Remember Your History
For the last twenty years – census records tell us — South Carolina has consistently been among the fastest growing states in the country. And some of you reading this might be one of the folks new to the area. Perhaps you moved here originally for a job, a relationship or (in my case) college. What should you know about Rock Hill and York County, and high school football in South Carolina in general? Here’s a small primer:
First, football in this area is good; very good. For example, every team in Rock Hill (Rock Hill High, Northwestern, and South Pointe) has won a state championship within the past ten years alone. That’s three high schools, four state championships, and one of the schools (South Pointe) has been in existence less than ten years. If we look throughout the tri-county area we see some other formidable players. Clover won a state championship in 2007, York in 1986, and Lancaster in 1959. Throw in Lewisville (1986, 1987, 1996, 1998) and the total state championships within a 30-mile radius of Rock Hill is staggering. In the current OTS Media Poll, three local teams (Northwestern, York and South Pointe) are featured in the top ten (SP received votes).
Explaining this success might require a dissertation amount of research, but the provisional explanation is this: people care about football in this area. When you care, you give back, in the form of good youth football programs, quality coaching and players who want to be part of a winning tradition. The great players to come out of the area are too numerous to mention: Chris Hope, Derrick Ross, Jonathan Joseph, Jadeveon Clowney, Ronnie McGill, Cordarrelle Patterson, Stephon Gilmore, Sheldon Brown and on and on.
Second, football is this state is good; very good. I’ve argued with many people that for the size of the state, the density of talent in South Carolina is second to none.
Yes, Texas, Florida and California produce more players in absolute terms, but the quality of players and teams is what sets this state apart. Tiny towns most haven’t heard of like Timmonsville gave football John Abraham. Its neighbor, Lamar, gave rise to Levon Kirkland. Alvin, SC produced Joe Hamilton, one of the most dynamic college football players of the last twenty years. Palmetto State natives AJ Green, Roddy White, Albert Haynesworth, Sean Ellis, and Marcus Lattimore are just a few more to play at the highest levels.
Homework assignment: If you just moved to South Carolina, or have lived here all your life, get out to a local stadium near you and support a team. It’s a lot of fun, and you may just be watching the next AJ Green or Jadeveon Clowney. Class dismissed!