By CHRIS HOBBS
It hasn’t happened often – they’ll play for the 31st time tonight at 7:30 p.m. out on Springs Road – and the Indians, in need of a victory to probably keep their state playoff hopes alive, have won five times previously.
Four of those wins came on the field and the other was the result of a forfeit in 2011 that did not come until February of the next year when the Red Tornadoes forfeited nine games after discovering they had inadvertently used an ineligible player during the 2011 season.
A look at bits and parts of the series that rocks Hickory annually:
- First meeting: 1977, Hickory won 21-8 and then won the next four games.
- Series record: Hickory leads 25-5.
- First St. Stephens victory: 1993, when the series resumed after not having played since 1982 … the Indians won 21-7 at St. Stephens.
- Longest win streak by Hickory: 14, from 1994 through 2007.
- Longest win streak by St. Stephens: 2, 2014 and 2015.
- Biggest win margin, Hickory: 56 points, 56-0 in 2003 at Hickory.
- Biggest win margin, St. Stephens: 14 points, 21-7 in 1993 at Hickory.
- St. Stephens’ first win at Hickory: 21-7, 1993.
THE INDIANS’ FOUR ON-FIELD WINS, HIGHLIGHTS
St. Stephens 21, Hickory 7
The Indians beat the Red Tornadoes for the first time and also for the first time at Hickory with a team effort, with rushing TDs by Jason (Inky) Harris, Matt Deal and Shawn Allred.
Harris, later a baseball star at Clemson and the Indians’ QB, scored on a 1-yard run. It was one of his team-leading five rushing scores that season. Deal and Allred each had a 3-yard TD run and Jason Starnes added 3 PATs for St. Stephens.
Allred led the Indians in rushing that season with 676 yards and was a defensive force as well with 123 tackles, three interceptions, four fumble recoveries and eight sacks.
Hickory, which went 1-10, was dealt its ninth straight loss that season by St. Stephens and got only a scoring run by Tim Holland in that loss.
The teams were playing in the Western Piedmont 3A in 1993.
St. Stephens 28, Hickory 21
Caleb Peterson and Antonio Sherrill led the Indians to a victory at Hickory in the fourth game of the season both schools.
Peterson ran 4 and 2 yards for TDs and for 85 yards on 20 carries and had a 22-yard interception return for a TD, while Sherrill ran for 56 yards and scored on a 13-yard run.
Hickory won the yardage war 295-209 and had two players gain more than 100 yards in the loss – Rakim Barrett (17-110, a TD) and Kyshell Geter (21-111, a TD) – and QB Kevin Shelton threw 36 yards to Trevin Parks for a score.
St. Stephens won by forfeit
The Indians picked up a forfeit win in February 2012 when the Red Tornadoes discovered they had inadvertently used an ineligible player in nine games during the 2011 season.
The game, played at St. Stephens, was a blowout with the Red Tornadoes on top 49-14.
Corey Stinson had two rushing TDs that night and QB Kyle Johnson ran for one score and threw for another.
RB Jon Sweet, who ultimately closed his prep football career at Bunker Hill, ran 3 and 71 yards for TDs against Hickory that night.
St. Stephens 49, Hickory 43
The Indians won at Barger Stadium, dealing the Red Tornadoes the second of their six straight losses to close the season, after a breakout performance by QB Spencer Brown.
Brown threw 94 yards to Riley Edwards for a score and ran for four scores – two 1-yard runs, a 4-yarder and a 70-yarder – to spark the victory. RB Janario Knox added scoring runs of 2 and 57 yards.
Hickory got a huge game, as was often the case, from QB JaQuon Crawford. He accounted for 34 points with TD runs of 56 and 80 yards and three scoring throws, one to Brandon Helms.
St. Stephens 48, Hickory 45
At St. Stephens, Brown had a monster game – 471 yards of total offense and a hand in seven TDs – as the Indians won a battle that included 983 yards of total offense.
Brown and Hickory QB Derrien Phillips (372 yards) combined for 843 yards.
Brown had 26 rushes for 342 yards and completed 10 of 18 passes for 129 yards. His scoring runs were from 41, 5, 15, 59 and 65 yards and he threw TDs to Devan Robinson and Wyatt Berlin. Bryce DeSantis kicked six of his 24 PATs that season in this game.
Phillips ran for scores of 6, 20, 15, 9 and 43 yards and Mykell Linebarger added two TD runs for Hickory, which was outgained by the Indians 505-476.