Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hunt gets top seed in 3-AA Eastern region

The NCHSAA has released unofficial brackets for its 1-A and 3-A football playoffs. The 2-A and 4-A should be up soon. All of these are subject to final review and recent history indicates some changes will be made.

But for now, here's what it means for area teams. Unbeaten Hunt, the No. 1 seed in the 3-AA East region and East bracket, will host West Brunswick (4-6) in the first round. If the Warriors win, they'll play the winner between No. 5 Nash Central (8-2) and No. 4 Gray's Creek (9-1) in the next round. Hunt has the homefield advantage all the way to the 3-AA Eastern final if it keeps winning.

Southern Nash (7-3), No. 7 in the East, visits No. 2 Triton (9-1) in the first round. No. 3 Cardinal Gibbons (9-1) and No. 6 D.H. Conley (7-3) are in the other half of the bracket.

In the 3-A East, Fike (4-6) got the No. 5 seed and will visit No. 4 West Carteret (7-3). The winner gets No. 1 Havelock (10-0), unless the Rams stumble against No. 8 Hertford County (4-6) in the first round.

The rest of the 3-A East bracket is No. 7 Washington (4-5) and No. 2 Currituck County (7-3) and No. 6 Jacksonville White Oak (5-5) at No. 3 South Brunswick (7-3).

My take is that the 3-AA East is very tough. Hunt won't have a cakewalk this time, not that they did last fall but the Warriors weren't seriously tested until the third round. They'll get all they want in the second round with either Nash Central or Gray's Creek. And down at the bottom of the Mideast bracket as the No. 2 seed is defending 3-AA champion Northern Guilford, which ended Hunt's run in Wilson last December.

Fike has a good chance to win a playoff game but the Golden Demons will have a major chore in taking down Havelock, coached by former Greene Central head coach Jim Bob Bryant. Still, if Fike ends up 1-1 in the postseason and 5-7 on the year, that's not too shabby considering they just went 4-18 the past two seasons.

Friday, October 28, 2011

NCHSAA releases ADMs Friday morning

The N.C. High School Athletic Association released its Average Daily Membership (ADM) numbers for each school Friday morning.

Now we have a slightly clearer idea as to what team goes where before the official football playoff brackets are unveiled sometime Saturday.

The ADMs for the eight teams in The Wilson Times readership are are as follows;

Beddingfield - 869
C.B. Aycock - 1,130
Fike - 1,140
Greene Central - 809
Hunt - 1,317
North Johnston - 715
Southern Nash - 1,261
SouthWest Edgecombe - 897

What this tells me is that Hunt and Southern Nash are certainly going to be in the 3-AA field again while Fike, which has dropped its ADM every year since 2006 when it peaked at 1,340, will probably go to 3-A. Beddingfield, if the Bruins make the playoffs, will play in the 2-AA bracket along with SouthWest Edgecombe while Greene Central is going to be very close to the 2-A/2-AA cut. North Johnston is definitely in the 2-A bracket.

Back to Fike, which is the smallest school in the Big East Conference, has 13 less than Rocky Mount. The good news for the Golden Demons is the 3-A East doesn't seem to be nearly as tough as the 3-AA East, which will include Hunt, Southern Nash, Nash Central, Triton, D.H. Conley and probably South Johnston. If the Demons beat Hunt tonight, they will more than likely get a first-round playoff game at home.

Game 6 was one for the ages

As a 10-year-old in 1975, I sat up late watching Game 6 of the World Series, lights off in the living room, hoping my mom or dad wouldn't get up and make me go to bed before it was over. I remember Bernie Carbo hitting that pinch-hit three-run homer in the eighth inning and Carlton Fisk's homer in the 11th winning it for the Red Sox.

As a 46-year-old in 2011, I'm still up after witnessing what I believe to be the greatest World Series game in my lifetime. David Freese is the new Carlton Fisk after his 11th inning solo blast to center gave the Cardinals an amazing 10-9 win over the Rangers, who were a strike away from their first world championship not once, but twice!

Tonight had it all — critical errors, clutch hits, great defense, questionable managerial decisions, heroes and goats. Would have been nice to see Josh Hamilton hit the Series-winning homer but it wasn't in the Cards. Sorry.

One more thing. Nelson Cruz, you've got to make that catch!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Redskins the latest team to offer Brown a tryout

Like many college graduates pounding the pavement searching for a job these days, Everette Brown keeps plugging away and hoping to land with another NFL team.

The Beddingfield High graduate was cut by the Carolina Panthers just before the season (the same Panthers who made the former Florida State All-American defensive end their top draft pick in 2009). Most recently Brown was reported by Aaron Wilson of scout.com to have worked out with the Washington Redskins. That makes at least four teams — New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions being the other three — that have given Brown a tryout. Of course, tryouts of free agents are held each Tuesday in the NFL so that doesn't mean the Redskins are about to offer Brown a contract.

But considering Washington is the second-closest NFL city to Wilson, it'd be nice to see Brown wearing the burgundy and gold.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

O'Brien on track to shatter his own scoring mark

Hunt junior Eric O'Brien is on pace to break his own single-season scoring record for the Warriors. After a hat trick in Wednesday night's 10-1 win at Northern Nash, O'Brien has 42 goals, seven shy of the mark he set last fall. With four regular-season matches remaining, O'Brien has a great chance to hit 50 before the postseason begins. If the 3-A Big East Conference holds a postseason tournament this year, O'Brien will have at least one more, if not two chances before the state 3-A playoffs begin.

By the way, the N.C. High School Athletic Association record is 92, set by Surry Central's Michael Richardson in 2001, breaking his own mark of 87 set the year before. O'Brien won't come close to either of those numbers but if he gets to 53, he'll be in the top 10 all-time single-season goal scorers in NCHSAA boys soccer.

If the 14-0 Warriors clinch the Big East's top seed, they should be able to get to the fourth round again, where they will most likely encounter Jacksonville for the fifth straight year. The Cardinals defeated Hunt on penalty kicks in the fourth round last season. The good news for Hunt this time is the Cardinals might not be as strong whereas the Warriors seem better than they were a year ago. If Hunt wins, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons lurks as the potential winner of the "lower" bracket. Gibbons currently is ranked No. 1 in the state in the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 3-A poll, one ahead of Hunt.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NCPreps.com - And then there was 31!!

NCPreps.com - And then there was 31!!

Still not sure why Hunt doesn't get enough votes to be ranked in The Associated Press 3-A top 10. The Warriors were one of the last eight 3-A teams standing last season so it's not like they've come out of nowhere. At 6-0, Hunt is one of 31 remaining unbeaten teams in the state. The Warriors are going to have a tough time maintaining that perfection with games remaining against Rocky Mount, Southern Nash, Nash Central and suddenly surprising Fike.

The Big East has pretty much lived up to its preseason hype with Hunt, Southern Nash and Nash Central, which has taken the role that Northern Nash had last year, off to a combined 16-2 start. Rocky Mount and Fike are clearly better than they were last year and only Northern is struggling, but still capable of playing anybody tough.

I've felt all along that the Oct. 14 showdown between the Warriors and Firebirds at Hunt would most likely settle the conference championship. But with Southern stumbling at Fike in OT on Monday night and Nash Central dealing a decisive defeat to host Rocky Mount, it might be the Bulldogs who pull off the surprise. And Nash Central, under both Kenneth Grantham and current head coach Kevin Crudup, has always been a tough nut to crack. You just can't ever overlook the Bulldogs.

Meanwhile the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference race is getting pretty interesting with the apparent resurgence of SouthWest Edgecombe. There are some key matchups this Friday with the Cougars visiting a capable North Pitt squad and Tarboro traveling to Kinston for what could be the conference championship game.

Beddingfield is at Farmville Central in another "blast for last." If the Bruins don't beat the winless Jaguars, Beddingfield might not win another game. What has happened on Old Stantonsburg Road? For one, the Bruins running game has been, well, atrocious. I'm not sure if the blame is to fall on the ball carrriers, the blockers or the play calling but if you can't run the ball, you won't win. And the Bruins are finding out that age-old axiom has never been more true. The good news for head coach Tyrone Johnson (if this season doesn't kill him) is many of the Bruins should be back next season and, if they take heed of the lessons being conducted this fall, they could be pretty good in 2012.