Archive for November, 2006

Pepper spray, headbands and other stuff

November 30, 2006

My column from Thursday’s Dispatch:

By RANDY CAPPS, Dispatch Sports Editor

It’s been a while since I’ve columned up, so naturally a few things have piled up on me that I need to address.

From the Things that Disappoint Me Department, what’s up with the JV boys’ basketball teams from Person County and Warren County having a brawl after a game Tuesday night?

This sort of behavior has no place on the streets of Warren, Person or Vance counties, so it really looks out of place in a high school gym.

It’s silly. There’s no reason to take that sort of frustration with you off the court. Still, for a situation that looked like it was heading into “Malice at the Palace” territory, I thought a few well-meaning fans and the Warren County Sheriff’s deputies did a pretty good job from letting it get even more out of hand.

And really, nobody likes pepper spray.

From the Things that Confuse Me Department, I have a pair of items. Why in the world does Chicago Bulls’ head coach Scott Skiles have a rule banning his players – including the newly-signed Ben Wallace – from wearing headbands.

Headbands? You’re kidding me, right? With NBA players going into the stands, firing guns at folks at strip clubs and any of the other things you can pull out that keep the NBA behind the NFL, MLB, college football and college basketball on the sporting totem pole, headbands are a concern? Please.

Hey, have you heard the one about Pittsburgh’s Bill Cowher shucking his NFL career to be the new head coach at N.C. State? Nobody appreciates the fervor of Wolfpack nation more than I do, but you guys are dreaming if you think Bill Cowher wants to make that move.

I know he owns a house in Raleigh. I know that it makes some sense on a lot of levels. But a simple fact remains.

It’s not that great of a job.

Who should you be after with all the money you can find? Paul Johnson at Navy or Norm Chow with the Tennessee Titans. Either guy is a great choice, and both would likely hang around a while.

Let’s move over to the Things that You Should Know Department, where you can learn about late-round playoff high school football.

No team from Vance County has played a game this late in the season since the 1980 4A Western Final, where Greensboro Page bounced Vance High, 24-21.

The crowd was better last week for Southern Vance against Northwood, and I’d be surprised if even more folks didn’t turn out this week for the 2AA West Final against Forest Hills.

Here’s a note about where I last worked – I’ve seen more people at scrimmages in Cleveland County. My point? Get out and support our young people. You might even like it.

Contact the writer at rcapps@hendersondispatch.com.

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On the line

November 14, 2006

Gardner-Webb, my alma-mater, opens its season tonight at Texas Tech. While starting a season against a Bobby Knight-coached team is pretty cool, the neat thing about this game is that it is the first one I remember seeing that has a Vegas line. GWU is a 24-point dog in Lubbock, and as I type this, they trail 12-0 six minutes in… Maybe that wasn’t enough…

Playoff preview

November 10, 2006
By RANDY CAPPS
Dispatch Sports Editor
The preliminaries are over, the pretenders and contenders have been
sorted out and there’s a chill in the air.

Now it’s playoff time.

Three area high school football squads start postseason play tonight with the 2AA’s top seed Southern Vance (9-2) hosting North Lenoir (3-8), J.F. Webb (7-4) visiting Eastern Randolph (10-1) and Warren County (4-7) making the trip to West Stanly (8-3).

Raiders hope to keep rolling

Southern Vance is riding a six-game winning streak and will enjoy home-field advantage in
the playoffs all the way up until the title game in Winston-Salem, should it advance that far.

Southern coach David Jennings is hoping to have a big crowd on hand tonight to bolster the
edge of playing in his home stadium.

“I’d really like to see those stands full,” he said. “We should have much better weather than
we’ve had for our last two home games, so hopefully everyone will come out.”

Of the 68 games played between No. 1 and No. 16 seeds since the classifications were split in
2002, top seeds are 66-2. Northern Vance pulled an upset over Southern Guilford in 2004
and West Montgomery clipped West Wilkes back in 2002 for the only wins for the lower
seeds.

Jennings is hoping to avoid that pitfall on the opening night of the postseason.

“We’re fortunate to be in the position we’re in on paper, but we still have to execute on the field,” he said. “We have to learn how to finish ball games. Hopefully, that will start (tonight).”

North Lenoir will provide the opposition, as the Hawks won a draw to get into the postseason
with a berth from the Eastern Plains 2A. Coach Wayne Jackson’s team runs a version of
the Wing-T and likes to pound the football on offense while relying on a speedy defense to
keep foes in check.

Despite the record of his opposition, Jennings isn’t taking anything for granted.

“They’re quick. They run to the ball well on defense,” he said. “They seem to try and mix up
their fronts to confuse people on defense. It doesn’t seem like they want to throw the ball, so
we’re going to try to take away what they do best and make them do it.

“Offensively, we’re going to try to take advantage of our size and pound the ball, see if we can
wear them down.”

Warriors hitting the road

J.F. Webb drew the short straw among teams from the Mid-State 3A in terms of playoff
seeding, and as a result, the Warriors face a tall order tonight on the road against the Wildcats in the 3AA Playoffs.

Eastern Randolph lost a 12-10 decision at Asheboro for its only loss of the season and
Webb coach John Hammett knows what kind of challenge awaits his club tonight.

“They’re awfully good,” he said. “They’re No. 1 one in the 3A power ratings
(masseyratings.com). They’re a program with a lot of tradition that competes for state
championships. They’ve got a great quarterback, a big running back and good wide
receivers. They’ve got 33 seniors on that team.

“We didn’t get the best draw in the world, but you have to play the best teams sometime. The kids are excited about the opportunity. They’re not superhuman. They’re just a good high school football team. If we play hard and do the things we do well, I think we’ll have a chance.”

Eagles flying far away

Warren County has had quite a week.

The Eagles fell 49-0 to Bunn at home on Senior Night last Friday, had to sweat out a bid in the
2AA bracket the following day, were slated to visit Northwood in an early bracket and finally
ended up as a No. 14 seed on the road at West Stanly — about 206 miles, one-way, from
campus — in the final version.

At least practice was encouraging, but when they lace up tonight, the Eagle offense and
defense will have their collective skills tested in every way.

“Offensively, they have a big quarterback,” said Warren County coach Lamont Robinson. “He’s
6-foot-3, 230 (pounds), a nice arm, can run, offensively, he’ll pose a threat.”

The Eagles are a running team and West Stanly has a formidable defensive tackle that,
according to Robinson’s scouting of him on film, makes a lot of plays.

This being Robinson’s first year, the magnitude of playing an 12th game has floored him.

“It took some time to sink in,” he said. “There are a lot parents, a lot of kids, they remind me
how much of a big deal making the playoffs is. I’m really getting excited. We’re 0-0, we have a
shot like everybody else in the playoffs.”

Brendan O’Meara contributed to this story