Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bunn forfeits football win over Rocky Mount

Bunn High School officials notified Rocky Mount High Monday that an ineligible player participated in the Wildcats' 37-21 football win over the Gryphons on Aug. 17.
As a result, the Wildcats have forfeited the victory. With that result, Rocky Mount officially moved to 2-0 on the season, while Bunn, which lost to Wilson Fike 20-13 last Friday, dropped to 0-2 on the year.

"It's a sad situation, but we'll take it," said first-year Rocky Mount coach Jason Battle of seeing a loss turn into an official win."

Apparently, Bunn's illegal player failed to get in his nine official practices prior to participating in the season opener for both teams.

It's the first time Rocky Mount has been awarded a football victory due to a forfeiture since 1998 when D.H. Conley used an ineligible player in a 35-6 win over the Gryphons.

Friday, August 24, 2012

NEW area high school football games - Week 2

What high school football teams will win this week in the Nash-Edgecombe-Wilson area?

Here are the games for Week 2! It will be the home opener for Wilson Fike, Wilson Hunt and Northern Nash.

Bertie @ Rocky Mount
Bunn @ Wilson Fike
CB Aycock @ Wilson Hunt
Nash Central @ Smithfield-Selma
 Rocky Mount Academy @ Cary Christian
Southern Nash @ Wilson Beddingfield
Southern Wayne @ Northern Nash
SW Edgecombe @ North Edgecombe
Washington @ Tarboro

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recapturing that Rocky Mount Spirit

With the move to a new campus and the first season of on-campus games in the history of Rocky Mount football, head coach Jason Battle wanted to welcome back former Rocky Mount football players, who contributed so much to success of the progam, to share their knowledge, enthusiasm and spirit of the game with this year's Rocky Mount team.

So Battle and his staff are issuing an opportunity for all former players of the Rocky Mount program to be a part of this historic group of players. 

Players from different decades and eras in Rocky Mount's history are be asked to attend select Gryphon varsity home games this season to be a part of the team.

Starting with all former players from the1960's and beyond for the season's opener with Bunn on Friday, Aug, 17, the current Gryphon staff will welcome former players on the field into their pre-game routines during warmups, drills, walk-throughs, etc.

Former players will even be asked to be part of the victory line with the marching as the team enters the field before the kickoff. 

It's an opportunity for former players to bond with the players and feel that that are part of the program - recapturing that Rocky Mount spirit.

Here is the schedule for the former players this season:

1960's and beyond - Friday, Aug. 17 vs. Bunn

1970's players - Friday, Aug. 24 vs. Bertie

1980's players - Friday, Aug. 31 vs. Hertford County

1990's players - Friday, Oct. 12 vs. Wilson Fike (Homecoming)

2000's players - Friday, Oct. 26 vs. Northern Nash

Turn back the clock and relive a little of the past, while contributing to the future.

For more information about this program, please contact Coach Battle at 252-885-6495.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gryphons to hit the airways

Rocky Mount may not have a radio crew following it at every football game this coming season, but it will seem that way.

Gryphon football games will be carried on the radio/Internet six times this coming season. Five games will be a part of WDWG 98.5 FM's Twin Counties Game of the Week package. The first of the five will be Rocky Mount's home game with Bertie on Aug. 24.

Rocky Mount's Homecoming game with Wilson Fike on Oct. 12 will be carried on WLLY 1350 AM out of Wilson - online at

WDWG 98.5-FM Twin Counties Game of the Week

Aug. 24 - Bertie at Rocky Mount (on Power 95.5 FM)
Aug. 31 - Tarboro at Northern Nash (on Power 95.5 FM)
Sept. 7 - Rocky Mount at SW Edgecombe
Sept. 14 - New Bern at Nash Central
Sept. 21 - Farmville Central at SW Edgecombe
Sept. 28 - Rocky Mount at Nash Central
Oct. 5 - Southern Nash at Northern Nash
Oct. 12 - SW Edgecombe at Tarboro
Oct. 19  - Rocky Mount at Southern Nash
Oct. 26 - Northern Nash at Rocky Mount

Broadcast starts at 7 p.m. Paul Andre will handle the play-by-play duties

WZAX 99.3 FM Wilson County Game of the Week

Aug. 24 - Bunn at Wilson Fike
Aug. 31 - Wilson Fike at Wilson Beddingfield
Sept. 7 - Wilson Beddingfield at Wilson Hunt
Sept. 14 - Wilson Hunt at Wilson Fike
Sept. 21 - Kinston at Wilson Beddingfield
Sept. 28 - Northern Nash at Wilson Hunt
Oct. 5 - Wilson Beddingfield at Farmville Central
Oct. 12 - Wilson Hunt at Southern Nash
Oct. 19 - Northern Nash at Wilson Fike
  Oct. 26 - Wilson Fike at Wilson Hunt

Broadcast starts at 7 p.m. Mike Laird will handle the play-by-play duties

WLLY 1350-AM Game of the Week (follow online at

Aug. 17 - Wilson Hunt at Eastern Wayne
Aug. 24 - Southern Nash at Wilson Beddingfield
Aug. 30 - Wilson Hunt at SW Edgecombe
Aug. 31 - Wilson Fike at Wilson Beddingfield
Sept. 7 - Wilson Beddingfield at Wilson Hunt
Sept. 14 - Wilson Hunt at Wilson Fike
Sept. 21 - Kinston at Beddingfield
Sept. 28 - Wilson Fike at Southern Nash
Oct. 5 - Wilson Beddingfield at Farmville Central
Oct. 12 - Wilson Fike at Rocky Mount
Oct. 19 - Wilson Hunt at Nash Central
Oct. 26 - Wilson Fike at Wilson Hunt

Broadcast starts at 7 p.m. Alton Britt will handle the play-by-play duties.

RMHS to be seen twice on WHIG-TV 17's replays

Rocky Mount football will make two appearances this fall on WHIG-TV 17's Freedom Credit Union Game of the Week.

Wes Bradshaw and Edward Greene are teaming up for their second season of filming area high school football games on Friday evening for a later broadcast on Saturday morning (10 a.m.) and evening (9:30). Games can be seen on cable at Suddenlink channel 17, Prism channel 31 and over the air at channel 31.

You can also watch games online at

The duo will see Rocky Mount, under new head coach Jason Battle, on Sept. 28 at Nash Central and at home with Northern Nash on Oct. 26.

Fans will even get a taste of eight-man football when Wes and Edward head over to Rocky Mount Academy to watch former RMHS head coach B.W. Holt guide the Eagles against Lawrence Academy.

Here is WHIG-TV's complete slate of games:

WHIG-TV 17's Freedom Credit Union Game of the Week

Aug. 17 - Nash Central @ Tarboro
Aug. 24 - Southern Nash @ Wilson Beddingfield
Aug. 31 - Wilson Hunt @ SouthWest Edgecombe
Sept. 7 - North Edgecombe @ Tarboro
Sept. 14 - Wilson Hunt @ Wilson Fike
Sept. 21 - Lawrence Academy @ Rocky Mount Academy
Sept. 28 - Rocky Mount @ Nash Central
Oct. 5 - Southern Nash @ Northern Nash
Oct. 12 - SouthWest Edgecombe @ Tarboro
Oct. 19 - Wilson Hunt @ Nash Central
Oct. 26 - Northern Nash @ Rocky Mount

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bishops picked 3rd in USA South Preseason Football Poll

DANVILLE, Va. - The USA South Athletic Conference held its 2012 Football Media Day last week at Averett University. Each of the Conference's eight football coaches addressed the media and gave their thoughts on the upcoming season. The preseason poll was also released at the event with N.C. Wesleyan earning a 3rd-place billing. 

The Battling Bishops are looking to rebound from a 2-8 season a year ago and hope to return to the league dominance that saw the Bishops capture three of the previous four regular season titles. NCWC, in fact, boasts a remarkable 32-10 mark versus league competition over the past six years.

At press conference, fifth-year head coach Mark Henninger remarked that the disappointment of last season acted as a strong motivator during a solid spring season for the Bishops. He is pleased to return 47 players from last year's squad, including four All-Conference selections.

Leading the way is senior Dwayne Hollis, who was tabbed a Third Team All-Region selection by last season, while also garnering Honorable Mention All-American status by Beyond Sports Network. Additionally, he was a USA South First Team pick at both defensive back and return specialist, becoming the first player in Wesleyan history to garner such honors at two different positions.

Hollis was recently named a preseason All-American by BSN, and the Battling Bishops will look to him to anchor a defense that will likely play a major role in the team's 2012 success.

Christopher Newport University, under the direction of head coach Matt Kelchner, was picked in the preseason coaches' poll to defend its USA South Athletic Conference football title.CNU received six of eight first place votes (48 points) as head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting. Last season's second-place team, Ferrum College, finished second in the voting with the remaining two first place votes and 43 total points. The entire poll follows.

In preparation for the press conference, the Conference posted its 2012 Football Media Guide. The guide previews the upcoming seasons of all eight USA South football institutions. The publication consists of last season's results, all-conference teams and statistics, as well as composite and team-by-team 2012 schedules. The guide can be found HERE or by visiting the football page of the USA South website, which will also host clips from the press conference.

The 2012 USA South football schedule kicks-off on Saturday, September 1st, as all eight teams begin their seasons with non-conference action. Wesleyan will host Ohio Northern University at 1:00 pm at the Northern Nash Football Complex.
2012 USA South Coaches Preseason Poll
Institution (1st Place Votes)
Christopher Newport (6)
Ferrum (2)
N.C. Wesleyan

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

RMHS girls headed back to Raleigh

Rocky Mount High School's girls basketball team has been invited to participate in the Holiday Invitational Basketball Tournament for the second straight season.

The Lady Gryphons, who will feature East Carolina recruit J'Kyra Brown, will also be after their second straight title in the event, which was called the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational Basketball Tournament until 2010. It is one of the oldest prep Christmas tournaments in the country - signified by it celebrating its 40th anniversary last year.

The tournament begins on Dec. 26 at Cary Academy.

Rocky Mount finished 26-4 last season and reached the NCHSAA 3-A East regional finals before falling to Burlington Williams.

Joining Rocky Mount in the eight-team field will be Raleigh Broughton, Cary Academy, Greensboro Dudley, East Wake, Durham Hillside, Holly Springs and Charlotte Myers Park.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fuquay-Varina hires Mountford as athletic director

Former Rocky Mount High School boys and girls soccer coach James Mountford has been hired as athletic director at Fuquay-Varina High School.

Mountford spent six years as head coach at RMHS and was very successful with both teams. He was 74-39-8 with the boys' team and 66-30-7 with the girls' squad. 

A 1995 graduate of Fuquay-Varina High, Mountford returned to teach and coach at his alma mater seven seasons ago. He was named the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 4-A State Coach of the Year in 2010.

"I am truly honored and blessed to have the opportunity to lead the athletic program at Fuquay-Varina," Mountford told "As a former Bengal student-athlete, I know firsthand how vital and important athletics can be in a student-athlete's life."

He will resign his duties as head coach of both varsity squads to concentrate on his athletic director duties.

Mountford, a Barton College graduate, is married to former Rocky Mount High athlete Emily Munden.


Read more here:

2012 American Legion Southeast Regional pairings:

(At Riley Park, Sumter, S.C.)

August 9

Game 1 – Shelbyville, Ky. vs. Lynchburg, Va. (23-3), 9 a.m.
Game 2 – Wilmington (33-7) vs. Rockdale, Ga. (30-1), noon
Game 3 – Tuscaloosa, Ala. (45-9) vs. Florence, S.C. (35-4), 3:30 p.m.
Game 4 – Fort Pierce, Fla. vs. Sumter, S.C. (23-8), 6:30 p.m.

August 10

Game 5 – Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 9 a.m.
Game 6 – Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 12:30 p.m.
Game 7 – Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 3:30 p.m.
Game 8 – Game 2 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 6:30 p.m.

August 11

Loser’s bracket games, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Winner’s bracket final, 6 p.m.

August 12

Games at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

August 13

Games at noon and 3 p.m. (if necessary)

2012 N.C. American Legion State Baseball Tournament Results

(At M.S. Deal Stadium, Granite Falls)
Wednesday’s games
Game 1 – Whiteville 14, Randolph County 6
Game 2 – Wilmington 13, High Point 7
Game 3 – Cherryville 4, Apex 3 (10 innings)
Game 4 – Caldwell County 14, Pitt County 1 (7 innings)

Thursday’s games
Game 5 – Randolph County 6, Apex 1, Apex (20-8) eliminated
Game 6 – Pitt County 9, High Point 8, High Point (29-9) eliminated
Game 7 – Cherryville 9, Whiteville 4
Game 8 – Wilmington 9, Caldwell County 7

Friday’s games
Game 9 – Pitt County 6, Whiteville 5, Whiteville (23-9) eliminated.
Game 10 – Caldwell County 6, Randolph County 3,  Randolph County (31-11) eliminated
Game 11 – Wilmington 16, Cherryville 5

Saturday’s games
Game 12 – Cherryville 5, Caldwell County 1, Caldwell County (28-10) eliminated.
Game 13 – Wilmington 20, Pitt County 8 (7 innings), Pitt County (21-6) elminated

Sunday’s game
Game 14 – Wilmington 11, Cherryville 1 (8 innings)

State champion – Wilmington Post 10 (33-7)
State runner-up – Cherryville Post 100 (37-12)

RMHS' Johnson picks High Point U.

Rocky Mount rising senior Jeremy Johnson
Rocky Mount High School has had at least one baseball player sign to play Div. I college baseball the last three years.

You can make that four, come this fall.

Gryphon pitcher and rising senior Jeremy Johnson has made a verbal commitment to play baseball at High Point University. He will sign a National Letter-of-Intent with the Panthers in November.

He will follow in the recent D-I footsteps of Brian Goodwin (UNC), Ben Fish (Campbell), Hobbs Johnson (UNC) and Benton Moss (UNC). Johnson made his decision last week.

"Overall, High Point had everything that I was looking for in a school,"  said the lefty pitcher who went 4-4 and struck out 80 batters for an offensively anemic Gryphon squad. "It had great academics, a great baseball program with a great coaching staff and a great atmosphere for me to be successful in college. The school had what I was looking for and my family and I felt very comfortable about my decision."

High Point, a school with an enrollment of around 4,500, went 28-31 in baseball last season and is a member of the Big South Conference.

Not only was Johnson the top pitcher on Rocky Mount's staff (career record of 10-7 with 130 Ks), he led them at the plate as well.

He paced the team in batting (.342), hits (27) and runs scored (19). He was second on team in RBIs - a bit unusual for player in the lead-off position.

"I made an early decision because I found exactly what I wanted in a school, " said Johnson, who narrowed his choices down to Army, Western Carolina and High Point before picking the Panthers. "It has a good Div.  I program and when I visited the campus, I felt right at home. My family and I talked it over that night about the other schools and the benefits of each one and in the end, we realized that making an early decision about High Point was the best option for me."

When Johnson wasn't playing for the Gryphons, he was playing travel ball with the Impact Baseball's Dirtbags squad. All the coaches he's had along the way have brought him to where he is now.

"Everyone throughout my high school career has helped me in making this decision," said Johnson, who played center field when he wasn't on the mound. "All my coaches from Coach Pitch, Showcase (Andy Partin and the Dirtbags) and high school (Kent Cox). have helped me develop into the player I am today. My whole family and friends have been supportive of me through the decision-making process and it's been a blessing to have such a great support group."

Cox, his head coach at Rocky Mount, wished his 2012 team could have given him more run support.

"Jeremy is a fine pitcher and a fine young man," said Cox, who just completed his third season with the Gryphons. "I couldn't be happier for him. I just wish our team last season could have put more runs on the board for him. He did the best he could for us on the mound and at the plate. If we had gotten some better offensive production, there's no telling how good a junior season he would have had."

"He was our No. 1 guy and he faced every tough opponent we had last season," Cox said. "If we had helped him, just a little bit, we all could have been more successful."

Johnson hopes to make a contribution to the Panthers right away.

"When I get to High Point, I will be a middle relief guy," Johnson said. "They liked me because I go after hitters and I get outs. I'm not going to overpower guys with my fastball. With me, it's about locating and executing all of my pitches to have success."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rocky Mount All-Stars in Greensboro

Alexus Cooper, Terrill Hilliard and Tia Hudgins enjoy a banquet for the N.C. East-West All-Stars.        

Not only were the athletic talents of Alexus Cooper, Terrill Hilliard and Tia Hudgins on display last Monday night in the N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Basketball Games in Greensboro, their academic accomplishments were honored as well.

Thanks to GPAs of over 3.0 for their final school year, each were named to the NCCA's All-Academic Team during team introductions prior to their respective games at the Greensboro Coliseum. 

As for their game performances, Cooper, a starter for the East at guard, led all scorers in the Women's All-Star Game with 16, but the East fell to West 82-65. Cooper also tallied four steals. Hudgins didn't have the offensive game she wanted as she failed to score - much in part because she got into early foul trouble and spent more time on the bench than she wanted.

She, however, ended up with five rebounds.

Hilliard showed more of his ability to face the basket in the Men's All-Star Game as a starter. He was second on his team in scoring with 16 points, including canning four of six 3-point attempts. 

But the East fell 107-97 to the West.

McClain honored at East-West All-Star Game

1982 Rocky Mount High School alum George McClain takes the court at the Greensboro Coliseum. (Photo/Alan Wooten)

GREENSBORO - Every time George McClain has stepped on the playing floor at the Greensboro Coliseum, good things have happened.

Monday evening, McClain and several others were honored as former MVPs of the N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Men's Basketball Game.

In July of 1982, McClain helped the East claim victory over the West and he was named the game's MVP.

Four months earlier, the floor was good to McClain, too. He helped the Gryphons beat Chapel Hill to grab the 1982 NCHSAA 4-A State Championship.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gryphons to invade Greensboro Coliseum Monday evening

Three Rocky Mount High School athletes will play their final prep event of their careers Monday evening at Greensboro Coliseum.

Basketballers Terrill Hilliard, Tia Hudgins and Alexus Cooper will be playing in the N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Men's and Women's Basketball Games. The women will start at 6:30 p.m., while the men will take the court around 8:30.

Here are the bios of the Rocky Mount participants that will appear in the official program of the games. These three athletes are the 16th, 17th and 18th Rocky Mount students to play in the games since 2000 - more than any school in the Twin Counties or the Big East Conference. 

Terrill Hilliard

Terrill. . . Rocky Mount High. . .6-6, 189 lb. forward. . . coached by Michael Gainey. . . as a senior, averaged 19.4 points 7.5 rebounds. . . named NCPreps 3A All-State, District  3 Player of the Year, All-Conference, Conference Player of the Year, Telegram All-Area, team MVP and captain. . . NC-SC All-Star Game participant. . . played for 3A state championship team. . . as a junior, named All-Area, East Regional All-Tournament. . . as a sophomore, played on 3A state championship team. . . signed an athletic grant-in-aid with Wingate University. . . undecided about major. . . his parents are his role models. . . favorite college athlete is Harrison Barnes. . . favorite pro athlete is James Harden. . . says “I feel very proud to be considered one of the best in the East and be able to represent Rocky Mount.  I’m expecting to get better from playing against high competition and gain more knowledge from the coaches and players.” 

Tia Hudgins

Tia. . . Rocky Mount High. . . 5-8 guard. . . coached by Pamela Gainey. . .as senior, averaged 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals. . . named All-Conference, 2012 Athlete of the Year. . . Leadership Award recipient. . . joined the “1,000 Point Club”. . . as junior, named All-Conference. . . Coaches Award recipient. . . as sophomore, named All-Conference. . . Coaches Award recipient. . . named Player of the Year and twice named team MVP in volleyball and also competed in track and soccer. . . member of National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Project Hart. . . plans to attend Queens University where she will major in computer information systems. . . her siblings Tanika and Terrell are her role models. . . says  “I feel honored to play in the East-West All-Star game.  I am the third sibling to receive such an honor.  I’m expecting to win as well as to gain new friends and have this experience of playing in the all-star game.” 

Alexus Cooper

Alexus. . .Rocky Mount High. . .5-8 guard. . .coached by Pamela Gainey. . .as a senior, averaged 12.6 points, 3.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 steals. . .named All-Area…High School Invitational Basketball All-Tournament Team. . .participated in the North/South All-Star Game. . .as junior, did not play due to injury. . . as sophomore, averaged 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2 assists, 2.3 steals. . .named All-Area Player of the Year. . .also competed in cross country and track and field. . .received honors chord and NC Scholar chord. . . signed an athletic grant-in-aid with Eastern Kentucky University where she will major in criminal justice. . .her mother is her role model. . .favorite pro athlete is Derrick Rose. . . says  “I feel honored and excited to be able to participate in the all-star game.  I’m expecting to again a good experience from the game.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Post 58 hosts New Bern in playoff opener

Click on photo to enlarge!

Rocky Mount Coleman-Pitt Post 58’s baseball team will open postseason action Thursday evening at Gryphon Stadium when its hosts the No. 4 seed from Area I East - Southern Conference member New Bern Post 24. Post 58 (18-6)  is the No. 1 seed from Area I East - Northern Conference.

The best-of-three series will move to New Bern High School’s Boykin Field for game 2 Friday evening.

If a game 3 is needed, play will resume in Rocky Mount Saturday night.

The second round will also be a best 2-of-3 series beginning Monday, July 16, weather permitting. Should Post 58 advance, it will face either Pitt County Post 39 or Ahoskie Post 102 in round 2.

New Bern may have a reputation of being unheralded the past few seasons, but Post 24 can’t be overlooked.

However, it has had its problems this summer, as a 2-11 record might indicate.

Many of the players that helped New Bern High win the Mideastern 4-A Conference regular season championship this past spring have either graduated, are injured or opted to play showcase baseball this summer. New Bern High head coach Gary Smith, who is also coaches Post 24, has youth all over the place.

West Craven Post 539 had a senior Legion baseball team at the beginning of the season, but by mid-June, a lack of players caused the program to disband.

Post 24 had the similar problems last summer when it didn’t have enough players to participate in the playoffs. Post 58, its scheduled first-round opponent in 2011, was issued a bye into the second round.

Three of those Post 539 players joined Post 24’s squad to give it some instant depth. Also Smith’s young players in the program have progressed.

One player Post 58 may have to watch out for is Game 1 starter Trevor Pence.

The right hander, who graduated last June, helped guide the New Bern Bears to that conference title after posting an 8-1 record and an ERA of 0.84. He earned All- Conference honors and was recently named to the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association All-State Team.

Post 58, under head coach Hank Jones, will need to get Pence, who is headed to Wake Tech next fall, out of the lineup and into Post 24’s inexperienced bullpen to insure a possible series win.

Area I East

Division Playoffs
First Round
(best-of-three games)
(1) Rocky Mount Post 58 (18-6) vs. (4) New Bern Post 24 (2-11)
(2) Pitt County Post 39 (12-5) vs. (3) Ahoskie Post 102 (6-14)
(1) Wayne County Post 11 (11-6) vs. (4) Edenton Post 40 (5-9)
(2) Wilson Post 13 (11-9) vs. (3) Kinston Post 43 (9-6)

Winners in the first-round series begin play in the second round, also best 2-of-3, on Monday, July 16.

Area I West

Division Playoffs
First Round  
(best-of-three games)
(1) Raleigh Post 1 (12-5) vs. (4) Pittsboro (3-9)
(2) Apex Post 124 (9-5) vs. (3) Durham Post 7 (8-10)
(1) Johnston County Post 71 (16-4) vs. (4) Creedmoor (3-10)
(2) Cary Post 67 (8-9) vs. (3) Garner Post 232 (19-8)

Winners in the first-round series begin play in the second round, also best 2-of-3, on Monday, July 16