#LumbertonNC #Lineman January 22

I started the Coach4aday blog in 2014 and have done daily posts on one topic for each year. In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and in 2017 it was “Colleges and Universities”.

The one consistent piece of feedback I have received with this blog is the 2015 series on “A Friend of a Friend”. Readers and blog followers said please bring it back. The stats also back that up with the number of views each of those posts received.

So in 2018 two things will happen with the Coach4aday blog; One I plan to collaborate with a friend named John Rancke and revisit some of those 2015 “A Friend of a Friend” posts and do some new ones with a slightly different twist. I will write the post on odd numbered days of the month and John has the even numbered days.

In addition John and I will write about things we both are interested which will include basketball, food, people, music, our granddaughters, and great stories.

If you want to follow the blog via email go to the bottom right of the post and click the follow button.

My twitter handle is @coach4aday2 if you want to follow the blog that way.

John’s twitter handle is @JohnRancke if you want to reach out to him.

January 22, 2018       Peanuts

Post written by John Rancke

Look up the definition of Peanut in your family dictionary at home. Oh wait, If you are like most people you don’t have a dictionary around the house any more, at least not one you can hold in your hands and turn pages. Google is your friend today. You can ask it anything! And now we have Alexa. She loves to talk and I always thank her after she answers a question I have asked her.


So anyway, per Google, the definition of a Peanut is “A Peanut is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall As a legume, it belongs to the botanical family Fabaceae (also known as Leguminosae, and commonly known as the bean or pea family).”  Thank you Wikipedia by way of Google.

But if you played football at Lumberton High School in the 60s, the word Peanut took on an entirely different meaning. Long before the sophisticated weight training programs became popular and began create massive muscle and large behemoths on every football team from middle school to the National Football League, the average high school football lineman weighed in the 150-190 lb range.

Lumberton HS

Except at Lumberton High School at the offensive and defensive guard positions. In Lumberton, the average guard was about 150 lbs fully dressed with helmet and shoulder pads when he got on the scales. We grew them small and feisty and quick and talented and as a bonus they could all swim pretty good too!

The old Southeastern 3A Conference included Lumberton, Rockingham, Hamlet, Dunn, Clinton, Sanford, Raeford, and Laurinburg. Nobody liked playing Lumberton because of the tenacious never quit attitude Coaches Tuney Brooks and Finley Read instilled in their small squad. Rockingham was the powerhouse long before the merger into Richmond County. Coach Bill Eustler of the Rockingham High School Rockets said many times the team he feared most was the Lumberton Pirates. And it all started with those little little guards.


Jimmy Braswell, Bob Parnell, Phil Payne, Doc Grantham to name a few to be followed by Drew Parmalee, Greg Simpson, Doug Mills and Buddy Mclean at the end of the 60s. But Mclean and Mills were massive compared to the little guys that came before them. The Legend of  Read’s “The Peanut Guards” began with Braswell and Parnell followed by Payne and Grantham.

(l-r) Ann McLean, Buddy McLean, Doug Mills, and John Rancke.

Mclean Mills

Bob Parnell, whose Father Bob was the US Mail Postmaster for many years on Elm Street and is the older brother of former Lumberton High School teacher Emily Smith, weighed 130 lbs if he had just eaten before jumping on the scales. Coach Read will tell you to this day that if he had to show someone how to tackle a ball carrier correctly, it would be video of Bob Parnell wrapping up with 2 hands. But video came too many years too late. Bob worked for Dupont for many years and lives in the Fayetteville area.

Jimmy Braswell was much like Parnell just a smidge bigger. Jimmy just got elected Mayor of Pawley’s Island SC and is the older brother of the recently deceased Jack Braswell.

Jimmy Braswell

jimmy braswell

Phil Payne, whose father had the ESSO station on the corner of E’town Rd and Elm St and became the  longtime location of K’land Tires, followed Braswell in the guard spot which he then left to Doc Grantham.


Phil owned several Esso/Exxon stations around the North Hills area and has retired to Myrtle Beach and plays golf quite often.

Doc’s sister is Rei Antone, his father was Charlie Grantham the longtime clothing salesman in Lumberton and his mother was Rose Grantham (the longtime dental assistant To Dr. David King before there were dental assistants). Doc lives in Fairfax Virginia and is a successful business man.

Doc Grantham below

Doc Grantham

All 4 of these Peanut Guards went to North Carolina State. Several years ago before the Read’s moved home to Lumberton, 3 of the Peanut Guards decided to visit Santee and spend some time with Coach and Mrs. Read. I was invited to tag along with Phil and Doc and Bob and was granted honorary status as Peanut Guard. Turns out to be a great weekend which included a football game back at UNCP in the Chancellors Box compliments of Paul and Pat Willoughby.

(l-r) Former UNCP Advancement Officer Wendell Staton (now Director of Athletics Georgia College, Paul Willoughby, and Pat Willoughby.


But I didn’t have a hat to wear so I agreed to wear one of Coach Read’s hats which as we know is has NC State across the front. There is proof as the picture will attest. I’m in a State baseball cap. Great weekend telling old stories with some of my boyhood heroes. I was in Elementary school when Braswell and Parnell played and in junior highs school when Payne and Gratham played. But age didn’t matter. We all grew up in Lumberton, playing at the old Armory (now the Bill Sapp center), we all played sports under Coach Read, and we all shared a great childhood in Lumberton.

panut guards

Grantham, Parnell, Payne, and I also had something else in common. We had parents that recognized the need to get the kids out of the Lumber River and into a safe outdoor pool and were willing to step up and get that pool built. Rose Grantham, Jimmy Payne, Bunky Rancke, and Bob Parnell with a handful of other parents were instrumental in raising the money and enthusiasm for Woodside Pool. And all 4 of us became lifeguards at Woodside.


Small town athletics gave us Peanut Guards that remain friends for generations.

Get your child or grandchild out of the house, off the computer, and on a field or court playing sports. The Relationships are worth it.

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