The Army All-American presentation at South Pointe Wednesday drew nerves out of three Stallion performers that usually don’t lack for confidence, especially on Friday nights.
Football players Derion Kendrick and B.T. Potter and band standout Matthew Binford will participate in the annual all-star game in San Antonio in January, and hopefully by then will have shaken some of the nerves.
Binford, who plays trumpet in South Pointe’s marching band, was recognized first and couldn’t get the zipper undone on the Army All-American jacket he was handed. To get selected, he had to send in multiple videos of auditions and interviews, becoming just the second South Pointe Stallion to earn the honor. On Wednesday, Binford finally pulled the jacket over his head -- the zipper still stuck -- and opened his speech to the students and families gathered in the school’s auditorium with a laugh.
“Sorry about that,” he said.
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Thousands of high school football players chase glory each fall and Potter and Kendrick were two of the fortunate 100 or so picked for an all-star game that’s produced many pro players. They became South Pointe’s fourth and fifth All-Americans, after Stallion NFL players Stephon Gilmore, Devonte Holloman and Jadeveon Clowney.
After Binford, it was Potter’s turn. He had better luck with the jersey, but the best high school football place-kicker in South Carolina, and some would argue the country, who has been an unmatched secret weapon during the Stallions’ three straight state championships, carefully read his speech off a piece of paper. He didn’t once look up from the podium.
And then Kendrick got his black jersey with yellow piping from the Army representatives. One of the best open-field movers Rock Hill has ever seen, Kendrick slid behind the podium and spoke briefly, his hands constantly folding in and out of each other as the auditorium’s bank of spotlights seared him.
Public speaking isn’t easy for most teenagers, let alone these three. Picking up first downs, crushing kickoffs or hitting the right notes while walking in intricate patterns definitely are their fortes. They’ll get to do those things live on national television Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in San Antonio.