Archive for October, 2008

Setting the stage

October 30, 2008

Terry Sanford fought off Northern Durham last night to highlight the second batch of opening-round matches in the State 4A soccer playoffs.

Here are the rest of the scores from Wednesday:

Wilmington Ashley 4, Jack Britt 1
Pine Forest 1, New Bern 0
Pinecrest 3, West Johnston 1, OT
Morrisville Green Hope 6, Garner 0
Raleigh Millbrook 3, Durham Riverside 0

And here are the second-round games set for Saturday:

Cape Fear at New Hanover
East Chapel Hill at Richmond County
Wilmington Ashley at Terry Sanford
Pine Forest at Pinecrest
Apex at Durham Jordan, 4 p.m.
Morrisville Green Hope at Raleigh Broughton
Fuquay-Varina at Raleigh Sanderson, 6 p.m.
Raleigh Millbrook at Morrisville Panther Creek

If anyone has times to go with any of these, I’d love to hear about them…


Praising Bud

October 29, 2008

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before.

I’m going to praise Major League Baseball Commissioner Bid Selig.

Why? For having the guts to ignore a long-standing baseball rule allowing for games to become official after five innings and declare that no World Series game would be stopped before nine innings were completed.

Some people, mainly in Philadelphia, are whining. But while Selig’s reign will be remembered for the shame of the steroid era and the stupidity of the tie in an all-star game, this marks a stunning show of courage that none of his peers would dare display.

Remember when the incident between the Spurs and Suns resulted in the suspension of a pair of Suns’ players in the Western Conference finals a couple of years back? We had David Stern, hiding behind the rulebook and enforcing suspensions for guys who left the bench to check on Steve Nash, who had been checked, hockey-style, into the scorer’s table. It absolutely decided the outcome.

Can you imagine Roger Goodell having the stones to stray away from the rulebook in the best interests of the game? The No Fun League? You must be joking.

Good for you, Bud Selig. I don’t care if it takes until November. I want my baseball champion decided on the field.

Playoff schedule/scores

October 29, 2008

I didn’t put this in my story about last night’s game between Cape Fear and Hoke County, because I was taught not to editorialize in my reporting.

But since this is a blog not restricted by journalistic tradition, let me just throw this out there.


How cold? The ink in both of my pens ran dry. That was in direct contrast to my nose which ran faster and longer than this presidential campaign. I’m a South Carolina guy, so a frosty night in October is a bit unusual for me.

Here’s hoping for warmer weather for the Colts on Saturday at New Hanover.

Here are the rest of the scores from the first round of the 4A East Playoffs:

Tuesday’s games
Cape Fear 5, Hoke County 1
New Hanover 5, Lumberton 1
Richmond County 2, Wilmington Hoggard 1, OT
East Chapel Hill 3, Greenville Rose 2
Apex 4, Clayton 0
Durham Jordan 1, Raleigh Wakefield 0
Raleigh Broughton 2, Raleigh Athens Drive 1
Raleigh Sanderson 2, Chapel Hill 0
Fuquay-Varina 5, East Wake 3
Morrisville Panther Creek 5, Holly Springs 0

Tonight’s games
Jack Britt at Wilmington Ashley
Northern Durham at Terry Sanford, 6 p.m.
Pine Forest at New Bern
West Johnston at Pinecrest
Garner at Morrisville Green Hope
Durham Riverside at Raleigh Millbrook

The second round games are tentatively set for Saturday.

Playoff brackets are out

October 27, 2008

Now, we all know that the NCHSAA can change these without notice or good reason. But until then, here is the 4A bracket

Locally, here’s what’s on tap for round one:

Hoke County (9-10-2) at Cape Fear (15-6-1), Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Lumberton (9-10-1) at New Hanover (18-2-1)

Wilmington Hoggard (8-6-4) at Richmond Senior (10-6-1)

Jack Britt (7-14) at Wilmington Ashley (13-4-3)

Northern Durham (5-11) at Terry Sanford (16-3-1), Wednesday, 6 p.m.

Pine Forest (14-6) at New Bern (13-6-1)

West Johnston (6-12-2) at Pinecrest (16-2-3), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Note that these records are posted on the NCHSAA Web site, so I’m not vouching for their accuracy. It’s also worth noting that The Offside Trap will be catching a playoff game tomorrow night at Cape Fear.

Hope to see you there!

Pictures from a title-winning day

October 27, 2008

Fayetteville Academy wins state title 

Congrats to Fayetteville Academy for winning the NCISAA 2A State Soccer Championship Saturday with a 4-0 win over Caldwell Academy.

Jackson Ferrell (FA), Robert Sandidge (FCS) and Daniel Vestal (VC) made the all-state team for their efforts during the tournament.

Bob Williams, the proud father of the Eagles’ goal keeper, Sam, sent in some pictures, including the one shown here. See the rest of them here.

News from Wilson

October 24, 2008

It’s over, and I found a power outlet, so let’s put a bow on Fayetteville Academy’s 1-0 win over Fayetteville Christian.

It wasn’t a thrill ride, but it was hard-nosed and physical. The kind of game you might expect on a Friday night on a football field.

Ferrell’s free kick as brilliant. I don’t know how it didn’t go in. The Eagle defense was as strong as U.S. Steel, as James Morgan and Charles Smith man-marked Daniel Dahnke and Robert Sandidge for most of the day, allowing them little room to do much on offense.

It was a great win for the academy, and the fan support on both sides was great.

Thanks for a good show, guys.

To see my sure-to-be-edited story, click below…


Game updates

October 24, 2008

Don’t forget to refresh often…

2:56 p.m. – Warm-ups are over. Now we’re waiting for the lineups and anthem, I suppose.

3:01 p.m. – Or, we could skip all that and just play. We’re under way.

3:04 – The scoreboard is dark. Great…

3:07 – Seventh minute, no real chances yet…

3:10 – Lots of tackling as both teams do a bit of shadow boxing.

3:11 – The ball just hit a guy in the stands in the head. A nice flick-on.

3:14 – 15th minute, a little activity in front of the FCS net, but no clear shot emerges.

3:17 – FA corner kick after a Jack Ward shot gets deflected out. FCS clears.

3:22 – Assistant referee asks the FA bench players to sit down. Something about seeing offsides…

3:23 – FCS free kick from about 50 yards out is picked off. Ward leaves on a breakaway, but is run down before he gets a good try off.

3:26 – FCS’ Terin Ellus makes a nice run into the penalty area, finds Daniel Dahnke open for an instant, but nothing comes of it.

3:30 – FA has a deep throw-in … FCS counters … Sam Williams comes 35 yards off his line to deny Robert Sandidge.

3:33 – FA’s James Morgan keeps us scoreless by clearing a Dahnke shot away from a gaping goal.

3:36 – FA’s Matt Christian gets fouled at the top of the box … Jackson Ferrell takes the free kick, which bends around the wall and smacks off the right post.

3:39 – The FA cross-country team, covered in body paint, arrives as we approach halftime.

3:43 – The whistle blows after a scoreless first half.

4:02 – Technical difficulties, but you haven’t missed much. There was a Christian breakaway for FA in the 49th minute, but FCS keeper Sean Baker takes it off his feet on the spot.

4:04 – FA are on the front foot now, as they have the Warriors pinned in their own end.

4:06 – These teams know each other really well. It’s going to take something special, or a serious defensive lapse, to get a goal today.

4:08 – FA has a free kick from the left edge, but Ward’s header is way wide.

4:12 – FA has a corner, but Baker snags it out of the air. Good keeping, there.

4:13 – FA’s Ward sends a dangers cross in to Jackson Ferrell, but Baker comes out to parry. Ferrell walks off a knee knock…

4:14 – I’m guessing, but I think we’re in the 64th minute.

4:17 – FA is dominating possession, but it’s still scoreless.

4:20 – 68th minute, and still battling it out.

4:21 – FCS counters, Sandidge has a inch or two of space, but his blast from 20 yards out is way high.

4:24 – Very nearly an own goal for FCS, but the back header runs out for a corner.

4:26 – This has extra time written all over it.

4:27 – FCS has a free kick in a threatening position, but it comes to nothing.

4:29 – FA pushes for a winner, but FCS stays strong. The defenses have been rock solid today.

4:31 – Can’t be much regulation time left now.

4:32 – Sandidge breaks free, hits a blistering shot that is pushed just wide for a corner. Williams catches the corner in the air, and the whistle blows to end the first 80 minutes tied at zero.

The overtime rules are that the teams will play two 10-minute halves. If we’re still tied, there will be two five-minute sudden death periods. After that, it’s on to penalty kicks.

4:38 – The first extra session is under way, as an FCS chant raises from the Warrior faithful.

4:40 – GOAL, FA!!!! FA’s Hunter Bigler makes a run down the left side and slides a perfect through ball to Ward to blisters it into the top of the net for the 1-0 lead.

4:43 – Still time left, as FCS pushes ahead. Both 10-minute halves must be played.

4:45 – I’m a little concerned about my battery. Hopefully, I can stay until the end…

4:49 – The first 10-minute half ends. FA leads, 1-0.

4:53 – The second session is now on. About two minutes in…

4:55 – FCS is throwing men forward, but can’t create any good chances.

4:56 – FCS’ Sandidge sends in a dangerous ball, but Williams is there to collect it.

4:57 – I ran over to the picnic shelter. The good news? I have power. The bad news? I’m eight miles from the pitch.

4:58 – Can’t be much left now.

4:59 – Late free kick for FCS … Ferrell heads it clear.

5:00 – Sandidge sends a ball in, it dribbles towards the goal line, but James Morgan, I think, cleared it off the line just in time.

5:02 – The whistle blows. Fayetteville Academy advances, 1-0.

Off to do some interviews. Check back later for more…

I am looking live…

October 24, 2008

Well, as live as my Alltel Wireless Card will allow me to be, anyway.

I’m in cloudy, cool Wilson at the J. Burt Gillette Athletic Complex where I’m awaiting the start of today’s State 2A soccer semifinal match between Fayetteville Academy and Fayetteville Christian.

For the first half, the Warriors of FCS will be moving from left to right across your monitor while the Eagles will obviously be going the other way.

I’ll start a new thread when the match starts, and you’ll want to hit “refresh” often to see the latest.

The time isn’t up on the scoreboard yet, but I’d guess we’re about 25 minutes away from the start of the match.

Live from Wilson

October 24, 2008

Fayetteville Christian and Fayetteville Academy play today in the state semifinals of the NCISAA 2A Soccer Playoffs.

Of course, it’s in Wilson at 3 p.m., not exactly a time condusive for attendance for working-type folks.

So, I have a solution for you.

I’m going to be blogging live from the game, right here starting at about 2:45. So, if you’re stuck at work or sitting in the stands with an iPhone or a Blackberry, check back here for up-to-the-minute commentary.

Until then…

A thundering herd

October 23, 2008

I just knew I’d be in for a good show.

Cape Fear and Terry Sanford had played twice in the regular season, with the Bulldogs knocked off Cape Fear both times in tight, hard-fought matches.

So Thursday night’s Two Rivers 4A Conference Tournament title game was sure to be a thriller, right?

Now we know why they play soccer on grass, instead of paper.

The Colts probably weren’t as dominant as the 4-0 score might suggest, but they were definitely the better team on this cold October evening.

Bennett Strickland and Jordan Beckham scored the goals, but it was the rear guard that won this game for Cape Fear. Really, I think there were only about three legit scoring chances for the Bulldogs in the whole match. I think the physicality – 29 fouls and five yellows – took its toll on the Bulldogs, who tried to play their short passing game against a defense that flooded the channels and fought for every ball.

I’m guessing that this game will benefit both sides heading into the 4A State Playoffs. It’s good for Cape Fear because it provides momentum and the belief that they can beat a good team on the road. I think it helps the Bulldogs, too, who maybe needed a lesson on how to play on a night when things aren’t necessarily going their way.

Coach Sean Brennan put it very well after the match. “You learn more from a loss than you do from a win,” he said.

If you’d like to read my story that will appear in tomorrow’s paper, click below…