Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ginn up for Grand Valley State head job

Former N.C. Wesleyan head football coach Jack Ginn is a candidate for the head football job at Grand Valley State (Allendale, Mi.).

Ginn, who has been an associate head coach/wide receivers coach at the Div. II powerhouse the last two seasons, is reported to be one of three current assistants up for the job.

The opening came about when new Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly hired Grand Valley State head man Chuck Martin to be his defensive coordinator earlier this week. Kelly is also a former head coach of the Lakers.

Ginn started the football program at N.C. Wesleyan six years ago and was a candidate for the Rocky Mount head football job last summer. Ginn was having trouble selling his home here and was commuting back and forth from Michigan. He was considering moving back to Rocky Mount. With that possibility, he was interested the Gryphon football job opening.

But when his home finally sold early this past summer, he withdrew his application for the RMHS job and moved his family to Michigan with him.

In his four years at NCWC, Ginn compiled a 23-17 overall record and an 18-9 USA South mark, having produced the first-ever undefeated conference champion with a 7-0 league record in 2007. Additionally, Ginn produced 42 All-Conference players, two Defensive Rookies of the Year, two Offensive Rookies of the Year, and two Offensive Players of the Year.

Prior to coming to NCWC, Ginn served two years as an assistant coach at Shepherd College, an NCAA Division II school in Shepherdstown, WV. During his tenure, Shepherd compiled a two-year record of 15-5, and set 16 offensive school records. From 1997-2000, Ginn was the Offensive Coordinator at Wartburg College, a NCAA Division III school in Waverly, IA . His offense averaged 35 points per game over the four-year period, setting 19 school records and helping Wartburg achieve a 35-6 record.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Virgil's college career is over

Former Rocky Mount Gryphon Stephan Virgil has seen his college career at Virginia Tech come to a premature end.

The senior defensive back has been ruled academically eligible under NCAA guidelines for the Hokies' match-up against Tennessee Thursday in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. So for a second straight season, Virginia Tech's football team will be missing a starter for its bowl game because of academic issues.

Virgil has had his problems with injuries this season. After playing in VT's 34-24 loss to Alabama in the season opener - also in Atlanta, he injured his left knee making a tackle on the game's final play. The injury kept him out of the lineup for the Hokies' next two games.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hudgins finishes second in Payton Award voting

Terrell Hudgins' mom Leslie took this picture of Terrell and his competitors Deji Karim of Southern Illinois' and Armanti Edwards (Appalachian State) at the NCAA's Div. I banquet in Chattanooga, Tenn. last Thursday evening. Edwards, who has led App. State to two national titles, won the Walter Payton Award that evening.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Vote for Hudgins - TWICE!

The News and Observer needs help finding their Triangle Area Athlete of the Deacde - for high school, college and the pros - male or female.

In my mind, former Rocky Mount High star athlete Terrell Hudgins could possibly win this thing in two categories. He was the N&O's Male HS Athlete of the Year in 2005, and he was the NCHSAA's Male Athlete of the Year the same year.

And unless you have been under a rock, you have to know about Hudgins' record-breaking pass catching exploits in his four years at Elon.

So if you go to and put his name in the high school and college fields, perhaps he will have a better chance of winning these votes! Vote as much as you like for Terrell Hudgins! Deadline is Dec. 11 for the nominees, then after that, should Hudgins make the list - vote for him until the end of the year.

Below is the text of their request for voting from the N&O's website:

The possibilities range from Dustin Ackley to Brian Zoubek, but The News&Observer sports department needs your help to find the one and only area athlete of the decade. Your choice can be male or female and from any sport at any level of competition. The only limitations are time and area.

We're looking for someone who participated from 2000 through 2009 and competed in the general Triangle area, which we can expand to include East Carolina and Wake Forest candidates.

Obviously, this is a big-tent project. The winner could come from high school, college or the pros and from sports that cover the gamut from land, water or ice.

We'll do the counting and announce the results, but the most important part of the process is up to you the reader. Give the matter some thought and then enter your choices below. We'll accept submissions until December 11.

In case you need a refresher of his college and HS careers, here is some background info:

NCAA Records
• 207 - combined receptions in one season (FCS record with former teammate Michael Mayers in 2007)
• 395 - career receptions (all NCAA Division I record)
• 123 - receptions in a season (done in 2009; FCS record)
• 8.8 - career receptions per game (FCS record)
• 5,250 - career receiving yards (all NCAA Division I record)
• 116.7 - career average yards gained receiving per game (FCS record)
• 28 - career games gaining 100 or more yards receiving (all NCAA Division I record)
• 1.2 - career touchdown passes caught per game (ties FCS record)
• 34 - career games with a touchdown catch (FCS record)
• 4 - career 1,000-yard receiving seasons (all NCAA Division I record)
SoCon Records
• 10 - games in a season with 100 or more receiving yards (done in 2009)
• 5 - consecutive games with 100 or more receiving yards (done once in 2006 and twice in 2009)
• 2,538 - combined receiving yards in a season (with former teammate Michael Mayers in 2007)
• 3 - career 200 or more receiving yard games (tied)
• 52 - career receiving touchdowns
• 1,633 - receiving yards in a season (done in 2009) Elon Records
• 16 - receptions in a game (vs. Liberty and at Furman in 2007; at Furman in 2009)
• 4 - touchdown receptions in a game (vs. Liberty in 2007)
• 18 - touchdown receptions in a season (2007)

High School Resume

Played varsity football, basketball and baseball at RMHS. 2005 NCHSAA Male Athlete of the Year.


A three-year starter, Hudgins passed for 1,687 yds. (78-174) and 22 touchdowns (only five interceptions) … Rushed for 393 yds. and 14 touchdowns ... Led Rocky Mount to its first Big East 4-A Conference title since 1990. He helped the Gryphons to a 12-1 record – at the time - tied for most wins in school history. He led Rocky Mount to three straight playoff appearances – prior to 2006, it was the first such occurrence at Rocky Mount since 1977-79 … Set school records for career passing (5,524), touchdown passes (61), touchdown responsibility (77) … Helped the 2004 Rocky Mount squad set school records for scoring (534) and total yards (4,687).

2004 Big East Conference Player of the Year
2004 Rocky Mount Telegram Offensive Player of the Year
Member of 2004 4-A All-State Team
Played for the East in the 2005 N.C. Oasis Shrine East-West All-Star Game


A two-year starter at forward, Hudgins led the Big East Conference in scoring (20.6) and rebounding (12.0) this past winter as Rocky Mount finished second in the Big East and recorded a 17-9 record (second-round loss to Millbrook) … Also led Gryphons in field goal percentage (.688), steals (52) and blocked shots (32)… Scored a career-high 32 points against Southeast Raleigh… Scored 944 points in just two seasons as a Gryphon for fifth place on the all-time Rocky Mount scoring list – behind Phil Ford (2,079), Tashawn Mabry (1,899), Buck Williams (1,440), George McClain (1,209) and Larry Lucas (1,056)

2005 Big East Player of the Year
Big East All-Conference performer (2004, 2005)
2005 Rocky Mount Telegram Player of the Year
Honorable mention All-State 4-A Team


An All-Big East Conference player in 2004, Hudgins played third base, first base and pitched. He helped Rocky Mount to a 15-6 record this season - up from a 10-14 campaign the previous spring. He batted .387 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, 21 RBI and 22 runs scored. On the mound, the right-hander was 4-3 with a 2.49 ERA.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Smith adds to his team

- Pictured, left to right, Ashton, Shepherd and Hunter Smith (click on picture to enlarge)

EASLEY, S.C. - Former Rocky Mount assistant football coach and Northern Nash head coach Chad Smith is beginning to have the makings of a pretty good offensive line - right in his very own home!

Smith and his wife and former RMHS teacher Hannah added to their roster on Nov. 18 with the birth of their third son, Shepherd Owen. He weighed eight pounds, nine ounces and was 21.25 inches long - the biggest of the three boys at birth, says Hannah.

Congrats to the Smiths and their families for their new addition!

These Smith boys, I bet, will make for some pretty good O-linemen one day. I know Chad will see that!

Noble makes MEAC All-Conference Team

NORFOLK, Va. - Redshirt sophomore Kendall Noble was named to the MEAC second-team All-Conference football team recently. The 6-foot-4, 292-pound offensive lineman played left tackle for the Spartans as they went 7-4 this past season.

He was also named MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Week in NSU's game against Howard.

Noble, who is majoring in kinesiotherapy, lettered and started for three years at Rocky Mount High. He was a first-team all-conference and all-county selection as a junior and senior and helped the team win the North Carolina 4-A regional championship as a junior. He played in the North Carolina East-West All-Star game his senior year and he also lettered in track and field four seasons at RMHS.

His brother Wayne Jr., also a former Gryphon football standout, was a senior defensive back this past season at Winston-Salem State.

Word has it that his former Gryphon teammate and former Shrine Bowler Nazir Levine, who was out this season with an injury at WSSU, will transfer and join his old teammate on the O-line at Norfolk State.

Chauncy Perry, a senior offensive lineman at Virginia Union University, was named to the CIAA All-Conference second team. Perry, who is 6-2 and 325 pounds, is a computer information systems major. Perry was three-year starter for the Gryphons (2003-05).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chesson's greatniece signs with ECU

Even though former Rocky Mount head baseball coach Shelton Chesson made his mark on the diamond, he knows basketball, too. In fact, he was the Gryphons' head boys basketball coach my senior year (1975-76) and coached former All-America Buck Williams as a sophomore.

Now another Chesson offspring has made some noise in the state - also in basketball.

His great niece (his brother's grandaughter) Katie Paschal, the state's top girls scorer last year as a junior at Williamston High School, signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at East Carolina last week.

“We are very excited about the addition of Katie,” head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener stated. “Our coaching staff was very selective in finding the right pieces to the puzzle for next year’s team and did a great job. We are excited to this young lady to join the Pirate family.”

Paschal, a 5-8 guard, led all North Carolina prep players in scoring last season as a junior, netting 33 points per contest while averaging four assists, six rebounds and five steals. She is ranked as the 42nd-best shooting guard in the nation by the All-Star Girls Report and 78th by Additionally, Atlantic South has tabbed her as one of the top five players in North Carolina.

Paschal has garnered numerous honors during her high school career, including 2009 North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association (NCBCA) First-Team All-State and Associated Press Second-Team All-State accolades as well as 2008 First-Team 1A All-State and 2007 Third-Team All-State laurels from NC Preps. She was also named Southeast Region Player-of-the-Week for the period ending Feb. 23.

Paschal has helped Williamston to three berths in the North Carolina 1A playoffs, including a sectional championship and regional appearance in 2008.

“Katie is a gym rat that understands the game of basketball," said Baldwin-Tener. "She is not just a great scorer but a great passer as well. She makes the people around her better. We are excited that Katie decided to stay close to home for the next four years.”

Chesson, who has been packing his car with many of his RM area friends and making pilgrimages to Martin County to see Katie play since she was in the eighth grade, will now get to see her play at Williams Arena the next four years.

Paschal also thought about coming to Rocky Mount. Her dad, Roanoke's head football coach Brian Paschal, had thought about joining then-head coach B.W. Holt's football staff before her junior year and Katie thought she might come with him and play for Pam Gainey's squad.

But alas, her dad opted to stay at Roanoke, so Katie stayed at Williamston.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wesleyan to face Wesley College in first round of NCAA playoffs

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The NCAA released its 2009 Division III Football Championship bracket on Sunday afternoon, and North Carolina Wesleyan has learned it will travel to Delaware to take on the South Region's top-seed, Wesley College, next Saturday at 12:00 noon. The 3rd-ranked Wolverines were awarded a No. 1 seed after completing an undefeated regular season at 10-0, while the Blue & Gold were tabbed the No. 8 seed after posting seven straight wins and an 8-2 overall record.

NCWC is making its second playoff appearance in program history after posting an undefeated 7-0 record in the USA South to secure the league's automatic bid. The feat marks the second time in the past three seasons that the Bishops ran the table against conference opponents. NCWC's two regular season losses came at the hands of non-conference foes Emory & Henry and Hampden-Sydney, which also turned in a 10-0 record en route to the region's No. 3 seed.

Wesley is making its fifth consecutive trip to the NCAAs, winning the South in both 2005 and 2006 and advancing to the quarterfinals in 2007. The Wolverines and Battling Bishops have just one series meeting between them: the 2007 opener for both squads, which was won by Wesley 34-31.

On paper, the two teams looked to be evenly matched offensively. The Battling Bishops averaged 36.5 points and over 450 total yards of offense per game during the regular season, while the Wolverines turned in 35.6 points and 410 yards per contest. The outcome, therefore, may be determined on the defensive side of the ball.

Other top seeds in the tournament include Mount Union in the East, UW-Whitewater in the North and St. John's (MN) in the West. In the South, the winner of the Wesley/North Carolina Wesleyan game will face the winner of the Mississippi College/Huntingdon contest

Note: I will post a link to live coverage of this game Saturday right here later this week!

RMAC's field dry - the only game in town

Give former Rocky Mount head football coach and athletic director Walt Wiggins most of the credit for the Gryphons getting to play last Friday night against South Central.

Wiggins, the Gryphons' head coach for 14 seasons and their AD when he retired, planned the Rocky Mount Athletic Complex - from its design, its layout and thank goodness, its field.

I can see an old picture of him and former assistant superintendent (Rocky Mount City Schools) John Langley looking over the observation deck on to the field just weeks before the first game was played there in fall of 1987.

Wiggins had the forethought to bring in agronomists from N.C. State to prepare the ground underneath the field for optimum draining. Gravel, sand, filtering membrane - it's all down there and it has been amazing - despite some minor problems - how well it has drained. It's been the gold standard for football fields down east.

With the help of Quentin Leggett, father of former Gryphon pitcher Jim Leggett, and some of his colleagues, the field's drainage was improved upon and the root system strengthened.

That field has a history.

From so much play on it (semi-pro football, tons of soccer matches, etc.), to the loss of a lot of top soil when it was under eight feet of flood water from Hurricane Floyd. And of course, we were all upset when it was in such bad shape, the 2002 team was forced to play its home games at Nash Central's then-new field while it was being repaired.

And we all remember how wet the field seemed all during the 2008 playoffs.

Well, that problem is seemingly gone, thanks to Leggett and his friends.

I took to the field before the game with South Central last Friday around 5:30 p.m. and talked to a few of the Falcons' coaches. They could not believe that after around the seven inches of rain in the area and in the East the previous two days, the field could be so dry and firm.

As many of you know, none of the other three playoff games set for the Twin Counties area last Friday could be played. North Edgecombe had to move their opener with Columbia to Monday due to field conditions.

The RMAC's field was about as dry as it could be. And a little shower before kickoff didn't affect it a bit.

Proof of that came in the latter stages of the South Central game when RM's Collins Cuthrell lofted a punt from his own 45-yard line and when the ball hit the field, it bounded nearly 10 feet in the air and bounced into the end zone for a touchback!

I just hope when we get our new stadium at the new campus, whenever that may be, the N-RMS will get N.C. State to set up our new stadium's field the exact same way.

But guys, I wouldn't turn down some fieldturf, either!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Facing South Central for the first time

South Central High, which was built in Winterville at the same time Nash Central was constructed - in 2002, has never faced the Gryphons in football.

But it has had an encounter with Nash Central (2006 playoffs) and Northern Nash earlier this season.

Here is how the Falcons faired in each of their games this season:

2009 South Central Schedule/Results

Aug. 21
W, 10-6

Aug. 28
W, 28-21

Sep. 4,
L, 0-13

Sep. 11
W, 13-7

Sep. 28
W, 46-20

Oct. 2
W, 28-14
Oct. 9
L, 7-28

Oct. 16
L, 7-27

Oct. 23
W, 9-3

Oct. 30
W 14-13

Nov. 6

W, 62-6

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

THE SERIES: Rocky Mount vs. Northern Nash

Rocky Mount traveled to Northern Nash this season and won for the seventh year in a row. RM now leads the varsity football series 24-17.

Here, for your enjoyment, are all 41 games of the series!

FYI - Northern Nash was a 2-A school in the first four years of the series:

2009 - RM wins, 15-12
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 14 times scoring 21 points or less. Northern has done it nine times.

2. Rocky Mount has shut out Northern Nash six 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 straight14 quarters.

3. Both teams have won a contest in overtime.

4. Rocky Mount is the first team in the series to win seven consecutive games.

5. Over their last six meetings, Rocky Mount has outscored Northern Nash 233-33.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Former Southern Nash football coach inducted into Chowan Hall of Fame

Lawrence Edwards, a Nash County resident who at one time was head football coach at Big East schools Southern Nash and Wilson Hunt, was recently inducted into the Chowan University Sports Hall of Fame.

Edwards, a native of Spring Hope, was a star on the football field for Chowan from 1965-67. The 1967 All-Conference defensive lineman and team MVP also served as the vice president of the Chowan sophomore class. His play on the football gridiron took him to Temple University, where he was a letter winner for two years, 1968-1969.

He made such an impression on the Temple coaching staff that he stayed on for the 1969 season to serve as a graduate assistant coach. He earned his B.S. from Temple in 1969 and was hired by Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Richmond, Va. as a teacher.

While in Richmond, he continued with his football career playing at the semi-professional level for the Richmond Saints.

He returned to his native North Carolina in 1971 where he wound up coaching for the rest of his career. His coaching stops included Andrew High School and Rock Ridge High School (lost 1-A 1977 finals to Robbinsville) before going to Hunt and Southern.

Edwards, who was Hunt's first football coach (10-1 in 1978) and was at Southern in 1981 (2-8), also had two sons who had solid careers for the Firebirds in the mid 90s - and both played collegiately at the Air Force Academy.

I saw him recently and he looks great. Congrats, Lawrence!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hoop action around the corner

Rocky Mount will open its 2009-10 varsity boys and girls basketball season on Dec. 1 when it hosts teams from Hertford County.

HCHS, along with SouthWest Edgecombe, Wilson Beddingfield and J.H. Rose make up Rocky Mount's non-conference slate of opponents for this coming season. There will be no endowment contest with powerhouse Kinston like it's played the last two seasons.

The Gryphons will be back in the Nash County Christmas Tournament (Monday, Tuesday, Dec. 28 and 29) as they did not receive an invitation back to the GlaxoSmithKline Basketball Invitational this Christmas. The NCCT will be held at Northern Nash this season.

The Big East Conference will hold its first league tournament at Wilson Hunt, Monday-Friday, Feb. 15-19.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Football news and notes

For the first time since 2001, Wilson Hunt claimed a football victory over Rocky Mount. Not since the Warriors' 24-0 win in Wilson that year have the Gryphons tasted defeat to the boys from Rock Ridge.

It's also ironic that a couple of teams, with Warriors as a mascot, have posted wins over the Gryphons with both scoring two defensive touchdowns - the last two times that feat has occured.

Hunt did the deed Friday as Tyrell Applewhite returned a fumble 51 yards for a score, and Tyrell Vinson ran back an interception 72 yards for a TD.

On Nov. 30, 2007, another bunch of Warriors - Western Alamance, did the same thing in their 50-36 win over the Gryphons in the NCHSAA 3-A East semifinals in Elon. Ryan Blair returned a Chris Berry fumble 32 yards to open the scoring in the game.

As RM was trying to rally late in the contest down a touchdown, Berry got picked off by Levon Curtis and he raced 60 yards for the game's final score.

Not a nice memory for me on one of the chilliest Friday nights I have ever experienced.

RMHS, despite the loss Friday, is not dead in the race for the Big East title. But it will have to have a little help from its friends - namely Southern Nash. If RM wins out (including beating league co-leader Southern Nash), then the Gryphons will have to have Southern beat Hunt to possibly create a three-tie for the title.

It's going to be an interesting last three weeks to the regular season.

HERTFORD COUNTY: My good friend Gattis Hodges, the radio voice of the Hertford County football porgram, passed along an interesting stat to me Sunday. You guys remember HCHS handed RMHS a 42-21 loss earlier this season.

The Bears, who are 9-0 and rolling along to a possibe No. 1 3-A seed in the East, slammed Pasquotank 61-0 Friday night. In the process, they may have set a record that the NCHSAA doesn't currently have listed in its football record book.

They picked off four passes and returned all four for touchdowns! Doesn't it sound unbelievable?

D'Issac Jordan - a 50-yard return ... Justin Watson - a 70-yard return ... Watson - a 30-yard return .. Michael Stephenson - a 22-yard return.

The Bears forced Pasquotank into eight total turnovers on the night.

It may be a defensive category Rick Strunk and guys in Chapel Hill might have to now create!

LEE, LOUISBURG ROLLING: Former Rocky Mount assistant - now Louisburg head football coach Chris Lee has his team rolling.

They may be force to reckoned with in the 2-A East bracket come playoff time. They have comfortably moved from the 1-A ranks and have posted a 7-1 overall record so far this season. The Warriors (a third set of them, no less - earlier tidbit) had their only loss come in a 27-21 overtime defeat to fellow Northern Carolina Conference member Roanoke Rapids.

Quite a recovery after losing two running backs to graduation that combined for 11,000 total rushing yards and the cloud of a sex scandal involving their former head coach.

Speaking of RoRap, former Northern Nash assistant Russell Weinstein is now in his second season with the Yellow Jackets. After a shaky start. Weinstein's group could win the league title if it can finish the season with wins over North Johnston and Northwest Halifax. They are 6-3 overall, 4-0 in the conference.

Weinstein has some Nash County help with him as former NN coach Al Carter is assisting him this season. And to complete the move from Nash County, former Red Oak Middle School AD and football coach Chad Thompson is now an assistant principal at Roanoke Rapids.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mabry still undecided

Rocky Mount senior basketball star Tashawn Mabry still hasn't decided on which college he will attend next year.

But one thing is for certain. It will not be N.C. State.

I saw Mabry earlier this week and he told me that State hasn't shown any interest in him of late, so the Wolfpack is off his radar.

Mabry, in an interview with Rocky Mount alum Jason Jordan in a posted online interview this summer, stated that he would make his college decision before the start of school.

Of course, that deadline has come and long gone. Now he says he's not in any hurry to make a decision and very well may not sign until this spring.

LSU, Clemson and Miami are high on his list, but none of the N.C. big boys are on his list - namely UNC or Wake Forest. He still has five official visits to make.

The 6-foot-6 forward will become the school's all-time leading scorer - possibly before the Christmas break. Former Gryphon super guard Phil Ford has held the record for 35 years at 2,093 points!

He did it in three seasons, while Mabry will do it in about three and a half. But by the time he's finished, it may be another 35 years before anyone touches his record.

An update to this is that I ran into Tashawn's mother Latanya a few days after seeing him and she says he will have his mind made up by the start of basketball season.

We will see!

SEEING DOUBLE: Rocky Mount's Cuthrell, Wilson Hunt's Bass

These two football players will be facing each other Friday night as Rocky Mount hosts Wilson Hunt for Homecoming.

On the left is senior Gryphon QB Collins Cuthrell. On the right is junior Warrior running back Caleb Bass.

See a slight similarity?

Cuthrell's mom Dawn, upon seeing Bass' mug shot, thought sure it was Collins, until she looked at the uniform collar.

The two, of course, won't be on the field at the same time Friday, but I'd love to get these guys side-by-side for a picture!

Bass (5-11, 177) ran 20 times for 87 yards and a touchdown in Hunt's 45-0 win at Northern Nash. He is the Warriors' leading rusher this season with 147 carries for 957 yards and 10 TDs. As far as Big East teams go, he's the top rusher - just ahead of Southern Nash sophomore Tracey Coppedege (119-910, nine TDs).

Cuthrell (6-1, 180) was 5-for-10 passing for 66 yards in the Gryphons' 25-13 triumph over Nash Central. Cuthrell also ran four times for 39 yards. Cuthrell is the league's top passer with 481 yards (33-69-2) and two TDs.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Alston tops 3,000 career rushing yards

Rocky Mount senior running back Marquavis Alston topped the 3,000-yard career rushing mark Friday evening in the Gryphons' 16-13 loss to J.H. Rose.

He picked up 56 yards on 17 carries to bring his career total to 3,052 yards. His 49 rushing touchdowns is tops among all Nash County players. But he has a shot at the Twin Counties record - 64 by North Edgecombe's Milton Shaw.

But who does he join in the 3,000-yard club among all-time Nash County players?

The leader of the club is Julius Peppers (3,501) of Southern Nash, followed by former Firebird Lamont Avent, Ahmad Leonard of Northern Nash and J.J. Arrington of Northern. I have their numbers, but at the time of writing this blog entry, they are out of my grasp. I will add them later ... promise!

If you look at the Twin Counties and toss in Edgecombe County, the numbers rise considerably.

The leader would be Shaw (6,168), followed by former SouthWest Edgecombe star Jerome Staton (5,003). Tarboro's Derrick Harrell would be No. 3 (mid-4,000).

Most area fans would be shocked to find out that former Tarboro great Kelvin Bryant never reached the 3,000-yard mark in his career. Most assuredly, they'd guess that he's the Vikings' all-time leading rusher.

But they would be wrong!

Glad RMHS is fielding a girls golf team

- Meredith Tucker Bass and her son Tucker

Somewhere between Nashville and Spring Hope, I know Meredith Tucker Bass is smiling right now.

I know chasing a new toddler around is giving her untold joy, but she has to be busting at the seams to know that Rocky Mount High is fielding a girls golf team for the first time since she served as head coach for one year back in the late 90s.

Given that the 1990 RMHS alum is the best girls golfer - make that, the best golfer RMHS has ever produced, period - and she had to play on the boys team to even participate in the game at all.

But when she won the 1989 NCHSAA girls medalist state title in Chapel Hill (the same day of the Oakland-San Francisco World Series earthquake, by the way), she put RM golf on the map.

She went on to a solid collegiate career at North Carolina, but I know she would have loved having a team of her own peers.

I hope Emily Brown, Kourtney Sanders and Morgan Lewis, the three girls who make up RM's revived team this season, will continue to encourage their friends and peers to pick up the game and join the squad.

This is one program I hope won't get scrapped due to financial cuts.

AP Football Poll - Oct. 6

Here is the Associated Press state high school football poll for the week of Oct. 6, first-place votes in parentheses, records and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sports writers:

Class 4-A

1. Charlotte Independence (11) (7-0) 137 1
2. Matthews Butler (3) (5-0) 128 2
3. Fayetteville Britt (6-0) 110 3
4. Jamestown Ragsdale (7-0) 95 4
5. West Forsyth (6-0) 70 6
6. Richmond County (5-1) 68 5
7. Wake Forest-Rolesville (6-0) 47 7
8. Mallard Creek (5-1) 39 8
T9. Winston-Salem Reynolds (6-0) 30 10
T9. Greensboro Dudley (6-1) 30 9

Others receiving votes: Raleigh Leesville Road 6, Southeast Raleigh 6, Harnett Central 2, Alexander Central 1, Greensboro Page 1.

Class 3-A

1. West Rowan (14) (7-0) 140 1
2. Lenoir Hibriten (6-0) 115 4
3. Hertford County (7-0) 100 5
4. Belmont South Point (6-1) 88 6
5. Asheville (4-0-1) 64 7
6. Eastern Alamance (5-1) 46 2
7. Waynesville Tuscola (4-1-1) 39 8
8. Northern Guilford (5-1) 37
9. Havelock (5-1) 36 9
10. Shelby Crest (5-1) 34 3

Others receiving votes: Marvin Ridge 25, Gastonia Forestview 15, Pikeville Aycock 11, Fayetteville Westover 9, West Craven 5, R-S Central 4, Franklin 2.

Class 2-A

1. Reidsville (12) (6-0) 137 1
2. Tarboro (6-0) 121 3
3. SouthWest Edgecombe (2) (7-0) 116 4
4. East Duplin (6-0) 95 5
5. Pittsboro Northwood (7-0) 85 6
6. Kinston (6-1) 55 8
7. Shelby (5-1) 49 7
8. Newton-Conover (5-1) 47 2
9. East Bladen (6-0) 37 9
10. Catawba Bandys (5-1) 11

Others receiving votes: East Burke 8, East Lincoln 4, Louisburg 2, Canton Pisgah 1, Boonville Starmount 1, Burnsville Mountain Heritage 1.

Class 1-A

1. Mt. Airy (11) (6-0) 137 1
2. Albemarle (3) (6-0) 127 2
3. Southwest Onslow (6-0) 100 3
4. Hendersonville (6-0) 93 4
5. East Surry (6-0) 82 5
6. Monroe (6-0) 72 6
7. Manteo (6-0) 56 7
8. Kernersville McGuinness (6-0) 37 9
9. Pender County (5-0) 22
10. Robbinsville (4-1) 17

Others receiving votes: Elkin 8, Southeast Halifax 7, Bessemer City 6, Murphy 2, Wallace-Rose Hill 2, Williamston 1, Creswell 1.

Come Friday, Oct. 23, a probable 9-0 SouthWest Edgecombe team will be hosting a probable 8-0 Tarboro squad. I just wish every other game in the area could be rained out that night so everyone in the Twin Counties area could pile into Pinetops to witness this one!

It promises to be a classic. And who knows, they might be scalping tickets for this tilt! I can guarantee there will be plenty of cars lined up parked on N.C. 43.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Varnell out for season

I got some unsettling news yesterday on the status of injured senior linebacker Carter Varnell (No. 33 in inset picture).

He has a torn ACL in his left knee and he is out for the season. And with that, Varnell's baseball career may well be over as well as such an injury takes at least nine months to heal.

He has such hopes of coming back for the Greenville Rose game, but alas, those hopes were dashed after a day of practice Monday that saw him re-injure that knee.

I really feel for Carter and the team. His leadership and skills will be sorely missed.

I can't remember a time - certainly not in this century, that injuries have played such a big part in the Gryphons' season. Normally, no more than two starters had missed much time out at any one time. So, certainly, this may be the biggest single loss to injury since QB Jason Tyler went down with a broken wrist his junior season.

My best to Carter and his family and I know he will be urging on his teammates the rest of the season on the sidelines.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Associated Press HS Football Poll - Week 5

Class 4-A

1. Charlotte Independence (9) 4-0 126 1
2. Matthews Butler (4) 3-0 119 3
3. Fayetteville Britt 4-0 100 4
4. Jamestown Ragsdale 4-0 88 5
5. Richmond County 3-1 70 2
6. West Forsyth 4-0 57 7
7. Wake Forest-Rolesville 4-0 56 6
8. Mallard Creek 3-1 31 9
9. Greensboro Dudley 3-1 22 10
10. Winston-Salem Reynolds 4-0 11 _
Others receiving votes: Greensboro Page 10, Southeast Raleigh 6, Lake Norman 5, Raleigh Leesville Road 5, East Mecklenburg 3, Greensboro Grimsley 2, Asheville Reynolds 2, Harnett Central 1, Southern Pines Pinecrest 1.

Class 3-A

1. West Rowan (13) 4-0 130 1
2. Eastern Alamance 3-0 102 2
3. Shelby Crest 3-0 89 4
4. Lenoir Hibriten 4-0 77 8
5. Havelock 3-0 70 6
6. Belmont South Point 3-1 49 9
7. Rocky Mount 2-1 44 3
8. Hertford County 4-0 35 _
9. R-S Central 4-0 18 _
10. Asheville 1-1 16 _
Others receiving votes: Fayetteville Byrd 14, Charlotte Catholic 13, Kannapolis Brown 11, Waynesville Tuscola 11, Northern Guilford 7, Southern Nash 6, West Craven 5, Pikeville Aycock 5, Western Alamance 4, Kings Mountain 3, Wilson Hunt 3, Marvin Ridge 2, Fayetteville Westover 1.

Class 2-A

1. Reidsville (10) 4-0 126 1
2. Newton-Conover (2) 4-0 113 2
3. Tarboro (1) 4-0 107 3
4. SouthWest Edgecombe 4-0 89 5

5. Kinston 4-0 69 7
6. East Duplin 3-0 57 8
7. Canton Pisgah 3-1 35 4
8. Shelby 2-1 28 6
9. Pittsboro Northwood 4-0 15 _
10. Burnsville Mountain Heritage 3-0 14 _
(tie) Catawba Bandys 3-0 14 _
Others receiving votes: Lincolnton 12, East Bladen 9, Jacksonville Northside 6, South Granville 6, Winston-Salem Carver 6, Louisburg 5, East Lincoln 3, East Burke 1.

Class 1-A

1. Mt. Airy (7) 4-0 124 2
2. Albemarle (6) 4-0 121 1
3. Williamston 3-0 85 3
4. Elkin 3-0 80 4
5. Hendersonville 3-0 79 5
6. Southwest Onslow 4-0 76 6
7. East Surry 3-0 42 9
8. Warsaw Kenan 2-1 29 8
9. Monroe 4-0 23 _
10. Manteo 3-0 21 _
Others receiving votes: Cherokee 8, Wallace-Rose Hill 8, Murphy 6, Robbinsville 6, Bessemer City 4, South Stanly 2, Pender County 1.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Durham Co. Stadium has come a long way

DURHAM - As a member of the Rocky Mount Senior High marching band, I got my first look at Durham County Memorial Stadium in Sept. of 1973 when the Gryphons made a trip there to play Durham Hillside in football.

I remember that the slopes on the side of the stadium were so steep that we almost had to slide by the seat of our black wool pants to get down to the field to perform at halftime.

Has that place come a long way since then!

Now primarily the home of Northern Durham's football teams, Durham County has plunked down $8 million for some major renovations to the 50-year-old stadium - coming in three phases. Rocky Mount's football fans, who last saw the Gryphons play there in 1999, observed much of Phase I's upgrades Saturday evening when they arrived to watch the Gryphons take on the Knights.

Phase I, which began this past April, consists of an artificial turf football and soccer playing field, new scoreboard, storage facility and a high school level track and field facility. The scoreboard and field are in and it was played on for the very first time Saturday night.

It is the only artificial turf (field turf) high school field in eastern North Carolina. They are several in the western part of the state - including every high school in Buncombe County (T.C. Roberson, Asheville, A.C. Reynolds, Enka, Owen, Erwin, North Buncombe).

Phase II will consist of new outbuildings for the south grandstand containing public restrooms, concessions buildings and ticket booths. Also, this phase will implement landscaping improvements and new paved ADA parking spaces for both north and south grandstands.

Phase III, which begins after the conclusion of the 2009 football season, will see the renovation of the existing locker rooms, public restrooms and concession stands within the north and south grandstands as well as the construction of a new, expanded press box facility.

The press box will be ADA compliant and include elevator access, open and enclosed viewing areas, two coaches’ boxes, media/broadcast booth, announcer/scoring booth, and video deck. All enclosed spaces will be heated and air conditioned.

Amen to that! It was quite a steep climb to get to that current press box.

With all the changes due to be completed by the beginning of next season, the 8,000-seat facility would make a fine site for a state championship football contest(s) should the NCHSAA want to bring it back to Durham.

Duke University dropped out of the current rotation to host state championship games a few years back, but this cozy and future state-of-the-art stadium would be just perfect for the 1-As or 2-As state finals.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Former Gryphon on Campbell's roster

Emmanuel Davis, one of Rocky Mount's most prolific defensive players the last few seasons, is on the roster at Campbell University and he is expected to contribute to the Camels' program at linebacker.

Davis, who now prefers to be called Manny, will see plenty of action. The 5-foot-11, 230-pound redshirt freshman transferred from Elon, where he was hoping to play with former Gryphon Terrell Hudgins.

But that didn't work out.

To refresh your memory, he was a two-year varsity letter winner and a two-time All-Conference and All-Area selection. He won the 2007 Rocky Mount Telegram and NEW 6 Conference Defensive Player of the Year. His senior season he tallied 106 tackles with five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He concluded his career with 258 tackles, 11 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

Davis was also an All-Conference wrestler and he was named Rocky Mount's Male Athlete of the Year as a senior.

Campbell opens its season at home Sept. 5 against Methodist.

Winningest N.C. high school football programs

I found this big high school football tidbit on a message board recently.

Someone compiled, percentage-wise, the 30 winningest high school football programs in the state. There should be no surprise that the No. 1 spot belongs to Richmond County. Charlotte Independence is not listed, which surprised me.

But I am not surprised that new Big East Conference member Wilson Hunt is on the list at No. 24. B.W. Holt's old stomping ground Starmount made the list at No. 20. Well over half of the Rams' wins are on Holt's ledger.

The record in parenthesis is the school's 2008 football season mark.

Where does Rocky Mount fall in relation to all this?

Well, after the Gryphons' win Saturday at Northern Durham, which is No. 3 on the all-time list, to start the school's 56th season of football, Rocky Mount's all-time record is 366-217-13 with a winning percentage of .6241.

I imagine we'd make the top 50, if the list went that far - not bad considering that over 350 schools play football in this state!

N.C.'s Winningest High School Football Schools

1. Richmond Sr., NC---(12-2)------.8224: 387-82-5
2. Clinton, NC---------(8-6)-------.7366: 490-173-7
3. Durham Northern, NC----(5-7)---.7325: 449-164-0
4. SW Onslow, NC------(9-3)------.7313: 283-104-0
5. A.L. Brown, NC------(13-3)-----.7303: 463-165-19
6. Wallace-Rose Hill, NC---(2-10)---.7239: 435-165-3
7. Brevard, NC---------(6-6)------.7151: 476-186-12
8. Shelby, NC---------(9-4)-------.7053: 677-268-51
9. Chrltte Cntry Day, NC---(8-3)---.7047: 398-165-6
10. Greensboro Page, NC---(9-5)---.7028: 379-158-8
11. T.W. Andrews, NC----(8-4)-----.7012: 343-145-4
12. Tuscola, NC-------(11-2)-------.6947: 566-244-17
13. Fuquay-Varina, NC----(11-2)----.6811: 359-167-4
14. Sylva-Webster, NC---(closed)---.6803: 205-95-5
15. Forest Hills, NC------(11-4)-----.6796: 339-159-3
16. Brlngtn Cummings, NC----(4-8)--.6755: 341-163-3
17. West Craven, NC----(15-1)-----.6754: 258-124-0
18. Swain Cty, NC--------(5-7)-----.6753: 448-211-17
19. Mt. Airy, NC-------(16-0)-------.6749: 562-266-18
20. Starmount, NC-----(11-4)------.6728: 329-159-4
21. Reidsville, NC--------(16-0)----.6726: 628-296-38
22. Maiden, NC----------(6-6)-----.6689: 478-231-22
23. Thomasville, NC------(16-0)----.6681: 586-283-32
23. Farmville Ctrl, NC-----(1-10)----.6670: 295-147-1
24. Wilson Hunt, NC------(4-8)-----.6628: 230-117-0
25. Hickory, NC---------(6-6)------.6606: 603-304-24
26. Belmont South Point, NC-----(13-2)-----.6554: 295-153-9
27. Havelock, NC---------(8-4)----.6553: 372-194-7
28. Charlotte Cth, NC----(11-3)----.6523: 391-207-6
29. Swanannoa Owen, NC-------------(4-7)----.6504: 364-195-3
30. Concord, NC---------(3-7)-----.6459: 556-298-30

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Big East Football Roundup - Week 1

New Northern Nash head coach Mickey Crouch listens to quarterback Tavis Richardson. (Photo/David Hahula)

(NOTE: I will run this each weekend while the Big East 3-A Conference teams are playing non-conference opponents.)


Wilson Beddingfield scored 23 unanswered points in this season-opening contest at Death Valley for both squads.

Beddingfield senior quarterback Lance Price was 12-for-25 for 198 yards and three touchdowns, while Bruin back Monteith Lucas ran for 126 yards on 18 carries.

Kris Horton led the Northern rushing attack with 68 yards on 15 carries including a 16-yard TD run in the first period. Knights QB Tavis Richardson was 2-of-4 for 25 yards.


The passing game and some crucial Nash Central turnovers early got Tarboro a 27-0 lead at halftime in the Dawg Pound Friday.

Tarboro QB Markel Pettaway hit Lekevious Battle with scoring passes of 57 and 43 yards in the second period to push the Vikings to their big lead at intermission.

Pettaway added a 60-yard keeper for a score before halftime.

Nash Central managed just 137 yards of offense on the night and just six first downs. Dequan Battle led the Bulldog rushing attack with 42 yards on 12 carries.


The Firebirds' Terron Huffman ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns (40, 45) in a contest that was marred by a fight on the field between the two teams. Southern piled up 379 yards of total offense. Tracy Coppedge also scored twice in the game (8, 15).

Southern's fumbles cost them their large lead in the contest. The Firebirds layed the ball on the ground nine times and they lost it four times.

Penalites also made a mess of the contest. All told, a combined 233 yards of penalites were flagged on both squads.


Fike trailed 8-0 at halftime, but got solid running performances from Tyler Newman and Lawrence Hardy to get the victory in Greenville.

Newman ran in from 12 yards out and Fike's DeAndreye Hill threw a two-point conversion to tie it at 8-all in the third period.

Hardy capped the comeback later in third when when he bulled his way in from a yard out.

Newman, a sophomore transfer from Kansas who had earlier in the week been on the JV sqaud, led Fike with 77 yards on 11 carries, while Hardy had 19 carries for 73 yards.


Hunt head coach Randy Raper, in his 19th season, said he wanted more from his running game this season with his salvaged Pro-I offense and he got in Goldsboro Friday night.

Junior Caleb Bass rushed for a career-high 201 yards - 128 of it coming in the first half, in the battle of the Warriors. Behind Bass' running, Hunt led 20-0 by the end of the first quarter.

He had 14 carries and scored three touchdowns - including a 90-yard scoring bolt.

Cameron Williams helped out Hunt's running attack with 117 yards on 14 carries and two scores.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Goodwin doesn't sign with White Sox

Area high school baseball fans may have gotten mixed signals about the baseball fate of former Gryphon center fielder Brian Goodwin Sunday evening.

On FSN's broadcast of the 2009 Aflac All-American All-Star Baseball Game in San Diego, the commentator, when a list of former game MVPs were listed in a graphic on screen, said "Brian Goodwin of the White Sox."

It got one thinking - had Brian, the Game's MVP in Los Angeles in 2008, been one of those last-minute signees with the Major League Baseball signing deadline set for Monday?

I got a few calls asking me if Brian had indeed made a deal with Chicago.

So I went to the No. 1 source on all-things Brian - his dad Sylvester.

He and his wife Brenda saw the All-Star game and also heard the "White Sox comment" from the broadcast. And they were slightly puzzled, too. Why didn't they say " North Carolina or UNC"?

The elder Goodwin told me that Brian had not signed with anyone and was headed to Chapel Hill the next day.

Goodwin, considered unsignable by most clubs due to his solid commitment to UNC and the possible high signing price tag being suggested to clubs by his advisor Scott Boras, went in the 17th round of the MLB Draft back in June to the White Sox.

I guess that case is closed!

GOODWIN HELPS MIDLAND TO TITLE - Brian spent his summer playing for the Midland (Oh.) Redskins - one of the top amateur teams in the nation. Midland proved that last week as it won the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M. with a 7-1 victory over the Dallas DBAT Mustangs.

The American Amateur Baseball Congress is the sponsoring organization of the Connie Mack World Series. The A.A.B.C. provides activities for youth and young adult baseball players through seven league divisions in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Connie Mack regular season play allows players ages 16 to 18 to participate.

The World Series has been played in Farmington (pop. approx. 44,000) since 1965 and is played at the 5,000-seat Ricketts Park.

Goodwin went 1-for-3 in the title game and scored a run, though he reached base four times (hit, hit by pitch, error, walk). He was one of six Redskin players to make the event's All-Tournament team.

Midland claimed its 11th national championship with the victory and its second in the last three years.

Perhaps it's only right that the CMWS is played in Farmington. Farmington High School, a 4-A school with about 1,500 students, has won 13 baseball state championships - including four straight from 2005 to 2008. The school has won 47 state titles overall.

WZAX 99.3 FM will carry a few Nash County games

- RM head coach Dickie Schock

Looks like WZAX 99.3 FM will be carrying high school football games this season, after all.

I had heard the station wasn't going to do a "Game of the Week" this season, but apparently my sources were wrong. I ran into its play-by-play guy Paul Andre at the Big East Conference's coaching meeting last week and he provided me a list of games the station, now known as Jammin' 99.3, will be broadcasting.

As a great number of its advertisers are in Wilson County, a great many of the 12 games it will carry will involve Wilson County high schools.

Here is the schedule, which includes three Rocky Mount games with new head coach Dickie Schock. All the Nash County games are in bold:

WZAX 99.3 "Game of the Week" Schedule

Aug. 21 - Tarboro at Nash Central
Aug. 28 - Wilson Fike at Wilson Hunt
Sept. 4 - Wilson Beddingfield at Southern Nash
Sept. 11 - Wilson Beddingfield at Wilson Fike
Sept. 18 - Wilson Hunt at Wilson Beddingfield
Sept. 25 - Eastern Wayne at Wilson Fike
Oct. 2 - Greenville Rose at Rocky Mount
Oct. 9 - Wilson Beddingfield at SW Edgecombe
Oct. 16 - Wilson Hunt at Rocky Mount
Oct. 23 - Rocky Mount at Wilson Fike

Oct. 30 - Nash Central at Wilson Hunt
Nov. 6 - Wilson Hunt at Wilson Fike

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

WHIG-TV releases "Game of the Week" slate

WHIG-TV will carry a full slate of high school football games this fall as part of its "Game of the Week" series.

Here is a list of the Friday night contests that you can see taped-delayed each Saturday morning following the game. If you can't get WHIG-TV (Suddenlink Ch. 17), then tune in on line at

Mike Hennen will provide the play-by-play, while Chris Mitchell will handle the color analyst duties.

Rocky Mount, which will appear on the show four times, has its games bold faced on the schedule.

Aug. 28 - Smithfield-Selma at Nash Central
Sept. 4 - North Edgecombe at SW Edgecombe
Sept. 11 - Tarboro at North Edgecombe
Sept. 18 - SW Edgecombe at Rocky Mount
Sept. 25 - WHIG-TV Studio Show - season recap/conference preview
Oct. 2 - Southern Nash at Nash Central
Oct. 9 - Nash Central at Rocky Mount
Oct. 16 - Northern Nash at Southern Nash
Oct. 23 - Tarboro at SW Edgecombe
Oct. 30 - Southern Nash at Rocky Mount
Nov. 6 - Rocky Mount at Northern Nash

As for live radio broadcasts of county teams, only Rocky Mount's football games will be on the air this season.

For the second straight year, WEED "Old School" AM 1390 will carry all Gryphon games each Friday at 7 p.m. beginning Aug. 28. Wes Bradshaw will provide the play-by-play action while Tony Doughtie will handle the color duties.

Post 58 Baseball Awards

Coleman-Pitt American Legion Post 58 honored its baseball team Sunday evening with a banquet to celebrate the success of the team and to dole out awards to some of its deserving players.

Post 58 (20-6), Area I champions for the first time since 1986, had five of its players honored.

The team's pitching award went to Brandon Denton. Denton will be a senior at Northern Nash this fall.

The hitting award went to Tyler Clark. He hopes to follow in the Hall of Fame footsteps of his dad Greg as he will enter N.C. Wesleyan in a few weeks.

Cameron Ramsey was honored with the team's Coaches Award. Ramsey will be a part of Wake Tech's first-ever baseball team next spring.

The MVP Award was shared by Xavier Macklin and Ben Fish. No surprise there. The "Bash Brothers" provided the power that led to the team to score nearly 13 runs a game in its run to the N.C. State Championship tournament.

Macklin will return to N.C. A&T for his sophomore season, while Fish will start his freshman campaign at Campbell University.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Whit at work!

Wake Forest freshman center Whit Barnes works out with QB Ted Stachitas during the Demon Deacons' first day of practice Friday. Notice the buzz cut Whit is sporting. Wake's barber took this shot of the former Gryphon All-Stater.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Schock replaced at Orange High

Rocky Mount head football coach Dickie Schock's shoes have been filled at Orange High School.

And they didn't have to go far to find him. Just 17 miles down I-85.

Former Graham head coach Pat Moser has accepted the head football coaching position with the Panthers.

Moser, 44, has suffered through several years of health problems since stepping down at Graham in 2004. He led Graham to consecutive NCHSAA 1-A state championships in 1999 and 2000.

He was 71-24 in his eight seasons at Graham.

New men on campus

(Photos/David Hahula) - click on pictures to enlarge

Here are Rocky Mount's new men on campus - or should I say, gridiron.

In the top photo, new head Gryphon football coach Dickie Schock gives out some instruction during Monday's practice - Day 2 of the 2009 preseason. The offense will get most of Schock's attention this season as offensive coordinator Jason Battle will not be returning to the staff this season.

In the bottom photo, new assistant coach Elbert Thomas (red shorts) has a talk with potential offensive linemen. Thomas, who most recently was the head coach at West Montgomery, will guide the offensive line.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ten questions with Dickie Schock

So you Rocky Mount football fans could to get to know new head coach Dickie Schock a bit better, I posed 10 questions for him to answer - five about the football program and five about him personally.

Here are his responses - in italics!

1. Will you be bringing in any assistant coaches with you? If so, are any on board yet?

Hopefully. Nothing is finalized yet.

2. What is the biggest thing you have learned in your two weeks on the job about the program?

There's never enough time to do everything you want to do. There's barely enough time to do the things you have to do. So Prioritize.

3. The most-often asked question I have gotten from RM fans since you were hired is "will he pass more than BW?" OK, will you? Do you embrace the passing game more than BW did?

Embrace winning. Running or throwing is far less important.

4. Does having a complete rookie starting offensive line your biggest concern of 2009?

No. My biggest concerns are filling out the coaching staff and getting to know our players and what they do best.

5. What do you plan to coach this fall? You had the "D" and special teams last time you were here and you were OC at WF-R. So what will you do here?

I will run the offense. The defensive side of the ball is in good shape staff-wise. Coach (J.J.) Jones and Coach (Kent) Cox called the defense last year and did a great job. Coach (Gerald) Costen is over there to keep them straight. Coach (Alan) Hess is an asset on special teams, so that leaves me with the offense.

6. Now some to some personal stuff. What are your favorite professional football, basketball and baseball teams?

Raiders, Knicks, Reds.

7. You've heard this one before, but I always find the answers interesting. If you could host a dinner party of five and anyone, alive or dead, could attend, what four persons would you invite and why?

No time for dinner parties until after the season. By then, I'll know whether to invite Lombardi or Bryant - or maybe both.

8. What is your favorite movie of all-time?

The books are always better - "To Kill a Mockingbird."

9. Who are your all-time favorite actor and actress?

I'm not that interested in movies.

10. If you were stuck on a desert island with a portable DVD player with one DVD of one of the episodes from a TV classic, what show would it be?

Probably an episode of NCIS, though it's hardly a classic.