TEDxHickory 2019 – The Untouchables
Before integration came to Catawba County, folks both black and white came out on Friday nights to witness an example of sports excellence, as well as an exciting ballgame, as a group of young men established a winning streak unparalleled in North Carolina high school football history. Since 1957, the Ridgeview Panthers dominated their opponents on the gridiron and thrilled fans by winning several state championships. However, 1964 saw a season unlike any other. On their way to an undefeated season, they held every opponent scoreless. 446-0. They became known as the “Untouchables” under the coaching genius of Samuel Davis and Roger Scales. Their dominance on the field has never been duplicated by any other Catawba County high school football team. Heralded in their community of Ridgeview, many of these players went on to impressive careers of service and success, but the feat of the 1964 Untouchables went largely unknown.
A member of CVCC’s history faculty since 1999, Richard Eller teaches history classes available to high school students through the Promise Scholars Initiative. Well-known for his documentary film work, last year he produced “Miracle” commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the first patient admitted to the Hickory Emergency Polio Hospital. Collaborating with students and fellow CVCC faculty members, the project featured vivid first-hand polio survivors’ recollections of the hospital original home movie footage contributed by the survivors. Eller is the Historian in Residence at the Historical Association of Catawba County in Newton. He has produced 18 documentary films including “Speedbird: The History of Piedmont Airlines” which aired on UNC-TV. “Speedbird” was based on “Piedmont Airlines: A Complete History,” a book he authored. Richard has received the Outstanding Teacher of American History Award from the Hickory Tavern chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.