No matter how much he tried, pitch plays seemed to consistently give Ronnie Bass Sr. fits.
So like any good father, “Sunshine” was going to make sure his son didn’t run into the same trouble he did.
“My dad always taught me to be a quarterback when I was little,” said Ronnie Bass Jr. “In the movie, he could never make that pitch, but he made sure to teach me in my early years to make it.”
A huge part of the North Myrtle Beach running game, the younger Bass is stepping from his father’s shadow and into the spotlight as one of the Grand Strand’s most dynamic players.
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That doesn’t mean he doesn’t welcome the attention that comes with being the son of “Sunshine,” whose real life story played out on the big screen in the movie, “Remember the Titans.”
Given the nickname by his teammates on the T.C. Williams High football team for his blonde hair and sunburn, the elder Bass became an intricate part of a squad that overcame the scars of racism and early troubles of integration to become champions. He later would become a four-year letterman at South Carolina, starting for the Gamecocks during his junior and senior seasons.
It’s funny, (last Friday) we were playing Camden High School, in Camden three hours away. Right before we’re about to snap on the first play, they’re over there — the entire student section screaming, ‘Sun-shine! Sun-shine! Sun-shine!’ It was actually kind of cool to heat that and go with it.
North Myrtle Beach quarterback Ronnie Bass
His father’s only son and namesake, it is a legacy that follows him wherever he goes — whether in society or on the gridiron.
“It’s funny, (last Friday) we were playing Camden High School, in Camden three hours away,” Ronnie Bass Jr. said. “Right before we’re about to snap on the first play, they’re over there — the entire (Camden High) student section screaming, ‘Sun-shine! Sun-shine! Sun-shine!’ It was actually kind of cool to hear that and go with it.
“It follows me everywhere I go. I mean, it’s a cool thing to have in my life, a dad who lived during that time, during segregation and was integrated with African-Americans and White people, he just taught me a lot about it.”
At the moment, one of the biggest ways in which the younger Bass is hoping to follow his father’s footsteps is by leading his team to a state title. North Myrtle Beach currently is 6-0 on the season, ranked No. 7 in Class 2A ahead of Friday’s tilt with No. 2 Myrtle Beach, which is also undefeated.
“This game is big, because it’s the next game, especially for this program,” Ronnie Bass Jr. said. “Myrtle Beach has always been our rival, and we always play our best game against them. So, that’ll be good for us to play well against them.”
To this point, the Chiefs have yet to be challenged, the team’s smallest margin of victory being a 15-point win in their season opener against Timberland.
My first year, I didn’t have Coach Hardin as a freshman, and I was kind of iffy about everything. But then Coach Hardin came and really taught me the principles of football, and how it relates to real life. I’ve taken that everyday, and changed as a person, became a little more of a man since I first came here. I’ve taken his ideas and put them in my game and it really has helped me get a lot better.
North Myrtle Beach quarterback Ronnie Bass
Bass has been a big part of the squad’s success, completing nearly 59 percent of his passes for 638 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 257 yards on 54 carries for two more scores.
The quarterback has also played his part as a receiver, catching two passes for 52 yards — both of which went for touchdowns.
Along with his father’s tutelage at the recreational football level, Bass said North Myrtle Beach head football coach Blair Hardin has played a huge role in his development as a quarterback.
“My first year, I didn’t have Coach Hardin as a freshman, and I was kind of iffy about everything,” Ronnie Bass Jr. said. “But then Coach Hardin came and really taught me the principles of football, and how it relates to real life. I’ve taken that everyday, and changed as a person, became a little more of a man since I first came here. I’ve taken his ideas and put them in my game and it really has helped me get a lot better.”
The North Myrtle Beach coach describes his quarterback as an unflappable presence in the huddle, one that does his part to limit the team’s mistakes while on offense.
“He just does what he is asked,” Hardin said. “And honestly, that’s what you want from your quarterback, someone who gets your team lined up, makes the throws and puts your team in good situations.”
Most importantly, though, is that the son of “Sunshine” has bought into what Hardin was seeking to build over the past few years.
“Playing in a football game is like a war to us,” Ronnie Bass Jr. said. “… We try to attack as much as we can. Really, being a brother and knowing the guy next to you has your back is a great feeling. Being a family is very important to us.”