Prep Football: Legend Tim Hogue
Published 12:02 am Friday, September 18, 2015
By Mike London
Twenty years have sailed by since West Rowan quarterback Tim Hogue was one of the state’s most sought after recruits.
The 6-foot-3 gunslinger was on every college recruiter’s list as one of North Carolina’s best 10 prospects.
“Clemson, N.C. State and Pittsburgh were the big schools that recruited me most,” Hogue said in a phone interview from his Statesville home. “That one day that stands out in the whole recruiting process for me was when (West Rowan coach) Ron Raper called me down to the office and handed me a letter from Nebraska. Nebraska was a really big deal in those days, and I remember Coach Raper hugging me. I remember thinking, ‘Man, this is crazy!'”
It didn’t work out for Hogue in the big-time, but his legacy endures as one of Rowan County’s all-time great quarterbacks and one of the finest multi-sport athletes of the 1990s.
Hogue was a terrific basketball point guard on West teams that ruled the Yadkin Valley Conference.
The 1995 Falcons were beaten, 66-64, in a regional final by a Lexington team coached, ironically enough, by future West coach Mike Gurley. The 1994 Falcons went 27-1, denied by a two-point loss in the Western Regional to West Caldwell.
“I was a quarterback and a point guard, positions where you lead and I always tried my best to lead,” Hogue said. “My dad (1970s West running back Phil Hogue) got me started in football early. As far as basketball, Joel Fleming was West’s point guard before me and he taught me a lot.”
Hogue believed his sport was basketball. His father believed his sport was baseball. But it was in football where he became a superstar.
He remembers that his football teams went undefeated in middle school.
“But then I got to high school and, oh, boy, how it changed,” Hogue said with a laugh.
As a sophomore in 1993, Hogue directed West’s wishbone offense and he didn’t really enjoy a 5-5 season.
“As a wishbone quarterback, you’re getting hit every play and I really didn’t like to get hit,” Hogue said. “I detested that offense.”
The best day of Hogue’s life was when Raper called him in prior to his junior year and informed him the Falcons were going to try something new. They were going to emulate North Rowan. They were going to spread it out, throw it around and take advantage of Hogue’s arm.
Raper even brought in guru Bobby Myers to work with Hogue and teach him the finer points of quarterback play.
“Coach Myers came in and taught me a lot about the game,” Hogue said.
Hogue bought in to the revised offense so enthusiastically that he became Raper’s chief recruiter. He went after seniors Chavis Cowan and Paul Cuthbertson, outstanding basketball athletes, and talked them into joining the receiving corps.
“Chavis had gotten a concussion returning a punt at North Rowan as a freshman and hadn’t played football since then, and I don’t think Paul had played since middle school,” Hogue said. “I told them we were going to throw the ball and we were going to have some fun.”
In 1994, in his only season of varsity football, the springy Cowan made 61 catches for 1,095 yards. Cuthbertson chipped in with 31 catches for 495 yards.
Hogue threw for 2,163 yards with five 200-yard games, and running back Lamont Smith rolled for 1,564 rushing yards against spread-out defenses forced to defend the whole field.
West went 9-4, the most games the school had ever won, and reached the second round of the 2A playoffs before losing to nemesis North Rowan and senior QB Mitch Ellis for the second time.
“Mitch out-did me,” Hogue said. “He always out-did me.”
The Cavaliers beat the Falcons, 49-32, and then 34-30, in the playoffs.
“You remember the games with the rivals, and for us that was North and Salisbury,” Hogue said.
“We beat Salisbury my junior year when they had Desmond Adams and Andre Turner. People think about them as running backs, but they played both ways as cornerbacks. They were tough athletes.”
Hogue didn’t have Cowan and Cuthbertson to throw to when he was a senior in 1995, so his numbers dipped a bit and the team went 6-5. He still connected with Marcus White and Scotty Ofsanko often enough to produce three 200-yard games and 1,804 passing yards. West lost to a powerful Salisbury team fueled by Turner, Adams and all-state defensive back Calvin Everhart, but the Falcons did beat North Rowan.
Hogue finished his prep career with 4,967 passing yards, a figure that still ranks fifth in county history. He held the West records until B.J. Sherrill came along a few years ago.
West beat North Stanly 18-6 to win Hogue’s final football outing for West. Then he played in the East-West All-Star Game in Greensboro, along with Salisbury’s Everhart and Adams.
In an interview prior to that game, Everhart told the Greensboro News & Record that the Hornets allowed only one TD pass that entire season — to Hogue. Everhart went on to say Hogue was the best QB he’d ever played against.
Hogue’s dreams of playing for a Division I school were detoured by a standardized test score below the level required for freshman eligibility.
He wanted to play immediately, so he headed to Copiah-Lincoln, a junior college in Wesson, Mississippi. The competition was strong, but he wasn’t much more excited about Mississippi than he’d been about the wishbone offense.
The next year he stayed in North Carolina and played basketball for Southeastern Community College in Whiteville. His teammates included South Rowan grad David Arey. Hogue played well, but that was the end of the road as far as college sports.
Two decades removed from his glory days, Hogue has moved on with no regrets. He and his wife manage a large Kampgrounds of America (KOA) site in Statesville and he has a 5-year-old daughter who keeps him young.
He still keeps up with the West Rowan Falcons, but he has strong family ties to Carson. Carson cornerback Armoni Hogue is his nephew, while Denon Hogue, Tim’s brother, has been a Carson basketball assistant coach for years.
Hogue still gets a kick out of sports.
“When I was playing, I loved basketball the most,” Hogue said. “Now that I’m just a spectator, football would have to be my favorite.”