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When you reflect over Northern Guilford High School’s three straight state championship seasons, one fact is obvious about the Nighthawks.
They have made huge strides since winning that coveted first N.C. High School Athletic Association Class III-AA state crown two years ago.
That should come as no surprise. Nighthawks coach Johnny Roscoe, as a hallmark in his 42-year coaching career, has always stressed improvement. Progress from year-to-year and marked improvement from the start of the season to the final whistle have been a key factor in the success of his teams.
It has been that way over his stellar prep coaching career which includes stops in Hartsville, Lancaster and now Northern Guilford.
In 2010 when NGHS won its first state title, it posted a one-point win over Crest High of Shelby, N.C. The Nighthawks followed with a 31-7 win over Crest in 2011. That’s quite a difference in the margin of victory over one season.
One year later, one year greater – a convincing 64-26 win over N.C. grid power Charlotte Catholic.
Most know by now of the juggernaut state title game effort of Nighthawks’ senior star T.J. Logan, 510 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
“Those are records which might never be broken,” said Roscoe, who noted Logan’s effort will be spotlighted in Sports Illustrated’s popular Faces in the Crowd section.
Roscoe ranks Logan as right up there as “among the best” he’s coached and without a doubt, “the fastest.”
Logan, bound for UNC to play for the Tar Heels on an oral pledge, saves his best for the biggest games. In three state championship games, he has 14 touchdowns.
Northern Guilford isn’t just Logan. It’s also a stingy defense, which allowed only 114 points in 15 games, a 7.6 average per game.
“Brian Thomas leads our defense and has done an outstanding job with that unit,” said Roscoe of Thomas, who worked on his staff at LHS before joining him at NGHS.
Still, it all boils down to a team concept.
“We set high goals before the season and we met them,” Roscoe said. “Everybody is on the same page.”
That preparation was important as the Nighthawks handled the task of a challenging schedule which included all Class AAAA teams in non-region play.
“We play a tough schedule,” he said. “You only get better when you play the best.”
That seems to be Northern Guilford’s mantle on and off the field.
“We strive at our school to be the best athletically and academically,” Roscoe said.
When he left Lancaster to take over the fledging Nighthawks program in 2007, the lure was the chance to start from “scratch” and build NGHS into something special.
Needless to say, the goal has been reached. A stellar 29-game win streak and three state championships speak volumes about a program which, in Roscoe fashion, just keeps getting better.
Contact sports editor Robert Howey at (803) 283-1157