Thursday, October 29, 2009

A look at boys soccer first-round possibilities

Here's a look at some probable N.C. High School Athletic Association first-round playoff matchups for our area high school boys soccer team based on the NCHSAA Web site pairings and the conference standings at EurosportScoreboard.com.

In the 3-A ranks, Big East Conference regular-season and tournament champion Hunt, ranked No. 5 in the state, should draw Coastal No. 3 D.H. Conley while Fike, No. 4 from the Big East, will visit Eastern Carolina Conference champion South Johnston. The Warriors' potential second-round foe should be either No. 4 Coastal Jacksonville White Oak or Waccamaw king West Brunswick. If Fike wins, it'll travel to the winner of the Northeastern Coastal No. 1 Currituck-Coastal No. 2 West Carteret match.

In a pretty interesting matchup, Charles B. Aycock, the ECC runner-up, looks to be the guest of Big East No. 2 Rocky Mount in the first round.

In the 2-A East bracket, Beddingfield, the No. 4 seed from the Eastern Plains Conference, should travel to Northeastern Coastal No. 1 Kill Devil Hills First Flight. Had the Bruins beaten Farmville Central in the EPC tournament final this week, they'd likely travel to Waccamaw No. 2 East Bladen.

Greene Central, No. 3 from the EPC, seems to be heading to East Central champion Swansboro. North Johnston, the Northern Carolina runner-up, should get Carolina 9 No. 3 Durham School for the Arts.

The first round kicks off Monday!

Fike girls cross country No. 10 in 3-A rankings

The Fike girls cross-country team is ranked in the top 10 among state 3-A squads in the NCRunners.com state coaches poll for the third straight week. The Golden Demons remained in the 10th spot.

In Saturday's N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A East Regional meet, the Fike girls will be bidding for their first trip to the 3-A state meet as a team since 2007. They also went in 2004 but the Fike boys haven't been since 1984, the last time both Fike teams made the trip.

Triangle Tip-Off showcases potential rising star in coaching ranks

Boy, a few days of flu-like symptoms and a sick toddler can make you feel as though the world is passing you by. But I'm feeling much better today and ready to catch up on all fronts.

I was shocked to see Beddingfield bow out in the second round of the state 2-A volleyball playoffs. The Bruins ran into a tough Swansboro team but I thought they might have gone a little deeper. The anticipated third meeting between the Bruins and their Eastern Plains Conference archrival Farmville Central fizzled as the Jaguars fell to Elizabeth City Northeastern in the second round.

But there will be a third-round playoff meeting of conference rivals as Fike heads to Rocky Mount in Tuesday's state 3-A girls dual-team tennis quarterfinals match.

Moving outside the area and high school sports scene, I had a spy (really a personal stringer in former Hunt baseball teammate and current Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau V.P. of Sports Marketing Scott Dupree) at the Triangle Tip-Off Luncheon today at the Durham Sheraton Imperial Hotel featuring the men's basketball coaches from North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State and N.C. Central.

Despite having two hall-of-fame coaches there, the star of the show turned out to be Central's LeVelle Moton, who finished his playing career at the school as its third all-time leading scorer. Moton was the head coach at Raleigh Sanderson High School before joining the NCCU staff in 2007.

Moton, a member of N.C. Central Athletic Hall of Fame, kept them in stitches with a series of one-liners. He reportedly is the cousin of former North Carolina star Donald Williams and has made a name for himself as the personal summertime coach for many NBA stars.

Moton quipped that there may be some hall-of-famers and legends there, but he's the only coach here who's undefeated.

To which his first opponent, Roy Williams of North Carolina, responded that he sure as heck hoped Moton can't make that statement after his first game.

Keep an eye on Moton because he may be coaching in the Atlantic Coast Conference before long.

We also have a report of Williams and Mike Krzyzewski sitting on a couch and chatting like old friends, which probably isn't all that surprising. We'd like to think they go home and throw darts at photos of one another but there's a lot of mutual respect and admiration there.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Function" facts abound

Thanks to the efforts of Charles Alston and the gracious help provided by Jimmy Tillman and Jim Brett, I have put together a look at the 31-year-old football rivalry between SouthWest Edgecombe and Tarboro high schools.

The Edgecombe County rivals meet for the 33rd time Friday in Pinetops, the much-acclaimed "Function at the Junction" (a term coined in the early 1980s by former Tarboro Daily Southerner Sports Editor Mitch Evans) will boast the first pairing between teams ranked in the top 3 in the state.

But it's hardly the first big meeting in this quintessentially eastern North Carolina backyard brawl. The series began in 1978 when SouthWest Edgecombe, a new school formed from the student populations of South Edgecombe and West Edgecombe (hence, the capital W!), took a 62-0 drubbing at the hands of its established neighbor. That was the Vikings' biggest win in the series while the Cougars' came with a 23-6 win in 1985.

The schools didn't play again until 1982 with the next year beginning a stretch in which they met twice a year — once in the regular season and once in the state 3-A playoffs — in four of five seasons. The Cougars won both 1983 meetings; Tarboro won twice in 1987 and they split in 1984 and 1985 with Tarboro getting the playoff win in '84 and SWE in '85.

Tillman, who coached the Cougars from 1979 to 1990, remembers the meetings from that era as both teams being ranked each time. But Brett, the Tarboro head coach from 1975-1991, doesn't think there was ever a time the Vikings and Cougars met when both were ranked so highly.

"I doubt it," Brett said.

Besides the first game, Tarboro has two other shutouts with the latest being a 42-0 whitewashing in 2003. SouthWest's 18-0 win in 2005 was its only shutout. That was also current Cougars head coach Raymond Cobb's first of four straight wins against Tarboro.

SouthWest, which lost to Tarboro in Cobb's first season after coming over from North Edgecombe where he won two state 1-A titles, handed the Vikings their only loss (13-7) last season before Tarboro lost in the state 2-A championship to Newton-Conover.

There has never been an overtime game in the series which is a distinct possibility Friday night.

If you're going, get there early because "The Junction" (of Highway 43 and Wiggins Lake Road) isn't set up for parking for 4,000 which is what the crowd could easily be.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gillette, one of 'top venues' to host US Youth Soccer kickoff events

Gillette Athletic Complex will again be the site of a major US Youth Soccer event as the top Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 National League boys teams in the country will converge in Wilson for a kickoff tournament Dec. 10-13.

There will be Girls U15, U16 and U17 games played in College Station, Texas. Both kickoff events are being held near the sites of the NCAA Division I men's and women's championships in order to bring the youth players more exposure to college coaches.

There was a press release on the US Youth Soccer Web site which states: " Over the course of the 2009-2010 season, the League will play at top venues across the country including games at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex (Fla.), Bettye Wilson Fields (Nev.), and Wilson Gillette Soccer Complex (N.C.)."

Not that we didn't know Gillette was a pretty awesome venue already but it's always nice to read someone else say it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bass and Cuthrell separated at birth?

It's a good thing they'll wear different uniforms, numbers and helmets on the field Friday night because fans (and parents) might have a hard time telling Hunt running back Caleb Bass, above right, and Rocky Mount quarterback Collins Cuthrell, below right, apart.

The pair bear an eerie resemblance to one another. So much so that Charles Alston, our good friend in Rocky Mount, reports Cuthrell's mother, Dawn, did a double take when seeing Bass' picture on The Wilson Times Web site earlier this season.

One thing is for sure, each player will have to play well for his team to win Friday's 3-A Big East Conference showdown. Cuthrell, a senior, is the Big East's leading passer with 481 yards and two TDs. Bass, a junior, leads the league in rushing with 957 yards and 10 TDs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hesmer, Crew eyeing repeat

William Hesmer and the Columbus Crew are looking good in their bid to repeat as Major League Soccer champions. The Crew leads the MLS with 49 points and a 13-5-10 record as the season winds down.

Meanwhile, Wilson native Hesmer, a Hunt High and Wake Forest University graduate, is still ranked among the top MLS goalkeepers. The 27-year-old is ranked third in the league with a 0.94 goals against average. Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports in his "Crew Review" this is the first time Hesmer's GAA has dipped below 1.00.

Hesmer has seven shutouts, tied for fourth-best in MLS, but he has played significantly less minutes (1,620) than other goalkeeping stat leaders due to an early season back injury.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Volleyball rankings located but something is amiss

I finally found the N.C. high school volleyball rankings . Although no criteria is given and some of the records posted for teams in the poll can't be correct

There are no schools from The Wilson Times readership area in the overall top 25 in the state but several are ranked in their respective classifications.

Beddingfield is No. 11 in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A poll and Hunt is 22nd in the 3-A poll.

Of utmost curiosity is the N.C. Christian School Association 3-A poll which doesn't list five-time defending champion Wilson Christian at all!

So take these for what they're worth.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Warriors No. 5 in NCSCA 3-A poll

The Hunt boys soccer team keeps climbing the 3-A rankings in the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association poll.

The Warriors (11-1-1) are No. 5 while 3-A Big East Conference rival Rocky Mount (13-1-2) remains at No. 12. Hunt's former 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference nemesis Charles B. Aycock (11-1-1) debuted at No. 15 this week.

Hunt has a big game at Northern Nash Wednesday night. The Knights, which fell 3-1 to Rocky Mount Monday, were 5-1 losers to the Warriors in Wilson last month but Northern Nash was without five starters in that game, head coach Joe McCarthy told me. I will be at Wednesday's showdown in Red Oak.

Those are the only teams in The Wilson Times readership area that are ranked but Tarboro is No. 6 in the 2-A poll.

Football rankings for week 7

SouthWest Edgecombe slid a bit in Drew Pasteur's Fantastic 50 high school football rankings as the Cougars moved down two notches to No. 7 but remained the top 2-A team.

No other teams in The Wilson Times readership area are ranked in the Fantastic 50 or in the top 15 in their respective classifications. But here are Pasteur's computerized predictions for this week: Southern Nash (5-1, 3A) by 13 (82%) at Fike (2-4, 3A); #7 Southwest Edgecombe (7-0, 2A) by 28 (98%) vs Beddingfield (5-2, 2A); Hunt (3-3, 3A) by 26 (97%) at Northern Nash (0-6, 3A); #18 Tarboro (6-0, 2A) by 29 (98%) vs Greene Central (3-4, 2A); Aycock (6-0, 3A) by 33 (99%) at North Lenoir (2-4, 3A).

The Massey Ratings have SWE No. 15 overall and second in the 2-A poll which has Beddingfield is 27th, Greene Central 48th and North Johnston 79th out of 97 teams.

In the Massey 3-A poll, Aycock is 19th, Southern Nash 28th, Hunt 36th and Fike 64th out of 95 teams.

Demons drop, Gryphons rise in 3-A tennis poll

Fike 6-3 loss at home to Rocky Mount last Thursday not only cost the Golden Demons the 3-A Big East Conference girls tennis championship outright, it also cost them a spot in the state 3-A rankings.

In the poll released Tuesday by the N.C. High School Tennis Coaches Association, Fike dropped two spots to No. 6 while the Gryphons vaulted from sixth to fifth with one more vote than the Demons. Hang on, these teams could very well play one another again as they have met in the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs the past two years.

In the 2-A poll, Greene Central remained No. 2 behind Salisbury.

Here's the whole thing and thanks to Greene Central's Donald Clark for e-mailing me the poll each week!

Week Seven Regular Season-

Team Points
1.  Charlotte Myers Park 50
2. East Chapel Hill 45
3. Greensboro Grimsley 38
4. Raleigh Broughton 35
5. Green Hope 25
6. Wilmington Hoggard 23
7. Winston Salem Reynolds 18
8. Greenville Rose 15
9. T.C. Roberson 14
10. Charlotte Providence 3
Others receiving votes: Pinecrest (2), Riverside (2).

Team Points
1 Charlotte Catholic 80
2 Cardinal Gibbons 71
3. Chapel Hill 58
4. Burlington Williams 44
5. Rocky Mount 41
6. Wilson Fike 40

7. Weddington 28
8. Asheville 24
9. Marvin Ridge 19
10. Franklin 18
Others receiving votes: Ledford (6), Union Pines (5), Concord (2), St. Stephens (2).

Team Points
1 Salisbury 69
2 Greene Central 64
3 Tarboro 49
4 Edenton Holmes 47
5 Shelby 41
6 East Duplin 31
7 North Lincoln 28
8 Maiden 20
9 Brevard 19
10 Topsail 9

Others receiving votes: Northwood (2).

Team Points
1 School of Science and Math   48
2 Mount Airy 45
3 Raleigh Charter School 38
4 Bishop McGuiness 33
5 East Montgomery 31
6 North Stokes 29
7 Gray Stone Day 16
East Surry 16
9 Elkin 11
10 East Wilkes 6                                                                                                 
Others receiving votes:  North Rowan (2).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bailess, Flowers, Murphy to be enshrined at Barton

The Barton College Athletic Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction ceremony in just a few weeks and this year's class has some clout as it coincides with the college's celebration of 100 years of athletics.

Todd Bailess, Class of '99, headlines the quartet that will gain entry into the hall. The former Bulldogs soccer great was the first athlete in school history to be named conference male athlete of the year and was also the Lady Bulldogs soccer coach after graduation.

Will Flowers, Class of '76, was a standout baseball player at the school, then named Atlantic Christian College. The Wilson native has been head baseball coach at Fike High School for 28 years and won the state 3-A championship in 1999.

Teasha Murphy, Class of '96, is the all-time leading scorer in Barton women's basketball history and was a two-time conference player of the year.
Allen Searson, Class of '75, was a former basketball standout.

As part of Barton Homecoming weekend, the induction ceremony and banquet will be held Friday, Oct. 23, at Kennedy Recreation and Intramural Center beginning at 8 p.m. There will a memorabilia display celebrating the 100 years of intercollegiate athletics.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fike girls cross country No. 8 in 3-A rankings

The third NCRunners.com coaches poll has been released and the Fike girls cross country team is ranked No. 8 in the state among 3-A teams.

That's a testament to the work the Golden Demons have done this year as they seem to be headed for another team berth in the state 3-A meet in Clemmons later this month.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Massey Ratings confusing but fun

Just as we have Drew Pasteur and his fantastic computer producing the weekly Fantastic 50, here are theMassey Ratings, which combines ratings on schedule, offense, defense and power. But there's no explanation of how those things are rated which is probably just as well since math was never my best subject.

One cool thing about this site is its Matchups feature, where you plug in two teams and it spits out a final score. I put in Fike vs. Hunt and the computer said Hunt 23, Fike 14. I guess the Warriors' 48-0 in week 2 isn't part of the equation.

Anyway, in the rankings by classification, Charles B. Aycock is No. 16 in 3-A, Rocky Mount is 19th and Southern Nash is No. 20, Hunt is 35th and Fike is 61st.

In 2-A, SouthWest is No. 3, Tarboro is No. 4 and Kinston is No. 5. Beddingfield is 22nd, Greene Central is 53rd and North Johnston is 83rd, spots lower than the team it beat 15-0 last week — Warren County.