South Point fullback conjures memories of previous individual excellence in area high school playoff games
By Richard Walker
November is the month of high school football playoffs in these parts – and South Point has enjoyed as much success as any school in the area.
In last Friday’s 41-31 Class 3A home win over Eastern Guilford, fullback Tyson Riley continued etching his name into Red Raiders’ history with one of the best individual performances in the area’s playoff history.
Riley’s 372 yards rushing was the third-highest single-game total in any Gaston County game. And his five touchdowns ranks him tied for fourth in South Point history.
A 5-foot-7, 170-pound senior, Riley also is in the midst of one of the best seasons in county and school history as he now has 2,056 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns for 168 points.
Last week’s effort, which came in the 83rd postseason game in South Point’s rich playoff history, Riley’s rushing effort puts him in a select playoff group of former Red Raiders’ fullbacks as three others have racked up similar numbers in November.
Tyler Bray’s 381 yards rushing in a 2012 playoff victory over Crest remains South Point’s school record, is Gaston County’s all-time postseason record – and trails only Aapri Washington’s 402-yard rushing game for Mountain Island Charter in 2015 against Hickory Grove Christian in all-time county history.
Bray’s effort sparked South Point to a 46-33 second round playoff win over Crest.
Two other efforts – both six-touchdown, 36-point games – came from Chris Lane in a 70-31 South Point second round playoff win over Northwest Cabarrus in 2007 and from Troy Leeper in a 57-56 overtime second round playoff loss to Asheville Clyde Erwin. Both are Gaston County postseason records.
Gaston County’s all-time playoff passing game came in a 40-36 first round East Gaston playoff win at Weddington when the Warriors’ Jadarian Moore passed for 345 yards.
Gaston County’s all-time playoff receiving game came in the 2013 Western finals as Forestview’s Mykelti Armstrong had 192 yards receiving in the Jaguars’ 35-14 loss at Concord.
In Cleveland County, three of the four top playoff performances also are overall county records.
Burns’ Kujuan Pryor set the all-time county overall and postseason record with 431 yards rushing in the Bulldogs’ 52-35 second round playoff win at Hibriten.
The other overall and postseason county record-holders are Crest’s Tre Harbison and Tyshun Odom.
Harbison capped his career with a 42-point effort in the Chargers’ 55-21 state championship game victory over Southern Durham at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium in 2015. The effort tied Crest’s Josh Brown, who scored 42 points in a 2000 regular season win over Freedom, for the overall county record.
And Odom had 298 yards receiving in a 60-40 first round win over East Rowan in 2016.
The top passing game came from Burns’ Lance Camp of 453 yards in a 37-33 third round loss to Northwest Cabarrus in 2006. It also was Cleveland County’s first-ever 450-yard passing game and is only 38 yards behind the overall all-time county record of 491 yards passing set by Shelby’s Darquez Lee in a 2015 regular season win over East Burke.
Lincoln County’s postseason records are dominated by Lincolnton.
The Wolves’ Brandon Wilson rushed for a county postseason record of 302 yards in a 28-14 third round win over Polk County.
Lincolnton’s Cordel Littlejohn (427 yards passing) and Sage Surratt (254 yards receiving) set county postseason records in a 72-44 third round playoff win over Hendersonville in 2016.
And three of the four players to score 30 points in a playoff game went to Lincolnton – Anwar Wyatt in a 42-18 first round win over Bunker Hill in 1994, C.J. Wilson in a 48-20 first round victory over Mountain Heritage in 2005 and Dee Littlejohn in a 44-7 first round win over Brevard in 2010. East Lincoln’s Trevor Childers also scored 30 in a postseason game when the Mustangs in a 49-21 first round victory over Smoky Mountain.