By CHRIS HOBBS
NEWTON — Another memorable step in the history of Fred T. Foard High football could come tonight in Cabarrus County.
This season’s Tigers — 9-3 and a West No. 12 seed in the state 2AA playoffs — face another set of Tigers at Mount Pleasant (10-2, seeded fourth) at 7:30 p.m.
A victory would get Foard, in Derrick Minor’s 23rd game as head coach, to the third round of the state playoffs in varsity football for the first time. The opponent would be either No. 8 Shelby (10-2) or No. 1 South Point (12-0), who play tonight in Belmont, and Foard would be on the road.
Prior to a 16-0 first-round victory over Maiden last Friday night in Maiden, Foard had not won a state football playoff game in more than three decades.
Foard — in the playoffs for the 14th time in its 59 seasons of varsity football (the first season was 1959 when the Tigers won one of eight games) — is 3-12 in the postseason all time (0-3 at home and 3-9 on the road).
Foard’s two road postseason wins came in the same season, 1982, when the Tigers were in the short-lived North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Division II playoffs (2A).
The Tigers played their first state playoff game the year before, falling 15-14 at home to Swain County in the first round in the normal 2A postseason bracket.
As the 1982 season approached, they still had one of the stars from 1981’s 1-2 punch in a powerful running game – Brian Kimball – back for his senior year.
The year before, Kimball had nine rushing touchdowns and a two-point conversion and the stud, running back Marshall Shuford, ran for 22 TDs and two two-point conversions for a 9-2 team under head coach Dick Foster.
The 1982 team, also coached by Foster, had its own challenges after starting 2-0 and then losing 34-0 at A.C. Reynolds and 7-6 to Bessemer City to fall to 2-2.
Over the next eight games, Foard ran the table. The Tigers beat Bunker Hill, West Lincoln, Maiden, Newton-Conover, Cherryville and Bandys to close the regular season and shared the Southern District 7 2A title with Bessemer City.
Bessemer City’s win over Foard got the Yellow Jackets into the traditional state playoff bracket – the Yellow Jackets beat West Wilkes 29-21 before being eliminated by Swain County, 16-6, and Foard got into the Division II bracket.
The West Division II playoffs had only four teams – Foard, Franklin, North Moore and Southwest Guilford, and Southwest Guilford beat North Moore 13-6 to move opposite of Foard in the title game.
FOARD’S PREVIOUS STATE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF VICTORIES
Statistical summaries from the other two Fred T. Foard High football state playoff victories prior to picking up the third one last Friday night against Maiden:
1982 DIVISION II (2A)
FOARD 7, FRANKLIN 0
Foard 0 7 0 0—7
Franklin 0 0 0 0–0
FTF—Brian Kimball 1 run (Kenny Wagner kick)
First downs 14 7
Rushing yards 188 103
Passing yards 41 33
Total offense 229 136
Passing 2-5-0 3-10-1
Punts, avg. 5-34.6 6-29.0
Fumbles lost 1 1
Yards penalized 65 25
FOARD 28, SW GUILFORD 25
(at SW Guilford)
Foard 0 14 7 7—28
SW Guilford 0 13 6 6—25
FTF—Steve Buchanan 2 run (Kenny Wagner kick)
SWG—Baily 88 kickoff return (Hawks kick)
FTF—Kimball 23 pass from Buchanan (Wagner kick)
SWG—D. Farlow 2 pass from Duke (kick failed)
SW – Halipilas 58 pass from Duke (run failed)
FTF—Kimball 22 pass from Buchanan (Wagner kick)
SWG—Hairston 2 run (run failed)
FTF—Kimball 3 run (Wagner kick)
First downs 18 10
Rushing yards 218 183
Passing yards 63 64
Total offense 281 247
Passing 4-8-2 6-9-0
Punts, avg. 2-22.0 2-37.5
Fumbles lost 0 2
Yards penalized 39 50
SOME OTHER TIDBITS AROUND FOARD’S 1982 TEAM
- The Tigers, who went 10-2, overcame making 35 turnovers that season – 23 lost fumbles and 12 interceptions – by their defense providing a whopping 42 turnovers (20 interceptions, 22 fumble recoveries) for a plus-7 ratio.
- Kimball had 1,205 rushing yards in the regular season with 19 TDs as the Tigers won their conference games by an average of 16 points per game. Through the regular season, they led the SD-7 2A in rushing (256.3) and total offense (296.6) and were the league’s best defense against the run (104.7), in total defense (176.3) and led in interceptions (19) and fumble recoveries (19).
- Foard finished the season at 3,476 yards in total offense, throwing for only 507, and Kimball had 21 rushing TDs. The other rushing TDs that season came from Randy Hefner (5), Spencer Dixon (3), and Steve Buchanan and Brad Lutz each added one.
- The Tigers beat Maiden 14-10 that season at Maiden when the Blue Devils ran for minus-1 yard and Foard ran for 239. Maiden took an early 8-0 lead on a TD pass from Brian Brown to Scott Abernathy and Tony Finger’s two-point conversion run before the Tigers bounced back. Foard then got a 27-yard scoring run from Hefner and a 1-yard TD run by Kimball, and the final points came when Maiden’s punter stepped out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
MOUNT PLEASANT VERSUS AREA TEAMS IN THE STATE PLAYOFFS
Year/class Opponent Round Result
1971 Bandys Second MP 40, Bandys 0
1971 Maiden West final Maiden 6, MP 2*
1996 Maiden First Maiden 63, MP 21
2005 at Bandys Second Bandys 29, MP 23
2007 Hibriten Second MP 42, Hibriten 20
2016 at Maiden First MP 35, Maiden 21
*–at Newton-Conover’s Gurley Stadium
SOURCE: HobbsDailyReport.com research/files