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South Point comes up short in 14-7 loss to East Lincoln

By John Wilson

Well, it was on heck of a ride, but on Dec. 2 the South Point Red Raiders got bumped from the Western Finals of the 3A high school football playoffs after losing to the East Lincoln Mustangs 14-7.

This run was impressive to say the least. South Point overcame some early season setbacks including the loss of their starting quarterback to roll into the playoffs with a 9-1 regular season record.

South Point's only regular season loss came in October at the hands of Big South rival Kings Mountain. The Mountaineers would go on to take the conference.

When the playoff brackets were released many thought that due to their record the Red Raiders would get a high seed. However, that's not how things work.

In the North Carolina High School Athletic Associations playoff format conference champs across the state are guaranteed higher seeds. In other words, a team's win-loss record doesn't always matter. Because the Red Raiders didn't win the Big South other teams were seated higher than South Point. Those teams weren't necessarily better, they were just seeded that way.

So South Point landed the 11th seed in the 3A West. In a way things worked out to the Red Raiders advantage because in the coming weeks Big Red would wreak havoc in the 3A West.

South Point rode into the playoffs behind their well-oiled triple option Redbone offense, a hard hitting and opportunistic defense, and an uncanny ability to make mid-game adjustments.

Before taking on the Mustangs Big Red in the Final Four game South Point notched playoffs wins over Hickory, Dudley, Crest and East Guilford.

The Dudley game was truly special.

On the road in Greensboro facing the sixth seeded Panthers, South Point found themselves down 21-13 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter the Red Raiders opened a flood gate of scoring that resulted in 53 points in three quarters of play.

The scoring surge included a 22-yard Patrick Blee to Dawson Tobin touchdown strike, rushing TDS by Blee, Cam Medlock and Elijah Phifer and a pair of fumble recoveries by Dylan Owenby and Jack Milford that went in for scores.

South Point would go on to win that one 74-41.

In the East Lincoln Final Four game South Point gave the Mustangs a real fight.

All year the second seeded Mustangs had smashed their opponents, but this time that didn't happen. This game wasn't going to be decided early. This one would go the distance.

The first half proved to be low scoring with the Mustangs up 7-0 at the half.

In the third quarter East Lincoln added another score and the Red Raiders found themselves in a hole down 14-0 going into the 4th.

In the fourth quarter the South Point offense finally got on the board off of a one-yard Cam Medlock run. A successful Charlie Birtwistle PAT kick cut the Mustangs lead to 14-7.

The rest of the fourth was dominated by the Red Raider and Mustang defensive units and neither team scored again. Unfortunately, South Point ended up on the losing end of that exchange as East Lincoln held on to earn a spot in the 3A championship.

The Red Raider's season may have ended in Lincoln County, but this team has a lot to be proud of in 2022. A 13-2 record is something you can hang your hat on.

While many expect South Point to be good year in and year out it should be noted that nothing in this world is free. You have to earn it. Every year you start at 0-0, and every year you have to line up and prove yourself. This season this group of players played hard. They earned the respect of friends and foes alike.

This year’s success would not have been possible without several players turning in top-tier performances. The Big South 3A All-Conference roster hasn't been released yet, but when it comes out no one should be surprised if it’s filled with Red Raiders.

On offense fullback Cam Medlock and freshman quarterback Patrick Blee made things happen all year.

You could say Blee was the WOW story of the year. A freshman who due to injuries was thrust into a starting role and when he got his shot made the best of it.

Blee not only held his own this season, he excelled. He proved to be an effective option quarterback who distributed the ball well and made few mistakes. In 2022 Blee ran for 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns while throwing for 688 yards and 10 scores.

For his part Cam Medlock played like a classic South Point fullback. While not the biggest player on the field at 5'9" and 170 pounds Medlock played like a beast. The senior back ran hard on every play and proved to be tough to bring down. He ended the season with 313 carries, 34 touchdowns and 1998 yards.

Patrick Blee's older brother Jackson was South Point's top receiver. The 6’5” 205-pound senior hauled in 13 catches for 343 yards and two TDS.

Of course, the offense will go nowhere without blocking up front.

At the beginning of the season head coach Adam Hodge described the O-line as a solid group with a good work ethic. "They are a good unit,” Hodge said. “They are tough kids who work hard. They bring their work boots practice."

This season’s line was led by senior standout Sullivan Absher. All year Absher and company opened holes for the running game and protected the passer when the Red Raiders went upstairs.

On defense the Red Raiders were stout. They kept opposing offenses to 14 points or less on nine occasions. At times their play changed the flow of the game.

In 2022 the South Point D generated 27 turnovers and 17 sacks. Chaynce Ford, Will Ross, Winter Kincaid, and Jaquis Rumph are but a few of the players who stood out it this highly rated unit.

Ford was the Red Raiders top tackler this year with 138 stops. He was followed by Ross and Rumph who finished the season with 127 and 120 tackles each. Winter Kincaid rounded out the list of top tacklers ending the year with 111.

South Point head coach Adam Hodge is proud of his team. He knows that everyone associated with Red Raider football held nothing back this season.

"Our kids played their tails off and I am extremely proud of them," Hodge said. “They worked hard all year and we came up a little bit short.”

While the memory of the playoff loss will sting for a while, history will show that this was a GREAT year for Red Raider football.

Scenes from South Point
vs. East Lincoln Dec. 2 Game

Photos by John Wilson
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The South Point High Red Raiders varsity football team hosted the Hickory High Red Tornadoes in a playoff game last Friday. At the end of the session, the Red Raiders had taken a keen hickory switch to Hickory and took the breeze out the Tornadoes 48-13. The Red Raiders are now 10-1 overall. Go Red Raiders! Red Raiders, Red Raiders, Red Raiders! Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

South Point blasts Hickory while EG
and Cramer are knocked out of playoffs

By John Wilson

It seemed like almost yesterday that South Point, Stuart Cramer, and East Gaston were preparing for the start of the 2022 football season. Now the playoffs are here. First round action would see South Point advance while Cramer and East Gaston would both lose.

South Point 48
Hickory 13
The 9-1 Red Raiders drew the number 11th seed in the 3A West and hosted the 22nd seeded Hickory Red Tornadoes.
Hickory was 6-3 going into this one and for the most part played South Point tough in the first half. The Red Tornadoes went into the locker room at halftime only trailing the Red Raiders 21-13 at the half.
That would all change in the third quarter. South Point made some halftime adjustments and then came out in the second half and blasted the Red Tornadoes scoring 27 unanswered second half points.
South Point would go on to win 48-13.
Offensively South Point played well finishing the game with 490 yards of total offense.  All but three of those yards came from a punishing running game that gouged the Red Tornado defense.  Leading the offense charge was quarterback Patrick Blee and fullback Cam Medlock. Blee and Medlock ran roughshod over the Hickory defense teaming up for 410 yards and six touchdowns.
South Point’s top defensive players were Winter Kincaid and Will Ross. Kincaid ended the game with 13 tackles while Ross finished up with 11.
Also having a good night on defense was Jayden Garrett-Straite who returned an interception for touchdown.
“I was proud of our team,” head coach Adam Hodge said. “Our offense played really well. The defense made some good adjustments in the second half and shut them out. A good win. Now it’s time for the next one.”
This week South Point will have their hands full as they head over to Greensboro to battle the 9-2 Dudley Panthers.
The Panthers are tough, they went undefeated in the Mid-State 3A. A quick scouting of the Panthers shows that Dudley plays well on both sides of the ball. The Panthers pair a potent offense with a stingy defense. The Dudley offense can pass and run effectively while the defense is capable of shutting opposing offenses down.

Community School
  of Davidson 20
East Gaston 14
In 2A action there was a bit of déjà vu as the 29th seeded East Gaston Warriors lined up against the fourth seeded Community School of Davidson in a repeat of last year’s first round playoff action. In that game the Warriors beat the Trojans 57-39.
This year the game was a little bit tighter as Davidson managed to flip the script and squeezed out a 20-14 win.
In the early going things were looking good for East Gaston as the Warriors took a 14-6 lead into the half.
In the second half the Spartans slowly started to chip away at the Warriors lead. EG still led 14-12 at the end of the third, but Davidson kept the pressure on and the Spartans jumped out to a 20-14 lead in fourth. The Warriors just couldn’t find their way back to the end zone in the second half and the Spartans came away with the win.
East Gaston ended the year at 6-5. While head coach JT Postell didn’t like the early exit from the playoffs, he was pleased with the team’s progress these last two years.
“We can look back at this year and see that our guys performed really well,” coach Postell said. “We had to replace a lot of guys on both sides of the ball from last year’s team. We proved a lot of people wrong and that shows what kind of character these guys have and how hard
they worked. We finished with the winning record and had back-to-back playoffs appearances.”

West Charlotte 40
Cramer 13
The Storm pulled the 25th seed in the playoffs and headed over to Mecklenburg County to take on the eighth seeded West Charlotte Lions.
Going into this game both teams finished the regular season with similar records. The Lions ended the regular season at 5-5 while the Storm went into the playoffs at 4-6.
In first half action the Lions jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
Cramer finally got on the scoreboard at the beginning of the third quarter and cut the West Charlotte lead down to 14-6.
Unfortunately, that’s about as close as the Storm would get to mounting a comeback.
After the Cramer TD the Lions soon went on a scoring run the Strom just couldn’t match and West Charlotte went on to win 40-13.
“We kind of beat ourselves the other night,” head coach Ben McMillan said. “But we really appreciate our seniors for all of their time and effort.”
On a positive note, Cramer senior quarterback Justin Rocquemore found his way into the record books by breaking the Gaston County passing yardage record.
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Cameron Mack

Lingerfeldt Elementary students learn what it is like to be a golfer

The next professional golfers from Gaston County Schools could be in the making at Lingerfeldt Elementary.
Through the First Tee program, students learn about the sport of golf.  In addition to learning how to play, the program focuses on life skills and helps children build their strength of character through golf.  Lingerfeldt is the only elementary school integrating the program into its physical education classes.
Teacher Taylon Singleton brought First Tee to the school after seeing its benefits in another school district.  He said, “Students are learning more than just the game of golf.  The First Tee program teaches children character traits such as honesty and sportsmanship.”
Currently, the program is being introduced to fifth grade students, but Singleton said the program will be available to all students.
“I want the older students to grasp more than the ability to understand and enjoy the game of golf,” said Singleton. “The curriculum reinforces life skills such as positive attitude and problem-solving and applies these values to golf.”
By introducing the game of golf with the First Tee core values, the program provides the opportunity for children to see how honesty, judgment, and responsibility in physical education class relates to other areas of their lives.
Student Cameron Mack is having fun learning the basics of golf.  “I only knew of putt-putt,” smiled Mack. “Coach Singleton is teaching us other parts of the game, such as chipping and striking the ball.”
Principal Page Willis is grateful for the program.  She said, “We are really excited to offer our students an array of opportunities through our elective options.  Golf is a lifelong sport that teaches students about persistence, accuracy, and social skills.  Coach Singleton is creating an outstanding physical education program that offers learning experiences for students so they can explore many possible options that could be in their future.”
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South Point High School Soccer team
clashed with North Gaston

The South Point High School boys’ soccer team clashed with North Gaston last week.  It was senior night for South Point who won the contest 4-0.

See more photos on page 13 in the November 3, 2022 issue of Banner-News

Photos by Sean Corcoran
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South Point High Red Raiders
vs North Gaston High Wildcats 

The South Point High Red Raiders varsity and junior varsity football teams clashed with the North Gaston High Wildcats V and JV teams last week. After rough and tumble ruckuses times two, the Red Raiders took a keen hickory stick to the Wildcats by scores of 55-0 and 53-0 respectively.

See more photos on page 11 in the November 3, 2022 issue of Banner-News

  Photos by Calvin Craig Superraiders
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South Point’s Ladies Golf team places 3rd in NCHSAA 3A Championship

South Point High School ladies golf team placed 3rd in the NCHSAA 3A state championship held at Longleaf Golf Club in Pinehurst behind Fike and South Central.  Madison Pruden finished 11th overall out of 77 players.  Members of the team are Amelia Connor, Sophia Czerwinsky, Carli Anne Phillips, Madison Pruden, Sophie Travenski, and Chloe Villarreal. They are coached by Kevin Withers. The team also won the Big South 3A Conference championship and finished as runner-up in the West Regional held in Lenoir.

J. Scott Studio photo
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This year’s Belmont Boofest was the best ever with a huge crowd of costumed and non-costumed folks swarming all over downtown and Stowe Park. Here are some shots from the spooky spectacular. Photos by Alan Hodge

Belmont coaches share special friendship

By John Wilson
The late Saint Mother Teresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.”
Mother Teresa’s quote alludes to the fact that even one person can make a difference.
The late George Kitchen of Belmont was such a man, a man who made a difference in the lives of so many.
Before his passing on October 21st, Kitchen was a fixture in the Belmont sports community for almost half a century.
Kitchen, known as “Coach George” by those that knew him coached Little League baseball, Pop Warner football and was an assistant softball coach at South Point and Belmont Middle for many years. In 2022 we was inducted into the Belmont Sports Hall of Fame. He coached up until his passing at 83 years of age.
Coach George was a decent and caring person. A man who would do anything to help anyone and never asked anything in return. George and his late wife Judy Kitchen had a great love for all things South Point. They were Belmont proud. For years Judy was known as the lady who sold peanut brittle at the Red Raider baseball games.
It’s hard to grasp just how many young people George Kitchen coached. It’s fair to say his impact was generational.
One person who knew Kitchen well is South Point and Belmont Middle School softball coach Leah Brooks.
“He was my grandfather’s best friend,” Brooks said, “He coached my dad, and he coached me.”
Coach Brooks first got to know Kitchen when she was a player at South Point. She remembered Coach George as a true student of the game, a person who understood the nuances of softball inside and out. A man who had so much to give.
After graduating from South Point in 2009 Brooks went on to play college ball at Averett University in Danville Virginia.
In 2012 she returned to Belmont to coach the Belmont Middle School softball team. In 2014 she started coaching at South Point.
It was upon her return to Belmont that she was reunited with Coach George and the two formed a special relationship.
Coach Kitchen was an assistant coach with the middle school and high school softball programs.
As a new coach, Leah Brooks soon found that she had a lot to learn, but George Kitchen was there to help her.
Over the years, Brooks learned that she could rely on Coach George to help her with just about anything. It wasn’t long before the two became more than just co-workers. He became a father figure to her.
While Brooks may have been the head coach, she came to trust Kitchen’s wisdom and knowledge. In a nod to the hit movie Karate Kid, you could say that Kitchen was Mister Miyagi to Brook’s Daniel-san. To Leah Brooks, Coach George was a dear friend and mentor.
“It’s crazy to say that an 83-year-old man was my best friend,” Brooks said. “But if I needed anything he made it happen. He was the most selfless person I knew.”
As the friendship grew Kitchen soon became a big part of the Brook’s household. Coach George was a part of the family. He was there during the good times and the bad. He was especially close to Leah’s young daughters Makinley and Makenzie.
“He had a special knock so my daughters knew it was him,” Brooks laughed. “We talked or he came by the house every day.”
As coach Brooks recalled her memories of her friend you could tell how much Coach George meant to her.
The memories brought smiles, laughter, and even a few tears.
In September George’s health started to decline and he was admitted to the hospital.
His hospitalization also coincided with a playoff run the Belmont Middle softball team was in the midst of.
Even in the hospital, Coach George was able to talk to Brooks to offer his insight as the Lady Wildcats fought for the county title.
On October 6th the Lady Wildcats faced off against Stanley in the championship game. Coach George got to watch the game on live stream from his hospital bed as Belmont beat Stanley 12-2 in five innings.
After the game coach Brooks stopped by the hospital. She brought the championship trophy with her. She wanted to share the victory with the man who helped the team earn it.
The emotions of that special moment were intense.
It was during that visit that Coach George told his protege, “Leah I’m going out like a champion.”
George Kitchen would die two weeks later.
Dealing with Coach George’s death has been hard on not just the Brooks family, but just about everyone that knew him. He was that loved and revered.
While George Kitchen is no longer with us his spirit is. Coach George’s legacy will live on as those he coached pass on what they learned from him to the next generation of players.
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South Point Homecoming...

The South Point Red Raiders varsity football team hosted the Forestview High Jaguars last Friday. It was the Red Raider’s homecoming game and they prevailed 42-7. Gabby Collins was named homecoming queen. Meredith Parnell was awarded the Joe Steele Fan Appreciation Award. Here are some shots from the festive evening. 

See more photos on page 13 (in October 27, 2022 issue of Banner-News)

Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders
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East Gaston Warriors
Vs. Shelby High Golden Lions

The East Gaston Warriors JV football team hosted the Shelby High Golden Lions squad last Thursday. The Golden Lions roared and clawed their way to a 49-0 win. Here are some shots from the situation.

See more photos on page 13 (in October 27, 2022 issue of Banner-News)

Photos by Jennifer Hall
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Belmont Middle School county football champs

After being down 12-6 at halftime, the Belmont Middle School Wildcats fought back in the second half to build a 27-12 lead over the Holbrook Lions.  Holbrook scored twice within the last two minutes of the game, but with 20 seconds to go and trying to convert a 2-point conversion, the Wildcats defense rose up and stopped the Lion runner short of the goal line to preserve a 27-26 victory.
This is Belmont Middle School’s 10th conference title and 6th since 1999.
Belmont last won the conference title in 2016 over Mount Holly, 43-8 when Danny Green was the head coach.
This is Carey Galbreath’s first season as Belmont’s head coach and first title.

See more photos on page 11 (in October 27, 2022 issue of Banner-News)
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Interest in basketball
results in South Point
athlete playing in Thailand

Gaston Schools story/photo
Preston Howell does not let his physical condition get in the way of achieving his goals.
The South Point High School senior recently returned from playing in the Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in Thailand where he helped lead the United States U23 team to a sixth-place overall finish against the top teams in the world.
“It was a wonderful experience and privilege to represent the best country in the world,” said Howell, who played in five contests, including one game where he scored 13 points. “There was some great competition, and we had plenty of time to see tourist attractions such as the floating markets and beaches.”
However, what was more meaningful to Howell was the send off he received from his school.  Prior to him leaving for Thailand, students and staff lined the sidewalk to cheer him on.
“I was ecstatic to see everyone,” Howell smiled. “It caught me by surprise, but it meant the world to me to have my fellow classmates and teachers rooting for me.”
Howell points out that he was not too sure of wheelchair basketball when he was introduced to the sport at the age of seven.
“A friend’s mother took me to watch the women’s Team USA team train in the Charlotte area,” said Howell, who currently plays locally for the Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets. “I was scared to death, but I went to a practice a month later and fell in love with the sport.”
Howell was born with skeletal dysplasia, a rare genetic disorder that causes abnormal developments of bones, joints, and cartilage.
“I’ve had numerous leg and jaw surgeries,” he said. “I also have a rod in my back, right femur, and left tibia, in addition to the screws in my hips.”
While most athletes have normal arm, leg, and hand function, wheelchair basketball presents challenges, according to Howell.
“Chair skills are super important,” he explained. “How fast can you accelerate, control your chair, and turn – you also need upper-body strength to shoot the basketball in a sitting position.”
Wheelchair basketball takes up most of his time, but he also enjoys serving as the team manager for the South Point boys basketball team.
“Preston is an amazing young man,’’ said South Point coach Kody Kubbs. “During practice, he often participates in individual drills and helps me instruct the players on the floor.  Additionally, whenever there is something that needs to be done at practice, whether it be getting water, collecting basketballs, or any other task, Preston is always on it.”
Kubbs added, “During games, Preston does our shot chart, which is a vital part of my in-game coaching.  I trust Preston to keep the chart, and it is always done accurately.  I have really enjoyed having Preston be a part of the team and am excited for his future in the sport.”
That future in the sport includes playing wheelchair basketball for either the University of Alabama or Auburn University.  Howell, who plans to study business or computer science, will be eligible for the national team again in 2025 should he decide to continue pursuing his dream.
“I am grateful for the opportunities and the people who helped me in this journey,” he said.  “It’s kind of unreal the way I’m able to travel and have fun.”
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Jennifer Brock helps with the Senior Night pre-game meal. It’s a Cramer tradition on this day for the seniors to have thier own table and to feast on steak. The rest of the team had a grilled chicken dinner graciously provided by Cramerton Free Will Baptist Church. Photo by John Wilson

Senior Night at Stuart Crameis about family

By John Wilson

Last Friday night the Stuart Cramer High Storm varsity football team hosted the North Gaston Wildcats for Senior Night, the last regular season home game of the season. The game provided the school a chance for one last shout out to all the seniors who helped make Friday night football possible.
This game was important to Cramer for many different reasons. Some sentimental, some based on a bit of football math.
With the playoffs just around the corner, and only two games left in the season every win counts.
Coming off back-to-back loses the Storm needed a win to get back on track in the final run up to the post season.
For the players and coaches game day started long before the 7:30 kickoff.
The team got together right after school let out for a series of meetings and the traditional pre-game meal.
Before each game a different civic group or business sponsors the meal. For the North Gaston game, a youth group from Cramerton Freewill Baptist Church served the meal.
Since it was Senior Night something special was cooked up by the team moms. The seniors had their own table and even chowed down on steak.
After the meal, the team got together to review game assignments and team goals.
Head coach Ben McMillan kicked the meeting off with a power point presentation stressing the importance of family.
The coach explained to the players that Cramer football was about family. He told them that they all shared a special bond. He went on to tell the team that no matter where life took them, they would always be part of the Cramer football family.
“Play for your family,” McMillan said.
One of the highlights of the pre-game meeting was the moment when the team’s 12 seniors got up and addressed their teammates.
The comments ranged from funny to deeply emotional. The seniors told stories and shared memories. Most of all the seniors told their friends to treasure their time together because it would all be over in the blink of an eye.
The most touching address came from senior wide out Tyler Ward. Tyler really seemed to understand the significance of the moment. At times he struggled to get the words out as he told his teammates just how much everyone in the room meant to him. His comments were personal and moving. As Ward was finishing up senior quarterback Justin Rocquemore came over and put his arm around his friend’s shoulder and gave him a reassuring hug.
As the pre-game meeting wrapped up the team headed to the field house to suit up. As the players got ready the coaching staff went over final game preparations.
Before the game coach McMillan talked about what he wanted to see as the game unfolded.
“I want our team to keep getting better and play a complete game,” McMillan said. “It’s kind of the playoffs now. We have to take care of business to make sure we get in.”
Before kickoff the players, cheerleaders and dance team seniors lined up on the sidelines along with their parents for a moment to be recognized. The band seniors would be honored as well during halftime.
After all the pre-game activity wrapped up it was football time.
On the opening drive the Storm marched down the field with a mix of short passes and runs. Justin Rocquemore punched in the first points of the game off of a 10-yard run. A Drew Crotts PAT would put Cramer up 7-0.
Cramer would go on to put up 21 first half points. However, by all accounts they should have put up more.
Defensively Cramer was stout. The Wildcats never mounted a serious drive. In fact, the Storm defense even gave the offense a few short field opportunities that never planned out.
Miscues and turnovers stalled promising drives deep in Wildcat territory.
At halftime coach McMillan went into the locker room and fired the team up.
Cramer may have been up 21-0 but coach McMillan thought the team needed to play better. The missed opportunities were not something he would overlook. So, he laid down the law.
McMillan told the team that it was time started playing to their potential.
“We have to quit shooting ourselves in the foot,” McMillan went on to say. “We’re better than that.”
Coach McMillan’s locker room speech must have hit home because when the Storm took the field for the second half the team played with a renewed sense of urgency.
That sense of urgency was on full display when on North Gaston’s first drive of the quarter John Hall picked off a Wildcat pass and took it 35 yards for a score. That TD, and a Drew Crotts kick put Cramer up 28-0 with only 58 seconds having come off the clock.
When the Wildcats got the ball back the Storm defense stuffed them yet again. This time forcing a turnover when Brison Bazemore dislodged the ball and freshman Chris Wurster recovered the fumble deep in North Gaston territory.
It was clear that the Storm defense had heeded the call, now it was time for the offense to step up and show what they could do.
In the first half Cramer squandered their short field opportunities. This time the offense capitalized on the great field position. It wasn’t long before Justin Rocquemore connected with Tyler Ward on a 16-yard touchdown pass. After another Crotts PAT the Storm was up 35-0.
In the third quarter everything really came together for Cramer. In less than five minutes the Storm had generated two turnovers and a pair of touchdowns. Before the quarter ended Cramer would score 21 unanswered points.
The final points of the third came off a beautiful Rocquemore 46-yard bomb to Hunter Dye.
As the game rolled into the fourth quarter Cramer was up 42-0. At that time coach McMillan started to pull his starters and rotate players.
By the time the game ended the atmosphere on the Storm sideline was electric. Players hugged, jumped around and celebrated a well-earned victory.
As everyone started to leave the field the story comes back to senior Tyler Ward.
Before the game Ward stood in front of his teammates and told them all how important they were to him.
After the game those feelings were still alive as he recapped the events of the game.
“It was an emotional game,” Ward said. “I love this school; I love my teammates. It’s a fun night, a fun night to play out here one more time, and hopefully maybe if things work out, we can be back in a few weeks.”
Ward’s heartfelt comments before and after the game truly encapsulate what Stuart Cramer’s Senior Night was all about. One last chance to be with family.
See more on page 12.
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Gaston Christian Varsity Girls Golf Team MAC Tournament Champs

Congratulations to the Gaston Christian School Varsity Girls golf team who are MAC Tournament Champions. GCS 327; Gaston Day 337; HG 338 Individual scores: Priya 104, Anna Clay 108, Anna Ramsey 115, Ava Hall 115, and Hallie 111. Congratulations to Priya for being nominated for MAC All Conference. Also, a special recognition to our only senior Anna Vella Ramsey.
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Gaston Christian Girls Track show off State Rings

The State Rings are finally in! The Gaston Christian School girls have waited months for these. All six won first place in the NCISAA State Track Meet in May of 2022.
Congratulations to: Madi Freeman Shot Put, Trinity Hall Discus, Gabby Comery 4x1 & 4x2, Abbey Ford 4x1 & 4x2, Julia Ramsey 4x1 & 4x2, and Olivia Van Pelt 4x1 & 4x2
Special thanks to coaches Moore, Ford, Lester and Smallwood.
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Stuart W. Cramer High School

The Stuart W. Cramer High School soccer team clashed with the South Point High School team on Monday, October 10. The contest was close, and action packed. At the end of the scramble, South Point won 2-1. Here are some action scenes from the event. 

Stuart W. Cramer High School
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The East Gaston Warriors varsity football team clashed with the Burns High (Lawndale) Bulldogs last Friday night. In the end, the Bulldogs bit the Warriors pretty badly with a 44-0 win. Here are some great action shots from the rumble. Photos by Jennifer Hall

East Gaston Warriors
Vs. Burns High

The East Gaston Warriors varsity football team clashed with the Burns High (Lawndale) Bulldogs last Friday night. In the end, the Bulldogs bit the Warriors pretty badly with a 44-0 win. Here are some great action shots from the rumble.      

  Photos by Jennifer Hall
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The South Point High Red Raiders varsity football team paid a visit last Friday evening to Ashbrook High in Gastonia where they tussled with the Green Wave varsity squad. After a thrilling contest, the Red Raiders surfed the Green Wave to the tune of a 28-19 victory. Here are some scenes from the session. Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

South Point overpowers Ashbrook for 28-19 win

By John Wilson

In last week’s action, South Point had a strong showing while Cramer and East Gaston both took tough hits.

South Point 28
Ashbrook 19
A fourth quarter slug-a-thon ended up deciding this one. The Red Raiders moved to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big South when they powered past Ashbrook to take home a 28-19 win.
The Red Raiders and Green Wave exchanged touchdowns in the first quarter. South Point struck first off of a four-yard Cam Medlock run. Ashbrook responded and the score was tied 7-7 at the end of the first.
In the second quarter South Point started to work on increasing their lead. A Patrick Blee to Aaron Chaney nine-yard touchdown pass put the Red Raiders up 13-7. After a successful Charlie Birtwistle PAT South Point held a 14-7 lead going into the half.
The Green Wave cut into the Red Raiders lead in the third by scoring the only points of the quarter off a touchdown run. Unfortunately for Ashbrook the two-point conversion failed and South Point clung to a 14-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth South Point hit Ashbrook hard by unleashing the power of their run game. Two Cam Medlock TD runs followed by two Charlie Birtwistle PAT kicks added 14 points to the score board for Big Red.
Ashbrook managed to score once in the fourth but they could never match South Point's production and the Red Raiders went on to win.
Once again, the Red Raiders offensive focus was on running the ball.  South Point amassed 274 yards of total offense. 242 of those yards came from the ground game.
South Point's top offensive players were Cam Medlock followed by quarterback Patrick Blee. Medlock had 156 yards and three touchdowns on the night. Blee had 65 yards on the ground and went two for six in passing for 32 yards and a touchdown.
On defense Chaynce Ford, Will Ross, Jack Milford and Jaquis Rumph all put in some solid work for South Point.
Ford finished the game with 13 tackles while Rumph had 11.
Ross walked off the field with 12 stops and an interception while Milford ended the evening with 10 tackles and a sack.
In post-game comments South Point head coach Adam Hodge expressed how happy he was with how the game unfolded.
“I was proud of our kids,” coach Hodge said. “We had to battle, and we did. When the game is tight in the fourth quarter and your offense drives 80 yards and scores and then your defense rises to the occasion that's impressive.”
As happy as coach Hodge was that the Red Raiders notched the win, the coach knows that there is still a lot more football left to play. It's a fact that you can't take anything for granted in the Big South. Coach Hodge wants the team to improve and grow every week
"We have to keep getting better," Hodge added.

Burns 44
East Gaston 0
Everything eventually comes to an end. In the case of the East Gaston Warriors a four-game win streak slammed into a brick wall last week when EG lost to the Burns Bulldogs 44-0.
There wasn't much to be happy about with this one. The Warriors had to deal with not only a tough South Piedmont conference foe, but one of the best 2A teams in the state.

  Offensively East Gaston just couldn't get anything going. In recent weeks the Warriors offense had been very productive. However, in this game the Bulldogs flat out shut the EG offense down. The Warriors finished the game with 135 yards of total offense.
Junior quarterback Trenton Sherrill went seven for 15 for 66 yards through the air. East Gaston’s top running back was Chase Johnson who had 36 yards of eight carries.
East Gaston's top defensive performers were Kirin Moebes, Payton Parker and Sheldon Clark.
Moebes finished the game with nine stops while Parker and Clark ended the night with six tackles each.
With the loss to Burns the Warriors move to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in Southern Piedmont action

Kings Mountain 63
Stuart Cramer 24
Cramer fought hard but the Storm just didn't have the firepower they needed to overcome a potent Kings Mountain program.
Senior Justin Rocquemore and junior Ryan Denton teamed up for 179 yards of passing offense. Both quarterbacks also threw touchdowns.
One bright light in this game was the play of junior wide out Isaiah Johnson. Johnson is showing that he is one of the top receivers in the conference.
Against a tough KM defense, Johnson had six catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. So far this season the reliable junior has 52 catches for 587 yards and six touchdowns
On defense, seniors Lavonte McCorbin and John Hill were the Storm’s top performers.
McCorbin had 10 tackles while Hill tallied nine.
Cramer now sits at 3-5. The Storm are 1-4 in the Big South.
This week Cramer will travel to North Gaston, the Warriors will head to Shelby to play the Golden Lions, and the Red Raiders will host the Forestview Jaguars.
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Band students make
music together

Band students from Mt. Holly Middle School recently got a thrill when they were invited to join the Stuart Cramer High Storm marching band at the September 23 football game. The two groups made beautiful music together.
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Belmont Middle School Wildcats Vs. Chavis Middle School Wolverines

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football team hosted the Chavis Middle (Cherryville) School Wolverines last week in the semifinal game of the season. The Wildcats did some serious scratching and came out with a 50-0 win.  

Photos by Calvin Craig
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Photos by Bill Bostick Tarheel Sports Photography

Belmont Middle School softball wins county crown

By Jeff Risk

The Belmont Middle Wildcats fastpitch softball team won the county championship last Thursday against Stanley Middle Blue Devils.
The Wildcats completed an undefeated season in impressive fashion by winning both tournament games to finish 11-0. Last Tuesday, the Wildcats beat WC Friday in the semifinal game by a score of 18-8 in 6 innings.  Thursday the Wildcats overwhelmed the Blue Devils in the finals with a 12-2 victory in five innings.
Head coach Leah Brooks expressed her joy that her team’s hard work and dedication paid off with an undefeated, championship season.
“These girls had great chemistry and continued to improve throughout the year,” she said.
Coach Brooks and the team dedicated the season to assistant coach, George Kitchen, a Belmont Sports Hall of Fame inductee, and local legend, who is presently in the hospital with a heart condition. “George has been so important to me and our players,” she said. “He got to watch a livestream of the game, and I’m so happy he was able to see us win it all. This season was for him!”
The Wildcats had a team win, with a balanced attack. Pitcher Stella Absher had twelve strikeouts. Every player contributed at the plate with Absher, Adeleigh Hutchinson, and Evy McKee contributing two hits each. Ella Gibson, Sally Risk, Emma Lineberger, and Allison Neel each had one hit, and Rowan Trexler and Elle Louise Blee both added RBIs.
For the year the team batting average was over .400, they scored 156 runs, and had 10 team home runs.
Coach Brooks was very proud of her Wildcats saying, “This has been a very satisfying year!”
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The South Point Red Raiders varsity football team traveled to Kings Mtn. High last Friday where they met the Mountaineers squad. In the end, the Red Raiders took a 31-20 loss for their troubles. Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

East Gaston pulls off big win while South Point and Cramer fall

By John Wilson

There was a lot of excitement this week as East Gaston established a four-game win streak and South Point lost their first game of the year.

Kings Mountain 31
South Point 20
This one featured a battle of undefeated teams with the Red Raiders and Mountaineers both coming into the game 6-0.
When it was all said and done Kings Mountain outlasted South Point and walked away with a huge 31-20 win.
This game was close in first half action. Kings Mountain was only up 10-0 at halftime.
South Point cut the lead by six in the third when Cam Medlock scored off a three-yard run. Unfortunately, South Point missed the PAT and the Mountaineers took a 10-6 lead into the fourth.
In the fourth quarter the game broke wide open as both teams started to put points up on the scoreboard.
When the dust settled, Kings Mountain managed 21 fourth quarter points compared to South Point’s 14. That point difference was all the Mountaineers needed to snare the win.
While the score board says differently this one could have gone either way. It all came down to which team made plays when they really needed to. This time around the Mountaineers made the plays and the Red Raiders didn’t.
“They made more critical plays than we did,” head coach Adam Hodge said of the situation.
This was a disappointing loss for South Point.  Now the Red Raiders are going to need to regroup and move forward.
“They have a good team and we made too many mistakes,” coach Hodge added. “We have some work to do. When you play good people you can’t make mistakes. We just have to get better.”
South Point’s top offensive players were fullback Cam Medlock and tight end Jackson Blee. Medlock had 145 yards and two touchdowns while Blee finished the game with three catches for 93 yards and a TD.
Defensively Jaquis Rumph and Will Ross played well. Rumph wrapped up the evening with 18 tackles while Ross had 14.
With the loss South Point is now 6-1 overall and 3-1 in Big South play.

East Gaston 49
Bessemer City 0
The Warriors are on a roll after smothering Bessemer City 49-0. EG now moves to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in Southern Piedmont action.
In this game the Warriors came out strong and were already up 35-0 at the half. Midway through the third quarter coach JT Postell started to pull his starters.
Offensively, EG got the win with a very impressive running attack led by senior Nehemiah Stovall. Stovall finished with 203 yards and two scores in less than three quarters worth of work.
Also running hard for East Gaston was Chase Johnson and Destry Ballard. Johnson ended the night with 10 carries for 96 yards and two TDS while Ballard had 71 yards off two carries with a score.
In limited action, quarterback Trenton Sherrill was two for six for 24 yards with a touchdown.
East Gaston’s top receiver was Omarion Pryor who had two catches for 24 yards and a TD.
On defense the Warriors totally shut the Yellow Jackets down. When the game ended Bessemer City had a meager 35 yards of total offense.
Jake Fox led the way defensively with five tackles followed by Payton Parker Kirin Moebes and Ben Summey who all recorded four stops each.
Another player who has a good night was Antonio Ford. Ford finished up with three tackles and three sacks.
Across the board East Gaston head coach JT Postell liked what he saw in this game.
“We had a good win,” Postell said. “It was a much-needed win. I’m really proud of our effort. We played well from start to finish. That’s something we have been looking for all year, and on Friday night we got a complete game.”

Ashbrook 30
Stuart Cramer 22
Stuart Cramer had got a tough break in this game. The Storm was up 15-12 at the half, but back-to-back Green Wave scores in the third quarter helped turn things around for Ashbrook.
The game went into the fourth quarter with the Green Wave up 24-22. The Storm still had a chance, but they were going to need to make something happen if they wanted to get the win.
Ashbrook made any hopes of a comeback even harder when they broke off a big 69-yard touchdown run early in the fourth to push their lead out to 30-22.
As minutes and seconds rolled off the clock, the Storm ran out of time. The Green Wave held, and Cramer never found their way back to the end zone.
Cramer’s offensive standout was senior Justin Rocquemore. Rocquemore had 131 yards of passing offense along with a touchdown. He also 41 yards on the ground.
Mark O’Dell was the Storm’s top runner with 82 yards and a score. Tyler Ward was Cramer’s top receiver with 72 yards and a touchdown.
Letrasky Pressley led the Storm defense with 13 tackles followed by Daimean Fernandez who registered 11 tackles, and freshman Chris Wurster who finished up with 10 stops.
With the loss Cramer drops to 3-4 overall and one in three in league action.
This week Stuart Cramer will be at home against Kings Mountain, South Point will travel to Ashbrook, and East Gaston will host Burns.
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Ashbrook student
get their game on...

Students at Ashbrook High School enjoyed a fun and competitive game of kickball recently with a unique twist!  The game was a Unified Game that included students both with special needs and students without.  The purpose of the game was to promote inclusion, acceptance, and awareness within the school body for those that may have differences and/or unique abilities.  The game lasted approximately one hour and within that time, students from all across the school came out in waves to support all the students playing in the game. Students both in special education as well as general education classes paired up into two teams and played against one another with big grins on their faces and made memories to last a lifetime! Amber Radford, Special Education Teacher, and Aloysius Krieger, Special Education Teacher played a big role in the event.
Photos by Jennifer Hall
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Stuart Cramer Homecoming Queen

The Stuart Cramer High Storm varsity football team played Crest on Sept. 23. It was Homecoming for Stuart Cramer and everyone was stoked.  Scarlett Newton was crowned Homecoming Queen.   

Photos by Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
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Stuart Cramer Homecoming Court:

Mika Chaney, Delani Wilson, Abigayle Wrenn, Madeline Hope, Abby Michael, Scarlett Newton (Homecoming Queen), Ava Cooper, Colleen Grealis, Payton Conroy, Marley Accashian, Mang Cin.

Photo by Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
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North Gaston Homecoming Game - Queen

The North Gaston High Wildcats varsity football team hosted the Ashbrook High Green Wave squad last Thursday. The Green Wave rolled to a 37-14 win. It was North Gaston’s Homecoming and Jasmine Cloud was crowned 2022 Queen.  

  Photos by Jennifer Hall
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Belmont Middle School Wildcats take on the W.C. Friday Cavaliers

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football team met up with the W.C. Friday Middle Cavaliers last week on the gridiron. Why they call it gridiron? Anyway, the Wildcats went wild on the Cavs and clobbered them 33-0. Here are some nice photos from the frenzy.

See more photos in this week's Banner-News (October 6, 2022)

Photos by Calvin Craig
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The South Point High Red Raiders varsity football team hosted the Crest Chargers last Thursday at Lineberger Stadium. When the fracas was finished, the Red Raiders had ridden the Chargers hard with a 35-13 win. A “shout out” to intrepid photo contributor Calvin Craig who was inadvertently mowed down when the play action spilled onto the sidelines but he still managed to shoot these snaps before his knee injury. Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

Red Raiders, Warriors,
and Storm dodge hurricane to win

By John Wilson

Last week, Hurricane Ian prompted Gaston County Schools to move all varsity football games up to Thursday night.
The change in schedule didn’t seem to hamper South Point, Cramer, or East Gaston as all three teams won.

Stuart Cramer 22
Hunter Huss 21
This was a real nail biter as the Storm rallied in the fourth quarter to pull out a big 22-21 conference win over Huss.
In the first half things didn’t look good for the Storm. Cramer was down by 11 and the Huskies were in control. Huss led at the half 21-10.
In the second half the Storm got it together and started to rally. The team showed real maturity as they fought to get back in the game.
“I think we kind of grew up in the second half the other night,” head coach Ben McMillan said. “The defense held them scoreless in the second half. We made some big stops and forced some turnovers.”
Despite the second half turn around Cramer was still down 21-16 late in the fourth.
With the clock ticking the Storm needed a big play. They got one when the defense stood tall and shut the Huss offense down on a critical fourth and goal on the Storm two-yard line.
After that stop, the Cramer offense took over, drove down the field and scored off a Justin Rocquemore run with about three minutes left.
The Cramer PAT failed but the Storm had a 22-21 lead.
That big defensive stand and subsequent scoring drive was huge.
“The biggest stop was when we stopped them on the two-yard line,” McMillan said. “Then we drove 98 yards for the go-ahead score.”
In the final minutes of play the Storm defense held their ground and prevented the Huskies from mounting any late game heroics.
Offensively Justin Rocquemore threw for a score and ran for another to lead the Storm offense. In all Rocquemore had 161 yards through the air and 52 yards on the ground.
Running back Mark O’Dell had a productive game running for 45 yards and a score while also catching three passes for 23 yards.
Isaiah Johnson led all Cramer receivers hauling in four catches for 71 yards and a touchdown.
On defense Cramer generated three critical turnovers and had three players with double-digit tackle stats.
Letrasky Pressley was the Storm’s top tackler with 17 stops. Following Pressley was freshman Chris Wurster and senior Daimean Fernandez.
Wurster finished the night with 13 tackles while Fernandez had 12.
With the win Cramer is now 3-3 overall and 1-2 in conference action.

South Point 35
Crest 13
In a matchup that was viewed by many to be the game of the week the South Point Red Raiders made a powerful statement in the Big South by beating the Crest Chargers 35-13.
Fullback Cam Medlock scored the only points of the first quarter when he ripped of a 41 yards TD. After the Medlock score, a Charlie Birtwistle PAT kick put the Red Raiders up 7-0.
In the second quarter, Crest tried to claw their way back into the game, but South Point nixed those plans.
The Red Raiders held the Charger offense at bay for the rest of the half and scored an additional 14 points. Big Red touchdowns came off a four-yard Cam Medlock run and a 43-yard Patrick Blee to Aaron Chaney TD strike.
South Point took a 21-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half opened up with a bit of trickery as the Chargers recovered an onside kick that they soon turned into a touchdown.
That score put Crest back in the game as the Chargers narrowed the South Point lead to 21-13.
However, the Chargers comeback proved to be short lived as the Red Raider defense rose up and kept Crest out of the end zone for the rest of the game.
While the Chargers may have been stopped from scoring any more points the Red Raider offense wasn’t done just yet. Patrick Blee scored rushing touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters.
Blee’s scores along with a pair of successful Charlie Birtwistle PAT kicks were enough to increase the Red Raider lead and secure a 35-13 victory.
You could say that the Red Raiders won this game in the trenches. South Point finished the game with 382 yards of total offense with 339 of those yards on the ground.
Quarterback Patrick Blee led in offensive stats running for 158 yards and two scores. Blee also had one touchdown pass.
Fullback Cam Medlock ran hard ending the evening with 154 yards and a pair of TDs.
Defensively the Red Raiders are playing solid ball this year. In six games South Point has limited opposing offenses to 14 points or less.
That trend continued as Big Red harried Crest’s quarterback and effectively grounded the Charger aerial attack.
The Red Raiders stymied the Crest passing attack with relentless quarterback pressure. South Point had 20 QB pressures and four sacks. Contributing to that effort was Josh Crowder, Aiden Ramirez, Hunter Jackson, and Jack Milford.
Leading in the tackling department in this game were Chaynce Ford and Jaquis Rumph. Ford finished the game with 12 tackles while Rumph had 10.

East Gaston 28
Thomas Jefferson 16
With a nice win over the Gryphons the Warriors move to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in Southern Piedmont league play.
The EG victory was in no small part due to a potent offensive display. The Warriors ended the night with 402 yards of total offense.
The bulk of that production came from an effective ground attack led by Nehemiah Stovall. Stovall had 202 yards off of 14 carries with a touchdown. Stovall was also EG’s top receiver with five catches for 52 yards.
Junior quarterback Trenton Sherrill kept the Warrior aerial attack in play with his accuracy. Sherrill went 10 for 14 with 87 yards and one pick.
Other players who added to the East Gaston offensive effort were Chase Johnson and Ben Summey.
Summey had 51 rushing yards and a score while Johnson finished up running for 46 yards and a score of his own.
While the East Gaston offense did a fantastic job, the Warrior defense deserves kudos as well. Throughout the game the EG defense played heads up opportunistic football.
The Warriors generated four turnovers including a five-yard scoop and score by Austin Price.
EG’s top tackler was Kirin Moebes who finished the game with 12 tackles.
This week, South Point, Cramer and EG will all suit up for games with conference implications.
East Gaston will travel to Bessemer City in Southern Piedmont action while Cramer heads to Ashbrook in Big South play.
And for the second time in two weeks South Point will be in a prime-time showdown. This time the 6-0 Red Raiders will travel to Kings Mountain to battle the 6-0 Mountaineers in a battle of undefeated teams. The winner of this game will walk away with sole possession of first place in the Big South 3A.
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Belmont Middle School Wildcats Vs. Bessemer City Middle School Tigers

The claws were out and the fur flew when the Belmont Middle School Wildcats and the Bessemer City Middle School Tigers football teams met up last week. In the end, the Wildcats scratched the daylights out of the Tigers 41-0. Meeeoww!

Photos by Calvin Craig
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Left to right: Chris Mingo, Mason Braswell, Claire Frank, Lexi Birtwistle, Maddie Frank, Davis Adcock, and Ruffin Johnson. Photo by Charlotte Sautner

South Point men’s and women’s cross country teams having great season

By Charlotte Sautner
At the Gaston County meet held on Tuesday, Sept. 13th at Forestview High School both teams finished first.  The men’s team was led by Mason Braswell who finished first with a time of 18:59.8.  Other South Point runners finishing in the top 10 were Davis Adcock, 3rd - 19:26.8; Ruffin Johnson, 4th - 19:45.4 and Chris Mingo, 9th - 21:03.3.  Leading the women’s team was Lexi Birtwistle who finished first with a time of 22:10.5.  Other runners from South Point Point who finished in the top 10 were Maddie Frank, 3rd - 23:34.5; Claire Frank, 5th - 24:83.6 and Rachel Tolbert, 9th - 24:59.7.
Both of South Point’s teams finished first at the Shelby Invitational held at Shelby High School on Tuesday, Sept. 20th.  In the Championship Boys 5000-meter run Mason Braswell finished 3rd with a time of 19:17.5 Finishing in the top 10 for South Point were Davis Adcock, 5th - 19:50.0; Ruffin Johnson, 9th - 20:19.0 and Chris Mingo, 10th - 20:21.0.
In the Open Boys 5000-meter run Elijah Murray finished second with a time of 24:08.8.  Others finishing in the top 10 for South Point were Alex Millspaw,3rd- 24:29.2; Dhruv Patel, 4th - 24:27.9 and Jack Fangman, 9th - 26:55.5.
In the women’s 5000 meter run those South Point runners finishing in the top 10 were Lexi Birtwistle, 3rd - 22:21.5; Maddie Frank, 4th - 23:56.80 and Claire Frank, 9th - 25:03.2.
Coach Ziemer says, “These kids have been training hard all season and are super motivated after winning the Gaston County championship last week.  We knew the Shelby course would be tougher this season due to some construction, but we came mentally prepared.  We came to win and that is what we did.  The friendships they have formed with each other and other school’s runners is refreshing to see.”
Congratulations to all the runners and to Coach Kay Ziemer for their outstanding showings.
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East Gaston High Warriors Vs. Cherryville High Ironmen

The East Gaston High Warriors football team hosted the Cherryville High Ironmen last Friday. It was East Gaston’s Homecoming game and Jaida Mistry, daughter of Christia and Nimesh Mistry, was named Queen. Oh, the Ironmen squad must have been rusty because the Warriors continued their winning streak by whupping them 38-0. See more on page 13.

Photos by Jennifer Hall
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Red Raiders and Warriors
win big in Week Six

By John Wilson
In Week Six high school football action the South Point Red Raiders and East Gaston Warriors both notched impressive wins while Stuart Cramer lost to Crest.

South Point 35
Hunter Huss 7
South Point has started the 2022 season strong. The Red Raiders move to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in Big South conference play after trouncing the Huskies 35-7.
To notch the win South Point delivered a well-rounded offensive performance coupled with a solid defense effort.
Cam Medlock and Patrick Blee powered the Red Raiders offense.
Medlock continues to have what is turning into a good year. Against Huss the senior back ran for 143 yards off 25 carries with three touchdowns.
So far this season Medlock has rumbled for 644 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s averaging just a bit over 128 yd per game. Those are the kind of numbers South Point wants from their fullback.
Freshman quarterback Patrick Blee’s fairytale season continues. So far Blee is still holding his own. In the Huss game, Blee ran for 43 yards and a score. He went three for seven in the air with a TD and a pick. Blee’s lone TD pass of the game was a 19-yard third quarter toss to Harrison McKinney.
On defense continue to ramp it up. Five Red Raiders finished the game with double digit tackles.
Winter Kincaid, Chaynce Ford, Will Ross, Jack Milford and Jaquis Rumph all turned in top-tier efforts.
In addition to finishing the game with 11 stops, Jack Milford registered two sacks.
In his post-game comments head coach Adam Hodge kept it all simple and to the point.
  “Thought we played good,” Hodge said. “Need to get better every week.”

East Gaston 38
Cherryville 0
It was homecoming weekend at East Gaston and the Warriors gave the crowd something to cheer about. EG opened their big Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference schedule with a big 38-0 victory over Cherryville.
You could tell that this one was going to be all EG early on when the Warriors went up 10-0 in the first quarter after Shelden Clark scored off a blocked punt.
East Gaston took a 24-0 lead into the locker room at the half and kept the pressure on the Ironmen all night.
The Warrior offense played well against Cherryville. EG churned out 563 yards of total offense. Most of the yardage came from the ground game with the Warriors grinding out 378 rushing yards.
EG’s offensive work horse was Nehemiah Stovall. Stovall played well, finishing the night with 227 rushing yards and two TDs.
Junior QB Trenton Sherrill went 12 for 19 and 185 yards in the passing department. He also ran in a score from one yard out in the third quarter.
Another Warrior player to have a good game was Chase Johnson. Johnson had 13 carries for 101 yards and one catch for 55 yards.
Defensively, East Gaston shut Cherryville down. The Warrior  defense harassed the Cherryville quarterback all night and kept the Ironmen off the score board.
Noteworthy performances were turned in by Kirin Moebes and Payton Parker. Moebes finished the game with six tackles and a pair of sacks while Parker tallied four stops and two sacks.
“Thought we played well from the start in all three areas,” head coach JT Postell said.  “Offensively, probably the best we’ve executed, defensively, it was great to get a shutout, and I’m really proud of our special teams creating a score for us on the blocked punt.”
East Gaston is now 2-3 overall and 1-0 in conference play.

Crest 54
Stuart Cramer 28
A tough first quarter made all the difference in this one. Crest bolted out to a 30-7 first quarter lead and the Storm never recovered.
All season Justin Roquemore has been the prime mover for the Cramer offense. That didn’t change in this game. Roquemore ran for 80 yards and threw for another 191 yards and three touchdowns
Also having good games were running back Mark O’Dell and wide receiver Isaiah Johnson.
Johnson had 71 yards off seven catches and a touchdown while O’Dell ended the night with 59 yards and a score.
With the loss, Cramer dropped to 2-3, they are 0-2 in league action.
This week East Gaston, Cramer and South Point are set for more conference action.
Cramer will be at Ashbrook, while East Gaston will travel to Thomas Jefferson.
In the game of the week, South Point will host Crest in a game that is sure to shake up the Big South 3A standings.
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Belmont Middle School Wildcats Vs. Stanley Middle School Blue Devils

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats and Stanley Middle School Blue Devils football teams clashed last week. When the running and ruckus was over, the Wildcats had scratched out a big 29-0 win. Here are shots from the stupendous situation.

Photos by Calvin Craig
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East Gaston and Cherokee get ready for the coin toss. The symbols on the left side of the Braves players’ helmets mean “Cherokee” written in the Cherokee syllabary.

East Gaston outlasts Cherokee in 13-7 win

By John Wilson

There are a few things that can bring a high school sports team together like a road trip. Road trips are a sports rite of passage. A chance for a team to bond.
Last Friday the East Gaston Warriors football team took the bonding experience to the next level.
The team boarded a chartered bus and headed to The Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, for a non-conference game against the Cherokee Braves.
It was a long three-hour drive by direct route, but the Warriors stopped off at the Golden Corral in Hendersonville for their customary pre-game meal.
After lunch, the team loaded back up, hit I-40 West and continued on to Cherokee. The players and staff loved the charter bus. It sure beat the standard school buses the team normally takes to games.
“Can we do this all the time?” sports trainer Lauren Koontz joked. “This is awesome.”
As the EG bus rolled into the Cherokee area just after 5PM the realization of where they were sunk in. The team suffered a momentary delay when the bus had to stop to let a pair of elk cross the road about a mile from Cherokee Central School
When the team arrived at the stadium they unloaded and started to get ready. The atmosphere on campus was truly special. The school grounds are massive. The school system hosts grades K-12 all in one area. The community nature of the school makes the Friday night football games a big deal for everyone in Cherokee.
As the Warriors took the field for warmups the team was greeted with an assortment of Native American themed music blaring over the stadium PA. The music included local pow wow songs and a beat pounding techno number called Electric Pow Wow from the Canadian First Nations group The Halluci Nation.
The music set the tone. East Gaston was in the heart of Cherokee territory.
During warmups Cherokee head coach David Napert expressed how proud he was of his school and how happy he was that East Gaston had made the long trip.
“Anytime we get someone to come from far away it’s great,” coach Napert said. “This is one of the most beautiful schools I’ve ever worked in.”
While this game is special it wasn’t the first time these two teams met. Last year Cherokee travelled to Mt Holly to play in an exciting 35-26 East Gaston win.
Before heading back to prep his team coach Napert shared his respect for Warriors head coach JT Postell. Postell had coached in the mountains for years before coming to East Gaston and is still well thought of by all.
“My younger son Joe played for him,” Napert said of coach Postell. “He’s a great coach, but an even better person.”
After pregame wrapped up the players took the field and the game got rolling.
The Warriors received the opening kickoff and on their first possession moved all the way down to the Cherokee one-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
When the Braves got the ball, they pushed hard with a power running game
The first quarter ended scoreless with both teams were trying to figure each other out.
The first points of the game were scored early in the second when the Braves powered it in on a 3rd and goal from the EG one yard line
The Warriors quickly responded when Nehemiah Stovall took it to the house on a 50-yard shovel pass from Trenton Sherrill.
After a successful Tripp Abernathy PAT the score was tied up 7-7 with 6:27 on the clock in the second quarter.
For the rest of the second quarter the two teams battled to set the tone. EG with a diverse offensive set, and Cherokee with a strong running game.
Both teams hit the locker room with the score tied up 7-7.
At halftime the coaching staff went over game footage and made some adjustments.
Defensively the Warriors needed to figure out the Braves running game. On offense, EG needed to change things up a bit because the deep passing game wasn’t connecting.
Just before heading out to the field for the second half coach Postell summed, it all up.
“Offensively we need to execute when we have the opportunities,” Postell said. “Defensively we need to get off the field.”
When the second half opened up the Braves took the opening kickoff and went right back to the running game.
The Cherokee opening drive was killed when the Braves tried to catch the Warriors napping on a 4th down
See EAST GASTON, Page 11
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South Point Red Raiders
vs. Stuart Cramer

The South Point Red Raiders varsity football team crossed the CSX railroad tracks and made a trip to Stuart Cramer High last Friday evening where the Storm squad awaited. At the end of four quarters of grueling gridiron grunting, the Red Raiders ground out a gritty 47-14 win. Both teams gave it their maximum effort as these great pics by Calvin Craig attest.

See photos on page 9 of the Sept. 22, 2022 issue of Banner-News

Photos by Calvin Craig Superraiders

South Point student-athletes
greet Belmont Central students

There was plenty of excitement on Friday, Sept. 2 at Belmont Central when students were greeted with high fives, fist bumps, and tons of positivity by student-athletes from South Point High School. Thank you, SPHS students for helping to brighten the morning. Everyone appreciates you and your coaches!   Gaston Schools photos
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Belmont Abbey photo/story

Slippery Rock slips by Abbey girl’s field hockey

The Belmont Abbey field hockey team wrapped up a season-opening stretch of three games in five days as the Crusaders faced Slippery Rock last Monday at Limestone.
It took overtime to decide the winner but it was Slippery Rock who came away with the 3-2 victory over the Crusaders.
Belmont Abbey is now 1-2 on the season while Slippery Rock is 1-1.
How It Happened- The Crusaders withstood some early pressure from Slippery Rock after facing four shots in the first quarter. Freshman Kaylee Wenzel (pictured) scored her first career goal in the second quarter to put the Crusaders up 1-0 before halftime. Slippery Rock scored two goals in the first five minutes of the third quarter to take a 2-1 lead. Belmont Abbey pulled even at 2-2 in the third thanks to the first goal of the season from Jessica Rybicki off an assist from Wenzel. Belmont Abbey finished with eight shots for the game and five on goal.

Belmont Abbey photo/story
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Belmont Abbey photo/story

Abbey men’s soccer
battles Lees-McRae

The Belmont Abbey men’s soccer team opened Conference Carolinas play with a back-and-forth battle with Lees-McRae Wednesday evening at Alumni Field. The lead changed three times before ultimately ending in a 3-3 draw between the Crusaders and Bobcats.
Belmont Abbey moved to 1-3-1 on the season and 0-0-1 in conference play. Lees McRae is now 2-1-2 with an identical 0-0-1 mark in the league standings.
How It Happened- Lees-McRae got on the board first with a penalty kick in the 10th minute. The Crusaders responded with a goal of their own in the 22nd minute as Zion Duncan scored off an assist from Brett Ramsey to make it 1-1. Pa Njie scored his first Belmont Abbey goal with a penalty kick in the 27th minute. The Abbey took a 2-1 lead and would hold that going into halftime. The Bobcats pulled even at 2-2 with a goal in the 50th minute. Davis McBee earned his second goal of the season off a free kick in the 57th minute. Lees-McRae got a third goal in the 80th minute. Will Whitman made the start but Nikolaus Opel made his first appearance of the regular season in Wednesday’s contest. The goalkeepers accounted for two saves each. Belmont Abbey finished with nine shots total and five on goal. 

Belmont Abbey photo/story
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City of Belmont tennis classes

Belmont Parks and Rec. is offering tennis lessons. Tennis Pro, Jeremy Martin has a variety of youth tennis clinics available. To register, please go to his website,
You can also contact him at (704) 562-0273 or
Adult Tennis Clinic Schedule: Ladies Clinics (Beginner): Tuesdays from 12:00PM-1:00PM and Wednesdays from 6:00PM-7:00PM. Adult Clinics (Beginner): Mondays from 6:00PM-7:00PM and Fridays from 5:00PM-6:00PM. Adult Clinics (Intermediate): Tuesdays from 6:00PM-7:00PM. Adult Clinics (Advanced 4.0+): Thursdays from 6:00PM-7:00PM. Cardio Tennis (HIIT Style Tennis Workout): Thursdays from 7:00PM-8:00PM.
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Dover  named to NC Tennis Coaches Association All-State Men’s Tennis team 

South Point tennis player James Dover has been named to the North Carolina Tennis Coaches Association All-State Men’s Tennis team for 2022.  The Big South 3A Conference MVP wrapped up his freshman season with undefeated conference play in both singles and doubles and a final four finish at states in singles.  With this selection, Dover becomes the First Red Raider in school history, male or female, to be named All State in tennis. Go Big Red!!!!!!  James is the son of Amy and Stan Dover.                                                                 Photo provided
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East Gaston quarterback Trenton Sherrill poses with his mother, the late Jennifer Walker after a Warriors football game in April of 2021. Trenton credits his mother, who died in August of 2021 with being the biggest influence in his life. Photo provided

Do it for Jen

By John Wilson

The bond between a parent and their child is something special. It’s one of those things that define human existence.
Even when a parent passes away, all the talks, the life lessons, and wisdom that they imparted on their child will remain.
Such is the case with 16-year-old East Gaston quarterback Trenton Sherrill and his mother Jennifer Walker.
Trenton had a special relationship with his mother. The two were close, very close.
Sadly, Trenton’s mother passed away suddenly after a brief illness on August 20, 2021.
Jennifer’s passing came fourteen hours before Trenton was set to take the field as the Warriors were set to play the North Gaston Wildcats in the season opener.
How Trenton dealt with that loss in the hours after his mother’s death is a testament to the values Jennifer Walker taught to her son.
To Trenton Sherrill, his mother was a steadfast fixture in his life. She was his rock. Someone he could always count on. Someone he could talk to about just about anything.
“She was my right-hand person no matter what,” Trenton recalled. “We knew everything about each other. We talked and texted back and forth every day.”
Trenton credits his mother, a Pre-K teacher at Springfield Elementary School, with always teaching him and his brothers Jordan and Brandon the importance of doing the right thing.
Jennifer wanted her sons to grow up and be decent people. In the case of Trenton, she did her best to keep her son grounded as he excelled in high school sports earning varsity letters in football and basketball.
Jennifer taught Trenton humility and the value of hard work. She instilled in him how important it is to never forget where you came from.
“She would always tell me to remember where I started,” Trenton added. “Then to look at where I am now.”
If you go around any high school campus you will find that most everyone knows who the school’s student athletes are. They tend to garner a lot of attention. Some more than others.
That attention brings with it a unique set of rewards and pitfalls.
For the most part most people are kind and decent. However, at times others can be downright hateful.
The popularity of social media has only magnified the good and the bad.
Jennifer Walker taught her son to be gracious when complimented and polite when exposed to pettiness.
“She wanted me to be the bigger person,” Trenton said. “She always said kill them with kindness.”
So, it with that backdrop that Trenton found his world had changed on that August morning of last year.
How people choose to deal with the loss of a loved one differs from person to person.
In the case of Trenton Sherrill, he decided that he would share his grieve on the field with his teammates.
“I owed it to her,” Trenton said explaining his decision to play. “She would not have wanted me to miss it.”
There is no telling what ran through Trenton’s mind as he worked out his emotions in front of hundreds of screaming spectators.
However, the magnitude of the moment really hit him when the Warriors were driving deep into Wildcat territory hoping to score.
“We were inside the red zone when coach called a running play for Justin Hill,” Trenton recalled. “I remembered that Justin and my mom used to kid around a lot. So, when we walked up to the line I told Justin, ‘Do it for Jen,’ That’s what he called her.”
Trenton took the snap and handed the ball off to Hill and watched as Justin took it around the right side and punched it in for an East Gaston touchdown.
It was at that moment that Trenton knew that he had made the right call in deciding to play.
In an unscripted instant in time not only was Trenton honoring his mother, but his teammates were also honoring her as well.
Trenton handled it all with class and dignity. He also turned in a fantastic performance leading the Warriors to a big 51-0 opening day win.
These days Trenton never stops thinking about his mother. She is still, and always will be a big part of his life.
When asked what he would say to his mom if they had a minute to talk Trenton takes the question in and thinks for a moment. Then with a gleam in his eye he responds.
“I talk to her all the time,” He explained. “I would tell her I’m okay. I’m going to keep being okay, and I’m going to make sure that everyone that was here when she passed will be okay.”
Trenton’s response shows the impact his mom had on his life. He will go on, just like Jennifer would have wanted him to.
Since he’s only a junior, Trenton still has a lot of high school yet. But when he looks at all the possibilities that lay before him, he has a positive outlook.
“I want to be successful in whatever I choose to do,” Trenton went on to say. “If it’s sports or going to college and getting some kind of a degree.”
Anyone who happens to get a chance to talk to Trenton will likely come away from the conversation with the belief that he is a remarkable young man.
You also can’t help but notice something else. Something subtle, yet very special.
As Trenton talks about his mother, it becomes clear that before she died Jennifer Walker prepared her son for the road ahead.
Despite enduring such a horrible loss, it looks like Trenton Sherrill really will be okay. Trenton will be alright because in the end he will never be alone.
As Trenton makes his way in the world, he will be taking the best parts of his mother with him every step of the way.
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Mt. Holly Middle School Hawks

The Mt. Holly Middle School Hawks girls’ softball team is having a great start to their season. One of their victories was a 14-1 win over Grier Middle.
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The South Point Dance Team does its part to get the student section of Lineberger stadium motivated. The student section features some of the most colorful fans as each week the students have a different theme. Photos by John Wilson

Red Raiders move to 3-0 in game
honoring vets and first responders

(See more photos on page 11 in this week's Banner-News, Sept. 8, 2022)

By John Wilson

South Point athletics has a long history of honoring those that choose to serve.
That tradition continued when the football team designated Friday night’s game against R-S Central Military and First Responder Appreciation Night.
Veterans, active-duty military, police, fire, and EMS personnel were all admitted to the game for free.
Fans were treated to a host of static displays arrayed inside of Lineberger Stadium. The displays included various emergency vehicles and some military equipment.
South Point came into this game undefeated at 2-0 while the Hilltoppers rolled in with a 1-1 record.
A pre-game review of the stats going into this one proved interesting.
On paper, the matchup between the Red Raider defense and the Hilltopper offense looked to be one to watch. Which unit controlled the line of scrimmage would
probably determine who had the upper hand.
R-S Central runs a high-octane triple option offense that has put up 76 points in two games. On the other side of the coin the South Point defense has only allowed 19 points in two games.
When you flip the script and match up the Central defense against the Red Raiders Redbone things didn’t look so rosy for the Hilltoppers.
Like Central, the South Point offense has also put up 76 points in two games. However, the Hilltopper defense has yet to prove that they can stop anyone. In two games they’ve given up 76 points.
Before the players took the field there was a lot of energy in the stadium. Yet, 15 minutes before the game the atmosphere in the South Point locker room was subdued.
Instead of getting pumped up players and coaches sat in quiet reflection or in small groups going over last-minute adjustments. You could say that it was reminiscent of the quiet before the storm.
However, by the time the players left the locker room they were ready to rumble.
As part of the pre-game program all active-duty military, veterans and first responders were asked to come on to the field and assemble along the South Point sideline to be honored.
As the team entered the field the players along with the coaches, cheerleaders and members of the dance team all came to the sidelines and personally thanked each and every vet and first responder for coming.
For this game the Red Raiders donned the black and grey camouflage jerseys they first wore in the 2019 Patriotism Bowl.
Just before kickoff the Red Raiders asked retired Trooper Chris Wooten to be an honorary captain at the coin toss at mid-field.
As the pre-game activity came to an end the student section of the stadium started to get fired up. Everyone was ready for some football.
The game started a bit slow with the Red Raiders only up 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second things began to open up as South Point took control of the line of scrimmage and started to dictate which way the game would go.
Throughout the second quarter the Red Raider offense pushed Central all over the field.
On the other side of the ball the South Point defense did a good job containing what should have been a potent Hilltopper offensive unit.
The Central offense tried to take on the Red Raiders. They hit South Point on the ground and in the air. Yet no matter what the Hilltoppers did they just couldn’t get any traction.
In a nutshell, R-S Central got no breaks, even the South Point special team units pummeled them.
If you could have summed up Central woes in one play it would have come late in the second quarter when senior Will Ross fielded a punt at mid-field and took it 57 yards for a score.
South Point went into the half up 35-0.
In the third quarter the Red Raiders started to rotate players yet still scored another touchdown to make it 42-0
The Hilltoppers scored twice in the fourth, but that proved to be a case of too little too late.
In the end South Point would leave the field with a big 42-14 win and a 3-0 record.
Looking back at how things worked out head coach Adam Hodge was good with the effort he saw.
“It was a lot like last week,” Hodge said. “A lot of kids got to play. We looked good offensively, defensively and on special teams.”
Up until the game against Central, the South Point punting game had seen limited action. This game provided the Red Raiders with a chance to give that unit some work.
“I don’t like to punt,” coach Hodge went on to say. “But I like that we punted the ball well. Aiden Ramirez did really well.”
Several players turned in noteworthy performances for the Red Raiders.
Cam Medlock showed that he is a classic South Point fullback. Medlock ran hard and kept moving forward every time he carried the ball.
Medlock had 16 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game with an impressive 7.5 yard per carry average.
After a solid performance last week against East Gaston, freshman quarterback Patrick Blee showed that he may not be a one hit wonder. Blee delivered a solid performance for Big Red finishing with 81 yards off seven carries and going two for two through the air with a touchdown.
Another special teams standout was kicker Charlie Birtwistle. Birtwistle was Mr. Automatic going six for six on PAT attempts.
All in all, this turned out to be an awesome event. The crowd at Lineberger Stadium was treated to not just a good football game, but an evening that proved to be so much more.
It’s no secret that today we live in a nation divided. People with opposing views struggle to find ways to communicate with each other. Yet on this night there was no division. A real sense of unity hung in the air.
It was truly special to see people take a moment to come together for more than just a football game. It was nice to see folks from all walks of life take time to honor those that have given up so much so that a night like this was possible.
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East Gaston Warriors JV Vs.  Stuart Cramer Storm JV

The East Gaston Warriors JV and Stuart Cramer Storm JV football teams collided last Thursday. When the dust settled, the Warriors had pulled off a 14-12 win. Here are some scenes from the scintillating action. 

Photos by Jennifer Hall
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Stuart Cramer Storm
vs. East Gaston Warriors

The Stuart Cramer Storm varsity football team traveled to East Gaston last Friday to play the Warriors. In a hard-fought tussle, the Storm dampened the Warriors 27-21. Here are some action-packed pics from the gridiron grind.

See more photos on page 9 of this week's Banner News (September 8, 2022)

Photos by Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
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Belmont Middle vs Grier
on the football field

The Belmont Middle School football team hosted the Grier Middle School Knights last week in the Wildcat’s home opening game. In the end, the Wildcats scratched out a 19 to 6 victory. Here are some great photos from the football frenzy.

See more photos on page 7 of Belmont Banner September 8, 2022 issue.

Photos by
Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography
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The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football squad met Southwest Middle last week and ended up with a 10-8 win thanks to a field goal with 11 seconds to go in the game. The Wildcats ended Southwest’s 31 game winning streak. The kicker who won the game was Tanner Layman. The earlier touchdown was scored by Jeremiah Holt who had a pick-six and returned the ball for 67 yards for the earlier score. Photos by Calvin Craig

Belmont Middle School Wildcats
wins 10-8 against t Southwest Middle 

The Belmont Middle School Wildcats football squad met Southwest Middle last week and ended up with a 10-8 win thanks to a field goal with 11 seconds to go in the game.  The Wildcats ended Southwest’s 31 game winning streak.  The kicker who won the game was Tanner Layman. The earlier touchdown was scored by Jeremiah Holt who had a pick-six and returned the ball for 67 yards for the earlier score.  

Photos by Calvin Craig
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The South Point Red Raiders football team hosted the East Gaston Warriors last Friday. Storm clouds swirled pregame, but the show went on and in the end the Red Raiders emerged with a 48-6 victory. Here are some great shots from the enthralling evening. Photos by Calvin Craig/Superraiders

In week two football action South Point and Cramer win big

By John Wilson

High school football is back and let’s just say the local action has already started off with a bang.
In Week One South Point and East Gaston won big in their openers. East Gaston topped North Gaston 28-8 while the Red Raiders outpaced the Lincolnton Wolves 28-13.
Stuart Cramer had a wild home opener but fell short 47-35 in a shoot-out against Bunker Hill.
Despite the loss Storm quarterback Justin Rocquemore played well.
Roquemore finished the evening with 341 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.
In Week Two action the pace of play didn’t slow down as East Gaston and South Point faced off while Cramer traveled to Bessemer City to take on the Yellow Jackets.

East Gaston
at South Point
Rivalry games are always special, and the rivalry between South Point and East Gaston goes back for decades. Yet you would have to go back to 2008 to find the last time the Warriors beat the Red Raiders on the gridiron.
When the gates opened there was a buzz in the air as a big crowd filed into Lineberger Stadium for South Point’s Black Friday/Senior Night.
Many on the East Gaston side of the stadium were cautiously optimistic. There was hope that with the progress the Warriors had made in the last few years this might be the game where the streak ended.
There were other reasons for Warrior fans to feel good about this one.
Injuries forced the Red Raiders to go with freshman quarterback Patrick Blee under center.
However, as the game unfolded it soon became clear East Gaston would have to wait another year if they hoped to break the streak.
South Point jumped out to an early 27-0 halftime lead. EG fought hard but the Warriors just couldn’t hold back the Red Raider onslaught.
By the third quarter South Point started to pull their starters and put other players in.
The Red Raiders racked up 425 yards of total offense as they walked away with a big 48-6 win.
“I thought we played well in all phases,” head coach Adam Hodge said. “Offensively we played really well. Then on defense we looked good. It was a good team win.”
Frosh QB Patrick Blee sure did his part. By all accounts Blee did a solid job executing the offense and avoiding mistakes.
The freshmen ended the game with 109 yards off seven carries and two touchdowns. He also tossed a 46-yard second quarter touchdown strike to Aaron Chaney.
When asked about Blee’s performance coach Hodge was straight and to the point.
“I thought he handled the moment well,” Hodge noted. “A freshman quarterback on Black Friday/Senior Night. It was a packed house.”
Other top performers for South Point included fullback Cam Medlock, safety Will Ross and defensive end Aiden Ramirez
Medlock ran for 152 yards and a pair of TDs while Ross led the Red Raiders in tackles with nine stops.
Ramirez was a turnover machine snaring two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Overall, it was a good weekend for both the varsity and JV football programs as the Red Raider JV beat EG 40-6 on Thursday.
“We have 104 players in our football programs including JV,” coach Hodge went on to say. “All got to play Thursday and Friday. Everyone that suited up got to play and I thought that was great.”

Stuart Cramer
at Bessemer City
Starting the season off on the right track is what every team strives for at the beginning of the year.
After a tough loss to Bunker Hill the Storm bounced back strong rolling past Bessemer City 48-28 in a non-conference matchup.
In this one, the Cramer offense was on fire as the Storm burned out 520 yards in total offense.
Senior quarterback Justin Rocquemore had a record setting day going 21 for 29 with 387 yards and seven touchdowns. Rocquemore threw TD passes to five different receivers.
Rocquemore’s seven touchdowns tied the county record and set a new mark at Cramer.
Cramer’s top receiver against Bessemer City was Tyler Ward. Ward ended the night with an impressive eight catches, 132 yards and three scores.
Another player who had a good night was sophomore running back Mark O’Dell.
The 5’11” 190 pound back ran hard. He also showed that he has no problem catching passes out of the backfield.
O’Dell rushed for 74 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.
While the offense was churning out yardage the Storm defense held their own
Bessemer City put up some decent stats but the Storm defense held the line.
Cramer’s top defensive players were Daimean Fernandez and Lavonte McCorbin. Fernandez had 17 tackles on the night while McCorbin finished up with 14.
Looking back at the game head coach Ben McMillan was satisfied with the win, but he also saw areas the team needs to work on.
“I’m proud of the way our guys bounced back from last week,” McMillan said. “We had some new guys step in and other step up for some guys that were out. We also gave the ball up a few times that led to scores and we have to correct that.”
This week East Gaston hosts Cramer while South Point will be home at home against R-S Central.
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2022 Fall Football Outlook

See Special Section in this week's  Banner-News (August 25, 2022)
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Abbey Crusader soccer players team up with Belmont Parks and Rec.

The City of Belmont Parks and Recreation soccer program recently teamed with  Belmont Abbey Men’s Soccer Crusaders players who shared their talents and skills for an hour to help “kick start” the 2022 Fall Season, Thanks  to the volunteer coach staff who came for training and to the Abbey and to all the parents who came out so their kids could be a part of this wonderful preseason soccer clinic.