Hang another banner on the Parker Gym wall, KMHS volleyball team wins state championship
Kings Mountain High’s women’s volleyball team won the NCHSAA 3A state championship Saturday with a tough 25-12, 25-27, 20-25, 25-21, 15-12 victory over Orange at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh. The Lady Mountaineers finished 34-1 overall after winning the Big South Conference championship with a perfect 14-0 record. The state championship was KM’s third in history with the others coming in 1998 and 2001. Senior Meile Songaila completed a good four-year career by winning the Most Valuable Player award. KM’s Mary Grace Hogue and Orange’s Ella Wimsatt received NCHSAA sportsmanship trophies. “Songaila had a very good tournament,” said Coach Heather Pasour. “I thought our defense was on point and she really helped us out. We played great in the clutch and shut them down in the middle.” The Lady Mountaineers started off quickly with a 25-12 win in set one but the rest of the match was nail-biting time. “We were pretty solid in the first set,” noted Coach Heather Pasour. “In the second set they changed some things up and we lost 25-27 and 19-25. The fourth set we got off to a good start and after that it was back and forth. They had a very good team.” The victory capped off one of the most exciting seasons in KMHS volleyball history. “We had eight in the starting lineup that had a very good game,” Pasour noted. “Our only loss this year was to 2A state champion McMichael and we changed the lineup after that and made a complete turnaround.” Coach Pasour said the banners on the gym wall of the championship teams of the past was a better pep talk than she could have given. “The girls have talked all year about winning the state,” she said. “They’d see those two state championship banners and they said they wanted their pictures up there too. They were set on getting that ring. We wanted to be the team that will have their picture up there twenty years from now.” Pasour said she and the team are grateful for the community’s support. “We had a parade going out of town and a parade coming back in,” she said. “It made the girls feel important to have that kind of support. We played with heart and a lot of intensity and showed sportsmanship.” The Lady Mountaineers finished the season winning 96 of 101 sets. Kings Mountain punched its ticket to the state championship with a 3-1 victory over North Iredell 19-25, 25-22, 25-9, 25-10 in the Western Regional championship. Meile Songaila had 27 serve receptions, 22 kills, three blocks, and 23 digs. Jessie Osmore had 21 digs and 16 serve receptions. Camden Pasour had 21 digs and 37 assists, Alexa Jones had 13 digs and 22 serve receptions, Ava Tipton 14 digs, Hogue 11 kills and London Brown six blocks.
KM’s Watson 52nd in state golf tourney
Kings Mountain High’s Kaliyah Watson finished 52nd out of 94 participants in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s state championship golf tournament October 30-31 at Foxfire Resort and Golf in Foxfire Village. Watson finished with a two-day total of 194. She shot a 96 Monday and 98 Tuesday. Watson finished the season seventh overall in the Big South Conference and made the All-Conference team for the third year in a row. She also qualified for the 3A Western Regional tournament for the third year in a row and qualified for the 3A state championship for the first time. “I want to thank Kings Mountain Country Club for supporting both our men’s and women’s golf programs and allowing us to use their facilities,” Coach Kevin Moss said. “They always accommodate us in making sure we have time to practice and adjust their schedule for us to host matches.”
Mountaineers open state playoffs with 37-7 win over Smoky Mountain
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers opened the state 3A playoffs Friday at John Gamble Stadium with a 37-7 victory over Smoky Mountain. Quarterback Kandan Zollo threw first half touchdown passes to Jayden Gash and Ja’Qualyn Sanders and Josiah Hill scored on a run to build a 21-7 lead at intermission. If there was any chance for the visitors to come back, the Mountaineer defense stopped the Mustangs at their own 46 on the first drive of the third period and after a 10-yard penalty Zollo hit Qua Sanders with a 54-yard catch and run down the visitors’ sideline for a 27-7 margin. Early in the fourth quarter, Zollo hit Jayden Gash for a 67-yard touchdown pass and Matt Rhom added the PAT to make it 34-7. Rhom added a 34-yard field goal late in the game to account for the final margin. “We did a good job,” noted head coach Strait Herron. “The players were more relaxed and that helps a lot. “The defense did a good job,” he added. “They made several third and fourth down stops to help the offense. “We were holding the ball a lot. Zollo did a good job. On one drive we had like 26 snaps on offense. Zollo had four long touchdown passes and Sanders and Gash made some good catches. Zollo threw for 220 yards. “We’re still banged up,” Herron noted. “We’ve got a lot of injuries that’s hurt us including a lot of ankle injuries. “Defensively, we had a lot of our front guys that did a good job. Jason Melton had 23 tackles and that’s pretty impressive. We haven’t been having those kinds of numbers.”
KM Mountaineers compete in state cross country meet
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers finished 20th overall in Saturday’s state 3A cross country championship meet in Kernersville. Even though the temperature was 45 degrees, the times were fast. Max Thompson led the Mountaineers with a personal best 16:43 to finish 26th overall. The team finished 20th overall. “This team was a really special diverse group,” said Coaach Rayvis Key. “We have two football players, a soccer player, a tuba player from the band, a pole vaulter and a 25-hour a week Chick-Fil-A worker to make up this year. Most teams that finished above us had only runners, and that’s all they do. “With all the things going on in these young men’s lives, they truly outperformed my expectations,” Key added. “Next year we will miss our seniors Hunter Cruise and Elliot Habel, but I think we have a new benchmark of not only making it to the State meet but performing even better than the previous season.” KM results (5000 meter run): Max Thompson, 26th in 16:43.69 (his season’s best). Isaiah Watts, 48th in 17:12.39. Hunter Cruise, 155th in 19:38.79. David Johnson, 157th in 19:45.81. Luke Howell, 159th in 19:54.44. Luis Cedillo, 165th in 20:40.96. Elliot Habel, 166th in 21:12.73. “I’d like to thank everyone for their support this season,” Coach Key said.
Mountaineers hit the road Friday for second round game at Reynolds
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers face a tough test Friday when they travel up the mountain to take on a good AC Reynolds team. While Kings Mountain was beating Smoky Mountain last week at Gamble Stadium Reynolds was turning back another Big South Conference team, North Gaston, 45-0. Reynolds comes into the contest with an overall 8-3 record with their losses coming early in the season to West Forsyth 8-7, East Forsyth 27-21 and Watauga 36-35. Kings Mountain puts a 10-1 overall record on the line. The two teams have another common opponent besides North Gaston. In the first week of the season the Mountaineers defeated Shelby 34-17 and the next week the Lions lost to Reynolds 28-21. According to Kings Mountain head coach Strait Herron, the two teams look very much alike. “They have athletes with good speed,” he said. “The scary thing to me is that they play with confidence. Their quarterback is very good. He knows what to do with the ball. They also have a good running game. “We look very much like similar teams,” he added. “It hurts that we have to go up there. It’s a 7 o’clock game and we’ll have to feed our players and leave here around 3 p.m. “They’re pretty good,” he added. “We’ll have to be strong up front. We can’t expect big plays. We’ll have to protect the ball and take it down the field and score.” The two schools have met on the gridiron before, the last time being in the 2019 state playoffs when the Mountaineers won 17-10 before losing to Charlotte Catholic in a 56-49 shootout in the Western finals.
KM men’s XC team 6th in Regional, Watts 10th with personal best time
Kings Mountain High’s men’s cross country team finished sixth in last week’s 3A West Regional at Freedom High in Morganton and for the first time in history qualified for the NCHSAA 3A state championship. Twenty-five highly competitive teams participated in the Regional. The Mountaineers were led by Isaiah Watts who finished 10th overall with a personal best time of 16:47. Other top finishers for the Mountaineers were Max Thompson 32nd in 17:49, Luke Howell 59th in 18:57.90, David Johnson 70th in 19:12.50, Hunter Cruise 99th in 20:13, Luis Cedillo 108th in 20:20.30 and Elliot Habel 112th in 20:26.20. Howell, Johnson, Cedillo and Habel all had their personal best times. The Lady Mountaineers finished 16th overall and concluded their season. However, they also had five out of seven season bests. Sarah Eagle led the way with a 58th place finish in a personal best time of 22:45. Other top KM ladies were: Brooke Waseman, 69th in 23:06.90. Tippy Johsonbaugh, 107th with a season best 25:55.40. Kallie Hope 108th in 25:56.20. Parker Wilson, 109th with a season best 25:59.20. Wren Ballard, 123rd with a season best 27:30.10. Carmynn Barnes, 138th with a season best 29:58.60. The NCHSAA championship meet will be held Saturday at Ivey Redmon Park in Kernersville.
Smoky Mountain here Friday to open playoffs
Kings Mountain will host Smoky Mountain in the first round of the state 3A playoffs Friday at 7:30 p.m. at John Gamble Stadium. Strait Herron’s first Mountaineer eleven will face a good mountain team which is much better than its record shows. The Mustangs were 3-3 in the Mountain 7 Conference and 4-6 overall. They clinched their playoff berth last week with a 57-30 victory over East Henderson. “We’ve watched them on video,” Herron said. “You trade three films but one of theirs, they were so far away it’s just not going to help us. “They are big and strong and well-coached,” he said. “This is going to be a big challenge. We have speed and they have strength. “We need to do some things on defense and have to figure things out on offense. Coach Bolton studies them more than I do and he feels like he’s good. “It will be interesting to see how we come out. It’s hard to gauge where we are right now. We have to fix us first. Hopefully the guys will be able to come out and compete. I hope our guys are ready to play. We’ve got a good opportunity but we have to play. We made a lot of mistakes last week. We’ve got to get going again. We have to play well.” Most of the mountain teams the Mountaineers have played in the past like to keep the ball on the ground and run the clock. Smoky Mountain has a balanced running attack, led by Isaiah McNeely, a 175-pound senior who has 761 yards rushing, and quarterback Jarek Jones who has 441 yards rushing to go with 550 yards passing.
Lady Mountaineers’ volleyball wins three more, win last night would put them in state title game
Kings Mountain High’s volleyball team was scheduled to face AC Reynolds last night for the Western NC Regional Championship and a berth in the state 3A championship game on November 4. The Lady Mountaineers ran their overall record to 30-1 last week with 3-0 victories over West Rowan, North Henderson and Lake Norman Charter. They swept West Rowan 25-11, 25-16, 25-19 last Tuesday, Lake Norman Charter 25-11, 25-8, 25-7 on Thursday and North Henderson 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 on Saturday. All three wins were team efforts with all the Lady Mountaineers playing very well. In Tuesday’s match with West Rowan, Camden Pasour dished out 37 assists to go with three kills, eight digs, a serve reception, a block and two service points. Myracle Davis had 14 kills, three digs and two blocks and Meile Songaila had 16 kills, eight digs, 10 serve receptions and 12 service points. Mary Grace Hogue added seven kills, four digs, a serve reception and a service point and Alexa Jones had 17 digs, 12 serve receptions, five assists, a kill and 14 service points. Against Lake Norman Charter, Davis had 10 kills and five blocks; Songaila 16 kills, two blocks, eight serve receptions, seven digs and 11 service points; Pasour 35 assists, 11 digs, two kills and 11 service points, Jones 11 serve receptions, 13 digs, four blocks, five kills, an assist and 13 service points and Jessie Ozmore three serve receptions, 12 digs and 12 service points. Against North Henderson, Davis had 11 kills, Songaila seven kills, seven digs and nine serve receptions, Pasour five digs and 24 assists, and Jones 11 serve receptions.
Crest beats Mountaineers for Big South championship
Crest scored on its first three possessions to grab an early 19-0 lead and rolled to a 39-14 victory over Kings Mountain to win the Big South 3A Conference Friday night at KM’s John Gamble Stadium. Kings Mountain rebounded later in the game to come within 19-14 in the third quarter but AJ Adams, who had scored the visitors’ first TD on a two-yard run, returned KM’s kickoff 55 yards for a touchdown with less than four minutes left in the third period for a 26-14 margin that was too much for the Mountaineers to overcome. The win left the Chargers with an undefeated 10-0 record and the league title while KM finished the regular season in second place with a 9-1 mark. “It was a tough game,” said Mountaineer head coach Strait Herron. “They were better that we thought they were. “They’ve got some athletes and were better up front what we could tell on film,” he added. “They have a good team and played extremely hard.” The Chargers broke out front 7-0 by driving the opening kickoff 71 yards in six plays. A KM face mask penalty got them going but the big blow came when the Chargers’ Aiden Carson went around end for a 68-yard gain to the KM one yard line. Two plays later AJ Adams took it in for the score and Carson Grier booted the point after. Kings Mountain answered with a good drive behind the running from Josiah Hill and Robert Kendrick and a 21-yard reception by Hill and an eight-yard catch by Rodney Unnasch. Facing third and five from the Crest 40, the Mountaineers went to the air and the Chargers’ D’Various Surratt intercepted it and sped 70 yards to the end zone to put the visitors up 13-0. A pass interception by Surratt and a return to the KM 21 set up a 12-yard reception by Javarius Green and a 19-0 Crest lead. A pass interception in the end zone by KM’s Robert Kendrick put the Mountaineers in business at their own 33 with just 1:32 left in the half. A 9-yard reception by Jayden Gash and a 21-yard reception by Xzorion Lenair which was followed by a 15-yard Crest penalty for roughing the QB gave the Mountaineers a first down at the Chargers’ 11. Facing fourth and goal at the nine, Teddy Jeffries caught a short pass and zig-zagged through the Charger defense for a nine-yard touchdown. Matt Rhom’s PAT made it 19-7. KM took possession at its own 23 following an early third quarter Crest punt and used the running of Jeffries and Kendrick, plus a personal foul penalty against the Chargers, for a first and goal at the Crest 10. Hill covered the distance in two carries and Rhom added the PAT to get the Mountaineers to within 19-14. With the huge KM crowd thinking comeback, Adams returned the ensuing kickoff 55 yards for a touchdown and a 26-14 Crest lead that would prove too much to overcome. Huskey capped a 74-yard drive with a two-yard run to put the Chargers up 32-14 on the fourth play of the fourth quarter and the visitors added their final TD with 2:57 left on an eight yard run by Aiden Carson. The Mountaineers had several players leave the game with injuries, including CJ Houser and some others who may miss this week’s playoff game against Smoky Mountain. “We’ll just have to move some guys around and we’re going to bring up some JV players that will help us,” Herron said. “We had our chances. We just blew it. We had three interceptions in a row early and got behind. We got it back to 19-14 and were in good shape and then had another penalty and had it returned for a touchdown. “You have to give Crest credit,” he said, “but we didn’t play the way we’ve been playing.”
Mountaineer XC runners win first conference title since ‘98
Kings Mountain High’s men’s cross country team had not won a conference title since 1998, but that streak came to an end last week when the Mountaineers beat second place Forestview by six points to win the Big South 3A Conference championship. The Mountaineers were led by Big South MVP Max Thompson who finished first with a time of 17:20. Other All-Conference runners for the KM men were second place Isaiah Watts, seventh place Hunter Cruise and 11th place David Johnson. Luke Howell finished 16th to complete the team scoring. The Kings Mountain women’s team finished a respectable second place behind a really strong South Point team. All-Conference KM runners were sixth place Brooke Waseman, eighth place Sarah Eagle and 15th place Kallie Hope. Tippy Johnsonbaugh finished 19th and Parker Wilson finished 25th to round out the Lady Mountaineer scorers. The Mountaineers will advance to the 3A Western Regional meet at Freedom High School on Saturday, October 28.
YMCA golf tournament
The Kings Mountain Family YMCA’s 13th Annual Golf Tournament was held on Friday, September 29th. The Y thanked Presenting Sponsor Albemarle, and all their amazing sponsors for a successful event. Thirty-two teams and 128 golfers played at Kings Mountain Country Club on Friday, October 7th. The annual event raised over $26,000 for the YMCA’s financial assistance programs. All proceeds go to youth, teen, and senior programs. Winners of the tournament were: • 1st Place team: Thomas Spicer, Baylor Benton, Reed Burton, Caleb Marr • 2nd Place team: Matt Rollins, Matt Bradley, Tommy Gales, Jason Nestlerode • 3rd Place team: David Estridge, Mal Brutko, Gerald Putnam, William Mabry • 4th Place team: Mayor Scott Neisler, Eric Sanders, Brent Guin, Mike Baker • Closest to Pin winners: Mike Baker (5) Cathy Moore (8) Mayor Scott Neisler (12) Tony Wells Sr. (16) Geno Chavira (17) • Longest Drive Winners on hole 2: Will Spicer (Men), Joey Barrett (Seniors), Kaitlyn McNeilly (Women) • Longest Drive Winners on hole 11: Cathy Moore (Women), Eric Moore (Senior), Jason Nestlerode (Men)
KM golfers third in final BS match
Kings Mountain High’s women’s golf team finished third in the final Big South Conference match last week at Lincoln Country Club. South Point remained undefeated with a 137 score. Stuart Cramer finished second at 158, edging the Mountaineers by three strokes at 161. Crest was fourth with a 164 followed by Ashbrook 173 and Forestview 179. Madison Pruden of South Point was medalist with a 39. Kaliyah Watson led the Lady Mountaineers with a 49. Mylin Eckard shot 53 and Jaiden Earle 59. Watson made the All-Big South Conference team for the third year in a row and also qualified for the Western Regional Tournament that was played yesterday at Springdale Resort in Canton.
KMHS volleyball sweeps BSC, posts big opening playoff win
After wrapping up another Big South 3A Conference title last week, Kings Mountain High’s women’s volleyball team swept Smoky Mountain 25-19, 25-5, 25-7 in the opening round of the state playoffs Saturday at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium. The Lady Mountaineers went into a second round game with West Rowan yesterday with a 29-1 overall record. All of the KM ladies had big overall contributions in the playoff win. Myracle Davis had 17 kills and six blocks. Camden Pasour dished out 33 assists to go with five kills, a block, seven digs and six service points. Meile Songaila had 12 kills, nine digs, eight serve receptions and 12 service points. Alexa Jones added three blocks, four digs, six serve receptions, five assists and 13 service points. Mary Grace Hogue provided six kills, three digs and 13 service points, and Jessie Ozmore had 10 digs, 12 serve receptions and three service points. Earlier in the week the KM ladies swept South Point 25-4, 25-5, 25-7 and Crest 25-16, 25-19 and 25-21. The JVs beat South Point 25-2, 25-14 and Crest 25-13, 25-10. Against South Point, Songaila had 18 kills, four serve receptions, 10 digs and nine service points. Ozmore had 16 digs, six serve receptions and 10 service points, Pasour 37 assists, six digs, five kills an eight service points, Davis 11 kills and a block and London Brown nine kills. For the JVs, Abigail Hedgepath had 25 assists, three kills, six digs and 16 service points. Campbell Benton provided six kills and a block and Kenzlie Morris had five kills and a block. Against Crest, Songaila had 15 kills, 13 serve receptions, 11 digs and 11 service points. Jones had four kills, three assists, nine serve receptions, seven digs and five service points. Ozmore had 10 serve receptions, 12 digs and 11 service points, Davis 13 kills and two blocks and Pasour 34 assists, three kills, four digs and two service points.
Former Mountaineers’ son leads Ashbrook JVs over KM
Kings Mountain drew first blood but the Ashbrook defense held the Mountaineers scoreless the rest of the game to take a 20-8 victory in JV football action last week at John Gamble Stadium. After both teams’ offenses were stopped on the game’s first two possessions, the Mountaineers grabbed an 8-0 lead when they recovered a bad snap on an Ashbrook punting attempt at the Green Wave 10 yard line. Three plays later Anijai Nash scored on an eight-yard run and Lathan Feemster caught a two-point conversion pass. That score stood until the 1:47 mark of the first half when Ashbrook quarterback Anthony McClain, the son of former KMHS quarterback Lance McClain, went 13 yards on a keeper to pull the Green Wave within 8-6. A high snap from center on a KM punt attempt on the second play of the third quarter sailed out of the end zone for a safety that tied the game. Early in the fourth quarter the Mountaineers were forced to punt from their own 23 and it was returned to the KM 32. A 26-yard run by McClain put the visitors on the KM 31. A 26-yard McClain keeper around right end gave the Green Wave a first down at the KM five, and facing fourth and inches from inside the one McClain scored on a sneak for a 14-8 Ashbrook lead that proved to be the winning TD. McClain threw a 22-yard touchdown pass with 1:46 remaining to account for the final margin. The JVs will travel to Crest Thursday for their season finale.
Mountaineers break game open in second half in 24-3 win at Ashbrook
Kings Mountain broke open a close game in the second half to defeat Gastonia Ashbrook 24-3 Thursday night in Gastonia and set up a winner take all regular season-ending bout with the Crest Chargers Friday at 7:30 at KM’s John Gamble Stadium. Kings Mountain and Crest are guaranteed a berth in the state 3A playoffs but Friday’s winner will not only be the conference champion but will have several home games in the playoffs. Other BSC teams will also be fighting for playoff berths Friday because North Gaston, Hunter Huss, South Point and Ashbrook are all tied for third place with 3-3 league records. The Mountaineers never trailed at Eccles Field but the Ashbrook eleven kept the game within striking distance until the final quarter. The victory was the sixth in the Big South Conference and ninth straight overall for the undefeated Kings Mountain eleven while Ashbrook slipped to 3-3 and 3-6. “It was a good game,” noted Mountaineer head coach Strait Herron. “Ashbrook is a little better than their record shows. We were missing so many offensive linemen but the guys hung in there. Penalties hurt us but we worked through them.” After the Mountaineers jumped out to a 10-0 lead the Green Wave made it interesting after a field goal cut the margin to 10-3 at the half. Kings Mountain got some breathing room with a late third period TD and then got an insurance tally in the fourth. Behind good blocking by the offensive line, Kings Mountain backs continued to put up big numbers. Josiah Hill rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, and Robert Kendrick had a TD and 55 yards on 10 carries. Quarterback Kandan Zollo connected on 16 passes for 176 yards. Xzorion Lenair caught six of them for 44 yards and Thomas Feemster one for 40. Rodney Unnasch caught two for 34 yards and Jayden Gash one for 33. Unfortunately, Gash was injured. “We’re reevaluating him and we’ll see where he is for this week,” Coach Herron said. “We’ve had to use a lot of different guys up there (on the line) this year because of injuries,” Herron said. Kings Mountain went up 7-0 in the first quarter on Kendrick’s 16-yard run and Max Thompson’s extra point. Thompson’s field goal made it 10-0 late in the quarter. Penalties hurt the Mountaineers in the second period and the score stood until halftime. The Mountaineer defense was almost immovable, limiting the Green Wave to just 124 yards total offense. Martino Smith was about their only weapon, carrying the ball 20 times for 89 yards to account for all but 17 yards of the Ashbrook ground game. But the home team managed to trim the margin to 10-3 early in the third quarter behind some good defense, numerous KM penalties and a 21-yard field goal. Kings Mountain took possession with 4:41 left in the third period and quickly moved down field behind a mixture of running and passing. Hill ran for the final 20 yards at the 2:23 mark and the Mountaineers took a 17-3 lead into the final quarter. The Mountaineers wrapped things up with 4:45 remaining when Hill scored from the one to cap a 49-yard drive. Kings Mountain’s defense was led by Jason Melton with 10 tackles and Antonio Armstrong and Thomas Fair with nine each. CJ Houser had eight and Zay Smith and Javier Currie six apiece.
2023 KMHS Homecoming Parade
By Loretta Cozart
Kings Mountain High School’s Homecoming Parade was held on Thursday, October 12, at 2 p.m.Students participated in the hour-long event through downtown Kings Mountain, from Mountain Street, down Railroad Avenue, and Gold Street at Patriots Park. KMHS Mountaineer football team, cheerleaders, marching band, and homecoming court nominees paraded through town, wearing black and gold, preparing for Homecoming at KMHS on Friday night. Supporting the effort were students from North and West Schools, KM Elite, and the Miss Mountie program.
See more photos on pages 2B and 8B in the October 18, 2023 issue of KM Herald
Varsity and JV Game dates Change
Due to forecast of rain for Friday, October 20, Kings Mountain JV football game will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 18 at Kings Mountain High School. The KMHS Varsity game will be held on Thursday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Ashbrook High School.
KM golfers finish fifth
Kings Mountain High’s golf team finished fifth in a Big South Conference match last week at Cramer Mountain Country Club. South Point out-distanced the field with a 129 team score, beating second place Crest (159) by 30 strokes. Stuart Cramer was third at 160, followed by Ashbrook 165, KM 171 and Forestview 178. Hunter Huss and North Gaston competed but did not have enough golfers for a team score. Madison Pruden of South Point was the medalist with a 39. Kaliyah Watson led KM with a 52 followed by Mylin Eckard 59 and Jaiden Earle 60. The Lady Mountaineers were scheduled to play their final regular season match yesterday at Lincoln Country Club.
KM volleyball opens NCHSAA playoffs October 21 at home
Kings Mountain High’s women’s volleyball team remained undefeated in the Big South Conference last week with a 3-0 victory over Forestview 28-26, 25-11, 25-11. Meile Songaila led the way with 12 kills, five serve receptions, a block and nine service points. Myracle Davis had eight kills and two blocks. Camden Paysour had 16 assists, three kills and five digs. Abigail Hedgepath contributed 19 assists and four digs. Alexa Jones had 17 serve receptions, seven digs, a block, five kills and 13 service points. In a non-conference battle last week with Legion Collegiate, the varsity ladies fell 25-22, 25-22, 19-17 but the JVs swept their match 25-12, 25-22, 25-19. Songaila led the varsity with 18 serve receptions, 17 digs, nine kills, nine service points and four blocks. Davis had 10 kills and three blocks, Pasour 28 assists, four kills, 14 digs and thee service points and Jones 14 serve receptions, 10 digs, a block and 11 service points. Hedgepath led the junior varsity with 19 assists, 10 kills, four digs and 10 service points. Ruby Osborne had eight kills and two blocks, Madi Broome seven serve receptions, eight digs and four service points and Kenzlie Morris six kills, a block and five service points. The KM teams were scheduled to close out regular season play yesterday at Crest. The first round of the playoffs will be October 21 and the Lady Mountaineers will be at home. The second round will be played October 24, third round Oct. 26, fourth round Oct. 28, Western Regional championship Oct. 31 and the state championship on November 4.
KM JVs fall 20-14 at Stuart Cramer
Kings Mountain High’s JV football team suffered its first loss against a Big South 3A Conference rival last week at Stuart Cramer, 20-14. The combination of Micah Byers and Isaiah Branch got the Mountaineers on the scoreboard first, connecting on a 34-yard touchdown pass. Lyric Phonephet ran a two-point conversion and KM led 8-6 early in the second quarter. After an Iziah Jones fumble recovery, Phonephet scored on a 10-yard run to extend the Mountaineer lead to 14-6 at halftime. Stuart Cramer was able to score twice in the second half to account for the final margin. Devin Hopper had a fumble recovery and Ayven Ingram intercepted a pass for the KM defense. The Mountaineers play their final home game Wednesday at 7 p.m. at John Gamble Stadium against the Ashbrook Green Wave. They take a 4-1 conference and 6-2 overall record into that game.
Mountaineers defeat Cramer 51-3 for eighth win, face a dangerous Ashbrook team away this week
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers shook off some early penalties to roll to a 51-3 victory over Stuart Cramer in their homecoming game Thursday night at John Gamble Stadium. The offense was chalking up big yards from the opening whistle but three penalties resulted in a Max Thompson punt rolling dead on the Cramer one yard line. Two plays later with the Purple Storm in a shotgun, the center snapped the ball out the back of the end zone for a safety for a 2-0 KM lead and the rout was on. The Mountaineers returned Cramer’s kickoff from the 20 back to the Cramer 40 yard line and three carries by Josiah Hill put them in the end zone and Max Thompson’s PAT ran the score to 9-0. On the second play following Matt Rhom’s kickoff, Eli Lipscomb scooped up a Cramer fumble and took it 17 yards and all of a sudden the score was 16-0. A sack by Thomas Fair and Jason Melton for 10 yards put the Storm in trouble again and tackles by Currie and Fair forced a punt that put the Mountaineers in business on the Cramer 39. Hill, who would finish with 153 yards rushing on 14 carries, accounted for all of the yards on five totes, the last one for a yard. Thmpson’s PAT made it 23-0 at the end of the first period. A tackle by Bryson Brown and Tyler McIntyre after a nine-yard Cramer pass completion forced another punt which Xzorion Lenair returned 23 yards to the Cramer 28. A 25-yard keeper by quarterback Darreon Dixon-Valez on a fourth and 13 gave the Mountaineers a first down at the seven. Two runs by Teddy Jeffries, who was making his first appearance since an early-season injury, put the ball in the end zone and Rhom’s PAT extended the lead to 30-0. Penalties hurt the Mountaineers on their next possession, but the defense forced the visitors to punt from their own eight yard line with 1:13 left in the half. The kick went out of bounds at the Cramer 23. Jeffries covered the distance in two runs and the Mountaineers went into the break up 37-0. Big tackles by Thomas Fair and Jason Melton and a pass interception by Bryson Brown at the Mountaineers’ 46 led to another TD and a 44-0 lead that put the running clock rule into effect with 8:52 still left in the third quarter. Hill carried four times for all 46 yards and Rhom followed with the PAT. Again, the defense held Cramer to three and out and Gash returned the punt 32 yards to the Cramer 36. Jeffries covered the distance in just one run and Rhom added the PAT for a 51-0 lead with 2:32 in the third period. Cramer managed to drive to the KM two yard line and called time out with three seconds left. Drew Crotts kicked a field goal to end the game. Jeffries finished with 66 yards on six carries and three TDs in his return. Kings Mountain travels to Gastonia Thursday night to take on a dangerous Ashbrook eleven before returning home the following week to host the undefeated Crest Chargers in a game that should determine the conference championship and a very high seed in the upcoming state playoffs.
Mountaineers’ toughest test yet Friday night at South Point
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers will face their toughest test of the season when they travel to Belmont Friday night to take on the South Point Red Raiders. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Fans are urged to arrive early because it should be a full house. Kings Mountain goes into the game unbeaten with a 3-0 Big South and 6-0 overall record. Although South Point is 1-2 in the BSC and 3-3 overall it is still a powerful football team with the talent to beat anybody in the state. Their three losses have been to very good teams. The Raiders lost a barn-burner last week to the undefeated Crest Chargers, 61-49, but Crest had to score 19 points late in the fourth quarter to pull it out. South Point runs a flex bone – or as they call it a ‘Red Bone’ – and they are very good at it. The Raiders’ plan in the past has always been to have long, time-consuming drives to keep the ball out of their opponent’s hands. The Raiders’ big weapons on offense are sophomore quarterback Patrick Blee, who carried the ball 21 times for 130 yards last week at Crest and has 688 yards on 87 carries for the season. Their running back Chanyce Ford bulled through the Crest defense for 172 yards and the team rolled up 412 yards on 50 carries (8.2 yards per carry average). Both are returning starters that had good games against the Mountaineers last year in a close match at Gamble Stadium. Although the Mountaineers go in with an undefeated record, they have not yet played a team of South Point’s caliber. “This week will be very important,” Mountaineer Coach Strait Herron says. “It’s a huge challenge. They run that red bone offense – what we call a flex bone – and it’s tough to stop. They’re pretty much average size but they’ve probably been running that offense for 30 years. They play extremely hard and they run their schemes to perfection.” Kings Mountain goes into the game as a team that is more wide open but South Point’s offensive plan for years has been to take a lot of time off the clock on every drive and ending it with a touchdown. The Mountaineers will definitely have to give their best effort. “We have to do a great job of coaching this week and get our guys in the right place and make sure we get them stopped,” Herron said. “We have to take care of our responsibilities and be in the right place at the right time. They are very quick.” “This week of preparation is going to be incredibly important,” he added. “As soon as we started talking about them weeks ago we knew we’re not going to get a call over there. We know we have to play better. We have to overcome that. We’re talking to our players. One thing that scares me is that we haven’t been hit with adversity yet. “We have to do what Kings Mountain does and play our game,” he noted. “They move the ball really well. Our players haven’t seen this type of offense. They may see a different side of me this week. This is a really big one. I hope we’re ready for a truly competitive ball game.”
KMHS volleyball closing in on another BSC title
Kings Mountain High’s women’s volleyball team ran its Big South Conference record to 9-0 and overall mark to 22-2 with sweeps last week over Gastonia Ashbrook and Stuart Cramer. The Lady Mountaineers defeated Stuart Cramer last Tuesday with the varsity winning 25-9, 25-5, 25-12 and the JVs 25-14, 25-20. For the varsity, Meile Songaila had 19 kills, four digs and four serve receptions. Camden Pasour dished out 32 assists to go with three kills, a block, seven digs, two serve receptions and five service points. London Brown had eight kills and Alexa Jones provided 20 service points, six serve receptions, two kills and four assists. The JVs won 25-14, 25-20. Abigail Hedgepath had 21 digs and six kills, Ruby Osborne nine kills and three blocks and Kenzlie Morris six kills and one block. Thursday saw the varsity win 25-2, 25-9, 25-4 over the Green Wave after the JVs won 25-9, 25-4. For the varsity, Songaila had 14 kills, two serve receptions and three digs. Pasour dished out 21 assists to go with two kills, four digs and 11 service points, and Myracle Davis and London Brown each had seven kills. For the JVs, Campbell Benton had five kills, Osborne four kills and two blocks, Sarah Bouchard 15 service points, three digs and two serve receptions and Hedgepath 12 assists and 10 service points. The varsity carried a 22-1 overall and 9-0 conference record and the JVs a 12-1 overall and 8-0 conference mark into a non-conference game Monday against Cox Mill. The teams were scheduled to host Hunter Huss yesterday and will travel to North Gaston October 5. After that, they will go to Forestvidw on October 10, host South Point in their last regular season home game on October 12, and travel to Crest for the BSC and regular season finale on October 17. The state playoffs begin on October 21 and the Lady Mountaineers should be at home.
Mountaineers beat Forestview, stay in tie for first place in BSC
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers started out slow but sped up for a 49-7 Big South 3A Conference victory over the Forestview Jaguars Friday night at John Gamble Stadium. The win moved the Mountaineers to 3-0 in the BSC and 6-0 overall heading into what will probably be their toughest test thus far Friday night at South Point. “You have to give it to Forestview,” Mountaineer Coach Strait Herron said. “They played really hard but our guys did a good job. We saw some things they did that we really liked. It ended up to be a good night but we’ve got to get better.” Chris Medlin’s Jaguars forced the Mountaineers to punt on the game’s opening possession and then marched all the way to the KM 27 before being stopped on a pass interception by Ja’Qualyn Sanders with 3:27 showing on the first quarter clock. That sparked a quick six-play scoring drive that featured a 74-yard catch and run by Sanders to the Jaguars’ 13. Three runs by Robert Kendrick – the final from a yard out – followed by Max Thompson’s point-after from placement put the Mountaineers up 7-0 and they were never headed. Forestview did have a little spunk left and drove the ensuing kickoff to the KM 39 before having to punt. The punt was downed on the KM two yard line but it took just two runs by Kendrick – the latter for 96 yards – to cover the distance and put the Mountaineers up 14-0. The Mountaineers added another TD with 3:01 left in the first half and went into the break up 21-0. It came on the first play after Forestview lost the ball on downs with Josiah Hill going 53 yards and Thompson adding the PAT. After each team had trouble moving the ball to begin the third quarter, KM’s Jason Melton intercepted a pass and returned it from the KM 40 to the Forestview 22. Behind strong blocking from the KM offensive line, Josiah Hill covered the distance and Thompson’s PAT made it 28-0 at the 8:23 mark of the third period. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Forestview’s David Howard caught a 10-yard touchdown pass and Plamedi Warskinsky kicked the PAT to make it 28-7. An illegal touching of the kickoff by Forestview put the Mountaineers in business at the Jaguars’ 49. See FORESTVIEW, Page 2B From Page 1B A run of six yards by Hill and 43 by Kendrick followed by Thompson’s PAT made it 35-7 with 7:25 on the clock. On the first play after Jaguars’ kickoff return, KM’s Kamari Houze intercepted a pass at the Forestview 33 and four runs later KM quarterback Darreon Dixon-Valez scored from nine yards out. Thompson’s PAT made it 42-7. The Mountaineers’ final TD came with 2:49 remaining on a nine-yard run by Thomas Feemster that put the running clock rule into effect. Kings Mountain had a big overall performance. Offensively, Kendrick had 200 yards rushing on 11 carries and Hill added 145 yards on nine carries. Sanders caught three passes for 82 yards. Curtis Simpson led the defense with 10 tackles, closely followed by Jason Melton and Javier Curry with eight each and Antonio Armstrong with seven. Matt Rohm averaged 50 yards with eight kickoffs for 501 yards and Thompson punted four times for a 37.3 average.
KM lady golfers finish second to South Point
Kings Mountain High’s ladies finished second to South Point in their last home match Monday at Kings Mountain Country Club. The Lady Red Raiders finished with a 130 score. KM shot 162, Crest 167, Stuart Cramer 170, and Ashbrook and Forestview 172 each. North Gaston and Hunter Huss did not have enough players for a team score. Madison Prudent of South Point was the medalist with a 39. Kaliyah Watson led the Lady Mountaineers with a 41, her lowest score of the season. Mylin Eckard shot 58 and Jaiden Earle 63. “I want to thank Derrick Dellinger and his staff at Kings Mountain Country Club for all their help and support in hosting this match,” said KMHS coach Kevin Moss. Kings Mountain and other Big South Conference teams were scheduled to play at Riverbend Monday.
JVs beat Forestview, host Raiders Thursday
Kings Mountain High’s JV football team defeated Forestview 35-16 last Thursday in Gastonia and will host the South Point Red Raiders Thursday at 7 p.m. at John Gamble Stadium. The Mountaineers go into this week’s game with a 5-1 overall record. They are 3-0 against conference opponents. After a scoreless first quarter, KM got on the scoreboard with a 39-yard touchdown run by Devin Hopper. Jakelan Littlejohn scored in the second period to put the Mountaineers up 12-8 at halftime. Savion Lindsay scored from 13 yards out to extend the lead to 18-8 early in the third quarter. On the next Jaguar possession KM’s Dakota Smith picked off a pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. Littlejohn’s two-point conversion ran the score to 28-6. KM’s defense scored again on a 61-yard interception by Littlejohn and Ethan Reed’s PAT gave the Mountaineers a 33-8 advantage. Kings Mountain’s final score came from the defense as Izaih Jones and Wiley Rainey tackled a Forestview runner in the end zone for a safety.
Mountaineers host Forestview Friday night
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers will be at home for the second straight week Friday when they host the Forestview Jaguars in a Big South 3A Conference football game at John Gamble Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Forestview has suffered thus far with losses to some good local ball teams. Mountaineer coach Strait Herron does not want his players to take a win for granted. Despite their early-season record (0-2 in the Big South Conference and 1-5 overall) the Jaguars have a lot of potential with some good skill players and a veteran head coach in Chris Medlin. Their lone win came against perennial state power Morganton Freedom 27-19 and two of their losses were to defending state 2A champion East Lincoln and a good Burns Bulldog eleven. Their two Big South losses were to Ashbrook 33-20 and North Gaston 26-20. “Every game is a challenge and we will see how it unfolds,” Coach Herron said. “We want to get better for the future. Forestview’s not going to be easy.” Their go-to running back thus far has been Christian Holland, a 5-8, 167-pound junior. They also have a veteran quarterback in senior Jaxson Hill, a 6-4, 172-pound senior who can run and throw. He has 17 other seniors with experience to help him out. Kings Mountain will counter with good skill players of their own as well as linemen who are giving the quarterbacks time to throw, the backs room to run and the receivers open routes. Thus far, KM starting quarterback Zandon Zollo has hit 42 of 79 passes for 509 yards and reserve TJ Armstrong has completed 10 of 20 for 126 yards. Ja’Qualyn Sanders has caught 16 passes for 269 yards and Jayden Gash 13 for 230.
KMHS volleyball runs table in first half of BSC season
Kings Mountain High’s women’s volleyball team closed out the first half of the Big South Conference schedule Thursday night with a tough 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 25-8 victory over Crest at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium. The JVs made it a sweep in the opener with a 25-19, 25-12 victory. The varsity carried a 7-0 conference and 20-1 overall record into the first second round game yesterday at Stuart Cramer. The JVs went in at 6-0 and 10-1. All of the KM players had a good night. For the varsity, Meile Songaila had 26 kills, 13 digs, 11 serve receptions and 10 service points. Camden Paysour had 39 assists, eight serve receptions, three kills, 10 digs and 11 service points. Myracle Davis was strong on the nets with 16 kills and three blocks. Mary Grace Hogue contributed five digs, three serve receptions, two kills and seven service points. Alexa Jones had eight serve receptions, three blocks, six digs, seven assists and nine service points. For the JVs, Madi Broome had six serve receptions, 12 digs and five service points. Abigail Hedgepath had 12 assists and a kill. Ruby Osborne had seven kills. Alana Laughridge had six digs, four serve receptions, two kills and six service points. The Lady Mountaineers defeated South Point in a Big South Conference doubleheader last Tuesday night at Parker Gym. The varsity won 25-11, 25-14 and 25-15 after the JVs opened the action with a 25-3, 25-2 victory. For the varsity, Myracle Davis had 10 kills and five blocks, Camden Pasour 31 assists, four serve receptions, seven digs, nine service points and two blocks, Alexa Jones eight service points, four digs, five kills, two blocks, five assists and 16 service points, Meile Songaila six serve receptions, nine kills, 11 digs and four service points and London Brown nine kills and nine blocks. Abigail Hedgepath, Ruby Osborne, Kenzlie Morris and Madi Broome had big games for the JVs. Hedgepath dished out 11 assists to go with two kills, two digs and 23 service points. Osborne had six kills and a block, Morris three kills and Broome 13 service points.
Watts, KMHS cross country win 11-team Lincolnton meet
Kings Mountain High’s men finished first and the women third in an 11-team cross country meet last Wednesday at Betty G. Ross Park in Lincolnton. The Mountaineers dominated with 44 points to second place Bandys’ 20. Isaiah Watts led the Mountaineers with a first place finish in 17:47, followed closely by teammate Max Thompson at 17:52. Senior Hunter Cruise followed by freshmen Luke Howell and David Johnson were other high scoring runners for the Mountaineers. The Kings Mountain women also had several runners with season and personal best finishes. Brooke Waseman led the way with a fourth place finish of 24:05. Sarah Eagle was 10th, Kallie Hope 14th, Tippy Johnsonbaugh 37th and Wren Ballard 38th. Kings Mountain and over 30 other schools competed in the Freedom High School Cross Country Invitational Saturday and had another good showing. “This is the location for the 3A West Regional meet later in the season, so this was an excellent opportunity to establish yourself as a possible state qualifier,” Coach Rayvis Key noted. “Max Thompson did exactly that running a 16:49 over the 3.1 mile course and finishing eighth overall. As a team, the Mountaineers were a very respectable fifth place overall. Other Mountaineers with good showing were Isaiah Watts in 17:40, Hunter Cruise 19:06, Luke Howell 19:36 and David Johnson 19:39. The Lady Mountaineers were once again led by Brooke Waseman finishing 51st with a season best time of 23:02. The team finished 13th out of a highly competitive field. Other scorers were Sarah Eagle 23:43, Kallie Hope 24:24, Tippy Johnsonbaugh 27:37 and senior Parker Wilson with a 27:52. Kings Mountain’s next race will be October 7 at the Wendy’s Invitational at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte. There will be hundreds of runners from across the southeast competing.
Mountaineer Robert Kendrick follows great blocking to have a career night
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers used outstanding blocking from their offensive line, running by senior Robert Kendrick and a hard-hitting defense to shut out the North Gaston Wildcats 42-0 Friday night at John Gamble Stadium. The win kept the Mountaineers tied for first place in the Big South 3A Conference with their Cleveland County neighbor Crest. Belmont South Point, which was tied for first heading into Friday’s game, was upset by the Hunter Huss Huskies and dropped into a four-way tie for third with North Gaston, Hunter Huss and Ashbrook. “I’m happy with the way we played,” noted Mountaineer head coach Strait Herron. “Our offense ran the ball extremely well. Kendrick had 21 carries for 196 yards. We would have loved for him to get 200. The whole offensive line did a tremendous job. Alex Jackson had his best game of the year. Our sophomore, Dom Davis at guard, did a pretty good job also.” Kendrick had the best game of his career and one of the best of any running back in Mountaineer history, scoring four touchdowns to go with those 196 yards. Former KM, Clemson and Cleveland Browns great Kevin Mack holds the rushing mark of 287 yards against RS Central in 1979. It didn’t take Kendrick and his teammates long to go out front Friday, driving the opening kickoff 66 yards in five plays. Kendrick scored on a 19 yard run and also had a 10-yard run for a first down. Quarterback Kandan Zollo threw passes of 18 yards to Jayden Gash, eight to Ja’Qualyn Sanders and 11 to Xzorian Lenair. With Kendrick chalking up more yards, the Mountaineers drove deep into Wildcat territory on their next two possessions but missed field goals. The offense shifted to high gear after that, though. Beginning at the 9:31 mark of the second quarter the Mountaineers drove 53 yards in eight plays to go up 14-0. Kendrick got things going with runs of 13 and five yards and Ja’Qualyn Sanders caught an 11-yard pass for a first down at the North 24. A third and seven run around left end by Kendrick resulted in another first down at the 13 and two more runs by Kendrick, followed by Thompson’s PAT, ran the score to 14-0. Only a KM penalty kept the visitors from another three and out, but following a 13-yard punt by the Wildcats the home team was on the ‘Cats 38. A 13-yard reception by Sanders and four runs by Kendrick – the last for 10 yards – ran the score to 21-0 at the half. Following a 16-yard North Gaston punt in the third period, KM took possession at the ‘Cats 44 and it took just two runs by Kendrick – the latter for 31 yards – to run the score to 28-0 at the 5:35 mark. KM’s defense got into the scoring act when Eli Lipscomb scooped up a North Gaston fumble at the ‘Cats 44 yard line and raced to the end zone. Again, Thompson’s PAT split the uprights and the Mountaineers were up 35-0. And, overall, the defense was almost unmovable. Three defenders – Jason Melton, Antonio Armstrong and Javier Curry – had double-digit tackles. Melton led with 19, Armstrong 11 and Curry 10 and Curtis Simpson had eight and a sack. Thomas Fair had five sacks. KM’s substitutes got into the scoring act for the final TD. After a Bryson Brown interception and 30-yard return put the Mountaineers on the North 32, Isaiah Banks caught a 13-yard pass for a first down at the 19 and Josiah Hill scored from there. Thompson’s PAT made the score 42-0 and the final 5:26 was played with a running clock.
Women’s golf second in first Big South match
Kings Mountain High’s women’s golf team finished second to South Point in the first Big South Conference match of the season Monday at Woodbridge Golf Club. The Lady Raiders posted a 121 score to Kings Mountain’s 155. Crest was third at 158 followed by Stuart Cramer 162, Ashbrook 171 and Forestview 174. North Gaston and Hunter Huss competed but did not have enough players for a team score. Kaliyah Watson led Kings Mountain with a 45. Mylin Exkard shot 53 and Jaiden Earle 57. Co-medalists were Amelia Connor and Madison Pruden, both from South Point, with 39s. The BSC teams will meet again today at Crowder’s Mountain Golf Club. Hunter Huss will be the host team.
KM Cross Country second at Ashbrook
Kings Mountain High’s cross country teams braved a hot afternoon to finish second to host Ashbrook in the Green Wave’s Luminary Cross Country Meet last week in Gastonia. The temperature was still very hot even with a 6:40 p.m. starting time. Six teams participated. The Mountaineers’ Isaiah Watts twisted his ankle while leading the race and had to stop. Max Thompson stepped up and finished second overall to lead the Mountaineers. Freshman Luke Howell also earned a medal with an eighth place finish. The girls race was dominated by South Point with only Kings Mountain’s Brooke Wiseman finishing third to prevent a perfect score for the Lady Red Raiders. KM’s Sara Eagle also earned a medal with her eighth place finish. Kings Mountain was scheduled to compete at the Cleveland Community College course yesterday.
Mountaineer football resumes Friday at Hunter Huss High
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers return to the playing field Friday night to face a fast and dangerous Hunter Huss team in the first Big South 3A Conference game of the 2023 season. The Mountaineers go to Gastonia with a 3-0 record after defeating three strong opponents in Shelby, Cox Mill and Burns. Huss comes in with a 1-2 mark but that record is deceiving as their two losses were to two very good teams, 4A Providence 41-20 and perennial state power Hibriten 22-19. The Huskies defeated another good western team, Draughn, 44-21 last week. “They have some good athletes overall and some good skilled athletes that we will have to concentrate on,” said Coach Strait Herron. “We’ll have to bottle them up on offense and the defense will have to attack when we need to. They have very good speed in the skill positions. Their quarterback (Javarion Brown) is a good athlete and their running backs are quick and have speed.” Brown, a junior, is hard to handle as a runner and passer and is averaging 98 yards per game passing and 12 yards per carry rushing. Running back Darius Headley is averaging 98 yards a game (7.2 per carry) and Gene Neely is averaging 61 yards per game. “I hope we learned a lesson last week at Burns and make sure we don’t turn the ball over and give up big plays,” Herron said. Kings Mountain may have to run by committee as two of their top players, Teddy Jeffries and Micah Ward, are nursing injuries. “We will be without Jeffries for four to six weeks,” he noted. “He found it out when they did X-rays. We’re working with some guys that we can use as backups to Josiah. Micah won’t be back this week so we’re hurting a little at linebacker and back-up running backs. We’re making sure Robert Kendrick’s good and Josiah Hill’s good to go, and (JV player) Savion Lindsay if we need him. “Huss has speed and quickness and uses the whole field,” he noted. “If they spread you out on the field they could be hard to catch.” Offensively, Herron said, “we’ll have to protect the ball. That’s going to be a big part.” The Mountaineers are back to regular practice after school this week after being out of school last week. “Hopefully, there will be no more key issues,” he said. “We hope we’ll have good weather and can work things out in a timely manner. “Beating Burns to go 3-0 is a momentum thing as we go into the conference season,” Herron added. “We should feel good about that but we can do even better. We haven’t played a complete game yet and that’s a good sign that we have to get better.”
JVs shutout Burns 36-0
Kings Mountain High’s JV football team shook off some early penalties on its first two drives to roll over the Burns Bulldogs 36-0 Thursday night at John Gamble Stadium. Penalties hurt both teams on their early possessions but Jakelan Littlejohn’s 22-yard punt return to the Burns 22 yard line got the Mountaineer offense fired up. After a personal foul penalty the Mountaineers took possession at their own 42 and took just four plays to score on a one-yard run by Savion Lindsay. Along the way the Mountaineers got a 10-yard run by Lindsay for a first down and a 26-yard pass reception by Lindsay for a first and goal at the one. Lindsay scored on the next play and Ethan Reed’s point after split the uprights for a 7-0 lead. The Bulldogs put themselves in another big hole after an illegal block on Reed’s kickoff made them start from their own 14. Facing fourth and six from the 16, the Bulldogs decided to go for a first down but KM’s Jayden Williams picked off the pass and took it the house. Reed’s PAT made it a quick 14-0. KM’s Wiley Rainey blocked a punt on the Bulldogs’ next possession and the Mountaineers had to go just 10 yards to score on a six-yard keeper around end by quarterback Micah Byers and a four-yard run by Lindsay. Again, Reed split the uprights to put KM up 21-0. The Mountaineer defense got into the scoring act on the Bulldogs’ next possession when Semaj Odems blocked a punt and Wiley Rainey took it to the house. Reed added another PAT for a 28-0 lead. Kings Mountain drove 62 yards in six plays to account for the final margin. Jakelan Littlejohn took it in from the two and Daeshawn Camp passed to Lathan Feemster for a two-point conversion. An 18-yard run around left end by Lindsay set it up. Along the way Lindsay had three carries for 34 yards and Littlejohn two for 32. The Mountaineers have an open date this week and will begin Big South Conference play Septem-ber 14 at home against the Hunter Huss Huskies. Game time is 7 p.m.
Mountaineers defeat Burns 23-14 for third straight win, next game Big South 3A opener at Huss on Sept. 15
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers struggled at times against a good Burns defense and faced one of the best quarterbacks in the state in the Bulldogs’ Ben Mauney, but never trailed in winning their third straight game of the new season 23-14 Friday night in Lawndale. The defense managed to control Mauney early, holding the Bulldogs to three and out to begin the game only to fumble the punt and give the Dogs another series. The Dogs were then able to move to the KM 23 before KM’s Thomas Fair recovered a fumble. It took the Mountaineer offense just six plays to take a 7-0 lead on an eight-yard run by Ja’Qualan Sanders and Max Thompson’s PAT. But Mauney and the ‘Dogs proved quickly they were also one of the best teams around regardless of classification. The four-year starter Mauney led a 78-yard, nine-play drive that culminated with a three-yard run by Jeremiah Norris. The Mountaineers were able to stop a Bulldog two-point conversion attempt and held on to a 7-6 lead. The second quarter was almost all-Mountaineers as they put two touchdowns on the board to go into halftime up 21-6. First, they went on an 80-yard, 17-play drive that culminated with a one-yard Teddy Jeffries TD with just 3:10 left on the halftime clock. Along the way the Mountaineers got key pass receptions by Sanders, Josiah Hill, Jayden Gash and Xzorian Lenair to drive to the Burns 21. Behind good blocking, Jeffries took care of the final 21 yards on four carries. Thompson’s PAT made it 14-6. Burns went three-and-out and KM took possession at its own 49 with 2:02 on the first half clock. Sanders streaked far past the Burns secondary and Zollo hit him in full stride for a 51-yard touchdown and Thompson kicked the point-after for a 21-6 lead that held up until halftime. The Bulldogs took a big bite out of that lead in the third quarter, stopping the Mountaineers short on a faked punt to set up a 51-yard, 10-play drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Zavion Wilson. Jonny Johnson caught a two-point conversion pass to cut the score to 21-14. Burns recovered a fumble at the KM 45 with 1:19 left in the third period and drove to the 25 before losing the ball on downs. The ‘Dogs regained possession on a KM fumble, but two plays later fumbled themselves and KM’s Jason Melton recovered it at the KM 49 with 6:02 left. Neither team was able to provide much offense after that. With 1:56 remaining and KM at the Burns 37 facing fourth and seven, Thompson got off a punt that was downed at the five yard line. Trying to scramble for a possible deep throw downfield, Mauney was being stormed by the KM defense and intentionally grounded the ball. However, he was in the end zone which resulted in a safety to account for the final score. The Mountaineers are idle this Friday and will open Big South 3A Conference play on Friday, September 15 at Hunter Huss. Their next home game is September 22 against the North Gaston Wildcats.
KM travels to Cox Mill this Friday
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers will face another tough non-conference opponent when they travel to Cox Mill Friday night for a 8 o’clock game. Cox Mill dropped its non-conference opener last week 54-3 but it was to perennial state power Weddington. They lost their season opener last year, too, but then went on to finish 5-1 in its conference and 9-3 overall. Cox Mill has a ton of depth with a 61-man roster that includes 18 seniors. They are members of the 4A West Conference which includes perennial powers like Mooresville, West Cabarrus and Kannapolis A.L. Brown, Lake Norman, Hickory Ridge and South Iredell. Kings Mountain hopes to go in at full strength but at the time of this writing it’s not certain if leading rusher Teddy Jeffries will be fully recovered from last week’s injury against Shelby. “We will need to do a lot of work this week,” says Mountaineer head coach Strait Herron whose first win at KMHS came against the school’s longest rival, Shelby. “Cox Mill lost to Weddington but Weddington is a really good team. Playing them after a big game like that is always a concern. We can’t take it lightly.” The Mountaineers will go on the road again next Friday to face county-rival Burns, which is favored to win its conference for the second straight year and go deep in the state 2A playoffs again. After that the Mountaineers will take a week off before beginning Big South 3A play September 15 at Hunter Huss.
Faked punt for touchdown propels Mountaineers to 34-17 season opening victory over Shelby Lions
A fake punt for a 40-yard touchdown run by Robert Kendrick on the first play of the second quarter broke a 7-7 tie and propelled Kings Mountains Mountaineers to a 34-17 opening season victory over the Shelby Golden Lions Friday night at KM’s John Gamble Stadium. The win was the Mountaineers’ fourth in the past five seasons over their rivals from across the creek and the first for new head coach Strait Herron, who came to KM after a remarkable career as a five-time state championship coach at South Point High School in Rock Hill, SC. Like any other coach, Herron was pleased with the victory but knows there’s still a lot of work to do as the team gets ready for the Big South 3A Conference race. “It was fun,” he said of his debut here. “We went out with a great attitude and a lot of motivation. But after watching the film we did a lot of great things but also some things we need to fix.” Each team scored on its first possession to end the first quarter 7-7. Shelby won the pre-game coin toss and deferred to the second half. With transfer quarterback Zandan Zollo calling the shots the Mountaineers drove the opening kickoff 80 yards in nine plays to score on a three-run run by Teddy Jeffries and a Max Thompson extra point. Jeffries, who was the Mountaineers’ leading rusher last year when they went 13-1, was injured in the second half and his status for this week was unknown at The Herald’s press deadline. “We don’t know how bad it is yet,” Coach Herron said. “We don’t want things like that to happen but you have to plan for the next game. We’ll know more about it later this week.” Shelby answered that early score with a 53 yard kickoff return to the KM 44 yard line. Four plays later Triston Tate caught a 33-yard touchdown pass and Jose Lopez kicked the point-after. With Jeffries and Jeramiah Hill doing the bulk of the running with a pass each to Jayden Gash, Ja’Qualyn Sanders and Xorian Lenair mixed in, the Mountaineers made it to the Shelby 32 before a sack by the Lions’ defense put them back to the 40 as the first quarter came to a close. Facing fourth and 18, Coach Herron decided it was the “perfect situation” to fake the punt. “We felt like we could pick up the first down,” he said. “If we punted it would probably have gone in the end zone and they would’ve gotten the ball at the twenty anyway. Things just opened up and it went for a touchdown. Our quarterback called for it and the whole team handled it well.” From there, the Mountaineers built a 17-10 lead on a 30-yard field goal from Max Thompson that zoomed to 34-10 before the Lions tacked on a final TD on a 17-yard reception by Triston Tate with 2:20 remaining in the game. Kings Mountain took just three plays to stretch the lead to 24-10 on a 29-yard TD pass from Zollo to Lenair with 49.3 seconds left in the half. A pass interception by Kameron Adams with four minutes left in the third quarter put the Mountaineers in business at the Lions’ 34. Three plays later Thompson kicked a 39-yard field goal to run the KM lead to 27-10. The Lions were on their own nine yard line facing fourth and 12 when they got off just a 20-yard punt. Gash caught a 27-yard pass to two yard line and Hill scored from there to make it 34-10. Shelby got its final TD with 2:20 remaining on a 17-yard reception by Tate. “I was really pleased with our offense,” Coach Herron said. “We spent a lot of time trying to decide on a starting quarterback. Zollo did a good job but we still have some things to work on. “Defensively, we made a ton of mistakes. We have to be able to play sound football to win the big games. “I was really pleased to win this one. I’ve gotten a lot of texts.”
Mountaineer hitting practice begins at Carlton Stadium, jamborees Wednesday at Shelby and Friday at Gaffney
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers began fall football practice Saturday morning at Shu Carlton Stadium and are continuing to hit every day this week in preparation for a couple of jamborees this week and the regular season that begins on Friday, Aug. 18 with a 7:30 home game against the Shelby Golden Lions. New head coach Strait Herron said he was extremely pleased with how things went Saturday and looks forward to several good sessions in the coming days. The Mountaineers will compete in the annual Cleveland County Jamboree Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Shelby High School. Kings Mountain will get a strong test as it goes up against a very talented AC Reynolds team in the 6 p.m. contest. Friday night the Mountaineers will travel to Gaffney for a 6 p.m. clash with Catawba Ridge in the McDonald’s Classic. After those two bouts, the Mountaineers will turn their attention to their longest rival, the Shelby Golden Lions who will come here for a 7:30 p.m. clash at John Gamble Stadium. Coach Herron said he has been highly-pleased with how the Mountaineers are coming along in his new system and feels they will be at full strength for the beginning of the season. One of the team’s top players, UNC recruit Curtis Simpson, sat out Saturday’s practice with a slight injury but is in top shape this week. “Everything’s going really well,” he said. “Our quarterback situation is up in the air after just one day of hitting but we have some good, talented kids that know how to play. But we still have a long way to go.” Three quarterbacks show a lot of promise, including Kandon Zolo who is a senior transfer from Clover, SC; Darion Velez-Dixon, a junior transfer from East Mecklenburg; and TJ Armstrong, a sophomore who was the JV Mountaineers’ QB last fall. “We’ll try to rotate as best we can and hopefully three or four series on offense will get them all in,” he said. The Mountaineers have several returning on offense, including last year’s leading rusher Teddy Jeffries. Jaden Gash, Qua Sanders and Bryson Brown are returning receivers and will be good targets for the QBs. The offensive line looks strong, led by 6-1, 240-pound returnee Alex Jackson who can play any position. Sophomore Dom Davis is “a gritty little player,” according to Coach Herron and he will be joined by other hopefuls like transfer Brayden Barnes, Matt Rikard, Chris Benton and others. Coach Herron expects his players to get at the top of their game every Friday night as the Big South is always one of the toughest 3A leagues in the state. He sees Crest and South Point as the Mountaineers’ toughest conference foes. “Crest is a big one,” he said of the Mountaineers’ final regular season foe. “They have the Green kid who is very good and they’re talented as always. And South Point’s going to be really good. What they do is very hard to stop. And, Ashbrook has a lot of good players and they’ll be pretty good.” But, he knows the Mountaineers have talented players who can be right up there with the best of them. “We think we’ve got a chance,” he said. “We have a good enough defense to give people some problems.” The offense has a lot of potential, too, led by the above-mentioned line. “It’s coming down to who will be the starting quarterback,” he said. “All the quarterbacks are coming along. The quarterback is the key guy on offense. Coach Bolton has them on the right track. Ours is a tough offense to run but Coach Bolton has them on the right track.” Kings Mountain has good numbers with about 55 players on varsity and 50 on JVs. Fortunately, the Mountaineers haven’t had any major injuries thus far. He said it’s “hard to say” right now if the Mountaineers will be a running or passing team. “We really need to practice more running but we also put a lot of emphasis on passing,” he said. “We looked pretty good with both Saturday. We were lucky we didn’t get anybody hurt. Coming out healthy is a good sign. We’ve been piddling with injuries all summer but we’re healthy. We just hope the guys learn all these new things we’re doing. “In the past we’ve gone with a true Air-Raid offense but we may not go as fast with it this year. We still won’t huddle very often but we’ll probably go a little slower.”
Football workouts at KMHS
Kings Mountain High School's football team went through its first day in shorts and helmets Monday at John Gamble Stadium. Only one day of helmets, shorts, t-shirts and football shoes and two hours on the field are allowed through Saturday. Beginning Monday two practices per day will be allowed and complete uniforms can be worn but body-to-body contact is allowed during just one session. During the second practice only helmets, shoulder pads, shorts, t-shrrts and football shoes are acceptable.
New entry/traffic pattern for KMHS football parking
Kings Mountain High School has announced the following changes for the entry/traffic pattern for spectator parking at KMHS Friday night football games. “Our aim is to alleviate traffic congestion on Phifer Road and have a quicker and safer entry for all spectators into the parking lot,” said athletic director Matt Bridges. “We’ve designed the new pattern making it more convenient for all spectators.” The changes include: • General home parking, visitor spectator parking and visitor handicapped parking: Spectators will enter at the Phifer Road stoplight entrance leading into the student parking lot like years past. • All drop-offs. All drop-offs must be made in the front circle of the KMHS main office. • TD Club parking pass holders and home handicap parking. Spectators will now enter through either Kings Mountain Blvd./Intermediate School Road that is located at the new power station or the Gary Stewart Blvd., situated behind the middle school to access the Brinkley Field House and the Touchdown Club members/TD Club parking pass holders lot located on the middle school intramural field. No one will be allowed to drive past the old field house to enter the Touchdown Club parking area. All TD Club parking passes will have to enter those parking areas by the softball and baseball fields
Football workouts resume at KMHS
After having a week off due to the NCHSAA’s annual coaches’ clinic, Kings Mountain High’s football team got back into light workouts Monday at John Gamble Stadium and head coach Strait Herron and his assistants were well-pleased with the Mountaineers’ effort. “Today was very good,” Coach Herron said. “We had good numbers and that’s a good sign. I hate those weeks off. Sometimes players get a little winded but they came back in good shape. We’ve got a lot of good athletes and the coaches are doing a really good job. Everybody has a good attitude and are working hard. That’s most of the battle.” Herron is still pleased with the number of prospects. “We have more players and we had another new player come in today and had a call from someone who wants to play,” he said. Herron said the varsity has 55 players at present and the JVs 58. Herron and the Mountaineers are looking forward to August when they can begin regular practice. They will be in helmets first and then shoulder pads only until the first hitting day on Saturday, August 5. They should know very quickly how much progress they’ve made when they take on perennial Western NC power AC Reynolds at 6 p.m. in the annual Cleveland County Jamboree August 9 in Shelby. Two days later they will travel to Gaffney, SC for a 7 p.m. bout with Catawba Ridge in the annual McDonald’s Kickoff Classic. They open their regular season on Friday, Aug. 18 at home against Shelby. All regular season games begin at 7:30. THE SCHEDULE AUGUST 9 – Cleveland Co. Jamboree in Shelby, 6 p.m. 11 – McDonald’s Kickoff Classic, Gaffney, 7 p.m. 18 – Shelby home, 7:30* 25 – at Cox Mill, 7:00* SEPTEMBER 1 – at Burns, 7:30* 8 – Bye 15 – at Hunter Huss, 7:30 22 – North Gaston, 7:30 29 – Forestview, 7:30 OCTOBER 6 – at South Point, 7:30 13 – Stuart Cramer, 7:30** 20 – at Ashbrook, 7:30 27 – Crest, 7:30 *Non-conference **Homecoming
KMHS varsity football team preps for new season
Kings Mountain High's varsity football team went through an early morning workout Monday at John Gamble Stadium. The Mountaineers are preparing for their first season under new head coach Strait Herron.
Kings Mountain Mounties runners-up in YMCA Allstars
By Loretta Cozart
Bentlee Elmore and his buddy, Benjamin Sanders, participated in the YMCA KM Allstars 9-10 team this year. Their team, The Kings Mountain Mounties, came in as runners up against Boger City the weekend of June 24 & 25. The team played at Tryon baseball field and also received the Good Sportsmanship Award. “We are so proud of them and their team,” shared Bentlee’s mom Shannon Elmore.
KM sports fans mourn loss of one of its all-time greats, Otis Cole
Kings Mountain lost one of its greatest athletes May 18 when basketball star Otis Cole,71, died when a blood clot caused cardiac arrest. Cole was an All-American basketball player during the Mountaineers’ glory years of the late 1960s and early ‘70s under the late Bobby Hussey. He was the father of one of Kings Mountain’s best ever all-around athletes, Shonda Cole, who was an All-American volleyball player at the University of South Carolina and a star in the pro ranks. From 1968 to 1970 he teamed with other stars such as fellow high school All-American George Adams, Ken Mitchem, Rick Finger, Charlie Barnes and others to post a three-year record of 66-7. At Florida State he helped the Seminoles to a runner-up finish to UCLA in the 1972 national tournament. Cole was All-Conference all three of his varsity years at KMHS, and his senior year he was All-American and played in the prestigious East-West all-star game. He scored 1,292 points in his three-year varsity career and went on to score 1,361 points at Florida State. Although he followed his sports over the years, Cole also took up the game of golf and was good at that, too. His wife, Joanne, noted that Otis and his KMHS teammates Charlie Barnes, Steve Spencer and Rick Finger would meet at the Cherokee Grill once a week to eat and cherish their long friendship. Mrs. Cole said Otis called Finger, who is a retired doctor, to tell him about his cancer and Finger, Barnes, and Adams came immediately to help. Upon his death many of his former teammates and friends came to the home and/or funeral including FSU great Ron King and other Seminole teammates. Steve Spencer came all the way from Virginia. She recalled that about 20 years ago UCLA great Bill Walton sent Otis a huge autographed action picture of the two competing against each other in the national championship game. “Otis was such a loving person,” Mrs. Cole said. “He never met a stranger.” Mrs. Cole, the former Joanne Kilgore, said she knew Otis when they were students at KMHS but they didn’t date until later. They were married in 1984. Cole was preceded in death by his father, Otis Cole Sr., sisters Cherlyn D. Cole and Grace Setzer, and granddaughter Taylen Allen.
KM spring football workouts continue at Gamble Stadium
Kings Mountain High football players and coaches continue to be optimistic about the Mountaineers’ chance of having a good team in the fall 2023 season. Drills continue every weekday with one of the largest groups of prospects in years. “That’s a good problem to have,” said first-year head coach Strait Herron. “We have a list of 112 players (JV and varsity) and that’s a good problem to have. If those numbers hold up we will be able to two platoon.” The Mountaineers recently went to a 7 on 7 in Gaffney and Herron said “the kids are picking things up. Our offensive coordinator said 85 percent of his offense is in. That’s good that they picked it up so fast. The defense is a little easier to do but we really don’t know where people will be playing yet.” The Mountaineers won’t be able to hit until the end of July. They can put on helmets only for about 2 1/2 weeks, he said. The Mountaineers will get a good look against other teams in upcoming jamborees, including the annual Cleveland County Jamboree in Shelby where they will face Kannapolis A.L. Brown. They will also face Catawba Ridge in a jamboree in Gaffney, SC.
King’s City Church teams complete basketball season
The King’s City Church recently completed its inaugural 2023 Spring Basketball League. League Commissioner Shane Cole said the church started with four co-ed teams geared toward middle school ages with the hopes of giving young people in the area and chance to continue to play basketball. “We want to bring basketball year-round to Kings Mountain,” he said. King’s City Church along with the KM Blaze organization is sponsoring the league. “It’s an outreach toward basketball and ministry,” Cole said. “We had a spring season and are looking forward to another season in the fall. “We started with 21 kids and expanded to 26 by season end,” Cole noted. “By next fall we want to add a few more players in the middle school division with the hopes of adding a high school division in the future.” Final standings were Hoops Dreams in first place, Bulldogs second, Kangaroos third and Hornets fourth. The Bulldogs defeated Hoops Dreams 31-25 in the championship game. The Bulldogs were led by Malachi Powell with 18 points. Jayqwan Dawson and Jayvon Dawson led Hoops Dreams with 10 and nine points, respectively.
KMHS Jr. Varsity Football Workouts
Kings Mountain High JV football players go through early-morning workouts Monday at John Gamble Stadium.
KMHS Varsity Football Workouts
Kings Mountain High School varsity football players go through light workouts Monday morning at John Gamble Stadium. The Mountaineers will spend most of the summer months in light workouts and 7 on 7's here and in other cities as they prepare for the official beginning of fall practice.
KMHS softball team falls in playoffs
Kings Mountain High’s softball team fell to Southern Guilford 4-3 in last week’s state 3A playoffs. The Lady Mountaineers ended their season with a 13-8 overall record while Southern Guilford advanced to the second round with a 17-5 mark. Maddie Huffman led the Lady Mountaineers at the plate with 3-for-4 and two runs batted in. She also did a good job on the mound, giving up just four hits and fanning seven but seven KM errors helped Southern Guilford. Desiree Green went 2-for-4, including a double, and Paige Fleming had s single. Coach Kevin Cruise’s Lady Mountaineers will return most of their starters next season.
KM track competes in 3A Regional
Twenty-four members of the Kings Mountain High school track and field team competed in the Western 3A Regional meet Friday at North Lincoln High School. Qualifying for the KM ladies were Ashlee Brooks, London Brown, Alyssa Deal, Sarah Eagle, Kieanna Ellis, Divinity Ervin, Kallie Hope, Janiya Hunt, Kamari Odems, Nicole Poston, Kinley Putnam, and Brooke Waseman. Competing for the KM men were Hunter Cruise, Nicholas Horn, Vance Johnson, Malik Littlejohn, Jake Lloyd, Marty Lovingood, Kayden Marthers, Tyler McIntyre, Barry Moore, Ja’qualyn Sanders, Max Thompson and Isaiah Watts. The men’s 4x800 meter relay team qualified for this week’s state 3A championship. Team members are Max Thompson, Marty Lovingood, Isaiah Watts and Hunter Cruise. They set a new KMHS record of 8:20.56. Max Thompson finished third in the 800 meter run with a personal record 2:02.24. The women’s 4x100 meter relay team of Brooke Waseman, London Brown, Alyssa Deal and Janiya Hunt finished eighth with a personal record of 52.77. Janiya Hunt finished sixth in the long jump. State qualifiers will travel to North Carolina A&T University Friday for the 3A state championship.