Author: Keith Neal
Originally Published: January 24, 2005
1926 was the first year that Cherryville High School, NC was recorded as playing football. This was a glass negative photo of that team. They are recorded as winning the first game they played and probably the first game that most of the team members had ever seen.
This photograph is not labeled but given that the players look the same and the uniforms are the same I assumed this was the 26 team in an action photo.
The 1927 team had new jerseys. This may seem a small matter but it is an indication that there was at least some money in the city school system, a situation that was to change drastically in a couple of short years. By 1931 there were deep cuts in the school system and almost a fourth of the employees of the city’s system were let go. The twelfth grade was eliminated also.
The 1930 team picture is significant for the presence of a young man in a suit identified as Jack Kiser. He was probably doing his “practice teaching” that year as he had graduated from Lenoir Rhyne College the spring prior. He would go on to be the only Cherryville High School coach to have a winning record and in fact never had a losing season in any sport he coached. He lost only 13 ball games in 15 years with the team.
1930 Midget Team
This picture is significant in that it is the first midget team put together in Cherryville. It also is the first year that the famous Iron Man team of 1934 played together. I have never gotten a clear answer but I think these were 7th and 8th grade kids.
If you look closely at the 1931 team you will see the face of Jack Kiser in uniform on the back row. He apparently, like other coaches of the time, dressed and practiced with the team. It is even possible that he played some games but not real likely at this late date. In the 1920s, it was not uncommon for teachers or coaches or other adults to dress and play to round out squads that did not have enough players to play a game.
State Champs #2
Although the words “state champs” are written on this picture, that is not the case. The 1934 team had a 7-0-3 record and won the championship game for their conference by a score of 6-2. They beat a very good Morganton team, a feat they would not repeat for 14 years. Five players went on to play college football and the team was good enough to be considered to travel to Tamp,a Florida for a “bowl game” against a high school team from there. Notice the C on the front of each player. I am told that these were made from diapers and cut out and sewed on. This was the Great Depression and money was difficult to come by, which also may explain why the team never seriously considered going to Florida.
John Chavis 1960s 8-Man
This was labeled as the John Chavis football team from some time in the 1960s. It may well be true as I am told that most of the black schools in this area played 8 man football. Their equipment looks like it is something left over from the 1940s. It is odd to think about now but the school building you see in the picture still stands and it is no more than a mile from the site of the old Cherryville High School building. It was, in reality, worlds away.