Sports

Earl’s Pearls 1/22

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   Off-season skill conditioning workouts are in progress for North Carolina high school football teams as they prepare for the delayed start of their season that was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The postponed season begins on Feb. 8, with the first games statewide scheduled on Feb. 26. Football presents bigger […]

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Questions remain, but realignment is on go

Barring unexpected major changes from appeals in the next couple of months, it appears the proposed realignment of Cumberland County Schools by the N.C. High School Athletic Association into new conferences for 2021-25 is set. The NCHSAA released its second draft of new conferences in mid-January, with no changes to the first draft for county […]

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Earl’s Pearls 1/15

By Earl Vaughan Jr.  The COVID-19 pandemic is proving costly in a variety of areas, but one I keep reading and hearing a lot about is in the classroom performance of high school students. I have a deep appreciation for the challenges COVID-19 has forced on the education community, some from a personal perspective. Like […]

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South View runners take conference title, head to regionals Saturday

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   Cross country appeared to be one of the few high school sports that was perfectly suited to endure the COVID-19 pandemic.  With athletes competing outdoors and for the most part naturally socially distanced from each other while running, it almost seemed to come equipped with a COVID-safe label. But as runners from the […]

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A wish list for the new year; predictions for Alabama-Ohio State

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   There is certainly enough to worry about as we’ve barely scratched the surface of 2021, but we wanted to take a peek on the positive side and give local coaches and athletic administrators a chance to talk about a wish list for the year ahead. We recently polled a variety […]

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Basketball returns with restrictions, uncertainty

By Earl Vaughan Jr.    It’s been nearly 10 months since Cumberland County schools were on the basketball court competing. They were shut down in mid-March last year when the COVID-19 pandemic quickly became a national concern. This week, after a brief return to practice, county schools are back on the court in near-empty gyms […]

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Earl’s Pearls 1/1

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   Gray’s Creek volleyball coach Jalesty Washington warned her players that every match could be their last. That’s not because they were worried about losing, but rather because they had a genuine fear that new restrictions forced by the COVID-19 pandemic would bring their season to an early end. But to […]

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Basketball Coach Opts to Leave Seventy-First

By Earl Vaughan Jr. Few coaches have been as deeply invested in an athletic program as David Simmons has with basketball at Seventy-First High School. He rose from playing for Pete House in the latter half of the 1980s, to assistant coach and eventually head coach of the Falcons. Now, after more than 30 years […]

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Earl’s Pearls 12/25

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   The annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas All-Star football game was supposed to be held last Saturday, pitting the top senior high school football players from North and South Carolina against each other at Wofford College’s Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Unfortunately, like many other sporting events scheduled this year, […]

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Highlights of a Year We’ll Never Forget

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   It was a frustrating year for high school athletics as the COVID-19 pandemic either totally shuttered or severely limited just about every sport available to local athletes and coaches. But in spite of all the misery there were still some memorable events from the year 2020. We polled a number of local athletic […]

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Earl Vaughan Jr.: CCS sports put on hold for now

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   Just when Cumberland County Schools athletics appeared to be preparing for a full return in 2021, the COVID-19 Grinch struck and wrecked the winter break for everyone. Effective with the start of today’s break, the county schools administration announced that all practice and play in both athletics and extracurricular activities […]

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Earl’s Pearls 12/18

By Earl Vaughan Jr. The Spirit Rock has been part of the Terry Sanford High School landscape since the summer of 2017. Principal Tom Hatch said it was purchased by the Student Government Association as a way for clubs and other organizations to show school spirt and pride. The responsibility for decorating the rock currently falls to […]

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Quick thinking leads to a Christmas miracle for this Jack Britt senior

By Earl Vaughan Jr. This time of year, our eyes turn to the heavens as we recall stories of a bright star that led three wise men to the manger where the baby Jesus was born. But this Christmas, and in Christmases to come, Juliette Suh will be thinking of and thanking three people from […]

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Realignment plan presents major changes for local schools; Woodpeckers will return

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   Geography and preserving natural rivalries were the main factors in determining new conferences for 2021-25 in the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s first draft of conference realignment plan. The initial plan for 2021-25 was rolled out to the membership Thursday, and Cumberland County will see some major changes if this plan earns […]

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Fellow officials bid farewell to one of their favorites

By Earl Vaughan Jr.    Officiating colleagues of the late Bruce Stephens remember him as a person dedicated to the highest standards of the profession. But they also remember a man who had a humorous side that allowed him to enjoy good relationships with both the coaches and athletes whose games he called. Stephens, who suffered a […]

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NCHSAA board votes to help athletic programs affected by COVID-19

By Earl Vaughan Jr.     The N.C. High School Athletic Association wrapped up its winter board of directors meeting Thursday and issued a number of key decisions that will have huge impact on both short-term and long-term events for its more than 400 member schools. Among the biggest items were an infusion of money […]

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Earl’s Pearls 12/4

In 2001, she got a kick out of making the football team   By Earl Vaughan Jr.   Vanderbilt women’s soccer star Sarah Fuller recently found herself in the national spotlight when she was asked to become the placekicker for the school’s football team. She became the first woman ever to play for a Power […]

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Earl’s Pearls 11/27

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   I know there are a lot of people who aren’t big fans of Facebook these days, but one feature I regularly enjoy is the daily memories it shares with me. At some point, a notification will pop up on my timeline telling me I’ve got random memories with an assortment […]

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Diving in with Excitement and Uncertainty

By Earl Vaughan Jr.   The conditions will be far less than perfect, but Cumberland County’s high school swimmers aren’t complaining. For now, it looks as if they’ll be able to have a competitive season. Practice began earlier this week, but the coaches and swimmers are still waiting for school officials to sort out the […]

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NCHSAA Commissioner: Caution remains critical

By Earl Vaughan Jr. For the first time in months, the light at the end of the tunnel back to actual onfield competition in the N.C. High School Athletic Association isn’t the headlamp of an oncoming train. But NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker and her staff remain vigilant against reports of rising COVID-19 cases in North […]

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