Prep Football: West celebrates with championship rings
By Ryan Bisesi
MOUNT ULLA — Herff-Jones might as well have the ring sizes of the West Rowan football team on file.
Three straight 3A state championships have given West’s players and coaching staff a legion of jewelry, the latest of which was added Saturday night at the school’s ring ceremony for the 2010 championship.
Dubbed “the third annual” championship ring ceremony by athletic director Todd Bell, West’s newest ring was deemed its best.
“This is my favorite,” West coach Scott Young said. “It feels different on your hand and it’s bigger height-wise, if you will.”
West wasn’t afraid of heights in 2010, rising to the occasion time and time again with little hesitation as it marched to another undefeated season.
Forty-six straight wins got the Falcons national notoriety, but their dominance got the ultimate validation with another championship ring.
Departing quarterback B.J. Sherrill prominently displayed all three of his rings on a necklace after the ceremony.
Hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
“They’re all great-looking rings,” said Sherrill, who never lost a game at West. “Not many people in the entire country, let alone North Carolina, can say they won three consecutive state championships. It’s a pretty big deal and I’m pretty proud of it. ”
The school and the booster club did most of the heavy lifting when it came to acquiring the rings.
“We try and leave it up to the seniors, but of course price comes into it,” Young said. “You let the senior guys pick the ring they want that’s most cost-efficient.”
When at the podium, Young made sure everyone involved with the program got their due, including parents, coaches’ wives, faculty, trainers and cheerleaders.
“It creates a perfect storm with the entire school working together for one common goal,” Young said.
As much winning as the Falcons have done during the last three years, the rings have yet to lose their luster.
“We do practice hard and work hard,” Trey Mashore said. “This is well-deserved.”
Catawba coach Chip Hester, a friend and former teammate of Young’s at Guilford, was the guest speaker for the event and spoke to three of his future players in Sherrill, Mashore and tight end Patrick Hampton.
“I hope three in particular out here are playing for college championships,” Hester said.
Hester challenged the players in attendance to not let athletics define them and strive for greatness in all facets of their lives.
“Don’t let athletic achievements be the most important thing you do in your life,” Hester said.
Young was presented a Shrine Bowl ring after coaching the N.C. team in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in 2009.
“A lot of people last year said we wouldn’t be doing it again this year and we were,” Young said. “You lose four all-state players and I think everyone expected us to come back to the pack a little bit.”
The returning Falcons are back to practicing four days a week and will attend a prestigious Elite 32 7-on-7 passing camp in Hoover, Al. in July.
Young said a Doubleheader Saturday of football on Sept. 10 at West is still in the works.
North Rowan and University Christian (Fla.) would be the proposed first game with West taking on South Pointe (S.C.) in the finale. West was orignally scheduled to take on Cocoa (Fla.) before Cocoa backed out for higher-profile opponent. South Pointe was a state finalist last year and produced blue-chip recruit Jadeveon Clowney, a South Carolina signee.
“We’re trying to get South Pointe in for Cocoa,” Young said. “It probably won’t be as high-profile because South Pointe’s not the 27th-ranked team in the nation, but it’ll still be a big deal for Rowan County.”
The game would happen when Catawba plays at Coastal Carolina, not threatening to take away potential attendance from the Indians.
Young confirmed defensive back Quentin Sifford and defensive back Eric Cowan will sign with Division II West Liberty in Wheeling, W. Va. shortly.
Stories are upcoming.