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September 25, 2008

'58 Comets honored

ASHEBORO — It was a team described by their legendary coach as his best ever.

The 1958 Asheboro Blue Comets football team was inducted into the AHS Sports Hall of Fame on Friday night during halftime ceremonies of the game versus West Montgomery at Lee J. Stone Stadium. Individual inductees of the 2008 Hall of Fame class were Johnny McQueen, Coach Morris Whitson, JB Davis, Mike Olivo, Lee Johnson, Wanda McIntyre Hargett McDaniel, Mikey Moody and Benny Voncannon.

It was Coach Stone who said after the 1958 team won the Western N.C. High School Athletic Association football championship that “undoubtedly, it’s the best team I’ve coached in Asheboro, and boy for boy we’ve had the best team in the state.”

A Hall of Famer himself, Stone’s name was placed on the stadium that was built after that undefeated season.

Of the 28 players on the squad, nine went on to play college ball. Ten of them are deceased but most of the remaining players were present Friday to reminisce about that dream season.

The 1958 team was composed of Bobby Fritz (deceased), David Dalton, Tony Brantley, Merle Lemons, Bunny Bowman (deceased), Roland Ashburn, Quacky Johnson, Bill Baird and Ronald Henson; also, Sam Cranford, Glenn Dawson, Phil Henley, Morris Thomas (deceased), Richard Carter, Luther Fritz (deceased), Mark Leggett and Johnny Moody; also, Phil Nance, Jerry Rowe (deceased), Ed Burrows, Mickey Strayhorn (deceased), Jerry McDowell, Tommy Hicks and Hugh Roberts (deceased); also Tommy Redding (deceased), Tommy Barnes, Jimmy Lane (manager), Billy Lane (manager), Billy Ridge (manager, deceased), Phil Kemp (manager), Strawberry Wheless (deceased) and Snake West (deceased).

The 1958 Blue Comets finished with a 12-0 record, outscoring their opponents by 404 to 33. The team, which defeated previously undefeated Hickory 33-14 in the championship game, was ranked the No. 1 high school football squad in the state by the Greensboro Daily News, and is considered one of the top 100 high school teams in North Carolina history.

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