Gallagher column: Young, Massey under the bright lights
RALEIGH ó Scott Young wearing a suit? Man, something special must have been going on in the football world.
Young was experiencing a first in his coaching career: Monday’s state championship press conference at Carter-Finley Stadium.
He had always dreamed of being one of just 16 coaches among 361 football-playing North Carolina schools still practicing a sport he loves in the month of December.
Saturday, his West Rowan Falcons will meet West Craven at BB&T Stadium in Winston-Salem for the right to call themselves the best 3A football team in the state.
But first came Monday, which was more about promotion than actual football. It was a time for Young to be interviewed by not one, not two, but three TV reporters. It was a time to stand with some perennial winners, watching how confident they moved and how surely they talked.
Young had no problem fitting in.
“We’re a fraternity, we’re pretty much the same,” he said.
“Today is making it all sink in,” Young added as he scurried down a hallway for his first TV sitdown with News 14. “You have plugged away for 10 years, wondering if you’ll ever make it. Finally, you realize what your program has accomplished.”
Young brought a large entourage with him to Raleigh, including a principal, assistant principal, superintendant Judy Grissom and associate supreintendant Walter Hart, not to menton a horde of assistant coaches.
After one of his TV sessions, assistant Jeff Chapman quipped of Young, “He has a face for radio.”
Young sat under bright television lights and had his microphone situated just right. He easily answered the questions, laughing and joking. He was a natural.
Next in line for TV duty after Young was A.L. Brown’s Ron Massey, whose Wonders will play immediately following West on Saturday for the 3AA title against Greensboro Dudley.
“I haven’t cut my hair since we started winning again,” said Massey, currently on a 10-game winning streak. “My wife had to trim my neck before I left.”
Being with Massey, one of those perennial winners, is a neat thing for Young.
“They keep talking about Fayetteville (which has Byrd, 71st and Britt in the finals),” Young said. “But here we are, representing 3A West and 3AA West, and we’re only 12, 15 miles apart. I think that’s pretty unique, too.”
Massey’s worst day of the year is Picture Day, and he’ll tell you that. It’s in early August and unbearably hot. Massey never smiles on that day.
Now, it’s December and ruthlessly cold. And Ron Massey was smiling.
“Now, I’ve got take another team photo,” he joked.
He doesn’t mind one little bit. Although he has almost 30 years of service in, he was as giddy as Young to be a part of Monday’s festivities.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been around a long time,” he said. “I’ve lost in every round. There’s probably not that many people who can say that.”
Massey said he’d be much more relaxed in the state title game than he was in the semifinal win over Kings Mountain.
“You’re not worried about how this will affect next week’s preparation,” Massey said. “This is it.”
Young and Massey may have been doing the talking and the mugging for the cameras but they had one thing on their minds: their team.
“This is supposed to be a celebration day,” Young said. “When you get this far, it’s for the kids and the communities. To be here, it kinda humbles you a little bit.”
Massey hopes Saturday is as much of a celebration as Monday.
“You want your kids to play well because they’re on the big platform,” Massey said. “You really want them to play well on that day.”
As he walked out, Young gazed around the room, thinking about what he had just experienced.
“I kinda like it,” he laughed. “We can make a habit out of this.”
A habit West principal Jamie Durant could definitley live with. He said he told Grissom, “Don’t be surprised to see us here, or close to here, in basketball.”
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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