It’s hard to beat Rock Hill, South Carolina when it comes to high school football. Known to the locals at Football City, USA, Rock Hill, a town of around 75,000, has produced over 20 past and present National Football League players. As a result, a few years ago, that meant the southern textile town produced more NFL’ers per capita than any town in America, nearly 1 out of 8,500 residents.
Friday night, cross-town rivals Northwestern and South Pointe will battle for bragging rights and their place in our national rankings. Northwestern begins 2016 ranked #19 in our Top 25. The Trojans are the defending Class 4A Division II champs. South Pointe is coming-off its second straight 3A state title. With the state’s new realignment, Northwestern is in 5A this year, while South Pointe is in 4A.
When Northwestern head coach David Pierce joined us on the High School Football America Radio Show a couple of weeks ago, he said that his team has the talent to become the first in school history to win back-to-back state titles, but cautioned the depth of the new 5A classification. After nearly three decades as a Northwestern assistant, Pierce is in his first year as head coach.
With a ton of skill players back on offense from last year’s championship team, Pierce has plenty of weapons, starting with quarterback Gage Moloney, plus running back Jerry Howard and receivers Jordan Starkes and Jamario Holley.
On defense, Clemson-bound defensive end Logan Rudolph is the fourth best overall college prospect in the state by 247Sports Composite Rankings. Rudolph gained some notoriety with his video (below) announcing his verbal commitment to the Tigers.
South Pointe will be breaking-in a new quarterback in junior Derion Kentrick, who last year, as a wide receiver, caught three touchdowns in last year’s 35-34 overtime loss to Northwestern. The Trojans won the game when South Pointe failed on a two-point conversion in overtime. It was the second straight one-point loss for South Pointe against the Trojans when the Stallions went for a two-point conversion and the win.
On defense, the Stallions have five starters back from last year, including three-year starter at safety Ken’darius Frederick.
Northwestern has won the last two games in the series, and seven of the 12 games between the two.