While South Pointe and Northwestern grab the majority of headlines this football season, there is another football team in Rock Hill making news.
The Rock Hill Cowboys, a team comprised of kids aged 10 and under, are undefeated (15-0) this season - just like Northwestern.
The Cowboys are in their second year of existence and recently returned from Knoxville, Tenn., where they won a 10U national tournament at the Battle at Rocky Top.
Rock Hill plays in the Southland Conference of the American Youth Football League (AYF), playing other teams from across the Carolinas.
The Cowboys are made up of 27 players, but there are 113 players in the program ranging in age from 5 to 12.
Coach Thomas Richmond coached in the Rock Hill Parks and Recreation Department for years before branching out a couple years ago to start the Cowboys.
"After a while, you need to see what else is out there," Richmond said.
Richmond has coached some big names at the pee wee level, including South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore, and both Gerald Dixons, the Northwestern and South Pointe players.
The Cowboys have had great success this season for a number of reasons, winning both the Southland Conference championships in the 10U and 12U division.
"I got a great coaching staff, and the kids refuse to lose," Richmond said. "We got smart players. They work hard. All that together, we gel as a group."
In Tennessee, Rock Hill was pitted against 14 other undefeated teams based on their records. The Cowboys played four games in two days to win their portion of the tournament.
The Cowboys also have a female kicker in Kelly Foster.
"She is good," Richmond said. "She can drop the ball where we tell her too. She pins teams down inside the 20 (-yard line)."
Foster also plays safety and catches a lot of other players off guard when they find out a girl just pancaked them on the field.
"My cousin asked me to play," Foster said. "It's fun. I don't let them get too many yards."
Richmond expects the AYF will continue to grow in Rock Hill as word spreads of the Cowboys' success.
"It will catch on because it's a little bit more competitive than parks and rec football," he said. "Like the AAU basketball teams, we target the better players."
For Richmond, football at this level is also year-round. The AYF allows things like offseason conditioning, which Richmond said the Cowboys take advantage of.
The team starts in June with preseason training by doing speed and conditioning. Richmond points out they don't lift weights and said the AYF also offers the kids a lot more than other levels of football would.
"We have offseason workouts, and kids have to maintain a C average to play," he said. "Mentally, it's good because they get to travel and play kids from all over the country."
The season is nearly over for the Rock Hill Cowboys, but there is one more weekend of football left.
This weekend, the Cowboys will host the 2010 Rock Hill Invitational Youth Football Tournament that will include 24 teams from across the Carolinas.
The Saturday-Sunday tournament is also part of the team's holiday food drive, Richmond said.
Admission is $3 plus a canned food item for adults and $1 for children. Richmond said the visiting teams are also bringing food to donate to the food bank. The food will be distributed through Mt. Prospect Baptist Church's food pantry. The church is located at 339 W. Black St. in Rock Hill.
"It is to raise awareness for hunger," Richmond said. "You know those food pantries don't stay filled for too long."