Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Longtime RMHS football videographer passes

Earnest Graham "Gray" Capps
Aside from perhaps the returning players and coaches at Rocky Mount High School and myself, there had to be no other individual more excited to see Rocky Mount's new football stadium open than Gray Capps.

Capps and his brother Ken, both Rocky Mount alums, have been filming Rocky Mount High School varsity and junior varsity football games for the last 22 seasons. 

They both could be seen at every home game on the right side of the press box - with both of them operating cameras to record play-by-play for the Gryphon coaches.

And on the road, they  were there, too - whether opposing film crews gave them room or not.

One filmed action at the line of scrimmage, while the other took the wide angle of both teams.

They tried to give the coaches two angles of all the action.

Gray gave me grief during last season after the new stadium's home stands were fairly completed and the press box was in place. 

"Where am I going to stand?" "Are we going to lose space?'' "Where's the elevator for the press box?" were the kind of questions I'd get from him in conversations all last season in anticipation of playing football on campus for the first time school history. He figured I had all the answers.

Sadly, he won't have to worry about all those things now.

He will be watching from way above the press box!

Gray lost his very short battle with cancer Tuesday afternoon. He was 61. He was diagnosed in March and he basically never left the hospital once he was admitted. 

Like the late Jack Allsbrook, who accommodated the football officials and kept the clock at Rocky Mount games for over 40 years, Gray was a fixture who was as emotionally involved with every Rocky Mount kid as the coaches.

He had walked in their shoes.

He was an offensive guard for Rocky Mount - Class of '71. He and his wife Peggy never had children, but in a way, all those Gryphon players were like his kids. All he wanted them to do was to play hard and smart.

And he'd catch it all on tape.

We will all miss him so much, especially when the Gryphons open their new stadium on Friday, Aug. 17.

But we all know he WILL have the best seat in the stadium!