Four Rock Hill-area schools put players on display in first football showcase

Northwestern, South Pointe, Rock Hill and Indian Land high schools hosted separate practices Tuesday at Manchester Meadows Park as part of the first Football City, USA Football Showcase.

The showcase is designed to make it easier for college coaches to evaluate football players in the area.

“I understand that it may be tough to try to get to all these different schools in all these different areas,” said district athletic director Jimmy Duncan. The coaches, athletic directors and I felt that this would make it easier and give other guys a higher chance to get noticed.”

Coaches from colleges like the University of South Carolina, Navy and UNC Charlottel came out to scout new players, while the high school teams just executed their normal practices as they ramp up for the summer.

Each school practiced on their own field, swapping once between the grass and turf fields at Manchester Meadows.

“I couldn’t be more pleased (with our team),” Indian Land head coach Adam Hastings said. “...I don’t know how good we’re going to be, but I think we can be really good. I’m just really excited to be around these guys. Their effort, the energy, the way they take care of each other and push each other, it makes you realize what makes sports really good and what makes football special.”

Three of the teams in attendance were working on installing new quarterbacks into their systems, with Northwestern senior Finley Polk being the lone returning starter at the showcase.

South Pointe is rolling with former Fairfield Central two-year starter in junior Cam McMillon, and Indian Land’s projected starting quarterback is sophomore Sequel Patterson.

Earlier this month, Rock Hill head coach Randy Birch said the team would use spring and summer practices to determine who would be the next starting quarterback following the graduation of four-year starter Matthew Wilson.

The Bearcats have been evaluating junior Kason Canupp and senior Lewisville-transfer Ian Grissom as potential starters.

The latter is the more experienced of the two, passing for over 2,900 yards and 40 total touchdowns last season.

“It’s definitely been a lot on me, but it’s definitely been a test to who I am as a player,” Grissom said. “Definitely still learning the new playbook this past spring. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve gotten it down, and I’m looking forward to a great season with these boys.”

Duncan said the event was a major success and looks to continue the showcase in years to come. He’s taken advice from some of the college coaches in attendance to improve the overall experience.

“I think us being able to coordinate with their calendars a little bit and hosting this a little earlier will increase the number of coaches,” Duncan said. “This is definitely we’re going to continue to do moving forward, but we want it to grow. That’s going to be the primary focus for me, the athletic directors and coaches, so we can get more exposure for our kids.”

Rock Hill, Northwestern, and Indian Land will also compete in Region 3-5A next season, while South Pointe will play in Region 3-4A.