Never say never.
To think there will ever be another local high school football season with as many stories as this year's would be a stretch.
National attention, the most ever involving Rock Hill sports, came the day football practice started in August. How could that be with Winthrop playing in so many NCAA basketball tournaments?
Jadeveon Clowney, who is the most recruited senior playing in the nation. Clowney, a 6-foot-6, 255-pound defensive end, who has run a 4.48 second 40-yard dash, went into the season ranked as the No. 1 player at all positions by all but one major Internet recruiting site. He has become the darling of this year's recruiting class and the websites are speculating where he will attend college.
He ended the year right where he started, at the top. Clowney had 171 tackles, 29.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 11 caused fumbles, six fumble recoveries, 43 quarterback pressures and five defensive touchdowns this season. On offense, he carried 20 times for 274 yards and nine touchdowns.
Everyone figured Northwestern quarterback Justin Worley would have a banner senior season.
Did he ever.
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Worley broke nearly every career passing record in the state and set single-season marks with his 64 touchdown passes. Worley threw for 5,315 yards.
He led Northwestern to its first-ever undefeated season, 15-0, since the school opened in 1971. He lead the school to the Class AAAA Division II state championship with an easy 42-10 victory over Greenwood.
Consistency is a Worley trademark. He completed 72.7 percent of his passing this season. He was part of a three-way rotation in South Carolina's 42-10 victory over North Carolina in the Shrine Bowl.
Clowney was one of the Shrine game's top players. He was named South Carolina's Defensive MVP for his five tackles and three sacks. North Carolina was flagged four times for holding Clowney.
Worley was named South Carolina's State and National Gatorade Player of the Year. He also was named Offensive Player of the Year by the South Carolina Football Coaches Association. He was rumored to be headed to the University of North Carolina because that is where his parents graduated. But, he signed early, committing to Tennessee.
Clowney was named USA Today's Defensive Player of the Year and won the South Carolina 2010 Mr. Football trophy. He will play in the 2011 Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
South Pointe coach Bobby Carroll has coached many players who played in Division I, but says none have received the attention Clowney has. Carroll said dozens of coaches from major colleges have come through Rock Hill to see him, the most recent being Alabama's Nick Saban.
Carroll said nearly ever major program in the country has called or sent letters, and Clowney has more than 40 scholarship offers. Clowney has narrowed his choices to Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU and South Carolina. He said Friday he will announce his decision on Feb. 2.
In the spotlight
On Aug. 28, South Pointe's second game of the season and Northwestern's first, the Trojans hosted, and beat, the Stallions as part of a doubleheader that included Byrnes playing Hoover, Ala.
South Pointe led Northwestern 21-6 at the half in their nationally televised game , but Worley and the Trojans defense took over in the third quarter. Worley threw five touchdown passes in four minutes and 59 seconds en route to a 42-21 victory.
Later in the season, South Pointe played Spartanburg in a nationally televised game , and won 13-12.
South Pointe played in its second state championship in three years, beating Northwestern and going 15-0 in 2008 and losing 27-24 to Myrtle Beach in this year's Class AAA championship.
"Gosh,'' folks have said. "We had two Rock Hill teams in different championship games. Maybe someday we'll have all three.''
It is possible because Rock Hill should rebound after a season that turned into a disaster when the Bearcats forfeited five games for using an ineligible player.
Three in-town teams did play for titles this year. Westminster Catawba lost the Christian School state championship to First Assembly, coached by former Carolina Panther Mike Minter.
Brothers might have played together on a Shrine Bowl team before, but surely not two with the same name and from different schools.
It happened this year when South Pointe's Gerald Dixon, a defensive end, and his half brother, Northwestern's Gerald Dixon, a defensive tackle, played for South Carolina. Their father is former USC and NFL player Gerald Dixon, an assistant coach at Rock Hill High.
It is speculated the Dixons will uphold the tradition and sign with the Gamecocks.
Regardless of where they go, and no matter what happens to other local players, this will be the best year ever for the number of players going to major colleges.
Most people believe Clowney is bound for South Carolina. Northwestern defensive lineman Rob Byers may also attend USC. South Pointe kicker Landon Ardhas an offer as a preferred walk-on with an opportunity to earn a scholarship.
It's possible five in-town players could be headed to Columbia.
Chester also has a pair of Division I caliber players. Quarterback Tony McNeal has committed to Clemson. The Herald's Athlete of the Year, Julius Pendergrass, has his choices narrowed to East Carolina, Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State. After his showing at defensive back in the Shrine Bowl, it's possible other Division I schools may make offers.
Fort Mill's top athlete, Asa Kryst, also is committed to USC. But his scholarship offer is for soccer.
Clover had to rebuild and its running game relied on quarterback Aaron Miller. He led the Blue Eagles to third place in Region 3-AAAA.
York County was buzzing over the coaching vacancy at the new high school. The Cougars were moving into a state-of-art stadium and turf field. Some felt Carroll would leave South Pointe because he lives in York, played football there, and he would want to coach his son, starting sophomore quarterback Spencer Carroll.
Carroll stayed and York hired Mike Propst. Propst left after one season and the job is open again. The Carroll watch has begun and questions are swirling. Will he return home this time?
Indian Land moved up to Class AA and had its best season in years. Mike Mayer's team went 9-2. A loss to Class AA state champ Central kept Indian Land from winning the Region 4-AA title.
The new rivalry, the three-year one, between Fort Mill and the new school in town, Nation Ford, is gaining steam. Nation Ford was 4-5 and Fort Mill 4-5 when they met in the final game of the season.
The previous two years, Fort Mill's lone victories were over Nation Ford. It went to 3-0 when Nation Ford missed a game-tying extra point and lost, 35-34.
Lewisville faced adversity early. In August, player Brian Colvin died from a heart condition during a preseason jamboree in Chester. Cheerleader and softball player Catherine Elizabeth Fowler died in an auto accident.
Heart-felt messages flooded the high school. The football team didn't get on track until late in the season. Westminster Catawba, the opponent when Colvin collapsed, dedicated its first home game to him and Lewisville's team attended that night because York agreed to reschedule their game.
It was a season that helped put South Carolina on the high school football map.
With that said, here is the 2010 Herald All-Area Football Team.
One player not on the list is Colvin, but we have dedicated this year's team in his memory.