South Point football’s Sullivan Absher commits to Notre Dame
South Point football standout Sullivan Absher chose between Clemson, NC State and Notre Dame on May 13, 2022 in the school’s auditorium.
Joe L Hughes II, The Gaston Gazette
Kickoff for the 2022 high school football season is just under 100 days away in Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties. However, it’s never too early to see what is on the horizon for area teams.
Here’s a look at the top 10 games heading into gridiron campaign for the 19 schools in The Gaston Gazette and Shelby Star coverage area.
Week 1 is Aug. 19, with the regular season concluding the weekend of Oct. 28. The postseason begins Nov. 4, with NCHSAA state football championships contested Dec. 9 and 10.
Kings Mountain at Shelby (Aug. 19)
For the second season in a row, rivals Kings Mountain and Shelby open with the “Battle of Buffalo Creek.” Shelby cruised to a 37-14 win last fall on its way to a 15-1 season and the state 2A championship. Kings Mountain is coming off of a 10-3 season of its own, falling in the third round of the 3A playoffs to eventual champion Dudley.
Burns at Crest (Aug. 26)
Burns’ Cahari Haynes was the star of the teams’ last meeting, his block of a Crest extra point with 4:28 left preserving a 21-20 win. It will also be Jim Sosebee’s first home game as Crest coach, though not his first dance with the Bulldogs. Last November, Sosebee’s Hendersonville team won 38-13 over Burns in the second round of the 2A playoffs.
Shelby at Crest (Sept. 2)
For the first time since 2018, Shelby will make the six-mile journey to Sid Bryson Stadium for their annual rivalry matchup with Crest. The Golden Lions lead the all-time series 30-22-1, including wins in four of the last five meetings.
Much like Burns, Crest’s Sosebee has experienced recent success against Shelby. His Hendersonville team dealt the Golden Lions their last loss to an in-state opponent, a 33-31 setback in the spring 2021 2A playoffs.
How the other half lives: Carlos Wray is a Shelby High legend. What took him across enemy lines to rival Crest?
South Point at Stuart Cramer (Sept. 16)
The Big South 3A opener for both, it will also be the eighth installment of the annual “River Rumble” rivalry. South Point has owned the series thus far, winning each of the previous meetings by an average of 39 points. With senior quarterback Justin Rocquemore back for Stuart Cramer, this could be the Storm’s best chance for a breakthrough.
Embracing the challenge: North Gaston hires Dan Rothwell as its head football coach
Crest at South Point (Sept. 30)
Crest and South Point played two of the fall 2021 season’s most entertaining games. In October, a furious Crest rally allowed it to pull out a 27-26 win. South Point got the last laugh, though, taking a 34-27 overtime win in the teams’ 3A West semifinal.
South Point at Kings Mountain (Oct. 7)
A “house of horrors” for Kings Mountain through the years, a strong fourth quarter propelled the Mountaineers to a 24-7 win at South Point last October. Expect another hard-hitting affair win the scene shifts to Kings Mountain for a key Big South 3A contest.
Forestview at South Point (Oct. 21)
South Point took a pair from Forestview last season, defeating the Jaguars 17-14 in double overtime before rolling to a 27-7 victory in the 3A playoffs. With Gaston County bragging rights on the line, it’s fair to expect a hard-hitting affair between the rival schools.
What’s in a name? An all-name team for 2021-22 in Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties
Rivalry Week (Oct. 28)
Bragging rights and the potential for a league title are at stake in the season’s final week. The regular season finale between Burns and Shelby could decide the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A title, while the meeting between Kings Mountain and Crest again has similar potential in Big South 3A. Also on tap for Week 11 include:
- Cherryville at Bessemer City
- Hunter Huss at Ashbrook: “Battle for the Victory Bell”
- North Lincoln at East Lincoln
- West Lincoln at Lincolnton
You can reach Joe Hughes at 704-914-8138, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @JoeLHughesII.