South Pointe football coach Bobby Carroll got some exciting news on Friday morning.
Carroll was notified that on Sept. 24, his Stallions will make a second appearance on the ESPN networks. South Pointe will play Spartanburg in a game that will be telecast from Wofford College's Gibbs Stadium, where the Vikings play home games. The game will be shown nationally on ESPN2, with a starting time of 7 p.m.
"We were contacted by ESPN about a month ago and ... asked how we felt about playing another game on national television,'' Carroll said. "We said, 'Yes,' and just got confirmation that it would happen and that we could release the information.
"It's an honor for a team that's not Division I to be on ESPN twice in the same season. It's a tribute to our players, coaching staff and our school based on what we have accomplished on the football field. We're just glad to be a part of it.''
South Pointe makes its debut on national TV on Aug. 28 when the Stallions play rival Northwestern at Rock Hill's District Three Stadium. The game will be telecast live in ESPNU as part of a doubleheader. At noon, Byrnes plays Hoover, Ala., at District Three. This will air on ESPN.
The exposure gives the nation an opportunity to see the No. 1 overall recruit in the country, South Pointe's 6-foot-5, 255-pound senior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. He runs a 4.5 40, had 24 sacks last year and nearly every Division I school in the country has an interest in him. Carroll said coaches from 91 schools have come to South Pointe to recruit Clowney and his teammates.
It has been rumored that Clowney has narrowed his choices to Alabama and South Carolina.
"There's no doubt that Clowney is a great player," Carroll said. "But this team has a lot of recruits, and it's not fair to single out one player. We have several kids D-I schools are looking at."
When reached Friday afternoon, Spartanburg athletics director Miles Wilson confirmed the game and said he was in the process of preparing a press release concerning the game for local media outlets.
"This is certainly exciting for us and I'm sure for South Pointe, too,'' he said. "It's not going to be a big money-maker for us, but the opportunity to play on national television sure is.
"We are also happy to have them here and give exposure to Gibbs Stadium and Wofford. It's an NFL type facility and we believe it's a fine place for an ESPN game.''
South Pointe has had a memorable run to the top of Class AAAA, the state's top classification. In just it third season of varsity football (2008) the Stallions won the Class AAAA Division II state championship and were 15-0. Last year's team made the final four but was knocked out of a return to the state championship game by Northwestern.
When South Pointe added varsity teams in contact sports in 2006, its second year, the school administration asked that the school's sports teams be assigned to Class AAAA. Since then, the Stallions have competed in the state's top classification with Class AAA enrollment numbers.
South Pointe was moved down when last year's realignment was done and will compete in Region 4-AAA this season. The alignment is in effect for the next two years. Carroll has said several times that he hopes enrollment will rise at the school and that the Stallions will go back to Class AAAA before the next shuffle.
Spartanburg has fallenon hard times in recent years but was a Class AAAA powerhouse during the 1990s. Since 2007, the Vikings are 12-25. But they got hot last season, a 5-9 campaign, and were one game away from playing for another state championship.
The Vikings opened the 2009 playoffs with a 41-28 win over 11-0 Rock Hill, beat Sumter 14-13 but saw their season come to an end in the semifinals after a 51-16 loss to Byrnes.
The school has produced stars such as running back Stephen Davis and quarterback Steve Fuller. The Viking have won five Class AAAA Division I state championships since 1991, including three straight from 1994 to 1996. The last was in 2001 against Northwestern in overtime.