CHARLOTTE– Garinger High School’s graduating class of 1960 honored the school’s only state championship football team when it gathered recently for its 55-year reunion, according to a story in the Charlotte Observer.
The Wildcats beat Greensboro Senior by a score of 20-6 to win the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state football championship in December 1959, just four months after the new school opened its doors.
A number of players from the team committed to attended the event. Ralph Kinsey, the Garinger captain that year, went on to play college football at East Carolina and practiced law in Charlotte for decades.
That first Garinger team was coached coached by the late Joe Tomanchek, who along with principal Ed Sanders had moved from their jobs at the old Central High School in Charlotte. The Garinger program went on to play in the 1961 state championship game and got to regional finals in 1965 and ’66 when that was as far as a 4-A team could go when there was no state championship.
The program produced standouts such as Dwight Clark, who made the famous catch to score the San Francisco 49ers’ winning touchdown on a pass from Joe Montana in the 1982 NFC Championship game. Garinger grad Troy Pelshak was a linebacker on the 2000 Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams.
However, the Wildcats have struggled some in recent years, including losing 47 straight games from 2001-2007 and have been mired in a recent losing streak.