Archive for October, 2009

Bulldogs and Bucs, round three

October 29, 2009

Jack Britt’s Ryan Nusbaum works to keep the ball away from Terry Sanford Wednesday night at Terry Sanford. Staff photo by Ashley Cross

I get the feeling that there’s an impression out there that I’m not a fan of the Terry Sanford soccer team.

That, as my friend and resident newsroom Englishman Greg Phillips would say, is “bollocks.”

Last Wednesday, I covered the regular season match between Terry Sanford and Jack Britt. It was a rousing win for the Bulldogs, highlighted by four goals from Rocket Court.

I guess my story didn’t provide enough praise for some folks, as about this time last week, my phone rang.

“What’d you think of the game,” a voice asked from the other end of the line. “I thought Terry Sanford looked pretty good,” I replied.

“Did you think it was close,” was the next query. “No, not really. Physical is the word I’d use,” I said.

My reporter skills weren’t working before lunch, so I didn’t ask for a name. But I got the message.

Clearly there’s a misunderstanding out there that I should take a moment or two to clear up.

Ready?

Terry Sanford is the best team in the county. They’re a deep, talented and athletic side with a style and skill level that should translate well when they start facing out-of-county folks in the postseason.

But before that journey begins, there’s a bit of business to attend to first.

The Mid-South Conference Tournament final is tonight. The seeds won’t change for the postseason no matter what, but this is a game that both teams would love to win.

I’m going, and I’m hoping for a more flowing (read: fewer fouls) match than I saw last time.

Britt will work hard for 80 minutes. They will have their chances. But a 10-2 aggregate score line is not an accident.

The Bulldogs have to be favored to pull off the double tonight.

Check back here later and see how it turned out…

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Inside Campbell soccer

October 29, 2009

Another letter from Camels’ coach Doug Hess…

Could it be? Two in two weeks time…you got it baby! The 91st is out da’ box …and off da’ hook… and in da’ house…. This is going to be a quick one though, partly because we have so much going on this week and the other part is I have a mean game of BrickBreaker going…(seriously though, I do…game is wickedly addictive…wife catches me playing it all the time—think she wants to smash the Blackberry).

So two games last week and we split the results. Going into it if you said we would be one and one after the weekend, I probably would have been okay with that…but once you win the first one, it is a no brainer that you want to sweep the weekend. Not to mention I am greedy, just ask my oldest Abby, she’ll tell ya (“Um yeah, Daddy doesn’t share so well does he?”…I’m learning though).

It was really a Jekyll and Hyde weekend in all honesty. We played so well on Thursday night…tight defensively, we gave but didn’t break against Stetson. And we clicked in the attack, scoring two quality goals through the run of play. The first coming off a toe-punch from the young Texan, Keegan Terry (well done buddy, a page out of my finishing book). Some solid back pressure from Santy (Brian Urioste) to knick a ball off Stetson. Then El Cabezon (Mitchell Cardenas) splits their defense to find Keegan down the middle of the field. A little magic in the feet on the turn and dribble, followed by the cheeky toe-blow from the edge of the 18…a sexy finish if I may say (can I say that…I think I did, no worries this is a PG-13 crowd).

I thought we managed the game well and found the second part way through the second half. Vince (Petrasso) finds Smitty (Justin Smith) sliding off the back of their outside back and splits the defense with a little through ball. Another quick combination and tidy finish from another freshman. Stetson mounted some attack in the last twenty, but as I alluded to earlier, we were able to hold them off.

So that was Jekyll, now for Hyde! Night and day in our two performances. I don’t want to take anything away from our opponent, Florida Gulf Coast, because they played some great stuff…but, we never really recovered after giving a penalty early on. It was one of those games that we never really looked like we were going to play our way out of the trouble. There was too much disconnect in our play both attacking and defending. Too open for sure defensively and FGCU took advantage of the gaps in our team. A bit frustrating, however, lesson learned!

There are no easy games in conference play. I say it all the time. Just showing up to play is never good enough, if that is the mentality it will catch up with you at some point and you will pay dearly. You must bring your best intent each night. Our opponent did last Saturday and we were not able to match that.

So here we are back in Buies Creek and we need YOU!!! A huge week for our team with our last two conference games, North Florida and then Jacksonville…both at home…and so much on the line! Would love to see a packed Eakes Complex both Thursday and Saturday for our 7 p.m. kick-off. We led the conference in attendance last year, but are struggling this year, and we need your help. Wear your Orange and Black and get out to the Eakes…let’s fill the hill and support your Fighting Camels!

With great regard,

Coach Hess

Hitting the low notes

October 27, 2009

Consider this an open letter to Daniel Snyder and the Redskins.

See this guy? He’s Vinny Cerrato, VP of football operations, or, in simpler terms, the idiot who created the fuster cluck that is the Washington Redskins’ roster and coaching staff.

As a lifelong Redskins fan, I make the following vow. If he is not fired at season’s end, I’m out.

I deserve better than what I watched last night. I deserve better than a head coach that was hired to be an offensive coordinator, promoted when bigger names refused the head coaching job and then stripped of his play calling duties in favor of a guy that’s been calling bingo numbers in Michigan.

Hollywood wouldn’t make that movie. Too far fetched.

I deserve better than a quarterback who’s too timid, an offensive line that’s awful, a running back that’s too slow, receivers that lack speed and an owner with more money than brains – by some margin.

Jim Zorn is a dead man walking. He’s clearly out.

Cerrato joins him, or I’m out, too.

Bob Griese sticks foot in mouth

Some folks should just shut up.

A lot.

Griese earned a week suspension from the four-letter for a joke he made on air over the weekend.

During the Minnesota-Ohio State game on Saturday, a graphic was shown listing the top five drivers in NASCAR’s points race. A booth mate asked: Where was (Juan Pablo) Montoya?

Griese said, “Out having a taco.”

Funny. Real funny.

Psst, Bob. Montoya’s from Columbia.

They don’t eat tacos.

Idiot.

 

Prep soccer update

October 26, 2009

It’s Monday morning, so it’s time for the prep soccer update.

NCISAA Playoffs

Village Christian and Fayetteville Academy won first-round playoff matches to stay alive in the State-2A playoffs.

In round two, the Knights visit Asheville Christian on Tuesday at 3:30 while the Academy hosts High Point Christian on Tuesday night at 6.

Should they both win, they’ll play each other in an all-Fayetteville semifinal Friday night at 6 at Westminster Country Day in High Point.

Mid-South Tournament

The pairings are out for the MSC Tournament. The first round is today at the higher seeds while the semifinals and final are set for Terry Sanford High School on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Cape Fear Valley update

Unbeaten and eighth-ranked Southern Lee continues to show the way atop the league standings.

Gray’s Creek is in hot pursuit, however, and the Bears get a shot at the Cavaliers in a make-up game on Thursday night.

Poll watch

Fayetteville Academy is 11th in the latest North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association private school poll. Terry Sanford is still in the others receiving votes category in the 4A poll.

Inside Campbell Soccer

October 22, 2009

Every once in a while, Camels’ coach Doug Hess sends out a note to let fans know how things are going up in Buies Creek.

Here is the latest…

The silence is broken! What sparks it you ask? Well, as I sit in the warm and comfy confines of RDU International, ready to climb aboard flight 91, flying for the 91st time in my life, sipping on my pumpkin spice latte with 91 calories, as I get ready to embark upon my 91st game in the Atlantic Sun (not true, but it’s so close when you add in my time as assistant here and I was on a roll), I think “oooh, this is eerie, I must write.” So I have finally sat down and decided to do my first 91st Minute of the year…and it’s only October 21st!

The season got cranked up and I kept telling my good friend Stan Cole, “yeah I will do one…yup, next week I am on it…..will have it for you later today….” What can I say, we were having a tough go in September…I am a sore loser (remember I have red hair)…I didn’t want to write…although; it might have been therapeutic from what I hear. Any who, here it is….be careful what you wish for Mr. Cole!

(more…)

NCISAA Playoff pairings

October 22, 2009

The NCISAA Playoff pairings are out, so let’s look at the local teams’ road to postseason glory.

Here’s the bracket, and you’ll notice that there are no byes this year in the 2A ranks.

As a result, Fayetteville Academy, a No. 2 seed, faces Kerr-Vance in the opening round on Friday night at 6.

The Spartans, a team I once covered in Henderson, visited the Academy on Sept. 18 and went back to Vance County with a 4-0 loss. No pressure, but there’s little reason to expect a much different result this time out.

Should they reached round two, the Eagles might see a familiar foe.

Fayetteville Christian is the No. 10 seed, and they’ll face an opening round trip to High Point Christian Friday afternoon at 4.

It’s a tough match, but one that the Warriors are capable of winning. Fayetteville Academy could be waiting in the next round for an all-Fayetteville quarterfinal.

In the same half of the bracket, sixth-seeded Village Christian hosts a conference foe, Cape Fear Academy, in the first round. The Knights won the first meeting this season, 5-4, in overtime before taking a 4-2 victory in the return match. That match is at 3:30 p.m. today or tomorrow, and I’m trying to find out which…

Should they successfully pull a treble and win for the third time against CFA, Village Christian could visit Asheville Christian or host Gaston Christian in round two.

Britt/Terry Sanford, the morning after

October 22, 2009

SOCCER

By now, you’ve probably heard that Terry Sanford clipped Jack Britt last night to win the Mid-South Conference title.

You can read the story here.

If you want, you can also hear my interviews with Nat Bunphithak and C.J. Komons in their unedited form.

Now, let’s empty the notebook:

Dropping a marker 

Even if the 5-0 scoreline a few weeks back was a bit flattering, Terry Sanford served notice that it is the undisputed king of the Mid-South Conference this season. Even playing without 20-goal scorer Kemji Nwuosu, the Bulldogs created more chances and controlled the ball for much of the night.

A contact sport?

The cards and fouls came in bunches last night – so much so that pretty much anybody that got a foot to the ball immediately wanted to play it away to someone else. I’m all for getting stuck in, but games played with that level of physicality don’t flow well and end up being too choppy to give a neutral a good show.

In flight

I like Rocket Court’s skill set. He’s fast, good on the ball and has a good shot. But as good as he is as a forward, I like it when he’s out on the wing. Of course, I like a good cross that leads to a headed goal – like the one Nwuosu scored on a Court pass in the playoffs last year.

Heart and hustle

Injuries and player discipline hampered the Buccaneers last night, but they deserve credit for working hard and trying to hold back the Bulldog attack. I thought Kelvin Jordan and Daniel Camps worked hard up front and caused problems for the hosts. Britt was especially dangerous on set pieces, thanks to taller players like Camps, Garrett Rasmussen and Ross Carroll.

Round three?

The conference tournament is set for next week, and while the overall importance of the event is open for debate, it’s a tournament that Terry Sanford is set on winning. It’s quite possible that these two teams could meet again in the final, though I’m sure Cape Fear and the rest of the league would like to spoil the seeding.

Could be interesting…

Live from Terry Sanford

October 21, 2009

It’s 11 minutes (plus a Senior Night ceremony) from kickoff here at Terry Sanford High as Jack Britt comes calling for a game that will decide the Mid-South soccer championship.

Both teams have a league loss, as the Bulldogs fell to Cape Fear before handing Britt a 5-0 loss at The Boneyard a few weeks ago.

We’ve got a photographer and a writer in place, so obviously you can “read all about it” tomorrow.

Back with more later…

Senior Night honorees are: Preston Rich, Chase Christianson, Jeremy Jefferson, Scott Plummer, Zack Adkins, Scottie Custer and Rocket Court.

HALFTIME – Jamie Violette scored in the 26th minute and Rocket Court added another goal on an assist from his brother, Tiger, in the 34th minute and the Bulldogs have a 2-0 lead at recess…

Poll watch and other news

October 19, 2009

The latest polls are out from the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association, and Terry Sanford is still in the others receiving votes basket in the 4A poll.

Despite a 1-0 loss to Village Christian last week, Fayetteville Academy is still 13th in the private school poll.

The did muddy up the Cape Fear Indepedent Conference race a bit. The draw that Village had with Fayetteville Christian earlier this season might push the Academy ahead at the finish line. How ironic is that?

Speaking of races, the Mid-South 4A is coming down to the wire as well. Terry Sanford has a match today with Cape Fear, the only team to beat them so far in league play, before hosting Jack Britt on Wednesday.

Even if Cape Fear wins today, Wednesday’s match between the Bulldogs and Buccaneers will decide the league title.

Hmm. Sounds like a good place for me to be…

By the way, the NCISAA (private school) Playoffs will begin on Oct. 24. I can’t believe the regular season is almost over already…

Fail to the Redskins

October 19, 2009

I’m a patient man.

Honestly, I am.

But being a fan of the Washington Redskins is pushing me to the edge of insanity.

Just how inept are the Redskins this season? Let’s count the ways:

1. The coach is hopelessly overmatched

Jim Zorn, who was stripped of play-calling duties after Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, is a man out of his depth. A former quarterback and offensive coordinator, Zorn had a bit of a reputation as an offensive mind in the game, but the Redskins have yet to top 17 points this season, and have done so only eight times in his 22-game tenure, including one (a 27-24 loss to the 49’ers in last year’s season finale) in the last 11.

What does that mean?

The league knows what Zorn is trying to do and he hasn’t made the adjustment.

And the image of him yesterday, holding a challenge flag and trying to get a review inside the last two minutes shows desperation (replays showed that he had no chance of winning a challenge) and a lack of knowledge of the rules (you can’t challenge inside the final two minutes anyway).

He seems like a decent man, but he’s not qualified to be a coach in the National Football League.

2. With the easiest opening schedule in recent memory, the team is 2-4

What’s truly sad here is the fact that, aside from the Giants, the five teams the Redskins have played this season are awful.

The Rams, Lions, Buccaneers, Panthers and Chiefs are all dreadful teams. Yet, the Redskins managed to lose to three of them. And really, this team could easily be 0-6.

Against the JV portion of the schedule, no less.

The next six games are as follows: Philly, at Atlanta, Denver, at Dallas, at Philly, New Orleans.

A 2-10 record looks like a distinct possibility.

3. The owner won’t get out of the way

Daniel Snyder is a smart man. Morons don’t become billionaires and the man is making money hand-over-fist with his boyhood team.

That’s great, but he’s driving them into the ground.

The record isn’t horrible. The Redskins are 78-88 during his reign as owner. It’s the direction, or lack thereof, of the team in recent years that’s the issue.

Even the players think the problem rises higher than Zorn.

Vinny Cerrato, the executive vice president for football operations, is a clown. His job? Acquire talent.

OK, fine. Let’s review that.

Since 2003, he’s been in charge of selecting players in the draft:

2003
Rd Sel# Player Pos. School
2 44 Taylor Jacobs WR Florida
3 81 Derrick Dockery G Texas
7 232 Gibran Hamdan QB Indiana

2004
Rd Sel# Player Pos. School
1 5 Sean Taylor FS Miami
3 81 Chris Cooley TE Utah State

5 151 Mark Wilson T California
6 180 Jim Molinaro T Notre Dame

2005
Rd Sel# Player Pos. School
1 9 Carlos Rogers CB Auburn
1 25 Jason Campbell QB Auburn

4 120 Manuel White FB UCLA
5 154 Robert McCune LB Louisville
6 183 Jared Newberry LB Stanford
7 222 Nehemiah Broughton FB Citadel

2006
Rd Sel# Player Pos. School
2 35 Rocky McIntosh LB Miami
5 153 Anthony Montgomery DT Minnesota
6 173 Reed Doughty FS Northern Colorado
6 196 Kedric Golston DT Georgia

7 230  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”230 “>Kili Lefotu G Arizona
7 250 Kevin Simon LB Tennessee

2007
Rd Sel# Player Pos. School
1 6 Laron Landry S LSU
5 143 Dallas Sartz LB USC
6 179 H.B. Blades LB Pitt
6 205 Jordan Palmer QB UTEP
7 216 Tyler Ecker TE Michigan

2008
Rd Sel# Player Pos. School
2 34 Devin Thomas WR Mich. St.
2 48 Fred Davis TE USC
2 51 Malcolm Kelly WR Oklahoma
3 96 Chad Rinehart G N. Iowa
4 124 Justin Tryon CB Arizona St.

6 168 Durant Brooks P Ga. Tech
6 180 Kareem Moore CB Nicholls St.
6 186 Colt Brennan QB Hawaii
7 242 Rob Jackson DE Kansas St.
7 249 Chris Horton S UCLA

2009
Rd Sel# Player Pos. School
1 13 Brian Orakpo DE Texas
3 80 Kevin Barnes CB Maryland
5 158 Cody Glenn LB Nebraska
6 186 Robert Henson LB TCU
7 221 Eddie Williams TE Idaho
7 243 Marko Mitchell WR Nevada

Not exactly a great body of work, there, Vinny.

But Cerrato, who may be fired along with Zorn sometime soon, is a Snyder favorite. Why?

Because he let’s the owner keep his finger in the pie, so to speak. Snyder loves the splashy free agents, and the $100 million he threw at Haynesworth is the latest example.

I don’t have a huge problem with that deal, but the money might have been better spent upgrading the offensive line or the complete lack of speed on the offensive side of the ball.

4. This is the slowest team in the league

Speed kills. So does the lack of it.

Aside from Santana Moss, there is no one on the roster that teams worry about beating them with a big play. Clinton Portis couldn’t outrun his 265-pound fullback on a 78-yard run yesterday.

Root canals move faster.

Every team needs a gamebreaker. Somebody that can just flat out run.

The Skins are sorely lacking in that department.

It’s hard to watch this once proud franchise sink into the abyss.

Something must be done.