2017-10-06 / Sports

Gems from the Diamond Mine Part 2

By Josh Cruse


Harold Goodwin has coached in the NFL for 14 seasons. 
Photo contributed by the Arizona Cardinals Harold Goodwin has coached in the NFL for 14 seasons. Photo contributed by the Arizona Cardinals Another major building block to the success of Lower Richland athletics came in the fall of 1983. Marty Woolbright left the Lower Richland football program to take over at Gilbert High School following the 1982 season. His replacement was found at one of the Diamond Hornets’ rivals.

Bill Kimrey

Bill Kimrey was working at A.C. Flora High School, then a 3A school, and looking for an opportunity to coach at a 4A program. When Woolbright left, Kimrey was hired to take over a Lower Richland program that had won just seven games in two seasons.

Immediately, Kimrey instilled discipline and a weight lifting program he felt the team sorely needed. He also changed the offensive and defensive schemes to give the players a fresh start. Those changes also brought more players out for football. The participation was so good, Kimrey was able to put players on only one side of the ball.


The Lower Richland football team finished as 4A Division II runners up in 1991. The Lower Richland football team finished as 4A Division II runners up in 1991. The changes paid off in Kimrey’s first season as Lower Richland went 5-6 in 1983. The next three seasons were more challenging, as the Diamond Hornets tallied an 8-25 record, including a disappointing 1986 season.

Despite optimism from Kimrey that his team could be successful, a new rule from Richland One ended Lower Richland’s season before it began. The District required athletes to have at least a 2.0 GPA in order to play football.

Because the rule came so late in the summer, many players were not able to attend summer school to raise their GPAs. As a result, Kimrey lost a lot of players for the season and had to call up junior varsity players to fill the holes on the roster.

Lower Richland went 1-10 in 1986, but the lone win came against Hillcrest Dalzell, the defending 4A, Division 2 state champion.


Led by head coach Henry Mixon and shortstop Calvin “Pokey” Reese, the Lower Richland baseball team finished with a 22-5 record and as Lower State runners-up in 1990. 
Photo contributed by Calvin Reese Led by head coach Henry Mixon and shortstop Calvin “Pokey” Reese, the Lower Richland baseball team finished with a 22-5 record and as Lower State runners-up in 1990. Photo contributed by Calvin Reese The breakthrough season finally came for Kimrey in 1987. Lower Richland won nine games, the most since 1974, and made it to the semifinals of the 4A playoffs.

The Diamond Hornets finished with an identical 9-4 record and a semifinal appearance in 1988.

Calvin Reese

One member of that 1988 team was Calvin Reese. Only a sophomore on the Lower Richland varsity at the time, Reese had been around sports his entire life. His mother ran track, his uncles played baseball, and his father and Kimrey were teammates on the Columbia Bulls semipro baseball team.

He also knew plenty about the Lower Richland area, as his older brothers and cousins graduated from the high school.


Reese again led the Diamond Hornets to another successful season on the baseball diamond in 1991, finishing with a 25-5 record and claiming another region title. 
Photo contributed by Calvin Reese Reese again led the Diamond Hornets to another successful season on the baseball diamond in 1991, finishing with a 25-5 record and claiming another region title. Photo contributed by Calvin Reese “I told myself, ‘One day, hopefully, I will get the opportunity to follow in my brothers’ footsteps and attend Lower Richland.’ Obviously, I got that opportunity,” Reese said.

Reese, who earned the nickname “Pokey” from his grandmother, started out at A.C. Flora as a freshman before moving to Lower Richland High School as a sophomore. During his time with the Diamond Hornets, Reese played wide receiver, punt and kick returner, cornerback, free safety, and quarterback.

Along with his abilities on the gridiron, Reese also developed into a star baseball player under coach Henry Mixon. The two-sports star helped Lower Richland to region championships in 1990 and 1991, including finishing as lower state runner-ups in 1990. In 70 games, Reese hit .417 with five career home runs and 75 RBIs.


Richard Seymour and his family returned to Lower Richland in February 2016 to celebrate in the NFL’s Gold Football program. Richard Seymour and his family returned to Lower Richland in February 2016 to celebrate in the NFL’s Gold Football program. “It goes back to the coaches. They prepared us and the guys I played with,” Reese said. “We strived to be the best. We hated to lose. I was talented, but there were a lot of other talented players at the school. It wasn’t all about me. It was pretty much the guys around me and the coaches. Every coach prepared us to win every game. That’s what helped me become a good player.”

Frankie Rivers

On the football field, Reese wasn’t the only key player for the Diamond Hornets. Running back Frankie Rivers rushed for nearly 2,000 yards as a junior and was back for one more season in the black and gold in 1989.


Jonathan Goodwin translated his sucess at Lower Richland, 1995 and 1996, into a 13-year career in the NFL, including winning the Super Bowl in 2009 as a member of the New Orleans Saints. 
Photo contributed by Jonathan Goodwin Jonathan Goodwin translated his sucess at Lower Richland, 1995 and 1996, into a 13-year career in the NFL, including winning the Super Bowl in 2009 as a member of the New Orleans Saints. Photo contributed by Jonathan Goodwin That season, Lower Richland returned to the semifinals with a 9-3 record. The Diamond Hornets hosted Walterboro for a chance to play in the state championship game.

“We knew we were led by some great seniors,” Reese said. “Those guys put it all on the line the year before and came up short. We wanted to get back there and see what we could do.”

Also in 1989, Robert Matz started teaching at Lower Richland. He remembers the game generating a lot of excitement in the community. By 6 p.m., both the home and opponent’s stands were full, despite the cold weather.

“Football was king here at that time,” Matz said. “Every game the bleachers were full and everybody was excited about it. It was a very proud time for football at Lower Richland.”

The crowd was so loud, Kimrey said he could feel his face vibrating.

Lower Richland set the tone with an 11-yard touchdown run by Rivers and a 3-yard touchdown run by Terrance Parker to take a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Walterboro cut into the lead with a 64-yard touchdown pass from Gianni Garrett to Norman Hand.

However, Reese regained the momentum for the Diamond Hornets with an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half.

From there, Rivers added a 6-yard scoring run to close out a 28-7 win and advance Lower Richland to the state championship game.

In the championship game, the Diamond Hornets squared off against a North Augusta team that had gotten hot down the stretch of its season to post a 7-7 record, following a 0-6 start.

North Augusta scored two first quarter touchdowns and held on for a 14- 0 win. Lower Richland finished the season 10-4.

A year later, the Diamond Hornets had to replace stars like Rivers. Kimrey moved Reese to quarterback.

He also brought in a new player to help along the offensive line.

Harold Goodwin

Harold Goodwin figured his future was in basketball. However that changed during his sophomore year. Kimrey approached Goodwin about coming out for the football team.

Finally, Goodwin and Kimrey played a game of basketball to decide if Goodwin would come out for the football team. That spring, Goodwin showed up for spring practice.

Immediately, Kimrey knew Goodwin was going to be special. While Kimrey had to explain to his new player what a linebacker was at the first practice, the eighth-year Lower Richland coach was impressed when Goodwin asked if there were any books and video tapes he could borrow and study.

On the field, the Diamond Hornets took a step back in 1990 finishing 8-5.

After three amazing years, Reese finished at Lower Richland with a 27- 13 record in football.

Goodwin returned, however, for Lower Richland for the 1991 season. The Diamond Hornets raced out to a 12-1 record and another appearance in the semifinals.

Again, the Diamond Hornets squared off with Walterboro, and again Lower Richland came out on top, 29-14, for its second appearance in the state championship game in three seasons.

The Diamond Hornets were up 27-14 with four minutes left against the Laurens Raiders.

Laurens scored late in the fourth quarter, before recovering an onside kick. With three seconds left, Charles Peterson was on the receiving end of a Ronnie Cain hail mary throw to give the Raiders a 28-27 win. Lower Richland finished the season 13-2.

Following that season, Goodwin graduated and attended the University of Michigan.

Kimrey also left Lower Richland, amid some frustrating circumstances.

Bill Kimrey leaves

After five successful seasons, Kimrey wanted to reinvest the money the athletic department had made back into the football program by purchasing top-ofthe line equipment. However, Richland District One officials told him the money belonged to the district, and he had to order the same equipment as the rest of the schools in the district.

It was at that point, Kimrey felt he needed a change.

“I knew I had hit a dead end because, regardless of what we did, I couldn’t put the money back into the program to make things nicer for our kids and put them in the best equipment money could buy,” Kimrey said. “We had the money, but they were sharing it, and I understand they had to take care of all of the schools.”

At the time, Lower Richland baseball coach Henry Mixon told Kimrey of a new school opening near Lake Murray. Kimrey put in an application and became the athletic director and football coach at Dutch Fork.

Kimrey left Lower Richland with a 62-50 record, and the second most wins in program history.

Following Kimrey’s departure, the Diamond Hornet football program fell on hard times.

Jonathan Goodwin

A couple of bright spots came in 1995 and 1996.

Jonathan Goodwin didn’t begin playing football until the ninth grade. His passion for football came from watching his brother’s success at Lower Richland.

“You always want to find a way to beat the big brother,” Goodwin said. “During my time at Lower Richland, we didn’t come close to matching the success he had. I definitely think it was a good motivational tool for me.”

Goodwin played guard and tackle on offense and nearly every position but the secondary on defense.

Richard Seymour

One of Goodwin’s teammates was Richard Seymour. While it was rare for the two future NFL players to go against one another in practice, Goodwin said, when they did, it benefitted both players.

While success was hard to sustain, one of the best moments came at the beginning of the 1995 season. Wins over Eau Claire, Rock Hill, and Northwestern had Lower Richland sporting a 3-0 record in coach Keith Chapman’s first and only year with the Diamond Hornets.

From that point, Lower Richland only won one of the remaining eight games in the regular season. However, the season did end with some momentum. The Diamond Hornets defeated Hillcrest in the first round of the playoffs, before falling to Walterboro the next week.

A new coach the following season, David Moore, generated some excitement. However, Lower Richland went 4-8 in 1996.

Where their careers led them

Kimrey stayed with the Silver Foxes until 2009. After that, he spent some time coaching with his son Erik Kimrey at Hammond. Then the elder Kimrey returned to the head spot at Calhoun County in 2013. He is in the middle of his fifth season with the Saints.

Despite being good at both sports, Reese chose a career in baseball after being drafted 23rd in the first round by the Cincinnati Reds.

During his career in the major leagues, Reese was a member of the 2004 Boston Red Sox team that won the first world series for the franchise since 1918.

“It meant a lot,” Reese said. “Not too many people in my situation get a chance to go that far and achieve what I achieved. I was blessed.”

In June 2015, Reese was announced as the new head baseball coach at Lower Richland. However, he felt the situation wasn’t right and decided to go in a different direction.

Seymour played college football at Georgia. After a four-year career with the Bulldogs, Seymour was drafted sixth overall by the New England Patriots.

As a member of the Patriots, Seymour won three Super Bowl rings: Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, and Super Bowl XXXIX.

Jonathan Goodwin was plagued by knee injuries throughout his high school career, and he saw his college opportunities dwindle following a sprained MCL suffered in a game against Rock Hill during his senior year. Scheduled to go for an unofficial visit to the University of North Carolina following the game against the Bearcats, Goodwin was unable to make the trip after the injury.

In the end, the only schools interested were Ohio University and East Tennessee State University. Goodwin chose to attend Ohio.

After a year at Ohio, Goodwin transferred to the University of Michigan. In 2002, Goodwin was drafted in the fifth round, No. 154 overall, by the New York Jets.

In 2009, Goodwin helped the New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl XLIV 31-17 over the Indianapolis Colts. He was also a member of the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII when the 49ers fell to the Baltimore Ravens.

“I grew up looking up at guys like my brother, and Pokey Reese,” Goodwin said. “To get a chance to represent Lower Richland in the Super Bowl, along with Richard Seymour, will always mean a lot to me. It helped a lot of kids see that good things do come out of Lower Richland. You can be successful coming out of there.”

Harold Goodwin has also enjoyed a successful career in athletics following his time at Lower Richland.

It didn’t start out that way, though. An injury during his junior year at Michigan cut his playing career short. In order to maintain his scholarship, Goodwin chose to help the football coaches as a graduate assistant. It was during this time where he developed a passion for coaching.

After winning a national championship as part of the Wolverines’ staff in 1997, Goodwin moved on to offensive line coach- ing jobs at Eastern and Western Michigan before entering the NFL as an assistant offensive line coach with the Chicago Bears in 2004. During his 13-year coaching career, Goodwin has had stops with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and Arizona Cardinals, where he is currently coaching.

Goodwin was a member of the Steelers’ coaching staff when Pittsburgh defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII in 2008.

“Everything I am, everything I’ve done is because of where I grew up,” Goodwin said. “I try to make it back there every summer. That’s home. There is nothing that’s going to beat that. Who I am is because of where I grew up. That’s on the Hopkins, Eastover, East Columbia side of town. I’m forever grateful. I always try to pride myself on doing things to make them proud.”

Next Week: Lower Richland girls’ basketball

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