Looking back: Davie High sports alive and well 50 years ago

Published 8:00 am Monday, May 29, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

A look back at Davie sports 50 years ago …

Brad Middleton, Russ Spry and James Neely anchored coach Larry Groce’s Davie wrestling team in 1973.

Middleton went 12-1, with the only loss coming in the 105-pound final in the conference tournament. To this point, the junior was 37-6 in his three-year career.

Spry went 9-5 at 132 and made the all-conference team as a senior. Neely went 11-4 at 98 as a sophomore.


Doug Quarles of Davie boys basketball finished fifth in the North Piedmont Conference in scoring as he averaged 14.1 points per game. Jeff Ward was second for Davie with a 10.9 average. The league’s top scorer was North Iredell’s Dennis Elledge (18.9).

The Davie girls were paced by Nancy Reavis, who was fourth in the NPC with a 14.5 average. Davie’s No. 2 scorer was Debbie Burton at 11.3. The league was dominated by South Iredell’s Ann Ellis, who averaged an extraordinary 25.3 to finish her career with 2,088 points. Reavis, Burton and Patricia Dwiggins made the all-conference team.


Paul Andrews of Davie’s football team signed a grant-in-aid with Davidson College. As a junior in 1971, he was named all-conference at center. As a 6-2, 195-pound senior, he made all-NPC at center and linebacker. Andrews was also a member of the National Honor Society.

“Paul’s credentials are spotless,” Davidson coach Dave Fagg said. “His record in athletics and as a student are outstanding. We are as happy as we can be that he will be playing football for Davidson.”


Robin Benson wasted no time distinguishing himself on the Appalachian State golf team. The freshman started the season as the team’s No. 5 man, but quickly rose to the No. 1 spot.

Shooting consistently around 76, he was the medalist in a match with UNC-Charlotte. He was his team’s low man in a tournament in Florida and placed third in the Camp Lejuene Invitational.

Benson was the NPC Player of the Year as a Davie senior in 1972.

“We’ve got eight or 10 guys that are really good golfers,” Benson said. “I think we can come home with the Southern Conference championship.”


The Davie girls, under coach Aileen Steelman, walked off with the first-place trophy at the annual Western North Carolina Activities Association “Play Day” at North Rowan.

Around 500 girls, representing 16 schools, participated. Davie tallied 58 points to take the title. North Iredell was next with 46.

Davie competed in softball, volleyball, horseshoes, shot put, softball throw, discus, relays, hurdles, high jump, broad jump and sack races.

Davie’s Ann James broke her own record from a year ago when she threw the discus 105 feet, 6 inches to claim first place. She was second in the shot put with toss of 34-7.

Reavis was second in the softball throw with a toss of 206 feet. Karen Carter was second in the horseshoes. Cathy Boger, Barbara Call, Mary Jane Pope and Billie Ferebee set a record in the 220-yard relay at 28.3 seconds. Betsy Bingham won the low hurdles at 14.4. Phyllis Stevenson finished in a three-way tie for first in the 30-yard sack race with a time of 8.2. In the 440-yard relay, Boger, Stevenson, Pope and Ferebee were second at 56.2 seconds.

Davie team members included Dwiggins, Luvada Bowens, Vanessa Smith, Sheila Cranfill, Gay James, Ann James, Cathy Hanes, Debbie Lashley, Donna Burton and Sallie Ellis.


The Davie boys track team captured the NPC title as it upset East Rowan, scoring 144 points to the Mustangs’ 129.

“This is one of my most satisfying conference championships,” coach Burt Barger said after collecting his ninth league title, including seven at North Rowan and two at Davie.

Paul Andrews heaved the discus 153.5 to break the record held by Buddy Lowery, who starred for North Rowan in 1970. Freshman Billy Etchison broad jumped an amazing 22-10.5 to set a new record. The old mark was 21-3 by Davie’s Hubert West in 1969. Tim Austin and Jeff Quesenberry gave Davie a third record in the two-mile race. They crossed the finish line together in a time of 10:29.6. Austin won the mile at 4:34.5.

In the North Piedmont-South Piedmont bi-conference meet at Davie, new bi-conference records were set by Andrews (154-6 in the discus) and Austin and Quesenberry, who tied at 10:21.2 in the two mile.


Brothers Dale and Paul Ijames starred for Catawba’s baseball team in 1973. Dale, a senior, won the team’s batting title with a .340 average. Paul, a freshman, was the top pitcher with a 6-1 record. The Indians finished 13-11.


Hubert West made history when he was named to the University of North Carolina’s track coaching staff as he became the first black coach in UNC history.

As a Tar Heel senior in 1973, West excelled in the broad jump, triple jump, 440 dash and sprints.

“I’ve had an idea for the past two or three years that I would like to become a coach after I finished my career,” West said. “I’m really fortunate this opportunity came along.”


Theresa Chappell of Cooleemee broke the state high jump record in the Junior Olympics in Raleigh. Chappell leaped 4 feet, 7 inches to break the record for 12-13 year old girls. She was also second in the long jump at 15-5.75.

Davie County athletes placed in six other events in a competition that drew hundreds of athletes from all over the state.

In the 12-13 division, Veda Newton was third in the softball throw at 155 feet, 3 inches; Randy Barker was third in the long jump at 18-4; and Craig Williams was third in the mile at 5:19. Though Barker did not win, his jump was better than the hold record of 17-11. Billy Etchison was second in the long jump for 14-15 year old boys at 21-2. Marion Johnson was second in the high hurdles for 16-17 year olds at 15.2.


The Mocksville Senior Babe Ruth baseball team, coached by Dale Ijames, improved to 3-0 with a 5-1 victory over Cooleemee.

Mocksville rode the two-hit pitching of Frank Snider as Cooleemee suffered its first loss. Snider, a former standout for East Davidson High and Catawba College, fanned 12. He had a no-hitter until Perry Creason singled in the fourth inning. The only other hit off Snider came off the bat of Steve Potts.

Cooleemee’s Ronnie Blackwood pitched fine in defeat. The game was tied 1-1 until the bottom of the fifth.

In the fifth, Mocksville’s offense erupted. Snider helped himself with a single. Moments later, Randy McDaniel slammed a two-run homer to left. Robert Anderson followed with a homer to right. Ricky Allred walked and scored on a double by Paul Ijames.

Charles Blackwood paced Mocksville with three hits, while McDaniel and Ijames had two each.

A few days later, Mocksville won 5-0 at Alexander County as P. Ijames pitched a one-hitter with 13 Ks. Allred hit a towering homer and Craig Seaford had two hits.

Stan Riddle and Snider combined for 12 strikeouts and a three-hitter as Mocksville blanked Statesville 4-0 at Rich Park. P. Ijames  and McDaniel cracked home runs, and P. Ijames, Robert Anderson and Blackwood had doubles.

Mocksville stayed perfect at 6-0 when it edged visiting Cooleemee 5-4. Anderson knocked in three runs, giving him 10 RBIs in six games. Facing Cooleemee pitcher Ricky Glass, Blackwood got Mocksville on the board in the first inning with a two-run triple.

Cooleemee outhit Mocksville 6-5, including two hits from Glass, an RBI single from Ronnie Blackwood and a two-run single from Steve Ridenhour.