Anybody who saw the giant Rock Hill water tower on Main Street lit up South Pointe red and stretching into the sky Saturday night and into the wee hours Sunday felt it. The feeling was simple: greatness.
The red comes from the colors of South Pointe High School. Red became the color of all of us in York County Saturday night and Sunday, after the Stallions demolished Hartsville to win the school’s fourth straight 4A state football title.
South Pointe players under the direction of coach Strait Herron won the game. Everybody else won, too.
Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols Sunday morning used words like “persistence” and “dedication” to describe South Pointe’s achievement in football -- and in life. Echols started his career 47 years ago as a football coach at Northwestern High School; He knows football and what it takes to win.
What it takes is everybody trying together, Echols said.
“Our entire community congratulates the South Pointe family,” Echols said.
There is no doubt anywhere in South Carolina and America -- South Pointe stands among America’s best.
And with that stunning football success, comes a feeling of achievement for the school, its students, its clubs and staff, and the whole city and community.
York County Magistrate Judge Michael Scurlock was not always a judge. He was a cop, and before that, he was an NFL player with the Carolina Panthers and a college player at the University of Arizona. Scurlock said the South Pointe achievement shows how togetherness, common purpose, can unite a team and community.
“South Pointe’s win is a community win,” Judge Scurlock said. “Sports, football, brings people together. It can show off the very best. South Pointe has shown what teamwork and commitment can do.”
In the stands Saturday night cheering for all the players and the team and the city and everybody was the father of a junior varsity South Pointe player called up to wear the South Pointe varsity uniform for the big game. The father screamed until he was hoarse and he hugged other parents and high-fived and talked about the great achievements of cheerleaders and the band and the principal and every teacher who toils to help students achieve in sports and classes and life.
He talked about students who go to practice every day for months to be a part of something great and magical and special. In clubs, in sports, in the classroom -- in life.
That parent’s name is John Gettys. He was elected Rock Hill’s next mayor last month and in January takes over leadership of the city called Rock Hill that has a national following in part because of the greatness of South Pointe football.
“Rock Hill won,” Gettys said Sunday morning.
S.C. State Reps. Gary Simrill and Tommy Pope of York County already have begun work on a South Carolina General Assembly resolution that will honor the team and all the students and staff from the school for shining a light of greatness on the city and county. The York County legislative delegation, bipartisan, is expected to again invite the team in early 2018 to the Statehouse for recognition, Simrill said.
“Rock Hill and the entire state of South Carolina are indeed proud of Coach Herron and his exemplary team for proving their mettle for the fourth time in a row!” said Simrill.
South Pointe has “represented our community with class and integrity,” Pope said.
Gettys, the incoming mayor of Rock Hill, said the achievement of South Pointe is not just a football game and a football team.
“South Pointe’s success as a program shines for all of us,” Gettys said.
Gettys said South Pointe’s success yet again shows what teamwork can do, and the city’s brand as a home for champions in sports and business and education and technology continues to grow.
“Great things happen in Rock Hill,” Gettys said.