BLAST FROM THE PAST: Can St. Stephens give head coach sweet birthday gift?

Published Friday, October 13th, 2017


With one conference win so far, St. Stephens High’s Indians could give head football coach Wayne Hicks a heck of a birthday present if they can win tonight at home against Watauga.


St. Stephens (2-5, 1-2) isn’t out of the postseason picture just yet … and if the Indians beat the Pioneers, the door opens for potentially an 11th state football playoff bid.

The Indians still have to play at Alexander Central and have home games against South Caldwell and Hickory so beating Watauga would go a long way toward keeping their fate in their own hands.

Hicks — in his fifth season at St. Stephens — turns 55 on Sunday and will, like most head football coaches, probably be watching game film.

Getting to the playoffs has never been easy for the Indians. They went once in the 1960s, once in the 1980s, once in the 1990s and, prior to this season, seven times since 2000.

If St. Stephens can get to the postseason, it would make Hicks the fourth Indians head coach to guide the Indians to the state playoffs two or more times.

Doug Justice leads that list with three, and Dick Foster and Fred Whalen each advanced two of their teams to the state playoffs.

Review some of St. Stephens’ postseason football highlights below:



— All-time state playoff bids: 10.

Postseason records: 2-10 overall; 1-0 home; 1-9 away; 0-1 neutral.


Year                    Head coach            Team record

1961                               n/a                             9-1

1988                             Dick Foster                6-5

1991                              Dick Foster               9-3

2002                            John Jarman            3-9

2003                            Doug Justice            4-8

2006                            Doug Justice            4-8

2007                           Doug Justice             6-6

2008                           Fred Whalen            7-5

2011                            Fred Whalen            5-7

2015                           Wayne Hicks             7-6


(since 1988)

1988 (3A): Lost 26-8 at Shelby

1991 (3A): Won 39-32 over West Henderson; lost 17-2 at E. Rowan

2002 (3AA): Lost 47-3 at Asheville

2003 (3AA): Lost 41-14 at Franklin

2006 (3AA): Lost 53-33 at Charlotte Catholic

2007 (3AA): Lost 31-7 at A.L. Brown

2008 (3AA): Lost 35-10 at Anson County

2011 (3AA): Lost 49-0 at Crest

2015 (3AA): Won 14-13 at Canton Pisgah; lost 28-23 at Hibriten



St. Stephens 39, West Henderson 32

(at St. Stephens)

The Indians won their only home postseason game in school history when RB Reggie Shuford, who led the team with 18 rushing TDs that season, ran 30, 6, 7 and 5 yards and for three two-point conversions to turn back the Falcons.

St. Stephens’ other scores were a 31-yard run by QB Michael Bolick, who also threw a two-point conversion pass to Carlos Alred.

The Indians played in the Big Six 3A in 1991 and they won five of their first six games. After a loss to Maiden, they beat Bunker Hill, West Iredell, Newton-Conover, Bandys and West Caldwell.

After falling to Lincolnton, they added league wins over East Lincoln and Fred T. Foard to gain a home first-round game.

The Indians’ season ended in the second round in Rowan County when East Rowan won 17-2 via a TD run by Brad Ketchie, Chandler Shaw throwing 17 yards to Donald McGinnis for a score and Brett Hanson kicking a 23-yard field goal.


St. Stephens 14, Canton Pisgah 13

(at Canton Pisgah)

The Indians’ first road playoff victory was a gut-it-out/we-refuse-to-lose effort deep in the mountains that was led by QB Spencer Brown.

Brown, who arguably had the top season by a Greater Hickory area quarterback with 22 rushing TDs, had his final one of the season in this game. That was on a 23-yard run. He finished with 26 carries for 83 yards and completed five passes for 77 yards.

Brown also threw a 21-yard scoring pass to Zedrick Williams (it was Williams’ only TD catch of the year and just his second TD), and Bryce DeSantis kicked two PATs.

The Indians were outgained 255-200, and they won the turnover war 2-1.

The next Friday night, in the second round, Hibriten beat St. Stephens for the second time in the season (28-23) to eliminate the Indians.

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