Western Guilford Football takes NCHSAA 3-A Football Title 40 years ago this Friday night:Hornets State Champions with Henderson at the Helm

We had three teams in the State Championships last season/year with Page(4-AA), Dudley(4-A) and Eastern Guilford(3-AA) and this year, we have been shutout and we have no Guilford County reps in the NCHSAA football championship games….

Over the years we have seen Dudley, Page, Northern Guilford, Ragsdale, High Point Andrews, High Point Central, even the Grimsley Whirlies back in the day, claim football state titles and 40 years ago this week, the Western Guilford Hornets laid claim to a Title of their own, when they won the 3-A Championship on their home turf, at Western Guilford High School…..

It was 40 years ago this first week in December and we will call it 40 years this Friday night, even though the exact date, according to NCHSAA records, was December 2, 1977 and so it was, that 40 years ago this week, Western Guilford was crowned State Champs….

This season, the year of 2017, Western Guilford finished a woeful (0-11), but 40 years ago, the Hornets were sporting a record of right at (12-2) and they were wearing State Championship rings, for the year of 1977….

Forty years this Friday night and how crazy is that?

Western Guilford (0-11) in 2017 for I think, what is their first winless season ever, and they were State Champs this week, back in 1977….

Who was the Man back then???

Doug Henderson was the Man back in those days and he is now in the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame….Heard he won right at 200 games for his coaching career, but none of those career wins was bigger than that Friday night back in 1977…The Hornets topped South Caldwell, 26-20 to take the 3-A Title….

Cars were lined up trying to get on to Friendway Drive, off of West Friendly Avenue, as they worked their way into the school entrance and once they got all the cars parked out there at Western Guilford High School, the stadium was packed as the fans filled the complex, jammed in to see WG win a State Football Title….

I was not in this state back in that day, but I have heard the stories told over and over again, over the years…I was in a different state and pretty much in a different state of mind, back in that time frame….

But this was my old home school from days at the trough/classroom where we used to fill up on knowledge spread far and wide, and it does the soul good, to look back at how our local institutions gained their athletic success and accreditations….

WG/Western Guilford got it done and when they had won, and we know they had won, you still need to go back and see how it happened….

NCHSAA 3-A State Football Playoffs back in 1977….Here we go with the yardstick…
Round One:Western Guilford 47, Burlington Cummings 20…..Mid-State West Champ(WG) vs. Mid-State East Champ(BC) and both were playing out of the East Bracket…..
Round Two:Western Guilford 27, East Wake 7
Round Three:Western Guilford 20, Clinton 7
Round Four/Championship Game:Western Guilford(EAST) 26, South Caldwell(WEST) 20

1977 NCHSAA 3-A Football State Champions:Western Guilford Hornets

Coach Doug Henderson led the charges to the title and he was assisted by coaches like Bill Hollifield(Defensive Coordinator), Doug Smedburg, Fred Yadkin(who had come over from Eastern Guilford HS), Eddie Flinchum, Daniel Barrow and possibly even current Guilford County sports man, Johnny Smith….Henderson had quite a staff, but you know who the boss was and still is and if Henderson came out/came back and coached one more game today, you would have to put your money on him to win….

There are still area coaches around/living today that faced off with Henderson and his Hornets back in the day and those would be Bill Slayton(Southeast Guilford HS), Marion Kirby(Page HS), Richard/Dick Kemp(Ragsdale HS) and C.K. Siler(Southern Guilford/Sumner HS)…..There may be others out there in the woods/woodwork, but those are the ones we are sure off and we hope they are all hanging in and doing well today…

For the Hornets on the field back during that run to the 1977 3-A Football State Championship, I will list several that I remember being a part of the ride to the title….

Aaron Stewart and Glenn Morris were probably the two most prominent names with Stewart leading the Hornet offense from his quarterback spot and Morris holding the reins, as he spearheaded the WG Defense…..Stewart later played at Duke University and Morris made a name for himself, as a linebacker at East Carolina….

Stewart and Morris and there was Rufus Webster, who had a great sense of humor and made a great impact in the offensive backfield, as a running back….Lewis Rowland was another one of those key backs and over on the defensive side of the ball, along with Morris, you saw Wesley Needham, up on that defensive line, creating havoc and causing many problems for those opposing offenses…..

Looks like Aaron Stewart was #11 as the QB for the WG Hornets back in ’77 and he did a pretty good job of running the ball and both teams were passing more in this game from back in the 70’s than you would expect, with the 70’s being the time of the ‘I’ and Wishbone running backfields….

CLICK HERE to see video from this game back in 1977 and the place was packed and the Holland Scoreboard was buzzing and WG did win the game, 26-20 over South Caldwell in our Distant Rewind for today….

Forty(40) years ago this Friday and the Hornets were taking the 3-A Football Title…..Aaron Stewart and he got hurt early in the game and had to be replaced at QB for a few plays by #12 and you had Rufus Webster back there in the backfield with Harry/Lewis Rowland, who was running hard and Ronnie Shirley may have been back there too, taking a few totes of the football and you had Morris and Needham over there on the defensive end and I heard that Timmy Bondurant and Todd Rumsey were back there in the defensive backfield helping the Hornets…..Quite a collection of Championship caliber talent from this local community…..

Here is a separate frame from that game and this one takes you back to just the first quarter, when you
CLICK HERE….WG vs. South Caldwell……Final:Western Guilford 26, South Caldwell 20

CLICK HERE for the 4th Quarter video from this game and you can tell that Coach Doug Henderson knew what he was doing and he had a lot of faith in his quarterback Aaron Stewart…..The 4th quarter was always Doug Henderson’s defining/crowning moment….He would have his team yell “FOURTH QUARTER” and get those four(4) fingers raised up above your head in the air, or get the heck off of Henderson’s field…..The FOURTH QUARTER was the ending/finish and Henderson planned on the Fourth Quarter going his way and it did on that Friday Night State Championship Night….

The Doug Henderson Stadium was packed at Joe Robinson Field and they had extra bleachers in both of the end zones and there was not an extra seat in the house…It would have been tough to get two tall midgets in there, back on that Friday night in 1977 when Western Guilford won it all, 26-20 over South Caldwell…..

Very interesting and exciting watching the FOURTH QUARTER from that Championship Game and something I have never seen before and even though we don’t have a Guilford County team to bring your way in the NCHSAA Championships this season, we still were able to take you back 40 years ago this week, when one of our Guilford County teams was able to WIN it all, on their home field, out off of West Friendly Avenue…..

Be sure to give that video a shot/look and let us know if you have any more names that we can add to the post, post-1977 and 40 years down the road….

Final again on this the 40th Anniversary of Doug Henderson’s 1977 NCHSAA 3-A State Championship Football Team…..

Western Guilford 26, South Caldwell 20

*****We didn’t have a State Champion Football Team from 2017, but we did have that one back in 1977, 40 years ago and hopefully Guilford County will be back in the Championship Games next season, come December 2018…….*****

+++++This has been a pretty good workout loading all of this up and we hope you will take time to pass this post along to some of those other football fans out there, in the web football universe.+++++

1 comment

  1. How the mighty have fallen.

    Shifting demographics and attendance zones have had a lot to do with it, but Western Guilford’s entire athletics program has become irrelevant. No one at GCS seems to care, and the current administration’s attitude toward its program could best be described as benign neglect.

    Not sure what it’s going to take to get things turned around, but it would be nice to see somebody at least try.

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