Sports

Meet the Hammers

From left, South Pointe linebackers Harold White, Pete Roseboro and Dontae Aldridge.
From left, South Pointe linebackers Harold White, Pete Roseboro and Dontae Aldridge.

During 22 seasons at Northwestern, South Pointe's Bobby Carroll coached his share of outstanding linebackers.

The list is long but includes Benjie Young, Dexter Falls, Ray McCleod, Marco Hutchinson, Will Massey, Denzell Hinton, Dontae Talford and Tee Grant.

You could set your watch by it that come kickoff time for the first game of each new season, Carroll would have three studs behind his defensive front ready to go full-speed and deliver jaw-jarring blows.

Carroll moved into the coaching job at South Pointe three years ago and was asked to build the program as the man in charge, not as the defensive coordinator as he was with the Trojans. But Carroll is a defensive-minded coach and keeps an eye on what's happening on that side of the ball.

He moved Strait Herron to defensive coordinator this year, a position Herron held at Clover. Carroll said it was a natural move.

The Stallions have also switched to the defense Carroll used at Northwestern. Herron, like South Pointe assistants Young and Falls, also played linebacker for Carroll at Northwestern.

"The defense is in Strait's hands and he's doing a great job,'' Carroll said. "It took us six or seven years to establish the defense at Northwestern ... four down linemen and three linebackers.

"We take a lot of pride in our defense. We preach to our kids that if the other team doesn't score, it can't win. We don't believe in the bend-but-not-break attitude. We want the shutout.''

Carroll said the best three linebackers he's coached on the same team were Falls, Talford and Massey in 1999.

The three he has this year aren't far behind.

Harold White is the middle linebacker, Pete Roseboro is at Sam (strongside) and Dontae Aldridge's at Stallion (weakside).

Rock Hill coach Joe Montgomery, whose Bearcats host the Stallions at District Three Stadium at 8 p.m. Friday, said Tuesday that South Pointe's linebackers concern him. He said they are fast, know how to get to the ball and hit hard.

They also have the same goal -- pitch a shutout every game. If they had a nickname, something like "The Hammers'' would fit. They take pleasure in punishing opposing offensive players.

Roseboro, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior, and White, a 5-8, 190-pound junior, are stepbrothers. They have been on the same team since playing youth football for the Trojans.

Aldridge is a senior. And don't get put off by his size -- 5-9, 165 pounds. He has the speed of a defensive back and hits like a Mack truck.

"Our coaches do a good job preparing us,'' White said. "Coach Herron tells us to go 100 percent all the time, read the backs and linemen and pursue the ball. It helps that Pete and I have played together for so long. We feed off each other.''

The Stallions have come a long way since the school opened three years ago and played just JV and 9th-grade football. Last season, South Pointe's first at the varsity level, the Stallions were 3-8 but turned heads with a group of young, talented players.

They are off to a 4-0 start this year and are ranked for the first time in school history, perched at No. 7 in Class AAAA this week.

White said he doesn't look at the rankings, that his concerns are helping his team work its way up to the elite in Class AAAA football and make it to the state championship. He said if the team stays humble and plays hard at all times, the game will take care of itself.

Roseboro said he gets excited every time the defense hits the field. He said playing alongside White and away from Aldridge makes his job easier -- they have his back and he has theirs if someone misses a tackle.

They aren't bothered the offense gets most of the publicity because of quarterback Stephon Gilmore and tailback Devin Wherry. That's because South Pointe has bought into the family approach, having grown up together for three years.

"As long as the offense is putting up points, we feel we can win,'' Roseboro said. "We know we can stop teams when we get crunk up and play our game.''

Aldridge said the entire defense plays well and that it's hard to single out any one player. He added it's hard to say which of the three linebackers hits the hardest because all of them like to deliver blows.

"Our coaches do a good job getting us motivated, and tell us to go out and have fun,'' Aldridge said. "Sure, we get overlooked but we have a very good offense that knows defense wins games. When we do something to help them, they let us know they appreciate it.''

There's not much more "The Hammers'' would rather do than play football. For White and Roseboro, it goes beyond the locker room and the field.

Football, they said, saved their lives. Since coming to South Pointe, they have improved their grades and learned discipline and respect.

"In middle school, I made all-Fs and was always in trouble,'' Roseboro said. "I went to Rebound (alternative school) at least five times. If it wasn't for South Pointe, I probably wouldn't be in school.

"The coaches here are my friends. When I need someone to talk to, I know the coaches will be there for me.''

White wants to play college football and has worked hard to bring up his grades. He went a step further paying tribute to his South Pointe experience.

"If it wasn't for coach Carroll, I'd be on the streets or in jail,'' he said. "I have some things going on in my life and the only people I can turn to are my coaches.

"I let frustration build up inside and the coaches tell me to release it on the field Friday nights. I owe a lot more to them than just getting to play football.''

South Pointe at Rock Hill, 8 p.m.

Northwestern at Clover, 7:30 p.m.

Lugoff-Elgin at Chester, 8 p.m.

Fort Mill at Boiling Springs, 7:30 p.m.

Great Falls at Andrew Jackson, 7:30 p.m.

Indian Land at Landrum, 7:30 p.m.

York at Lancaster, 7:30 p.m.

Fox Creek at Lewisville, 7:30 p.m.

McBee at Nation Ford, 7:30 p.m.

WCCS at Highland Tech, 7:30 p.m.

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