Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barnes tabbed for 2008 Shrine Bowl

The honors continue to flow in for Rocky Mount offensive lineman Whit Barnes.

Barnes, who has verbally committed to Wake Forest, was informed Wednesday by his head coach B.W. Holt that Clayton's Gary Fowler had picked him to play on the N.C. team in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

Fowler will be the head coach of the Tar Heel squad.

Around 1 p.m. Thursday, the official word of his selection will be announced in Spartanburg, S.C., the site of the game which is set for Saturday, Dec. 20 at Wofford University's Gibbs Stadium. A video press conference announcing the game's player rosters can be linked to via

Kickoff for the game is at 1 p.m.

Barnes will be the 41st Rocky Mount High player all-time to be selected for the event - being played for the 72nd year.

He will be the fourth player under sixth-year RMHS head coach B.W. Holt to play in the annual game. Preceding him were tight end Bryant Bayne (2003), defensive back Stephan Virgil (2004) and offensive lineman Nazir Levine (2006).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nash Central vs. Rocky Mount Series

The above picture is action from Monday night's "Cold Bowl" - Nash Central at SouthWest Edgecombe. A huge second quarter by the Cougars turned out to be the difference in a 34-21 NEW 6 victory for SouthWest.

With the Bulldogs on the losing end, I expect them to be pretty angry when Rocky Mount comes calling Friday evening. Historically, this has been quite a rivalry. But on paper, the Bulldogs haven't come up with a win over the Gryphons, yet.

Here is the series with the upstart Bulldogs. Rocky Mount now leads it 6-0 after its 35-7 win Friday night. Here are the updated series numbers:

2008 - RM win 35-7

2007 - RM wins 17-0

2006 - RM wins 47-0

2005 - RM wins 21-6

2004 - RM wins 30-20

2003 - RM wins 42-14

(Photo/David Hahula)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trot Nixon, SEAM honor RMHS baseball champs

Current New York Mets outfielder and North Carolina native Trot Nixon (front row, third from the left) was the guest speaker at the SEAM (Sports, Evangelism and Mission) Night of Champions fundraiser dinner held Thursday evening at Englewood Baptist Church.

Among the teams honored during the evening were Rocky Mount's 2008 NCHSAA 3-A state baseball championship squad. Pictured above (click on picture to enlarge it) is Nixon, a former Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indian, with several members of the Gryphon team.

(Photo/David Hahula)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Elon receiver Hudgins adds to record haul

By Adam Smith
Burlington Times-News

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Having picked up another receiving record to add to his prodigious collection, Terrell Hudgins continues to rewrite history as it pertains to the Elon University football program.

He's on a quest to help author wider-reaching chapters for the Phoenix.

"I'm just looking forward to a conference championship next," the dynamic junior said two days ago, after becoming Elon's all-time leader in touchdown catches. "I set another record, now I want a conference championship."

Hudgins hauled in scores from 9 and 25 yards out as Elon pulverized Chattanooga 42-7 on Saturday.

Those grabs were the 32nd and 33rd touchdown catches of Hudgins' college career, moving him past the previous milestone of 31 established by Richard McGeorge, one of Elon's most revered players, who starred for the school from 1966-69.

Hudgins needs 183 yards to overtake McGeorge (3,486 career yards) and become first at Elon in all-time receiving yards. That's essentially Elon's last career receiving category Hudgins has yet to procure.

He admitted Saturday that he took peeks at his numbers last year while in the process of piling up a season of enormous production - 117 catches for 1,474 yards and 18 touchdowns.

"But now, I'm just playing," Hudgins said. "I'm not worried about my stats or where I'm ranked or anything like that. I'm honored to have records in the books. But we're 7-1 right now, so I couldn't be any happier about the way we're playing."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Holt's prediction comes true

By Nick Phillips
RMHS correspondent

(Editor's note: Check out Nick's new blog at )

Sitting here today, a freshman in college and away from home for the first extended period of time, I look around and see many reminders of home and Rocky Mount High School.

A baseball hat, a Gryphons mini-football and basketball (thanks to cheerleading coach Lou Buck) and walls adorned with newspaper clippings of the Gryphons baseball team’s state championship run.

As one of the team’s biggest fans, Wes Bradshaw, says, we were the Boys of Spring, capping off a season like no other, and for us five seniors, going out on top to finish our high school careers.

But this story is not as much about the baseball team winning or the great stories that everyone has from those few weeks. It’s about Rocky Mount head football coach B.W Holt. As my eyes wander to the framed picture of the exuberant dog pile in Five County Stadium’s infield, I hear Coach Holt’s voice saying ‘I told you so.’

You see, this story goes way back. Back beyond the beginnings of this past year’s graduating class’ high school endeavors. This story has its roots in the Edwards Middle School gym.

The year was 2004, and Rocky Mount football had just experienced its first year under Coach Holt. I remember that spring there was a meeting for anyone who had thoughts about playing any sport at Rocky Mount. I vaguely remember Coach Donald Thomas talking about reminders about physicals and the sort, but remembered this man standing off to the side.

As a na├»ve middle school student, I didn’t attend any of the Gryphons football games the previous fall in Coach Holt’s first campaign. But it soon became apparent what Coach Holt’s visions were for athletics at Rocky Mount High School.

Only a few words into his talk, mainly introducing himself and a word or two about football tryouts, when he came out and said, “By the time your class graduates, you will have won a state championship in some sport, I don’t know which one, but we will have won one somewhere.”

I’m pretty sure we all thought Coach Holt’s words were crazy, words trying to get us excited about high school and high school athletics. Who was this man to say what would happen in the future?

We were quickly turned into believers as we saw Holt’s football teams quickly began to turn into state contenders, and now have become powerhouses.

In 2007, the Gryphons’ Chalonda Silver brought home an individual championship in indoor track. But it was not the fruits of our class’ efforts.

As the weeks wound down towards graduation, it appeared Coach Holt’s words would not be fulfilled. Then a magical run began, both literally and figuratively.

First, Jacobi Jenkins outran the competition in the Eastern Finals to earn a spot in the state championships. There, he captured the championship in the 110 meter hurdles and brought the Class of 2008 its first champion.

But again, the championship was an individual one.

At the same time the Gryphons’ baseball team was beginning its run through the playoffs. I remember Bradshaw announcing Jacobi’s results and the applause he received. Inside, I believed that he helped push the baseball team that much harder, because we wanted to have that same feeling.

After a run through the playoffs, and a hard-fought Championship Series, the Gryphons baseball team was finally able to celebrate. Now there was no question – Holt’s promise was complete, both individually and as a team.

He was in the stands in Zebulon, along with many of Rocky Mount’s other athletes.

Seeing the celebration, will it now push those athletes in the other sports to want it that much more?

What will Coach Holt’s next speech be, now that his Gryphons are serious contenders?

As I look at the celebratory pictures again, and the ring that represents all of the hard work that was put into it, I remember taking time out of that late afternoon in May from celebrating to think back to those words so many years ago.

Call me crazy, or random, or whatever, but along with the memories and feelings from those magical weeks, I will forever remember Coach Holt’s words.

Thanks Coach, for instilling the dream and pushing us along the way, even if you didn’t always realize it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

All angles - The RMHS Baseball State Championship Ring

This is a chance for all the Rocky Mount sports fans who haven't seen the baseball team's state championship ring to do so up close.

Here, using the ring of senior Nick Hahula, you can get to see every angle of this beautiful ring. Click on each image to enlarge it.

Congrats again to the Gryphons!

(Photos/David Hahula)

Rocky Mount - SouthWest Edgecombe Football Series

Rocky Mount now leads the football series against SouthWest Edgecombe 10-1. The series started in 1987, but it took a 13-year hiatus until both teams joined the NEW 6 3-A Conference in 2005.

Here are all the scores:

2008 - RM wins 7-0

2007 - RM wins 15-12

2006 - SWE wins 21-16

2005 - RM wins 21-7 (3-A playoffs)

2005 - RM wins 24-7

1992 - RM wins 12-8

1991 - RM wins 24-21

1990 - RM wins 15-12

1989 - RM wins 40-7

1988 - RM wins 28-0

1987 - RM wins 21-18

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

AP 3-A Football Poll - Oct. 14

The Gryphons are the No. 2-ranked team in the state in AP's 3-A poll ... again. Since word of the NCHSAA forfeit came down, RMHS has been in the No. 2 spot ever since.

Class 3-A

1. Greensboro Dudley (11) (7-0) 155 1
2. Rocky Mount (5) (6-1) 145 2
3. Eastern Alamance (7-0) 114 3
4. Belmont South Point (7-1) 95 4
5. Jamestown Ragsdale (8-0) 90 5
6. West Craven (7-0) 81 6
7. Waynesville Tuscola (7-0) 72 7
8. Winston-Salem Carver (6-1) 51 8
9. Harnett Central (6-1) 24 9
10. West Rowan (6-1) 23 10

Others receiving votes: SouthWest Edgecombe 8, Wilson Beddingfield 7, Oxford Webb 5, Asheville 4, Monroe Sun Valley 2, Western Alamance 1, Newton Foard 1, Gastonia Forestview 1, Kinston 1.

A Redskins jinx!

My old friend and former RM Telegram sports editor Cliff Barnes and I attended Sunday's Washington Redskins-St. Louis Rams football game at FedEx Field.

I can promptly say that I jinxed my 'Skins - again!

Washington came into the game with no turnovers on offense. I come to see them and they fumble all over the place. And for the second straight time in my presence, they lost (19-17)! A Monday Night game a few seasons ago with the Tennessee Titans was a solid bore and also a loss!

It was nice being among the 92,000 Redskins fans that packed the place that day, but I could be a better fan watching them at home. Certainly, a less poorer one.

After all, they didn't need my $110 for the ticket, the $40 for parking or the $5 I paid for a 20 oz. bottle of water I got late in the game - just minutes before a Rams field goal sent us all home mad!

More shots of the RING!

Even though I posted a nice picture of the Gryphon baseball team's state championship ring (with Grant Johnson's fingers), I hope to post three later in the week so fans can see all three sides of the ring - the top, left and right sides.

Rain could damper RMHS-SW Edgecombe matchup .. again

Could we have some Monday Night Football for a fourth straight year?

The weather forecast for Friday is showing showers - no idea if they will come early or late in the day. Should this battle get washed out (SWE holds the game cancelling cards this season), it would be the fourth straight season Rocky Mount and SouthWest Edgecombe will have faced each other on a Monday evening.

I would be nice for the pattern to end - since this is the last NEW 6 contest the two teams will play.

Let's hope we can play in dry conditions and on a dry, cut field, on a Friday - so no one can complain about the outcome.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ring ceremony pictures

Grant Johnson shows off his ring while talking with AM 1390's Wes Bradshaw. (Photo/Wes Bradshaw)

The above two shots are some of the 17 players and four coaches who got rings Friday evening for winning the 2008 NCHSAA 3-A state baseball championship. Five of the players are starters on the 2008 football team. Click on any picture to enlarge it. (Photos/David Hahula)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All-time Rocky Mount Series - in Football

(Note: The 2008 playoff games have been added to this list)

Since I have this information, why not share it with the world!

I am about to list the series record Rocky Mount has with every football opponent on record - beginning with the first game in the first season - a 26-14 win over Oxford Orphanage in Sept. 1953.

Of course, some of the schools may not exist any more, or have changed names (i.e., Fayetteville High is now Terry Sanford High; Wilmington High is now New Hanover High, etc.). If so, I will notate that for you, as well as their last meeting with RM if it is not on the Gryphons' current schedule. The series RM trails in will be in red. There are only 14 of them!

Here goes! And I will update this list the rest of this season!

Northern Nash - RM leads 23-17

Tarboro - RM leads 23-12 - not played since 2004

J.H. Rose - RM leads 23-22

Northeastern - RM leads 16-12 - not played since 2000

Wilson Hunt - RM leads 16-10

Wilson Fike - RM leads 26-21-2

Goldsboro - RM leads 19-17-1 - not played since 2006

Southern Nash - RM leads 16-4

East Wake - RM leads 3-1 - not played since 1996

New Bern - RM leads 11-10 - not played since 2004

Wilson Beddingfield - RM leads 15-2 - not played since 2005

SW Edgecombe - RM leads 10-1

Eastern Wayne - RM leads 14-3 - not played since 1996

Kinston - RM leads 19-5 - not played since 2006

Durham Hillside - RM leads 7-2-1 - not played since 1978

Wilmington Hoggard - RM trails 1-2 - not played since 1974

Wilmington New Hanover - RM is tied 9-9-1 - not played since 1976

Garner - RM leads 3-0 - not played since 1978

Richmond County - RM trails 0-1 - not played since 1996

Northern Durham - RM trails 0-2 - not played since 2000

Cary - RM is tied 1-1 - not played since 1997

Warren County - RM leads 2-0 - not played since 1992

D.H. Conley - RM leads 8-0 (1 Conley forfeit) - not played since 2004

Bertie - RM leads 5-1 - not played since 1980

Broughton - RM leads 16-9-1 - not played since 1976

Durham High (closed) - RM trails 9-11-2 - not played since 1974

E.E. Smith - RM is tied 1-1 - not played since 1990

Terry Sanford - RM trails 6-10-2 - not played since 1985

Seventy-First - RM leads 1-0 - not played since 1981

Pine Forest - RM leads 1-0 - not played since 1979

Enloe - RM leads 3-0 - not played since 1981

Garinger - RM trails 0-2 - not played since 1961

Oxford Orphanage - RM leads 8-1-1 - not played since 1961

Norfork Catholic (VA) - RM leads 1-0 - not played since 1961

Petersburg High (VA) - RM leads 2-0 - not played since 1957

Burlington Williams - RM trails 3-6 - not played since 1967

Salisbury - RM leads 2-0 - not played since 1955

Washington - RM leads 3-0 - not played since 1955

Grimsley - RM trails 0-1 - not played since 1953

Leesville Road - RM leads 1-0 - not played since 2000

Douglas Byrd - RM is tied 1-1 - not played since 2002

Havelock - RM leads 3-1 - not played since 2004

Wakefield - RM trails 0-1 - not played since 2002

Nash Central - RM leads 6-0

East Forsyth - RM trails 0-1 (forfeit)

Jack Britt - RM trails 0-1 - not played since 2003

Cape Fear - RM leads 1-0 - not played since 2004

Middle Creek - RM leads 1-0 - not played since 2004

Western Alamance - RM trails 0-3 - not played since 2007

Hertford County - RM leads 5-0

SE Raleigh - RM leads 2-0 - not played since 2006

Southern Wayne - RM leads 3-0

Gray's Creek - RM leads 1-0 - not played since 2006

Union Pines - RM leads 1-0 - not played since 2007

South Granville - RM leads 1-0 - not played since 2007

Jacksonville - RM is tied 4-4

R.J. Reynolds - RM leads 2-1 - not played since 1964

Myers Park - RM leads 4-3-1 - not played since 1968

Northern Vance - RM leads 4-1

East Mecklenburg - RM trails 0-1 - not played since 1977

Oxford Webb - RM leads 1-0

Eastern Alamance - RM leads 1-0

West Craven - RM trails 0-1

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gryphs pick up three more AP first-place votes


1. Greensboro Dudley (9) 6-0 135 1
2. Rocky Mount (5) 5-1 131 2
3. Eastern Alamance 6-0 99 3
4. Belmont South Point 6-1 78 5
5. Jamestown Ragsdale 6-0 77 4
6. West Craven 6-0 66 6
7. Waynesville Tuscola 6-0 58 7
8. Winston-Salem Carver 5-1 47 8
9. Harnett Central 5-1 22 9
10. West Rowan 5-1 18 UR

Others receiving votes: Oxford Webb 17, SW Edgecombe 6, Monroe Sun Valley 5, Charlotte Catholic 3, Wilson Beddingfield 3, Asheville 2, Mooresville 1, North Buncombe 1, Kinston 1.

In WRAL TV5's Tom Suiter's Fabulous 15, the Gryphons are No. 1. His newest poll will come out Wednesday and it's likely RM will stay in the No. 1 spot!

1. Rocky Mount (4-1)**
2. Millbrook (6-0)
3. James Kenan (6-0)
4. Harnett Central (5-0)
5. WF-Rolesville (4-1)
6. Richmond County (3-1-1)
7. Jack Britt (4-1)
8. Leesville Road (6-0)
9. Seventy-First (5-0)
10. West Johnston (6-0)
11. Southern Durham (3-2)
12. SW Edgecombe (4-1)
13. Tarboro (5-1)
14. Wilson Fike (5-0)
15. South Granville (6-0)

** - forfeit to East Forsyth

THE SERIES: Rocky Mount vs. Northern Nash

Rocky Mount now leads the varsity football series 23-17.

Here, for you enjoyment, are all 40 games of the series! FYI - Northern Nash was a 2-A school in the first four years of the series:

2008 - RM wins, 49-0
2007 - RM wins, 54-21
2006 - RM wins, 54-0
2005 - RM wins, 21-0
2004 - RM wins, 40-0
2003 - RM wins, 21-14
2002 - NN wins, 47-6
2001 - NN wins, 48-13
2000 - NN wins, 48-28
1999 - NN wins, 21-20
1998 - RM wins, 21-7
1997 - RM wins, 28-12
1996 - RM wins, 39-12
1995 - RM wins, 14-12
1994 - NN wins, 54-31
1993 - NN wins, 28-12
1992 - RM wins, 13-7, OT
1991 - NN wins 21-19
1990 - RM wins 35-7
1989 - NN wins 20-18
1988 - NN wins 21-6
1987 - NN wins 13-10, OT
1986 - NN wins 34-14
1985 - NN wins 14-12
1984 - RM wins 20-7
1983 - RM wins 21-14
1982 - NN wins 21-13
1981 - NN wins 21-16
1980 - RM wins 21-18
1979 - RM wins 21-14
1978 - RM wins 22-0
1977 - RM wins 23-6
1976 - NN wins 20-6
1975 - NN wins 18-6
1974 - RM wins 21-7
1973 - RM wins 28-16
1972 - RM wins 21-6
1971 - NN wins 14-8
1970 - RM wins 21-12
1969 - RM wins 20-0


1. Rocky Mount has won 12 times scoring 21 points or less. Northern has done it nine times.
2. Rocky Mount has shut out Northern Nash five times - three times in the last four seasons, but the Knights have never shut out the Gryphons. Until Northern's first-quarter score in the 2007 tilt, the Knights went scoreless in the series for 14 quarters.
3. Both teams have won a contest in overtime.
4. Rocky Mount is the first team in the series to win on six consecutive occasions.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Gryphons go for a record in long series with Northern Nash

54-21, 54-0, 21-0, 40-0, 21-14

In case you haven't figured out what these numbers are, they are the last five scores in the Rocky Mount- Northern Nash football series ... with RM winning all five.

The two old rivals will revive their heated matchup for the 40th time Friday night at Rocky Mount. The Gryphons lead the series 22-17.

And a record is on the line.

No team in the series has ever beaten the other six times in a row.
Rocky Mount could do just that if it wins Friday night.

For the record, both teams have pulled off five straight victories. Rocky Mount, of course, is currently riding that five-win run, while Northern won five straight from 1985 to 1989 (14-12, 34-14, 13-10 in OT, 21-6, 20-18).

And RMHS has never trailed in the series, but it was tied when the Gryphons' win streak began. In fact, Rocky Mount won nine of the first 12 games between the two before Northern started fighting back.

For you trivia buffs, where did Northern's last win over Rocky Mount take place?

The answer - at Nash Central's Dawg Pound.

The year was 2002, the season the Gryphons, due to major field issues at the Rocky Mount Athletic Complex, was forced to play all their home games at Nash Central. The Knights won their fourth straight in the series by slamming the Gryphons 47-6 that evening. The only saving grace for Rocky Mount was a spectacular touchdown catch by then-senior Mike Mason.

That all seems like ions ago!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Field maintenance a defense for the Gryphons' offense?

It looks like coaches may resort to letting their field go to pot just to stop Rocky Mount's vaunted running attack.

Two major examples really standout on that point.

Last season, Wilson Fike insisted on playing its NEW 6 football contest with the Gryphons at Buddy Bedgood Stadium - in a steady rain. Most RM fans fully thought the game would be cancelled, but Fike head coach Richie Pridgen didn't care if the fans showed up in the rain or not (I know AD John Gay did!).

Pridgen knew a sloppy, wet tract would slow down the Gryphons. And it did, for awhile. The field was just like slop, and holding blocks by the RM offensive line became like walking on ice without skates.

Pridgen got what he wanted. RMHS' offense was slowed and it took a Nick Hahula field goal in the final seconds to give the Gryphons a sloppy 16-13 victory. And needless to say, Fike's field was an absolute mess by the end of the game.

Last Thursday, Northern Vance seemed to take a page out of Fike's field plan to stopping RM's running game.

As I walked in the stadium, I noticed that the field wasn't marked off with yardage numbers, so I knew we might have trouble on our hands - starting with spotting the ball!

Allegedly, rain from Monday night and into Tuesday morning kept the coaching staff from cutting the grass.

And folks, this turf was the furriest high school field I have ever seen. I went on the field to check it out before the game, placed my very long ink pen at ground level and the whole thing nearly disappeared from sight! It had to have been nearly five to six inches deep at that spot - near midfield. My shoes were completely surrounded by grass.

And talk about wet. The sidelines were soggy and the middle of the field brought up water when you pressed your foot to the ground.

Mind you, it was supposed to have rained nearly 60 hours earlier - plenty of time for most of this water to dry up. I wonder if the sprinklers were left on by mistake. I wonder ...

And on top of this, a soccer match was played on the field the night before.

My suspicions are that nothing was done to cut the field earlier, and the coaching staff pretty much did everything it could to keep the field as slow as possible.

The supposed plan worked in the first half as RM had but 71 yards on the ground.

But once Coach B.W. Holt and his staff got into the Gryphons' ears at the half, things got better. The Gryphs got 202 yards rushing after intermission to slowly pull away from a very athletic Viking squad.

Don't be surprised to see some of the same tactics in of Rocky Mount's three road games in NEW 6 play this season if it is impacted by rain.

Are you ready for a fourth straight Monday night SouthWest Edgecombe encounter?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

RMHS locked in AP's 3-A No. 2 spot

Here is the Associated Press' 3-A high school football poll as released Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Rocky Mount is solidly in second place, behind Greensboro Dudley, which rocked Rockingham County 55-6 Monday evening.

Hertford County, No. 4 in the poll just two weeks ago, fell completely out of the Top 10 after a second straight defeat - a 39-33 home loss to Elizabeth City Northeastern.


1. Greensboro Dudley (10) 5-0 118 1
2. Rocky Mount (2) 4-1 105 2
3. Eastern Alamance 5-0 81 3
4. Jamestown Ragsdale 5-0 73 4
5. Belmont South Point 5-1 69 5
6. West Craven 5-0 52 6
7. Waynesville Tuscola 5-0 48 9
8. Winston-Salem Carver 5-1 42 7
9. Harnett Central 4-1 22 —
10. Oxford Webb 4-1 18 10

Others receiving votes: Asheville Roberson 9, West Rowan 8, Wilson Fike 3, Kinston 3, Kannapolis Brown 3, SE Guilford 2, Mooresville 1, Charlotte Catholic 1, Asheville 1, Hertford County 1.