40 years ago: It’s true, Joe Gibbs is a native of Mocksville

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

A look back at Davie sports 40 years ago …

After Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs won NFL Coach of the Year for the 1982 season, Gibbs was featured in the Enterprise.

Why, you might ask? Gibbs was born in Mocksville on Nov. 24, 1940.

Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Gibbs, who was stationed here as a State Highway Patrolman, lived in one of the apartments in the Horn-Harding building on the square from April 1940 until November 1942. Joe was born in the Mocksville Hospital and delivered by Dr. W.M. Long. In November of 1942, the Gibbs family moved to Asheville after J.C. resigned from the State Highway Patrol and accepted a position with the American Enka Corporation.

The Davie boys basketball team captured the Catawba Christmas tournament for the first time ever, winning three games in dramatic fashion. The War Eagles of Paul Drechsler outlasted North Rowan in overtime in the first round. They edged East Rowan when Randy Mayfield buried a 22-footer at the buzzer. In the championship game, they survived a 64-60 overtime battle with Salisbury. Mayfield, the senior point guard, was named tournament most valuable player. Russell Anderson, Rodney Barker and Chris Jacobs played key roles.

North Davie’s wrestling team pulled out a hard-fought 36-30 win over Thomasville, and Dennis York was the hero. It was tied 30-30 going into the final weight class. At heavyweight, York got a second-period pin to lift North to 7-2. Also recording pins against the Bulldogs were Steve Buchin, Jeff Burchette and Keith Maready.

Jill Amos, a 5-8 junior basketball player at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, was named the athlete of the week by the Wilmington Journal. She scored 26 points to lead the Seahawks to a 76-74 win over North Carolina A&T. A few weeks later, she scored her 1,000th career point in the Foxy Lady tournament in Florence, S.C., becoming the first UNC-W female to break the 1,000 barrier. On top of that, she was the No. 1 singles player for the UNC-W tennis team. During her career at Davie, she scored in double figures in 52 consecutive games and finished her prep career with 1,665 points, a school record that still stands.

The South Davie and North Davie wrestling teams finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 11-team conference tournament at Lexington. The top four team scores: China Grove 148, Kannapolis 126, South 75, North 67. For South, Chris Shrewsbury finished first at 160 and went 17-0 for the season, while Ron Whitlock, Brent Snyder (14-3 season record) and Bruce Bullock (14-2) all finished second in their weight class. For North, Buchin captured his second straight conference title, went 16-0 for the season and 29-3 for his career. Finishing third were Poppy Gregg at 112, Andy Reavis at 105, Steve Dunn at 132 and Burchette at 157.

The Davie girls basketball team clinched coach Bill Peeler’s seventh regular-season title by beating Thomasville 66-52. It was a blockbuster matchup that saw Davie avenge a 64-52 loss from earlier in the season. Davie finished 14-2 in the North Piedmont Conference, while Thomasville was 13-3. Davie pulled away even though Angie Browder (18 points) and Machelle Pulliam (12) fouled out. Donna Hendrix was third for Davie with 10 points.

“We had something to prove,” Peeler said.

The next week, the Lady War Eagles won the NPC Tournament  at Catawba for the fourth time in five years by beating Thomasville again, 66-59. Pulliam took home tournament MVP after amassing 19 points and nine rebounds and hitting 6 of 7 free throws in the fourth quarter. Naomi Minwalla had 17 points, while Browder and Hendrix had 11 each.

Browder (13.4), Minwalla (13.3) and Pulliam (12.5) ranked fifth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the NPC in scoring. For the Davie boys, Anderson (14.4) and Barker (13) ranked sixth and eighth.

Although Wadesboro finished fourth in the South Piedmont Conference, it hit a 20-footer in the final seconds of double overtime to upset the Davie girls 52-50 in the first round of the state playoffs at Central Cabarrus. Davie (22-4) came in ranked seventh in the state in 3-A. The ending overshadowed a massive game by the 5-10 Pulliam, who closed her Davie career with 28 points and 21 rebounds.

“I may go home and build a fire and just try to forget this one for awhile,” Peeler said. “You have to give Wadesboro credit. It was their night. But it hurts just a little worse when you know you helped beat yourself.”

Browder was named NPC Player of the Year. Pulliam and Minwalla made the all-conference team. Browder and Pulliam were selected to the All-Northwest team. Anderson was the only all-conference pick from the Davie boys.

Three Davie wrestlers made all-conference. Billy Lagle went 18-1 as a senior at 198. Sophomore Shawn Steele recorded a team-high 16 pins and finished in the top eight of the state at 101. And Darren Peebles went 17-4 as a junior at heavyweight.

After averaging 16.5 points and six rebounds as a 6-1 sophomore  guard at Surry Community College, Shannon Pulliam transferred to North Carolina-Greensboro with two years of eligibility remaining.

At Rich Park, Dan Riddle pitched a three-hitter with 15 strikeouts to lead Davie baseball to a 4-2 upset win over first-place Trinity.

Burton Barger retired after 40 years of teaching and coaching, the final 16 years at Davie. In a feature story in the Enterprise, Barger said: “We are offering students too much now. I think they should get back to the basic Rs – readin, ritin and rithmatic. I’ve seen many a carpenter who couldn’t write his name, but he could read a rule.”

Davie softball opened the state playoffs with a 3-2 win at Watauga. Michele Deal had two hits and Leisa Hepler homered. In the third round, Deal and Melissa Matthews pounded two hits each as Davie edged visiting Statesville 5-4. In the quarterfinals, though, Davie was overwhelmed 19-2 by Madison-Mayodan. Kim Howard, Donna Hendrix, Hepler, Cammie Paige and Matthews had one hit apiece as Aileen Steelman’s squad finished 17-4. Making all-conference were seniors Hendrix and Sherri Kepley; juniors Melissa Smiley and Teresa Smith; and sophomores Dawn Brown and Matthews.

Center fielder Mark Robertson made all-conference from Davie baseball.

Two Davie football players signed letters of intent to play at Catawba: Steve Russ, a 5-10, 190-pound linebacker, and Roger Greene, a 175-pound fullback.

Bubba Brown, Uly Grisette, Brian Driggars and Kip Sales delivered all-conference seasons for Davie’s golf team. In the sectional tournament at Piney Point in Norwood, the War Eagles defeated runner-up Asheboro by 18 strokes behind 75s from Sales and Brown and 76s from Grisette and Driggars.

Davie golf finished second in the state despite being 22 strokes off the pace after the first day. Lee County won the championship at 624. In a four-way tie for second, Davie, Reidsville, Jacksonville and South Mecklenburg finished one stroke back at 625. Brown shot 76-74–150 to tie for 11th. Grisette shot 78-74–152, Sales 86-74–160 and Driggars 83-80–163.