Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gryphons find a place to play!

Rocky Mount senior football players Demetric Marshall, Jason Tyler and C.J. Ford will be heading west to pursue their college football careers.

All three will be attending West Hills Community College in California. They should be signing with the school sometime next week.

Senior pitcher Chad Womble hopes to keep his baseball career going at Florence-Darlington Technical College - a JUCO where the baseball program has had great success in just three seasons of play. Womble is expected to sign with the Tech Stingers sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Look for info on all these upcoming signings on Rocky Mount's site .....

New coaches to face Gryphs

There was one - and after next week, there will be two. Two what? Two of the Gryphons' football opponents this season will have new head coaches.

Goldsboro, RMHS' endowment game opponent the next two seasons, saw head coach Maurice Jackson step down not long after Christmas. Eric Reid is the Cougars' new head coach and he will bring his squad to Rocky Mount twice the next couple of seasons. The Cougars have agreed to play both endowment contests at Rocky Mount.

The second new head coach is part of breaking news. Hertford County, where the Gryphons will head on Sept. 14, will see its very successful coach Greg Watford leave for Northampton-East as its new football coach and athletic director. That move will be announced officially on Monday. No word on who will replace Watford ...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

NCHSAA Baseball Championship Schedules


(All series best-of-three)


Game 1: Friday, June 1 at 8 p.m.; Game 2: Saturday, June 2 at 2 pm; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 2 at 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 1-A)


Game 1: Friday, June 1, 5 pm.; Game 2: Saturday, June 2, 11 am; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 2 at 5 pm


Game 1: Friday, June 1, 8 pm; Game 2: Saturday, June 2 at 2 pm; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 3 at 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 3-A)

PRINCETON (23-6) vs. EAST SURRY (25-8)

Game 1: Friday, June 1 at 5 pm.; Game 2: Saturday, June 2 at 11 am.; Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 2 at 5 pm

Monday, May 21, 2007

Baseball records update

I was under the impression that the 19 strikeouts posted by Carter Harrell in 5-0 one-hitter at Hillsborough Orange in 2001 was a school record.

It is the record, but as I have found out recently, Harrell actually tied someone who already had the record. I have confirmed that Donnie Bobbitt (Class of 1986) actually set the record of 19 in a, would you believe, 6-5, 11-inning loss to Southern Nash during the 1986 Breakfast Optimist Easter Tournament at old Municial Stadium.

Bobbitt went all 11 innings, as did Southern's winning pitcher Phil Bryant.

Another record correction is that Bobbitt, a three-year starter who played his college days at Wake Forest (along with former Gryphon standout Neil Avent), has the school record for career pitching wins with 25 - one more than Harrell.

But current RMHS junior hurler Jim Leggett has an excellent chance of breaking that mark his senior season. Leggett will have 20 victories going into the 2008 campaign.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Gryphon gridiron alum tidbits

Brandon Arrington, who led Rocky Mount High in receiving two seasons ago, has left N.C. Wesleyan's football program and will be playing at UNC-Pembroke next season.

He leaves a program that was three years old to join one that hasn't even played a game. The Braves, who will play at the NCAA Div. II level, will hit the field this fall for the first time.

Arrington played in eight games for the Battling Bishops, who posted their first-ever winning season (6-4). A freshman reserve wide receiver, Arrington caught eight passes for 90 yards last season.

Arrington says he's just ready to get away from the area and get out on his own. Good luck Brandon! ....

Former Gryphon wide receiver Mike Mason, who spent his last season of college ball at Tennessee State, has signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns. After a solid performance in the NFL Combines, Mason was hoping to be drafted. But that didn't happen.

Check out Mike right here on the Browns' website ...

Associated Press second-team All-America Terrell Hudgins, who is coming off a super redshirt freshman season at wide receiver for Elon, won't have his record-setting quarterback tossing the ball to him this fall.

Rising senior Wes Pope has been suspended from school for the 2007 fall semester due to an academic honor code violation. Pope was a redshirt junior last season when he passed for over 2,500 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Hudgins, who caught 69 passes for 1,027 yards and eight scores, says that he expects either redshirt junior Shayne Milligan or incoming freshman Scott Riddle out of Eastern Randolph to take Pope's spot.

Ironically, both Milligan and Riddle have a connection to Nash County football. Both QBs had a part in knocking a Nash County football team out of the playoffs.

Milligan did his thing to Rocky Mount in a game the Gryphon faithful will never forget - their 4-A first-round collapse to Wakefield in 2002. Riddle, as a junior, knocked Northern Nash out of the 2005 3-A first round.

Hudgins, a 2005 Gryphon alum who holds virtually every Rocky Mount passing record, also said recently that he's not interested in trying to compete for the signal calling duties.

He likes what he's doing now just fine!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chip off the old block!

Whit Merrifield came by his talents honestly. He has his dad's genes.

The Davie County senior infielder has signed to play baseball for the University of South Carolina next year.

His dad is Bill Merrifield, who led the Gryphons to the NCHSAA 4-A state baseball title in 1980. The elder Merrifield had a fabulous college career at Wake Forest - including winning two ACC Baseball Player of the Year awards. He set many ACC records during his days in Winston-Salem. He is also a member of the Wake Forest Athletic Hall of Fame.

Click here to read's Q&A with the younger Merrifield and why he chose to be a Gamecock and not a Demon Deacon, like his dad!

Too bad he was never a Gryphon!

You can also check out a video piece on young Merrifield right here.

NEW 6 Baseball Still Around for Round 2

Most of you might remember the horror of last year's baseball playoffs for the NEW 6 3-A Conference.

Does Black Tuesday ring a bell?

Well, it was Black Thursday for Rocky Mount and Nash Central. Luckily, Friday was a lot kinder to Northern Nash, Southern Nash and Wilson Fike.

The Knights' bats stayed hot with three home runs en route to a 13-1, five-inning rout of Southern Lee. Wilson Fike's Bentley Massey no-hit Hertford County and the Golden Demons posted a 7-0 win in Ahoskie.

The Southern Nash Firebirds, down 6-5, scored two runs in the sixth and made it hold up for a 7-6 road upset over No. 1 seed South Johnston.

Tonight, Northern Nash is home to Union Pines, and the Firebirds have to make a trip to Saxapahaw to visit Southern Alamance.

Southern actually helped out the Knights a bit with its big win. Should Northern win tonight, it will stay home for one more week and meet the Southern Alamance-Southern Nash winner. If Southern had fallen Friday and South Johnston won its second round game, the Knights would have had to hit the road for Round 3.

The No. 1 seeds, like South Johnston, were falling all over the place. In the 3-As, T.C. Roberson, South Central, Charlotte Catholic and Mooresville all bit the dust Friday.

At the 4-A level, the top seeds pretty much held serve. But it will be a bit funny not seeing five-time state champion J.H. Rose competing in the late playoff rounds. The Rampants' season ended Friday night with a 5-1 home loss to Wilmington Laney. I guess playing in Guy Smith Stadium wasn't as big of an advantage as it could have been.

Give upstart Ardrey Kell High some love! The new Charlotte school won 17 games in its first-ever season and made the playoffs. Then went out and posted a win over No. 1 seed West Mecklenburg in its first-ever playoff game.

Can't wait to see what surprises Round 2 may hold!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Welcome Gryphon Sports Fans!

Hi Gryphon Fans!

I'm Charles Alston, the webmaster of - the sports website for Rocky Mount High School (N.C.) sports. The website, in a couple of formats, has been up since March 2000 and I am proud that I have posted nearly 2,000 stories about your school's sports activities on the sites.

But a lot of times, I have information on RMHS and NEW 6 Conference sports that may not warrant an outright story. For example, a change in a sports schedule, or perhaps a new hire in the area - even if it's at another Nash County school, or some small tidbit of info that I want to share, but I may be able to add more facts to later.

So, I came up with the idea of starting a Rocky Mount High School sports blog ... and I am calling it the "Gryphon Grapevine." I will put links to the blog on the website - starting Tuesday, May 15.

So use this wisely, and it can be fun!