High school football previews: Part 4 – Big South 3A Conference

WWW.CAROLINASSPORTSHUB.COM High School Football Previews
Aug. 16 – Others (Mountain Island Charter and Clover)
Aug. 17 – Catawba Valley 2A, Western Foothills 3A conferences
Aug. 18 – Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference
Aug. 19 – Big South 3A Conference

By Richard Walker

As much as some leagues have changed dramatically due to realignment, the Big South 3A Conference continues to survive change and move on.

This time, the league has eight teams who each have long history with the league.

In fact, four schools – Gastonia’s Ashbrook, Forestview and Cramer and North Gaston – have been members of the league each season.

The league’s most frequent champion, South Point, will return after four years in the Southwestern 2A Conference; The Red Raiders have won or shared 12 league titles.

Other previous titles have been won by Forestview (three), Ashbrook (two), Crest (two), Huss (two), Kings Mountain (two) and current Southern Piedmont 1A/2A member East Gaston (one).

In this year’s race, league coaches see a close race as South Point is a slight favorite over Crest and Kings Mountain with Ashbrook also receiving a first-place vote.

Here is the preseason coaches’ poll:

1. South Point
2. Crest
3. Kings Mountain
4. Ashbrook
5. Huss
6. Forestview
7. Cramer
8. North Gaston

And here is a look at the team in the league from Gaston and Cleveland counties:

Coach: Darius James (2nd year, 4-3)
Coaching staff: no information submitted
Returning starters: no information submitted
Starters lost: no information submitted
2021 spring record: 4-3, 4-2
Top returning players: no information submitted
Top newcomers: no information submitted
Season outlook: James will look to build on the momentum of the first winning conference record since 2015 and best conference record since 2013.
All-time record: 334-230-9 (since 1970)
Last 5 seasons: 19-34
Aug. 20 Concord
Aug. 27 at T.C. Roberson
Sept. 3 West Meck
Sept. 17 Crest*
Sept. 24 at Forestview*
Oct. 1 North Gaston*
Oct. 8 at Cramer*
Oct. 15 at South Point*
Oct. 22 Kings Mountain*
Oct. 29 at Huss*

Coach: Ben McMillan (8th year, 32-45)
Coaching staff: Andrew Bradley, Collin Burnett, Kyle Creed, Carson Ginn, Mike Patton, Mo Perez, Jon Putnam, John Rice, James Taylor, Shawn Watson, Ryan Ward
Returning starters: 12
Starters lost: 9
2021 spring record: 1-6, 1-5
Top returning players: DE Arias Nash, QB Justin Rocquemore, LB Josue Sanchez, WR Damien Bentley, K/P Nick Wilson, WR Nate Brittian, OLB Daimean Fernandez, WR Isaiah Johnson, DL Amir Waddell, DE Kenneth McAllister, DE/LB Johnny O’Shea, OL Joey Heath, OL/DL Colby Green
Top newcomers: OLB/WR Markiss Nelson, CB Frank Thomas, DB Ethan Ward, DB Tyler Ward, OL Jacob Brindle
Season outlook: The Storm are poised to have a bounceback season as it returns a solid group of offensive skill players led by talented quarterback Justin Rocquemore (2,323 yards total offense). Defensively, Cramer will look to avoid the injuries that caused them troubles a year ago.
All-time record: 32-45 (since 2014)
Last 5 seasons: 26-29
Aug. 20 at Bunker Hill
Aug. 27 Bessemer City
Sept. 3 East Gaston
Sept. 17 at South Point*
Sept. 24 at Crest*
Oct. 1 Huss*
Oct. 8 Ashbrook*
Oct. 15 at Kings Mountain*
Oct. 22 at North Gaston*
Oct. 29 Forestview*

Coach: Nicholas Eddins (5th year, 33-14)
Coaching staff: Dave Paddock, Daniel Coggins, Patrick Bowman, Dennis Milne, Skip Young, Carlos Wray, Devin Nicholson, Alan Wacaster, Marquiet Pettis, Luke Bowen, Tony Nalley, Omar Porter
Returning starters: 11
Starters lost: 11
2021 spring record: 6-2, 5-1 (1st round state playoffs)
Top returning players: DL Eli Hall, LB Nick Beason, DB/WR Carter Greene, DL/OL Taree Watkins, WR Javarius Greene, WR/DB Randall Lee, RB/DB Mari Adams
Top newcomers: OL/DL Cameron McDowell, WR Malaki Addison, LB Adam Roberts, DB/WR A.J. Adams, QB Nytavious Huskey
Season outlook: Crest’s 27-year streak of first round playoff victories came to an end last season in a heartbreaking loss at eventual state champion Charlotte Catholic. They’ll look to start a new streak with 11 returning starters, including Wake Forest recruit Eli Hall on defense. A key will be in rebuilding the offensive line where no starters are returning.
All-time record: 432-213-6 (since 1967)
Last 5 seasons: 42-18
Aug. 20 Freedom
Aug. 27 at Burns
Sept. 3 at Shelby
Sept. 17 at Ashbrook*
Sept. 24 Cramer*
Oct. 1 South Point*
Oct. 8 at North Gaston*
Oct. 15 Forestview*
Oct. 22 Huss*
Oct. 29 at Kings Mountain*

Coach: Chris Medlin (15th year, 87-79)
Coaching staff: Rod Abrams, Steven Bartlett, Brian Horne, Moe Neal, Jack Price, Chris Rayfield, Justin Williams
Returning starters: 13
Starters lost: not listed
2021 spring record: 4-3, 3-3
Top returning players: DE Christian Williams, LB Jaycob Neely, RB Camury Reid, DB/LS Jesse Osborne, OL/DL Myles Jackson, LB Noah Comer, OLB Riley Biddy, OL/DL Ethan Barnett, OLB Jakeem Dennard, OL Christian Mixter, WR Nathaniel Aguilar
Top newcomers: Troy Hansel, Frederick Dow, Bryson Lewis, Latrelle Golightly, Jaxson Hill, Nicholas Aguilar
Season outlook: Christian Williams, Jaycob Neely and Camury Reid took top team awards in the spring and lead a group of 13 returning starters. The Jaguars will be looking to replace their quarterback and both offensive tackles.
All-time record: 138-131 (since 1998)
Last 5 seasons: 24-30
Aug. 20 Burns
Aug. 27 East Lincoln
Sept. 3 at Freedom
Sept. 17 at North Gaston*
Sept. 24 Ashbrook*
Oct. 1 at Kings Mountain*
Oct. 8 Huss*
Oct. 15 at Crest*
Oct. 22 South Point*
Oct. 29 at Cramer*

Coach: Randy Thompson (2nd year, 2-4)
Coaching staff: Tyree Taylor, Chris Robinson, Perry Floyd, Ben Bolin, Antonio Coleman, Garrett Robinson, Tommy Bolin, Rikki Murriell, Demetrius Green
Returning starters: 9
Starters lost: 13
2021 spring record: 2-4, 2-4
Top returning players: DE/TE O’Michael Williams, WR/RB/DB Tay Murray, OL/DL Gio Bernal, LB Malachi Coleman, RB Qualin Thompson, OL Cayden Smith, DE/TE James Taylor, K/P Jesus Marin
Top newcomers: QB Javion Brown, Athlete Jayden Gash, Athlete Gene Neely Jr.
Season outlook: After school’s first losing season in five years, Huss will look to nine returning starters and some talented newcomers to rebound. Sophomore Marin is arguably the top kicker in the conference after booting four field goals last season, including a 50-yarder against Ashbrook.
All-time record: 321-316-14 (since 1962)
Last 5 seasons: 42-17
Aug. 20 at Hickory Ridge
Aug. 27 at Hibriten
Sept. 3 Central Cabarrus
Sept. 17 Kings Mountain*
Sept. 24 South Point*
Oct. 1 at Cramer*
Oct. 8 at Forestview*
Oct. 15 North Gaston*
Oct. 22 at Crest*
Oct. 29 Ashbrook*

Kings Mountain
Coach: Greg Lloyd (15th year, 110-67)
Coaching staff: Darrel Wilson, Kevin Cruise, Michael Kennedy, Mike Harris, Matt Bridges, Shane Short, Diron Bell, James Brown, Shane Cole, Brad Melton, Jeff Cloninger, Jeff Williams, Ted Trahan, Jacob Lineberger
Returning starters: 8
Starters lost: 14
2021 spring record: 8-1, 6-0 (Big South champion)
Top returning players: WR/DB D’andre Hoyle, RB Caleb Holland, DB/WR Jake Lloyd, DB/RB Robert Kendrick, LB A.J. Richardson, OL Tykell Smith, OL Isaiah Eskridge, TE/LB Peyton Fisher
Top newcomers: LB Micah Ward, OL/DL Alex Jackson, DL Zaylen Ramos, DB/WR Bryson Brown, WR/DB/RB Zay Smith, QB Lamon Littlejohn
Season outlook: The Mountaineers lose 14 starters from an unbeaten league champion but have a solid group of offensive linemen and running backs returning in hopes of repeating. A key will be in how projected starting quarterback Lamon Littlejohn leads an offense that has been exceptional in recent years.
All-time record: 513-440-40 (since 1922)
Last 5 seasons: 52-13
Aug. 20 Shelby
Aug. 27 at Asheville
Sept. 3 at Burns
Sept. 17 at Huss*
Sept. 24 North Gaston*
Oct. 1 Forestview*
Oct. 8 at South Point*
Oct. 15 Cramer*
Oct. 22 at Ashbrook*
Oct. 29 Crest*

North Gaston
Coach: Justin Clark (2nd year, 0-7)
Coaching staff: Clay Julen, Cole Young, Dshonney Ferrell, Jabari Brewer, Jack Carpenter, Kyle Creed, Markeseo Williams, Stephen Bates, Tony Powell
Returning starters: no information submitted
Starters lost: no information submitted
2021 spring record: 0-7, 0-6
Top returning players: no information submitted
Top newcomers: no information submitted
Season outlook: North Gaston was competitive in many games last season and will enter the 2021 fall season seeking to win its first conference win since 2015.
All-time record: 161-361-4 (since 1971)
Last 5 seasons: 6-45
Aug. 20 East Gaston
Aug. 27 Alexander Central
Sept. 3 at Chase
Sept. 17 Forestview*
Sept. 24 at Kings Mountain*
Oct. 1 at Ashbrook*
Oct. 8 Crest*
Oct. 15 at Huss*
Oct. 22 Cramer*
Oct. 29 at South Point*

South Point
Coach: Adam Hodge (5th year, 32-14)
Coaching staff: Mitch Painter, Brian Andrews, James Justice, Josh Justice, Kirk Crawford, Kent Hyde, Hunter Armstrong, Jeff Patterson, Jerry Auten, Matt Mellette
Returning starters: 17
Starters lost: 6
2021 spring record: 5-2, 4-2
Top returning players: OL Jacob Patterson, OL Sullivan Absher, LB Ryan Harris, RB Tyson Riley, DE Aiden Ramirez, DB Will Ross, DL Xarique Culbreth, TE Jackson Blee, OL Wyatt Triplett, OL Ethan Thaggard, DL Shane Wilson, DB Macario Brandon, DB Micah Stowe, LB Ben Lunsford, DB Jaquis Rhump, DB Lavonte McCorbin, LB Matthew Hastings
Top newcomers: QB Cam Medlock, RB Elijah Phiffer
Season outlook: A pair of heartbreaking late-game losses kept South Point of the playoffs in the spring to end their 13-year postseason streak. With 17 returning starters, the Red Raiders will be determined to get back into the playoffs and make some noise in their first season back in the 3A ranks since 2016.
All-time record: 420-188-9 (since 1969)
Last 5 seasons: 44-18
Aug. 20 Lincolnton
Aug. 27 at East Gaston
Sept. 3 at R-S Central
Sept. 17 Cramer*
Sept. 24 at Huss*
Oct. 1 at Crest*
Oct. 8 Kings Mountain*
Oct. 15 Ashbrook*
Oct. 22 at Forestview*
Oct. 29 North Gaston*