Clover up to No. 2 in football poll, Fort Mill XC remains No. 1

RICHBURG -- There was a lot of congratulations and back-slapping when area high school football coaches met at the Front Porch Restaurant for their weekly Founders Federal Tri-County Coaches Association meeting Tuesday.

All seven region 3-AAAA teams won last week, as did Nation Ford, playing as an independent, Andrew Jackson from Region 8-AA and Lewisville from Region 3-A.

The only team that lost was Chester, which played Region 3-AAAA's York.

After the weekly awards were voted on, Nation Ford coach Rusty Jester and Fort Mill's Ed Susi agreed to sit down and talk about their game this week, the beginning of a new rivalry that has Nation Ford going to Bob Jones Stadium next to Fort Mill High School on Friday night.

Nation Ford opened this year as Fort Mill's second high school. Most of Jester's players came with him from Fort Mill, where he coached last season.

Jester and Susi are close friends dating back to their days when both coached in North Carolina. Before coming to Fort Mill last year, Jester coached at Piedmont in Monroe. Susi coached at Weddington last year.

Susi said they played each other three times before coming south, and that he holds a 2-1 advantage over his good friend. But, Susi added, their last game was very close.

It was a lively interview and the coaches weren't shy about answering questions about the game. Rather than giving anything else away, you can hear it online. Go to and then click on sports. Once in sports, go to preps.

It's worth listening to.

• AP FOOTBALL POLL: The latest Associated Press South Carolina Prep Football Polls were released Tuesday (see sidebar), with Clover jumping up to No. 2 in Class AAAA, its highest ranking ever. The Blue Eagles are in just their second season of Class AAAA, and won the Region 3-AAAA championship last season with a 6-0 record and an 11-2 mark overall. Clover is 4-0 this season and is idle this Friday after opening its season in Week 0.

• CROSS COUNTRY POLL: The latest state South Carolina Track and Cross Country Coaches Association's cross country poll is out and Fort Mill's boys are still ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA and No. 1 in the overall poll that covers all four classifications.

Northwestern was the only other Herald-area team in the Class AAAA poll, at No. 7.

• NATION FORD CROSS COUNTRY: In Nation Ford High School's first ever cross country race, the Falcons earned a trophy in all three divisions in which they competed. The meet -- Run Wild Cross Country Festival -- was held in Columbia at Sesquicentennial State Park.

The varsity girls and varsity boys were runners-up in an eight-team race and the JV boys were third. The varsity boys finished two points behind Class AAA top-10 Dreher.

Nation Ford is coached by Scott Barefield, who led the Fort Mill High boys to the Class AAAA state championship last fall.

• EYE-OPENER: The cross country teams from Clover and Rock Hill competed in the Eye-Opener Invitational last weekend in Spartanburg.

Rock Hill's Hannah Robinson was second overall in the girls' race and the Lady Bearcats finished 11th with 45 points. Clover was 40th with 976 points.

Rock Hill's boys placed 11th with 445 points, and Clover, led by Mick Francis, was 23rd with 620.

• WESTMINSTER CATAWBA: The boys' and girls' cross country teams from Westminster Catawba recently won a three-way meet against Gaston Christian and St. Anne's.

The girls' scores were WCCS 20, Gaston Christian 41 and St. Anne's 59.

In the boys' meet, WCCS and Gaston Christian both posted 18 points, and St. Anne's was third with 42.

Westminster Catawba hosted its inaugural Cross Country Meet at its new cross country course last week. The course is located at Westminster Park on India Hook Road only a few miles from Westminster Catawba Christian School.

Westminster Park consists of 212 acres on the bank of the Catawba River downstream from the dam. Cameron Kirby, a sophomore at Westminster, constructed the 3.1 mile course and walking trail for his Eagle Scout Project. Building the 3.1 mile course was a very arduous task that Kirby was able to accomplish with the assistance of more than 30 volunteers who volunteered more than 300 hours to work on the course.

Westminster Catawba will host the MAC Cross Country Championship Meet on Oct. 18 at its new course.

• SWIMMING: Rock Hill's boys recently beat South Pointe in Class AAAA swimming.

The Bearcats nipped the Falcons 75-73. South Pointe easily won the girls meet, outscoring Rock Hill 142-19.

Audio interview: Barry Byers talks to Fort Mill coach Ed Susi and Nation Ford coach Rusty Jester about Friday's matchup.

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