Smithfield: Sports

Smithfield-Selma football program to honor its Super Bowl legends

The NFL presented golden footballs to every player who played in a Super Bowl as part of its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl to be given to their high schools.
The NFL presented golden footballs to every player who played in a Super Bowl as part of its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl to be given to their high schools. Courtesy of the NFL

Smithfield-Selma High School will wrap its home slate of football games in a big way on Friday night. The Spartans will hold their homecoming events — wiped out the weekend of Hurricane Matthew, honor their fall sport senior athletes, host military night (veterans will be admitted to the game free of charge), the Spartan student section will be participating in a ‘Pink Out’ night and SSS will honor two of its football program alums who played in the biggest football game of all.

The school will hold a presentation during halftime of Friday’s game against Triton. The school will be presented two golden footballs from the NFL and the families of two Spartan program alums during halftime. Jimmy Hargrove and the late Curtis Whitley went onto play in Super Bowls after their days at SSS ended.

The footballs feature the 50th anniversary Super Bowl logo and standard NFL game ball labeling on one side and on the other, the high school’s name, location, the players name and a notation of which Super Bowl or Bowls the player participated in.

Hargrove played with the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI after the 1981 season, rushing for one touchdown during the regular season. The Bengals fell to the 49ers 26-21 in that Super Bowl.

Hargrove, a running back who played collegiately at Wake Forest University, went onto to have stints with the Packers and Raiders in the NFL and also played on a championship pro team with the Michigan Panthers of the now defunct United States Football League in 1983.

Whitley, an offensive lineman, went onto play at Clemson University after his time at SSS, was drafted by the Chargers — playing with them in Super Bowl 29 — and later played for the Panthers before joining the Oakland Raiders for Super Bowl.

‘If we get one, I’m happy’: There’s a simple reason why Princeton goes with some version of an onside kick every time it kicks off this season.

The Bulldogs recovered back-to-back onside kicks in the first half of Thursday’s Carolina 1A Conference win over North Duplin, turning a nine-point lead into a 25-point lead over that stretch.

Coach Travis Gaster comes from the Marc Morris coaching tree, which was one of the pioneers in the area of the sky kick to the somewhere around the 35-yard-line forces a fair catch instead of a return.

“That’s what we do because we don’t have anybody who can do the sky kick,” Gaster said. “If I had somebody who could put the ball sky high to the 35-yard-line, we would be doing that. This (the onside kick) is what we’re good at.

“We know we’re going to give up field position, but if we get one (of those kicks), I’m happy.”

The Bulldogs with Garrett Klein handling the kicks and a group of aggressive kick coverage guys are making the strategy work during their current three-game win streak.

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