SOUTHERN'S BIG-PLAY OFFENSE HAS CREST'S FULL ATTENTION
Playing with explosives is a health hazard. Crest High School coach Mark Barnes will take his chances with that when his Shelby-based Chargers go against the extremely potent Southern Spartans in the 3-AA championship game at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem on Saturday (7 p.m., Time Warner Cable channel 520). ... “Southern’s going to win if we give them too many big plays,” Barnes said. “We have to eliminate big plays. If we give those up, then we’re probably going to get beat.” ... Southern (13-2) has put 704 points on the scoreboard this season. The Spartans have scored 101 touchdowns by averaging 261.1 yards through the air and 238.3 yards on the ground. Crest (14-1) is averaging 266.9 yards per contest. The run game has been the Chargers’ bread and butter, but Barnes makes it sound like Southern could cause some problems for his team.
Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan said the Blue Devils jumped on his bowl’s radar when they beat Virginia Tech 13-10 at Blacksburg, Va., on Oct. 26.
Out of the 345 teams in Division I basketball, North Carolina was the only one that entered the week making fewer than three 3-pointers a game.
Girls' and boys' basketball and wrestling ...
The Herald-Sun's Steve Wiseman and Harold Gutmann take a look at what UNC and Duke need to work on after the Tar Heels lost to Belmont and the Blue Devils close call with East Carolina in the latest episode of Our Game.
Only three high school football teams left in the state playoffs! John McCann and Mark Donovan look at Hillside, Southern and Orange and their latest opponents in this week's episode of GameDay. GameDay is sponsored by The Maids of Durham and Chapel Hill.
Florida State and Ohio State are undefeated but have played inferior competition. Auburn has three wins against current top 25 teams but lost at No. 12 LSU.
The 3-A Big Eight Conference powers finished the regular season 1-2 in the conference standings on the heels of Southern’s 55-41 Nov. 8 home win over the previously unbeaten Panthers that clinched Southern’s first title in the new league.
It was billed as the Game of the Year on Nov. 8 and it more than lived up to expectations as Southern High School held serve 55-41 in a game that turned on an Orange onside kick that Southern recovered with 3:08 to play and Orange trailing 48-41. Little did anyone know at the time, that showdown between 8-2 Southern and 10-0 Orange was just an appetizer for Friday’s main course, Game of the Year II — Orange at Southern, 7:30 p.m. This meeting means more than the first one did — and that one handed the prestigious Big Eight 3-A Conference title to Southern by a game over Orange. Friday’s Elite Eight 3-AA state playoff game will determine who moves on to play in the state semifinals and a shot at the 3-AA state championship.
High school basketball results
Whoever said the Age of Miracles is over might want to rethink that pronouncement after the way Southern beat Cardinal Gibbons in a 33-28 shootout featuring stellar quarterbacks, high-octane offenses, and wild and wooly plays worthy of anybody’s highlight reel. Southern advances to the third round of the state 3-AA football playoffs and will host Orange at 7:30 p.m. Friday in an Elite Eight battle of the Big Eight 3-A Conference champion — Southern — and runner-up, Orange. Southern won the first meeting of the two teams.
Tay Jones scored three touchdowns on long runs, including a 51-yarder with 1:52 left in the game to help Orange hold off Cleveland 59-50 on Friday night in the second round of 3-AA playoffs. With the win, Orange advances to an Elite Eight showdown at Big Eight 3-A Conference rival Southern Friday at 7:30.
Last August, Florida State hired Wilcox as its athletics director, plucking him off the staff at Duke where he was a senior deputy director of athletics. ... Wilcox’s duties at Duke included oversight of the football program and, since 2008, he and Duke coach David Cutcliffe had worked hand-in-hand to change the Blue Devils’ football fortunes.
When UNC last played in the Smith Center, poor defense and 26 missed free throws led to an 83-80 loss to Belmont, the team’s first non-conference home defeat since 2005. But the Tar Heels return to face UNC Greensboro tonight (7 p.m., ESPNU) after beating two top 5 opponents for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
ACC TITLE GAME AT A GLANCE
No. 20 Duke (10-2, 6-2) vs. No. 1 Florida State (12-0, 8-0) at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game, 8 p.m. Saturday (WTVD).
Coastal Division champion No. 20 Duke and Atlantic Division champion No. 1 Florida State to duel for the ACC championship with a BCS Championship Game appearance on the line for Florida State and Heisman Trophy-hopeful quarterback Jameis Winston. Duke would win the ACC's automatic berth in the Orange Bowl with the upset.
Duke got its toughest challenge of the season for about 30 minutes in its ACC/Big Ten Challenge game with Purdue. And then the second-ranked Blue Devils' depth took over. Alexis Jones scored to lead Duke in a 99-78 victory over No. 16 Purdue. Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie moved one win away from reaching 500 for her career, improving to 499-183. Duke (9-0) visits No. 17 Oklahoma on Sunday. Chelsea Gray added 16 points for the Blue Devils. Haley Peters, who had sat out four games with a knee injury, and Elizabeth Williams had 14 points each, Tricia Liston scored 13 and Richa Jackson 11.
With the ACC championship game against No. 1 Florida State set for Saturday (8 p.m., WTVD) at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, Duke coach David Cutcliffe was named national coach of the year by the Walter Camp Foundation for leading the Blue Devils to such heights.
Those sleepy eyes always betrayed Tracy McGrady. Whether he was pouring in 13 points in 35 seconds for Houston in 2004 or sitting on the bench and watching the San Antonio Spurs win another playoff game in June without needing him, that cool expression rarely changed. It all looked almost too easy for McGrady, even if it rarely was.
Former Duke All-American Nolan Smith will continue his professional basketball career overseas.
Court records show Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson has been arrested on suspicion of charges including harassment.
Andy Wilkins’ leadoff home run in the bottom of the second was all the offense the Charlotte Knights would need to beat the Durham Bulls 1-0 on Monday night in International League action.
The Durham Bulls are adding a valuable right-handed pitcher as they close in on the International League South Division title. It appears unlikely, though, that the Bulls will have him when the playoffs begin Sept. 4.
Jeff Robinson still remembers the joy of winning the Herald-Sun Golf Classic at age 20 even though it was 32 years ago. Those thoughts crossed his mind while battling 20-year-old Todd Eckstein in Sunday’s Championship Flight final.
Rougemont’s Casey Ellis took care of Durham’s Cedell Alexander 4 and 2 in the fifth flight. Ellis, a Northern High graduate who is studying electronic media production at High Point University, said he was able to get into a groove as the tournament went on.
The streets of the Bull City are nothing compared to the mean greens at Hillandale, retired Durham Police Department officer Clark Green suggested after beating Jasiel de Oliveira 2 and 1 in the fourth flight.
Durham's Brad Pittman won the title in the second flight, getting by Eddie Ball, also from Durham.