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The Rockets Take Off as the 2000 North Carolina State Champions
By Reed Sainsbury
Published: Fall 2000

Success is something earned, not merely given to a lucky individual. A.C. Reynolds High School shows an excellent example of this. The main ingredient for success is plain old-fashioned hard work. That doesn’t mean just working hard on the practice field, it means all year around. If we took a program and said “Follow this and you’ll win,” would you do it? Head football Coach Bobby Poss has, and because of it has won four state championship titles; three being at different schools. He is convinced that BFS is the best way to train if winning is your goal.
Coach Poss has mastered the art of winning. In 1984 he led his first team to a state championship title at 71st High School in Fayetteville North Carolina. Two years later they won it again in 1986. He later moved to Southview High School and coached there. Once again he taught his team the secrets to success through the BFS program. They found themselves crowned with their own state championship title in 1991. Another move found Coach Poss at A.C. Reynolds High School, a team who hadn’t won a state title in 77 years. When Coach Poss came to this school he was ready and determined to turn that tradition around. You see, Coach Poss is not your average coach, he is one that knows how to win. For him, losing is not an option. In 1994 he coached the Rockets to a winning 9-2 season. For three consecutive years they went 9-2. The next season was going to be different.
Coach Poss believes it to be absolutely crucial to use the BFS program if you want success. He has organized a precise workout schedule for his team in the off season. They start each day with form running drills and then train intensely with squats, bench presses and power cleans. They also spend a lot of time on different agilities, plyometrics and stretches. In the month of May they have what is called “May fitness test,” where each player is ranked according to how they score from various tests. These tests include strength, agility and speed. For the strength test they take a squat and bench max. The agility test involves running a 20 and then a 300-yard shuttle run. Lastly, they are timed in a 40-yard dash and ranked accordingly. Inside linebacker, Chad Rice, who is headed for Duke University, scored the most points in the May fitness test of anyone on the team.
Coach Poss works on helping his team be successful in all aspects of life. They focus on the mental and spiritual side of life, not just the physical. Once a week the team is guided on a spiritual level with religious leaders. Also, the players are coached to think positive and concentrate on not just becoming better athletes, but better individuals in all aspects of life. Coach Poss explains, “We try to put a program together in which the kids will benefit from more than just winning football games. We want them to remember more than just the wins and losses. We have high expectations for our kids concerning off-the-field behavior. We want them to be more than football players.”
When the 1999 fall football season kicked off at A.C. Reynolds, the Rockets were ready for takeoff, and that’s exactly what they did. They came to town with their mouthpieces in and helmets strapped--an all business type of team. They had worked hard all year long and were tired of going 9-2 for the past several years.
A.C. Reynolds started the season off with a spectacular bang. After five straight wins to open the season the Rockets were highlighted by flying to Orlando, Florida to play Denison, Texas in a Kaylee scholarship game at Walt Disney World’s, Wide World of Sports complex. The Rockets had been preparing financially for a long time to make the trip. They left North Carolina with a business-oriented mindset and were determined to make it worth while. The defending 4-A state champions from Texas were shut out with a 24-0 victory. A.C. Reynolds proved that they could dominate more than just teams in Western North Carolina.
Most great champions have a tough climb before they make it to the top. The Rockets were not an exception, as they were humbled after nine straight wins when their dreams of being undefeated were shattered by Asheville with an oh-so-close 16-14 loss. They realized losing was no fun. To make matters worse, the Rockets quarterback, Chris Mott, was diagnosed with Lupus and could no longer play. He spent ten days in the hospital and from then on players wore a small #12 on their uniforms in remembrance of their teammate. Vince Lombardi once said, “When the going gets tough the tough get going,” and that’s exactly what the Rockets did. They rebounded and adapted their offense. Back-up quarterback Chad Davis started his first game in the play-off season.
This is the letter quarterback Chris Mott, who started 22 varsity games for the Rockets, wrote while in the hospital.
“Dear Coaches and Rockets,

Thank you all for everything you did for me while I was in the hospital. Nothing made me feel better than to see my coaches and teammates walk in to see me. To know you were all thinking of me all the time meant a lot. Even after my biopsy, I heard we beat South Rowan because Israel took time to call and tell me. To see all the #12’s on your uniforms let me know that you cared and that I would have rather spent the last six years playing football with nobody else in the world. I love all of you. Now get me a stinkin’ ring!
Love Chris”

The Rockets’ defense was as tough and mean as the old Pittsburgh Steelers Iron Curtain. In sixteen games played during the season the Rockets had nine shutouts and only gave up 77 total points! After one loss and some trials to overcome, the Rockets stepped up the tempo in the playoffs. Their defense was ranked #1 in the state for the second straight year. Probably their most spectacular game of the season was against the forth-ranked team in the country, Richmond County. The Rockets traveled to Richmond’s turf and shined like the champions they were. They made their mark when they beat Richmond County 13 - 10, ending their 44 game winning streak. From there they advanced to play for the 4-A state championship. The Rockets defense gave up just 17 points in a 5-game playoff run!
Coach Poss went down in the history books for producing A.C. Reynold’s 1st state title in football and was the first man in the history of the state to win state titles at three different schools. Coach Poss was named, “1999 Coach of the Year” by the Asheville Citizen-Times. Reflecting back on the four state championship teams, Coach Poss remarked, “They’re like having four children, they are all different. You love all four of them.”
The Rockets celebrated their season’s success in style. Each player came to the Renaissance Hotel decked out in tuxedos for a high-class dinner/awards ceremony. The city Mayor and other community leaders attended to honor the state champions. Money was donated that bought each player a championship ring. All-State defensive lineman Jon Haney, who led the defense with a 127 tackles, 25 for losses, was named the team’s most valuable player. “Jon participated in every practice and every drill as if he were playing in a championship game. He’s a dedicated player who worked hard during the off-season and showed up in the weight room every day, even during vacations,” stated Coach Poss.

I have known Coach Bobby Poss for almost 20 years. We featured his first (1984) State Championship on the cover of our BFS Journal. I have been so impressed with Coach Poss not only as a coach but as an outstanding person and family man that I wanted him to be a BFS clinician. This last summer Coach Poss was our guest at our BFS Clinicians Convention. Coach Poss will be doing his first BFS Clinics as a clinician in the winter of 2001. Coach Poss, you are an Eleven!

Dr. Greg Shepard
BFS Preside

Captains Pride #55 Jon Haney, #82 Chad Rice,
Coach Bobby Poss and son Kyle pose with new Champion-ship rings at the team banquet.
All-Conference Trio, #32 Tyrel Silen DE, #30 Kyle Poss LB, #82 Chad Rice
Jon Haney, All-State guard, Squats 470 lbs. and runs a 4.8 forty.
Chad Rice, who just signed with Duke, Cleans 295 lbs.

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