In the days just before integration, Ridgeview High School’s football team was the pride of Hickory. Between 1957 and 1965, Ridgeview High School, which served Hickory’s black students, won 74 consecutive regular-season games; and in 1964, the Panthers went undefeated and won the 2A title of the North Carolina High School Athletic Conference, the sanctioning body for black schools in those days of segregation. While they were officially called the Panthers, a local newspaper sportswriter called them the Untouchables, and the nickname stuck. After the perfect season in '64, they also shut out their opponents in the first two games of the '65 season, achieving a state record 14 straight games in which they didn't allow the other team to score. That was their last season; integration closed the school.
Now Sharon Lutz, a 22-year veteran teacher from Hickory who now lives in Greensboro, has published a picture book about the team. On Saturday April 23rd, she'll be at the Ridgeview Branch Library at 706 1st Street SW (corner of 1st Street and 7th Avenue SW) in Hickory to talk about the book, Untouchable: A Story of the Ridgeview Panthers as told by Xenophone Lutz, Jr.
It isn't the first book about the team. Historian Richard Eller published Untouchable: the Undefeated, Unscored Upon 1964 Ridgeview Panthers last year. It is available for purchase from Amazon and Redhawk Publications at Catawba Valley Community College. Lutz will have copies of her book available for purchase during her visit to the library.
For more information, call the Ridgeview Branch of the Hickory Public Library at 828-345-6037.
Want to learn more about the Panthers? Visit https://untouchablepanthers.com/.