Gallagher column: Ronnie’s roaming the county

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 4, 2008

Roaming the county getting ready for tonight. …As soon as the tape recorder was turned on and shoved toward his face, South Rowan football coach Jason Rollins laughed.
“I know what you’re going to ask me,” he said with a wide grin.
The question was, “What side will you be sitting on tonight when South Point visits West Rowan for the Western 3A final.
Hmm. Let’s see here. Rollins will have buddies on the West Rowan sidelines, considering he coaches in the county and annually plays the Falcons.
He’ll have buddies on the South Point sidelines, considering he graduated from the Belmont school in 1992 and proudly wore the red and black while sprinting up and down the field at Lineberger Stadium.
Rollins admitted his alma mater wins out.
“I’ll be sitting over there with my family,” Rollins said. “I’m just going to say I wish both teams the best of luck.”
Rollins is the only coach who can say he has played both teams this season ó with similar results. West beat his Raiders 56-7. South Point leveled the Raiders in the first round of the playoffs, 42-6.
So who better to have a gauge on tonight’s battle than Rollins.
He says he patterns his program after both teams.
As far as West, Rollins says its Scott Young.
“I pattern things after his work ethic off the field and how he prepares his kids,” Rollins said.
As far as South Point?
“It’s the high intensity of the coaches ó the way the staff was when I was there.”

Rollins says he sees similarities between this year’s team and the 2003 Red Raiders who won the state title.
“In 2003, they had an aswesome quarterback and a fullback that broke records,” he said. “This year, they have a great quarterback and a fullback breaking records.”
Rollins also thinks West won’t see a better offensive line.
Then again, he thinks South Point won’t see a better defensive front.
“Those guys may be the toughest around,” he said of the Falcons. “I’d put them up against anybody.”

Rollins loved the way West beat Carver last week. Carver brought unbelievable athletes to Mount Ulla. West looked beaten ó until the final second ticked off the clock.
“It’s that winning mentality,” Rollins said of West. “Those kids are going to find a way to win.”
That’s why it’s tough to decide on who to cheer for.
“I’m not going to lie,” Rollins said. “Those guys at South Point are like father figures. I look up to them highly. But I wish the best for Scott.”

Regardless of what side of the stadium you find Rollins, it will be a tight squeeze.
“I’m going to get there at 6 p.m., if that’s a hint to anybody in the county. There won’t be enough seats. I’m bringing a chair.”
He even told the Gaston County AD to tell the newspapers and the fans to bring lawn chairs.
“It’s going to be packed,” Rollins said.

And we mean packed everywhere. West AD Todd Bell said the Gaston Gazette called to say three reporters were coming and wanted to make sure there was room in the press box.
Bell said there wouldn’t be. There’s barely room for four or five people.
“There was silence on the other end of the phone when I told him that,” Bell shrugged.
There will be room in there, though, for the Salisbury Post, right, Todd?
Oh, Todd …?

On the air tonight…
The dynamic duo of Howard Platt and Wilson “Don’t call me Wild” Cherry will broadcast the game on WSTP 1490 AM.
– The velvet-voiced Randy Whitley and former A.L. Brown coach Buddy Amerson will be in Kings Mountain to bring us the Wonders’ Western 3AA final on WRKB 1460 AM.
Go watch a game tonight, folks. And be nice.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or