Prep Football: Legend Bobby Myers
North Rowan's Bobby Myers is remembered as one of the best quarterbacks in county history.
But even that label sells him short. He was more than a quarterback - he was an outstanding three-sport athlete.
Just how good an athlete Myers was, was proven after he reported for Shrine Bowl practice in 1979.
Myers was a noted passer, but coach Paul Gay wasn't planning to throw. He was going to employ the option with two running QBs - Harding's Mike Eppley (Clemson) and Broughton's Dwayne Greene (N.C. State).
"They put me on defense and told me I'd have a chance to compete for a position," Myers said. "I started at cornerback."
Myers intercepted a pass and made a good enough return to set up a North Carolina score.
"Went 32 yards down the sideline," Myers said. "They ran a little out cut and I jumped it. I was a little bit lucky. It might've been a TD if I hadn't intercepted."
Myers' genes are good. His father, Robert, was a monster lineman on North's earliest teams and a hero in the 1962 East-West All-Star Game.
Former North star Steve Huffman and Spencer Jaycees coach Tony Queen got Myers started in the right direction in football. It was C.O. Moore, who made Myers a quarterback as a seventh-grader.
When Myers arrived at North as a sophomore in the fall of 1977, the Cavaliers already had an outstanding athlete in Kendall Alley, but Alley, who would start for Clemson's 1981 national champs, moved to receiver and Myers was installed at quarterback.
"It was a way get both Kendall and me on the field," Myers said. "And I learned stuff from Coach (Larry) Thomason and Coach (Ralph) Shatterly that I still use today."
North was decent in Myers' high school years - 6-4, 5-5 and 5-5. But the Cavaliers were great in county games, 8-1 against rivals East Rowan, West Rowan and Salisbury. North ended Salisbury's long county winning streak when Myers was a sophomore, and Myers' fondest memory is leading a late drive to beat the Hornets his senior year.
Myers had a 233-yard, three-TD game against Asheboro as a sophomore. In a two-week span as a junior, he threw seven TD passes, four to Alley. With Alley gone his senior year, Myers still had a strong season, throwing to Jimmy Muskelly, Louis Turner and Berkley Gore.
The county offensive player of the year in both 1978 and 1979, Myers passed for 3,474 yards in his career and had 31 TD passes, huge numbers for that era. He was second to East's C.M. Yates on the county's all-time passing yardage list when he graduated, and he still ranks 12th.
Myers was recruited by a young Georgia Tech assistant named Steve Spurrier to play quarterback for the Yellow Jackets, but head coach Pepper Rodgers was fired, Spurrier moved on to Duke, and Tech hired Bill Curry, who believed in a run-oriented veer offense.
Myers switched to Appalachian State, and ultimately to Catawba. Those were lean years for the Indians, but playing for Steve Shaughnessy and Pete Stout, Myers broke some of the records set by legends John Scott and Harry Monokian.
"Just one still stands," Myers said with a chuckle. "Ten straight completions."
Myers accomplished that feat in a loss to Davidson late in the 1984 season.
After college, Myers had the size (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) and arm to get looks from NFL teams.
"Steve Huffman helped me get in great shape, and I had a shot," Myers said.
He was in preseason camp with the Chicago Bears in 1985, that great team that had Mike Ditka coaching, Walter Payton running, Jim McMahon quarterbacking, Mike Singletary tackling, and William "Refigerator" Perry smiling and eating.
Cut by the Bears, Myers had a brief fling with the Canadian Football League before returning home.
Myers, who has worked the past nine years at Cloninger Ford, has been in sales ever since, but his second football career took off in 1991 when North head coach Roger Secreast asked him to tutor quarterback Carvie Kepley.
"I started off with a good one, and I've been lucky enough to coach a lot more good ones," Myers said. "All of them better than I ever was."
Myers has coached quarterbacks at North, West Rowan, Catawba, and now South Rowan, and his pupils have been among the county's most prolific QBs. Kepley, Mitch Ellis, Timmy Hogue, Craig Powers, Keegan Linza, Daniel Griffith, Alfonzo Miller and Nathan Lambert all have joined Myers in the county's top 20 in career passing yards.
"I'm a lot prouder of what I've done coaching than anything I ever did on the field," Myers said.
Even in the 1990s, Myers still could out-throw his students. He lost a little in 1998 after he donated a kidney to his brother, Tony, who was a fine football player and a great baseball player at North.
Myers made the move to South a few years ago, mostly because he wanted to coach Lambert,and he's enjoyed working with coaches Jason Rollins and Thad Chrismon.
Now that Lambert's career has been ended by a broken ankle, Myers passes on his knowledge to youngster Aaron Kennerly, who already has seven TD passes.
"A-Rod may not have the size and feet of some kids I've coached, but he's a smart kid and he can make plays," Myers said. "He'll be a good one."
Myers will see to that.