Rock Hill: Football Town USA - DatelineCarolina

Rock Hill: Football Town USA

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Quarterback Greg Ruff completed 20 or 22 passes for 242 yards, while rushing for 185 on 7 carries. Quarterback Greg Ruff completed 20 or 22 passes for 242 yards, while rushing for 185 on 7 carries.
Head Coach Herron Strait said he's been dealing with high level talent for years, including when he was a player and had to match up against Rock Hill's Gerald Dixon Head Coach Herron Strait said he's been dealing with high level talent for years, including when he was a player and had to match up against Rock Hill's Gerald Dixon

 By: Larkin Belton

    Rock Hill, South Carolina is usually remembered as a textile industry driven town. But every fall, it becomes "Football Town USA."

    Rock Hill schools have turned out more NFL athletes than any other city its size.

    Sporting News reports the city of Miami has the most players in the NFL at 24, but that's at a rate of one per 17,254 people. Rock Hill produces one NFL player per 8,512 people. 

    Rock Hill's talent is divided up among three high schools: Rock Hill, Northwestern, and South Pointe High Schools.

    Rock Hill High School has had great athletes like Gerald Dixon, Ko Simpson, Chris Hope, and Phillip Adams to make it to the NFL. 

    While Northwestern High School has had the most talent make it to the league with players like Jeff Burris, Jonathan Joseph, Derrick Ross, Rick Sanford, Ben Watson, and Cordarrelle Patterson. 

     And the newest school South Pointe, has had the most recent NFL talent with Jadaveon Clowney, Stephon Gilmore, and Devonte Holloman.

     "I credit our middle school's with most of our talent," said South Pointe's Head Coach Herron Strait.

     He says his players seem to come in more developed than the average high schooler. Strait went on to say they don't do anything different compared to other high schools.

    "We lift weights, we run through speed drills, all those things to make them better athletes," he said.

    South Pointe looks to keep the tradition alive with current players like Stallions quarterback Greg Ruff. 

     Ruff knows of the great names to come before him at South Pointe, but says as one of the shortest people in Rock Hill, he wants to do it like no one has done it before.

    But it's not just great athletes like Greg that make Rock Hill "Football Town USA. It's also the fans.

    "Football rocks, in Rock Hill," said concession operator Matt Cerri. 

    "Football in Rock Hill more than anything is an event, and that's what we try to do here at South Pointe, try to make it one big event," said Jeff Nicholson, who's been at the school since it opened in 2005.

     South Pointe continues to play at high level, competing for the region championships, even with the school bouncing between 3A and 4A every few years.

    Being a 3A team this year, their schedule is very favorable, considering their talent. 

     Another great bunch of next level talent's on its way from Rock Hill, so it's best to pay $6 to go see them play now, than to pay $600 later.

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