Times were pretty tight/tough over at Page High School back in 1970 and 1971

These were the days right before Coach Kirby came in and from talking to former Page Pirate football player Ron Smith this evening, things were tight and they were very tough back in the time when Coach Steve Yates steered the Pirates’ ship….

Ron said that Coach Yates ran some very tough practices and in turn, that ended up running some players off and they just flat-out quit or moved on to other schools…Ron Smith was the starting fullback and linebacker for the Pirates in the 1970 and 1971 seasons and about that time Page had a player by the name of Vince Evans and quarterback Vince decided that the Yates system was not for him and Vince took his game over to the Smith Golden Eagles and then later on to the Southern Cal Trojans and then on to a Rose Bowl victory for Southern Cal and then on to the starting spot on the Chicago Bears and then later on he was with the Oakland Raiders and others….

Vince was at Page, but he ended up at Smith….Page also had a pretty tough guy in Frank Grezycek and Frank ended up over at Smith too, according to Ron Smith…There was a time in the 1972 season when Ron Smith was named the Defensive Player of the Week in the county and Prince Deese(Ragsdale HS) was named the Offensive Player of the Week in the county and they went on to become teammates, at Elon College and played for the legendary coach Shirley ‘Red’ Wilson….

Ron Smith was one of the main cogs in the Page Pirate offense and defense and he had a quarterback one year in Tim Harris and the next year his teammate and QB was the current Greensboro Grasshoppers General Manager, Donald Moore Sr…..One of the top runningbacks on the Page team those years was Garson Rice Jr.(Rice Toyota) Garson Rice Jr. went on to make the team at N.C. State and he played for the great Lou Holtz, back in the early 70’s……

Ron Smith said the times were tough and the wins were tight, back when Coach Yates ran the show and at times more players were being run off than were sticking around and one of the assistants, Coach Ball, he chased off two brothers, the Malloy brothers that weighed in at 240 pounds each,(they were twins), and 240 pounds was pretty big for a kid back in 1970….

Ron Smith said he was very proud of the 2011 edition of the PAGE Pirates that just won the State 4-AA Title on Saturday and he said he was also proud to have played with an exceptional athlete back in the early 70’s at Page, by the name of Raynard ‘Ray’ Harrison…Ray Harrison went on to play basketball at the University of North Carolina and was one of the best point guards to ever play the game….Harrison was also a starting quarterback at Page and then later on he became a receiver and he was without a doubt many think, ‘the best all-around athlete to ever come out of Greensboro’…..Harrison was also given the chance to play football at North Carolina, but word has it, he just stuck with basketball…..

Harrison had to leave the UNC program and was gone from the overall day-to-day scene for nearly 20 years while battling mental depression…Word has it that Harrison has come back around now, and we will have to find out more about how Ray Harrison is making it, now that he is doing better….We will have more from the former PAGE Pirate fullback and linebacker Ron Smith, in the future….

Page Pirates NCHSAA State 4-AA Champions in 2011, but times were much different and mighty tough and tight, back in the days of Ron Smith, Ray Harrison, Garson Rice Jr., Vince Evans, Frank Grezycek, Donald Moore Sr., The Malloy Brothers, Tim Harris and others…..

8 comments

  1. Andy,
    It is great that you spoke to Ron Smith.
    he was an outstanding player for us back then.
    I played on those teams with him at Page.
    Can you get him to contact me? I would like to catch up with him.

  2. Just to clear things up a bit our records for Page football 1970- 1972 were not that bad. We never won the conference but we did not have a losing season either.
    1970 7-3 ( I played JV that year and we were 6-3 on that level).
    1971 6-3-1
    1972 5-5

    Before I got there the 1968 team was 4-5-1 and the 1969 team was 8-2.
    Steve Yates’ overall record for the 5 seasons he coached was 30-18-2.
    Ron was right that we worked extremely hard and many were either unable to or chose not to go through that type of physical conditionining.

  3. Would love to hear from other former Pirates that were on these teams….Ron is now an artist, or should we say exterior/interior painter…He lives in Hickory and travels toward Greensboro each weekend and usually ends up over at CiCi’s Pizza on Sunday night….He kind of reminds me of Shooter from the movie Hoosiers and these days his sport seems to be hunting and pursuing wild game….For instance, deer, bear, boar, rabbit, squirrel, geese, mountain goat, etc….

    I will try and get a contact number for him the next time I see him at CiCi’s Pizza….I just ran into him one night up there and he began to tell his story and I did not take any written notes, but I made a few mental notes and I thought it might be interesting to bring it here to the site…..

    We hope to have more from him on his football days and the days of Ray Harrison in the future….Ron seemed to be away from the football scene for many years, but with the Page Pirates winning the STATE TITLE, he and many others seem to be ready to join in on the ‘Return to Glory’….This has become a feel real good story and has in turn become a rallying point for many former Pirate students and fans…..

  4. I wonder if one of our readers Mr. Ervin Ford Jr. was also a part of this edition of the PAGE Pirates?

  5. He retired from the FBI and he lives in the Williamsburg area.
    Ervin Ford was a year ahead of me.
    He was very fast.
    He made several long TD runs during his career.
    He ran 9.9 in 100 yards which is 10.8 in meters today.
    He was also a very nice guy and he was a great teammate to all of us.
    It did not matter to him if you had star status( as he was one of our stars) or were a 3rd team player.
    He encouraged all of us to do our best.

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