Gardner-Webb assistant John Taylor,
has won the SWC the past three years. The Chargers’ only close game
in the conference last year was against Kings Mountain, a game the
Chargers won 9-2 after stopping Kings Mountain on downs inside the
five yard line. Taylor lost a lot of good players off that team, but he
also has 15 lettermen and seven starters back, including halfback Chris
Poston. Some good players coming up from the jayvee team will fill
most of the graduation losses. If Crest survives its early games, it could
win the SWC again.
4. East Rutherford. The Cavaliers have one of the best running backs
in the conference in Eric Starr, and Coach Rodney Nobles has the
players off an undefeated junior varsity team. When those young
players get a few games under their belts, the Cavs will be hard to han-
dle. Here’s another team that will have to be beaten early. As the year
goes on, they’ll get better. ~~ ih
5. East Gaston. The Warriors could finish much higher than this,
depending on how well they adjust to Coach Jerry Adams’ new
wishbone offense. Adams always has some outstanding backs and big
linemen. He has a good quarterback in Larry Wallace and some good
running backs in Mike Lucas, Robert Conner and Duncan Dill, whose
brother Richard led the Warriors to a SWC title four years ago.
6. South Point. It seems strange to pick a Jim Biggerstaff-coached
team to finish lower than first or second. Biggerstaff is the most suc-
cessful coach in the SWC, but South Point’s been shy on talent the last
few years. The Raiders have a good, experienced quarterback in junior
Mark Young, but he’ll be playing with a lot of inexperienced people.
Here’s another team that will pick up steam as the season progresses.
7. Chase. Chase is the smallest school in the conference and its suc-
cess or failure usually depends on numbers. For the past several years,
John Keeter has had 25 players or less. This year, he has 36, so if he
can keep most of them healthy, he’ll have a good year. The Trojans
were 2-8 last year but played some good teams close ballgames. With
13 starters returning, the Trojans should be much better.
8. North Gaston. The Wildcats have some of the best talent they’ve
had since joining the 3-A ranks. They were 4-6 a year ago and suffered
very few losses. Coach Roger Dixon’s biggest problem will be
numbers. He has 12 starters back but has only a 25-man roster.
Tailback Thaddus Benton is one of the best runners in the SWC and
the ‘Cats have several returning linemen.
9. Burns. The Bulldogs have made big strides the past several years
under Coach Eddie Greene, and they could finish much higher than
this. This could be a building year for Burns as Greene is keeping
several sophomores on the varsity. As they mature, Burns will get bet-
10. R-S Central. The Hilltoppers have 11 starters back, but they were
1-9 last year. Half of Ken Sanford’s roster is filled with sophomores.
That will make for a good future.
Turn To Page 4-B
KM RUSHERS - Curt Pressley. left, and Tracy Johnson, Kings
Mountain's leading rushers last year with over 1,600 yards bet-
ween them, will give Mountaineer fans a lot to cheer about
Photos by Gary Stewart
this fall. When they aren't picking up big yards on offense,
they'll be racking opponents on defense. They'll lead the
Mounties into action Friday night at Burns.
Mountaineers Open Season
Friday Night At Burns
Kings Mountain’s Moun-
taineers open what they hope
will be one of their most suc-
cessful football seasons in recent
years Friday night when they
travel to Lawndale to take on
- Burns’ Bulldogs.
First-year coach Denny Hicks
is hoping to see the’ Moun-
taineers break a four-year losing
jinx. The Mountaineers’ last vic-
tory over Burns was by a 32-0
score in the final game of the
1978 season. The past four
season-openers saw Burns win
by scores of 16-6, 27-8, 6-0 and
The Mountaineers, sporting
one of the best crops of running
backs around, are regarded as
one of the favored teams in the
SWC this season. Burns, which
has a lot of young players, is said
to be in a rebuilding year.
But, cautions Hicks, don’t
take the Bulldogs lightly.
“l saw them scrimmage
recently and they looked much
better than what people are
predicting,” said Hicks. “I’d say
they’re comparable to the same
type team they were at the start
of last year.”
The Bulldogs, who have made
great strides in football since Ed-
die Greene took over as head
coach four years ago, got off to a
fast start last year. They came
from two touchdowns behind in
the fourth quarter to tie the
Mountaineers 18-all and force a
playoff in the season’s opener.
Burns went on to win the game
24-18. Eventually, that loss kept
the Mounties out of the state
“They have a real fine
fullback (Ben Broome) and their
quarterback (Steve Edwards)
throws the ball well and operates
the team well,” Hicks said.
“Their tight end (Randy Clark) is
6-2, blocks well and is a good
pass receiver. Their line is big
across the front. They’re just a
good, solid high school football
To win the ballgame, Hicks
feels the Mountaineers will have
to control the tempo of the
game, something they’ve failed
to do over the past four seasons
against the Bulldogs.
“We have to keep the
football,” Hicks says. ‘They
have a lot of talent. If you keep
turning the ball over to them,
eventually they’ll score on you.
That’s what they did to us last
year. They have good speed and
“We’ll have to not beat
ourselves with penalties,” he ad-
ded. “That’s been a real problem
for us in the past. And we’ll have
to stay after them. We have
good enough people that, if
they’ll keep after it, can be suc-
The Mountaineers have only
a 31-man roster, but Hicks has
been well-pleased with their pro-
gress to date. Most of the 31 are
good football players who, barr-
ing major injuries, can lead the
Mounties to much improvement
over last year’s 64 record.
The Mountaineers had a good
scrimmage against 4-A East
Burke last Thursday night at
Gamble Stadium. The KM
coaches have been working hard
this week ironing out the kinks.
“We felt pretty good about
our scrimmage,” he said. “Our
execution was shy of what we're
hoping for, but we were satisified
with our intensity. We gang
tackled very well and had their
backs looking for us.”
Hicks used the game to get a
good look at all of his players.
“Offensively, we had two or
three good, ball-controlled
drives,” he said. “We still had
some letdowns and that’s been a
problem for us in the past. The
last two years we’ve played good
enough to win in every
ballgame, but had some
breakdown along the way to
cause us to lose. We still saw
some of that. Toward the end of
the first half, we rested and they
pushed us all over the field. We
came back in the second half and
controlled the scrimmage.”
East Burke, regarded as one of
the top three teams in the
Western 4-A Conference this
year along with Asheville and
Hickory, played a lot of different
defenses against the Mounties.
“We played in our basic
defense all night, and they
stunted on us from the snap of
the ball. We made up our minds
before the game that we’d stay in
our six basic running plays and
two or three basic pass plays. We
were tempted to change, but felt
like we needed to see what we
could do with our basic plays.
“Eric Odum played very well,”
he added. “He showed us what
we thought he could do all
along. He ran real hard.
“Shawn Rainey did a good
job,” he went on. “He was get-
ting off the ball so quick the
referees were flagging him. But
we took a close look at him and
he was just getting off the ball a.
step quicker than everybody
“Curt Pressley did a super job
at safety. When they got into
our secondary, he made them
pay the price. Shane Burton and
Thurndon Brown did a good job
both ways at tackle and Gerald
Gladden and Brad Reynolds
played well at defensive end.
David Parker did an excellent
job of blocking from his fullback
position and picked up some
crucial first downs.”
Hicks got an early Christmas
present last week when last
year’s leading rusher Tracy
Johnson moved back to town.
He did not participate in the
scrimmage but will be in the
lineup Friday night. Timmy
Elder, a quick back who played
at Shelby last year, has also
transferred to Kings Mountain,
adding even more strength to the
already-strong KM backfield.
All of the KM backs are learn-
ing two different backfield posi-
tions, and many of them are also
among the team’s best defensive
Fearless Picks KM
Well, it’s another year for
Fearless. I know you’re all giggl-
ing already - not at my jokes, but
at the games I'll probably miss
this week during the first full
week of the football season.
We're looking forward to this
prep season. East Gaston was
impressive in a 28-21 win last
week over Ashbrook, and the
Warriors with their new look
will undoubtedly sweep past
“Open Date” this week too.
A friend of mine said he was
late for school only once. That
was when the patrol wagon
came for his daddy...and he
wanted to see him off.
Anyone in my old
neighborhood with teeth and
ears was a sissy.
“Don’t be discouraged, Lulu,”
said Lulu’s mom. “In this world
there’s a man for every girl. It’s a
“I know, Mamma,” said Lulu.
“I don’t want to change it, I just
want to get in on it.”
In the old days a siren was a
girl who lured men to the rocks.
Today she lures rocks from the
Love comes once to every
woman...but that doesn’t pre-
vent her from getting married
three or four times.
“Have you entertained my
proposition?” the boss asked his
“No,” she said. “But your pro-
position entertained me.”
Gordon was going to driving
school and the instructor was
briefing him on the type of ques-
tion he might be expected to
answers in the oral examination.
“Now, Herb,” said the instruc-
tor, “if your wife were driving
ahead of you and she put her
hand out and gestured with the
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