Archive for October, 2007

Webb over Eastern Alamance

October 28, 2007

By RANDY CAPPS
Dispatch Sports Editor

OXFORD — In 48 minutes of football on Saturday night, J.F. Webb changed the course of the 2007 high school football season for three different teams.
When Antwan Thorpe hit Kewone Harris on a four-yard touchdown pass with 48 seconds left, Webb took down Eastern Alamance, 20-16, in a Mid-State 3A clash. The result creates a three-way tie between the Warriors (7-3, 3-1), Eastern Alamance (8-2, 3-1) and South Granville (6-3, 2-1) with a week to go in the regular season.
“We have an opportunity to play for a conference championship next week,” Webb coach John Hammett said. “That’s all we can control. We can’t control the draw. We can’t control how Eastern and South (Granville) do.”
The one thing the Warriors had absolute control over Saturday night on its Senior Night was the football, with drives of 16, 13 and 15 plays during the course of the night. Still, it would be quick strikes that would play a role in the outcome.
Webb got things started in the first quarter when Thorpe hooked up with LaBarren Burwell on a fade route for a 28-yard touchdown pass and, after a Clay Brummitt extra point, a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles evened the score with time running out in the opening period when quarterback Jordan Carter scored on an one-yard keeper. Nick Dixon’s point-after try was good, and the game was tied.
Dixon would put the visitors on top midway through the second with a 28-yard field goal, but Webb took over on the next drive and kept the ball for 16 plays and 5:24 seconds before failing to convert on a fourth and long play deep inside Eagle territory. That kept the score 10-7, Eastern, at the half.
Webb held Eastern to open the third quarter, and then went on the march again, this time to the Eagle 12-yard line. The drive stalled, however, and Brummitt’s 28-yard field goal attempt drifted wide right, ending the scoring chance.
After holding the ball for most of the night, the Warriors finally busted a big play midway through the third quarter. Thorpe took a shotgun snap, faked a handoff to Rockie Lewis, and started running through the heart of the Eagle defense.
And no one came close.
Thorpe (20 carries, 166 yards) raced 63 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, and Brummitt’s kick made it 14-10.
Eastern Alamance answered with some big plays of its own as Elliott Powell broke free for a 46-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, and Carter tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Eric Hester three plays later. The snap was bobbled on the extra point attempt, and it was 16-14, Eagles.
Webb took over on its own 31 with 5:50 remaining and proceeded to go on another epic march.
It took 15 plays, including a clutch fourth-down conversion pass from Thorpe to William Alston, and all but 48 seconds of the clock for Webb to move the ball down field, finally breaking Eastern’s back with a four-yard connection from Thorpe to Kewone Harris to re-take the lead. The snap was off on the point-after try, leaving the tally at 20-16.
“He’s a tremendous person and a tremendous player,” Hammett said of his junior quarterback. “He just understands games. The play we scored on was a play we ran at Catawba 25 times. I can’t tell you how many games we won in the seven-on-seven we won on that play. It kind of makes you feel good when the things you spend so much time on in the summer is the thing you use to win you a conference championship game.”
Eastern had one last shot to avoid the upset, but Carter lost the handle on the ball just inside Webb territory, and Harris was there to recover the fumble to seal the win.
Up next for the Warriors is a road game against Northern Vance where a win for the Warriors will assure a share of the league title.
“Northern Vance has a tremendous football team,” Hammett said. “They may have the best defense in the conference. They just fumbled a lot and had some real bad punting game problems. I will predict that it will be like last year. They won’t fumble. They won’t have punting problems and it will be a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire game.”

The Dr. Seuss World Series

October 23, 2007

From Wednesday’s Dispatch…

I don’t remember the last time I wrote a column. That’s probably not a good thing.
Anyway, I just couldn’t resist one more bit of baseball writing before winter descends on the former national pastime.
It’s the Sox and Rox on Fox in the Fall Classic.
Not original, but still clever.
A google search on the father of modern children’s literature provided some interesting analysis on the looming World Series.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
That suits the Rockies down to the ground. It’s an upstart club, dead and buried in June until a series at Fenway in which the Mile High mashers pitched their way to winning two out of three in Beantown, beating Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling — starters for Games 1 and 2 — along the way.
The moral? The Rockies can’t suddenly become awed with the aura and stage of the World Series. They have to be their own, red-hot selves.
Then there’s this pearl of wisdom:
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
I don’t know that Dr. Seuss ever met Manny Ramirez, but this one describes the mercurial outfielder perfectly.
Remember a few days ago, when Boston was facing a 3-1 series deficit to Cleveland, Manny comes out with this nugget: “It doesn’t happen, so who cares? There’s always next year. It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”
The national media was appalled. Boston’s reply was it’s just Manny being Manny.
By the way, he hit .409 in the ALCS against the Tribe. He’s good. So is Boston.
So, who will win?
“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
There are a couple of different ways to look at this one. Can Colorado, with more down time lately than the local water system, pick up its torrid pace after the longest layoff — eight days — in the history of baseball postseason?
Or will Boston, battle-tested from its recent playoff successes, toss some cold water on the National League upstarts?
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
Look, I’m not denying that the Rockies have been baseball’s best story of 2007. And winning 21 games out of their last 22 is a definite head-turner.
But really? Can they win this series?
Boston has better starters in Beckett, Schilling and yes, even Matsuzaka. Josh Fogg and Aaron Cook taking the hill in the most pressure-packed scenario imaginable has to give you pause if you’re a Colorado fan.
The lineups are a push. The Rockies hit .280 as a team, while the Red Sox hit .279.
Defense is a definite edge for the Rockies, but the intangibles — namely experience — are hugely in favor of Boston.
My pick? Boston in 6.

Contact the writer at
rcapps@hendersondispatch.com.

How I voted – Oct. 23

October 23, 2007

4A
1. Charlotte Independence
2. Wilmington Hoggard
3. Richmond County
4. Garner
5. West Charlotte
6. Hope Mills South View
7. Raleigh Leesville Road
8. Raleigh Athens Drive
9. Scotland County
10. Greensboro Grimsley

3A
1. Western Alamance
2. Rocky Mount
3. Hickory
4. North Gaston
5. Asheville Roberson
6. Winston-Salem Carver
7. Kernersville Glenn
8. Asheville
9. Anson County
10. Wilson Hunt

2A
1. Reidsville
2. Jacksonville Northside
3. Shelby
4. South Columbus
5. Southern Vance
6. Mt. Pleasant
7. Pittsboro Northwood
8. West Davidson
9. Southwest Onslow
10. North Brunswick

1A
1. Thomasville
2. Warsaw Kenan
3. Mt. Airy
4. Plymouth
5. North Duplin
6. Louisburg
7. Polk County
8. Wallace-Rose Hill
9. Ayden-Grifton
10. Siler City Jordan-Matthews

How I voted – Oct. 15

October 16, 2007

A few changes for me this week:

4A
1. Charlotte Independence
2. Wilmington Hoggard
3. Scotland County
4. Garner
5. West Charlotte
6. Hope Mills South View
7. Wake Forest-Rolesville
8. Raleigh Leesville Road
9. Raleigh Athens Drive
10. Greensboro Grimsley

3A
1. Western Alamance
2. Rocky Mount
3. Belmont South Point
4. Hickory
5. Asheville Roberson
6. North Gaston
7. Winston-Salem Carver
8. Wilson Hunt
9. Asheville
10. Greensboro Dudley

2A
1. Reidsville
2. Shelby
3. South Columbus
4. Southern Vance
5. Jacksonville Northside
6. Mt. Pleasant
7. Southwest Onslow
8. Pittsboro Northwood
9. West Davidson
10. Maiden

1A
1. Thomasville
2. Warsaw Kenan
3. Mt. Airy
4. Plymouth
5. North Duplin
6. Ayden-Grifton
7. Louisburg
8. Polk County
9. West Montgomery
10. Wallace-Rose Hill

Ryan Haskins honored

October 10, 2007

As seen in Wednesday’s Daily Dispatch…

Anyone who follows Southern Vance football has heard of Jamere Pugh, O’Darren Gill and David Person. Yet there’s one young man on the team that handles the ball more than any of them.
Meet Ryan Haskins.
The 5-9, 271-pound center is the anchor of a solid Raider offensive line and, on Tuesday afternoon, he got his moment in the spotlight.
WRAL’s Tom Suiter paid a visit to Southern Vance High School to hand Haskins the WRAL Extra Effort Award for his work “not only on the playing field but also in the classroom and in the community.”
Haskins is the first Raider to win the honor since Ernest Jones — now starting at linebacker for N.C. State — back in 2002.
“They’ve been giving them out since 1981,” Southern Vance coach Mark Perry said of the honor. “Ryan was just an ideal candidate. I sent (the nomination) in a couple of weeks ago, and we’re very fortunate that he won. He’s another coach on the field. He and Jamere have been working together the last three years. They clicked together, and they’ll have some ideas about what’s going on out there and they’ll come to me and we’ll try it.
“At the same time, the kid’s got a heart as big as a tractor-trailer truck. He wants everybody to be successful, and he’s going to sacrifice to make sure they’re successful.”
It was quite a scene when Suiter presented Haskins with the Extra Effort Award plaque, complete with coaches and teammates, his dad, Phil Haskins, Jr., his mom, Lisa, and sister, Jessica.
Phil was visibly moved by the occasion.
“He’s a lineman. They get no credit,” he said. “If you ever meet him and talk to him, he’s just such a good kid. Whether up or down, on the field or off the field, he’s the same kid.
“The thing most people don’t know about Ryan is that, before he started playing middle school football, he was jacking home runs out of Aycock Park. But after he picked up a football, he never (cared) about baseball again. This is his love.”
Apparently, Ryan isn’t afraid to learn new things, either.
“They told him the only way he could get any better is to learn how to long snap. The next thing you know, he snapping a ball from here to that net over there,” Phil said of a net about 20 feet away. “One of the coaches for Concord up in West Virginia told him, ‘if only two people get on the bus (for a game), it’s the coach and the long snapper.’
“God, I’m just so proud of him.”
Spend a few minutes with Ryan and you start to see what all the fuss is about.
“It really means a lot to me, especially for my dad,” Ryan said during a break in Tuesday’s practice. “He’s really worked with me my whole life, playing football and stuff, so it means a lot. It just shows how hard I’ve been working and that, if I put my mind to it and work hard, I can do anything.”
Individual accolades are nice, but Ryan, a four-year varsity player and three-year starter, and his Raider teammates are hoping to keep building on the 6-1 start they’ve manufactured so far.
“We lost to Southwest Edgecombe, but we’ve bounced back really well,” he said of the team’s lone loss. “Bunn was obviously a really big win. We knew that was the biggest hump in our conference. Now it’s just about more or less staying focused week in and week out, striving to get that No. 1 seed in the playoffs.”
Ryan has plans for after high school as well.
“I really would like to play college football,” he said. “I really don’t have my mind set on anywhere. I’m just waiting to see what offers I get and who has the best academic plan for me. I’d really like to study Business Management. I’d like to become an entrepreneur and own my own business someday.”
The segment featuring Haskins is scheduled to air on WRAL (Time Warner Cable channel 5) on Thursday at 6:25 p.m.

How I voted: AP Poll – Week eight

October 9, 2007

4A
1. Independence
2. Richmond County
3. Wilmington Hoggard
4. Scotland County
5. Garner
6. West Charlotte
7. Matthews Butler
8. Greensboro Grimsley
9. Wake Forest-Rolesville
10. Hope Mills South View

3A
1. Western Alamance
2. Rocky Mount
3. Belmont South Point
4. Kernersville Glenn
5. SW Edgecombe
6. Hickory
7. Anson County
8. Greensboro Dudley
9. Asheville Roberson
10. North Gaston

2A
1. Reidsville
2. Shelby
3. Jacksonville Northside
4. Southern Vance
5. South Columbus
6. Mt. Pleasant
7. SW Onslow
8. Pittsboro Northwood
9. South Brunswick
10. West Davidson

1A
1. Thomasville
2. Warsaw Kenan
3. Mt. Airy
4. Plymouth
5. Siler City Jordan-Matthews
6. North Duplin
7. Polk County
8. Louisburg
9. Ayden-Grifton
10. Wallace Rose Hill

The loss of Hope…

October 1, 2007

Forgot to post this the other day. This was last Friday, right after Brazil stomped us in the World Cup…

Take a bow, Greg Ryan. You just cost the United States the Women’s World Cup.
That may be a little over the top, since Brazil played so brilliantly in a 4-0 demolition of the favored American side Thursday in Hangzhou, China.
I give credit to Marta, who must be Ronaldinho’s little sister with her deft ball skills and her laser-like accuracy around the net.
The better team won Thursday, so my hat is off to Brazil.
And now I’m going to throw it at U.S. coach Greg Ryan.
Ryan, riding a 50-game winning streak with a star-studded U.S. side, announced Tuesday that he was benching starting keeper Hope Solo in favor of Briana Scurry for Thursday’s semifinal match.
Scurry is a legend, and possibly the best keeper the women’s game has ever seen. But she’s 36 and she’s only been in the box seven times since 2004, and none in this World Cup.
I can’t understand it. And I’m not alone.
“It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that,” Solo said. “There’s no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. … You have to live in the present. And you can’t live by big names. You can’t live in the past.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Scurry is a heroine. She’s dedicated her adult life to playing for her country, and she gave it her all out there Thursday.
But Ryan put her — and indeed, his whole squad — in a position to fail against a team that played like they smelled disention in the ranks.
Or blood in the water.
The first goal was unlucky, an own goal headed in by Leslie Osborne off a corner — a play that might have been averted with better communication between the keeper and her defenders on the near post.
Goal No. 2 was a solid strike from Marta that I think could have been saved. Goals three and four were a little tougher, since they occured after the unfair send-off of midfielder Shannon Boxx after a phantom second yellow card.
Still, it’s sad to think that this team trained together for two years, ripped through 50 straight matches without a loss and never trailed by more than a goal in that span — only to have its coach undermine all that hard work and dominance with a chemistry killing decision.
Was hiring a guy who’s coaching résumé includes stops at soccer hotbeds Colorado College and SMU really the best we could do?
Sunil Gulati, president of the United States Soccer Federation, put on a brave front after the crushing defeat, saying “we are not where we were 10 years ago. It’s not because we are not better, it’s because everyone else is investing in the game.”
Now, we should invest in a new head coach for our women’s soccer team.

Contact the writer at
rcapps@hendersondispatch.com.

How I voted: AP Poll – Week seven

October 1, 2007

4A
1. Charlotte Independence
2. Richmond County
3. Wilmington Hoggard
4. Scotland County
5. Garner
6. West Charlotte
7. Matthews Butler
8. Shelby Crest
9. Greensboro Grimsley
10. Wake Forest-Rolesville

3A
1. Western Alamance
2. Rocky Mount
3. SouthWest Edgecombe
4. Belmont South Point
5. Asheville Roberson
6. Kernersville Glenn
7. Hickory
8. Greensboro Dudley
9. Anson County
10. Charlotte Catholic

2A
1. Reidsville
2. Shelby
3. Jacksonville Northside
4. Southern Vance
5. South Columbus
6. Mt. Pleasant
7. Southwest Onslow
8. Bunn
9. Salisbury
10. Pittsboro Northwood

1A
1. Thomasville
2. Warsaw Kenan
3. Mt. Airy
4. Polk County
5. Plymouth
6. Siler City Jordan-Matthews
7. North Duplin
8. Louisburg
9. Ayden-Grifton
10. Wallace-Rose Hill