How do you rank local high school football programs? By winning, of course. And the countdown continues
Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties high school football all-time rankings.
Here the fifth part of a 7-part series on how local programs rank all-time based on victories:
Part 1: Teams ranked Nos. 19 to No. 13 – Cramer, Highland Tech, Mountain Island Charter, North Lincoln, Forestview, West Lincoln, North Gaston. https://carolinassportshub.com/how-do-you-rank-local-high-school-football-programs-by-winning-of-course-and-the-countdown-begins/
Part 2: Teams ranked Nos. 12 to No. 9 – Huss, Bessemer City, Burns, East Lincoln. Link: https://carolinassportshub.com/how-do-you-rank-local-high-school-football-programs-by-winning-of-course-and-the-countdown-continues/
Part 3: Teams ranked Nos. 8 to No. 5 – Cherryville, Crest, Kings Mountain, East Gaston. Link: https://carolinassportshub.com/how-do-you-rank-local-high-school-football-programs-by-winning-of-course-and-the-countdown-begins-2/
Part 4: No. 4 – Lincolnton. Link: https://carolinassportshub.com/how-do-you-rank-local-high-school-football-programs-by-winning-of-course-and-the-countdown-begins-3/
Part 5: No. 3 – South Point
Part 6: No. 2
Part 7: No. 1
By Richard Walker
High school football first started in Cleveland and Gaston counties in 1910 when old Gastonia High and Shelby High played each other and Lincoln County got its start with Lincolnton High in 1921.
In the years since, it’s become arguably the most popular sporting event in the three-county region.
And since it’s start, our local teams have enjoyed varying degrees of success – from state championship good to winless disappointment.
With the benefit of all-time win-loss records for virtually every school, www.CarolinasSportsHub.com has come up with an all-time ranking of teams in the three-county region.
The method includes adding records of schools that no longer exist, either through consolidation or closure.
For example, Gastonia’s Ashbrook High School traces its history back to old Gastonia High School (which was later renamed Ashley High School) in addition to Lowell Holbrook High School and Highland High School. Gastonia, Ashley and Lowell Holbrook were all-white schools until the 1960s with Highland was an all-black high school until it closed after the 1965-66 school year.
Other schools are combined in the same way.
For instance, the records of old Mount Holly and Stanley High Schools are included with East Gaston since they were the two schools that formed the consolidated East Gaston when it opened in 1972.
With that in mind, here’s a look at a countdown of the 19 current high schools in Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties with records entering the ongoing 2021 season.
Today we look at No. 3 winningest school:
No. 3: South Point
All-time record: 420-188-9 (since 1969). Belmont went 159-213-28 from 1923-68, Cramerton went 124-130-19 from 1929-68 and unknown record for Reid, which began play in 1932, for 703 documented victories.
State championships: 5 (1971 WNCHSAA, 1979, 2003, 2016 3A, 2009 3AA)
Conference championships: 22 (1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2017 Southwestern, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 Big South), 1 for Belmont (1953 Western), 3 for Cramerton (1954, 1959, 1968 Little Six)
NFL players: Koren Robinson (Tanner Muse on 2021 practice squad roster)
Noting the Red Raiders: South Point has consistently been a top program since the school opened as a consolidation of Belmont and Cramerton high schools and two years after formerly all-black Reid High was closed and most of its students sent to Belmont….
Coaching continuity has been a South Point hallmark as 1953 Belmont star Jim Biggerstaff was the first Red Raiders coach from 1969 to 1989 and he was followed by another Belmont graduate (and longtime South Point assistant) Phil Tate from 1990-95, who was followed by longtime South Point assistant John Devine (1996-2010) and former South Point players and coaches Mickey Lineberger (2011-16) and Adam Hodge (2017-present)….
The 1971 co-champion of the old Western N.C. Activities Association included future Lenoir-Rhyne All-American Scott Crawford, who played briefly for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders….
The 1979 Class 3A champion was led by future 1981 Clemson national chamion Jeff Williams, who rushed for 948 yards, passed for 883 more and scored 114 points as Red Raiders’ quarterback. The fullback and linebacker on the ’79 Raiders was future NFL assistant and head coach Perry Fewell….
Old Belmont High played at the oldest existing dual football/baseball stadium in Gaston County – and perhaps the state. Davis Park, which opened to host a 1938 American Legion baseball regional also hosted Belmont Abbey College football teams in the 1930s and 1940s, Belmont, South Point High and Belmont Post 144 Legion baseball teams and is currently used for Belmont youth baseball and youth football….
The 2003 team that went 15-1 featured standout quarterback Javar Williams and fullback Joe Brown and eventual Arena Football League standout Cameron McGlenn….
The last state title team in 2016 featured current South Carolina tight end Nick Muse; Muse was a standout linebacker at South Point.
Where they play: Lineberger Stadium
Bet you didn’t know: The actual stadium South Point uses first opened in 1968 but wasn’t officially dedicated until the Red Raiders and rival East Gaston played to a scoreless tie on Sept. 15, 1972.