GREENWOOD, SC – In the storied history of Greenwood High School football, the program has captured 12 State Championships, nine under legendary coach J.W. “Pinky” Babb, and three under the direction of Shell Dula. Dula’s replacement, Gene Cathcart, is hoping to capture his first as the Eagles’ head man when his Eagles square off against Northwestern Saturday at noon at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“Hopefully we can go up there and take our best swing Saturday,” Cathcart said. “This is our third year in a row, so our guys hopefully know what to expect from everything. This is their (Northwestern) fourth time in five years playing for the State Championship, so they are no stranger to it either.”
The Eagles have had a chance to capture the program’s 13th championship the two previous years, falling to Goose Creek 37-21 in 2011 and none other than Northwestern 42-10 in 2010.
The 2012 Eagles’ senior class has made a habit of record-breaking performances throughout the year. Their Division II, 4A State Semi-final 35-30 win over South Pointe marked their 49th win in four years, a program record dating back to 1945. Cathcart told his team following the win that going to the State Championship is a “Greenwood thing,” hoping that his players will realize that Greenwood is expected to compete for championships every season. There are only two perfect seasons in Greenwood High School football history, 1949 and 1955. The 2012 team could become the third if they were to beat Northwestern this Saturday.
The nine State Championships officially claimed under Coach Babb are 1948, 1949, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1968, and 1976. Dula guided the Eagles to three State Championships in 1999, 2000, and 2006. If the 2012 team were to win Saturday, they would not only capture the program’s 13th State Championship, but would also set the program record for wins in a season with 15. The 2000 team holds the current record for most wins in a season, going 14-1 under Dula, where Cathcart served as an assistant.
“This senior class has a well written legacy,” Cathcart said. “The only thing missing is a State Championship to their name. Hopefully, we can go down to Columbia and get it done.”
It is only fitting that this year’s team would capture Cathcart’s first ever State Championship as Greenwood’s Head Coach. Cathcart’s first year as the Eagles’ head man was also the seniors’ first year within the program, as freshmen.
“All of those guys have been great leaders for our program,” Cathcart said. “We are extremely proud of all that they have accomplished on the field. But even more so, we are proud of the excellent young men that they have become off the field.”