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Earl's Pearls 3/12

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By Earl Vaughan Jr.

Jennifer White started the girls’ lacrosse program at Terry Sanford High School just six years ago with only six players on the team that had playing experience.

This year, despite battling the COVID-19 pandemic as well as their opponents, White’s team compiled an 8-0 record and is waiting to learn this weekend who it will face in the N.C. High School Athletic Association state playoffs next week.

White thought an unbeaten season was a possibility depending on how the Bulldogs did against the traditionally best team in their conference, Pinecrest.

“I’ve been surprised we are as playing well as we have, with all the stuff we’ve gone through,’’ White said.

Just as surprising was the season sweep of Pinecrest by scores of 13-11 and 17-11.

An even bigger surprise was when the Bulldogs pulled off the feat with a squad that has no seniors.

“This junior class has just stepped up and been big leaders,’’ White said. “Now it’s their time.’’

Among the top players for the Bulldogs is Reese Walker, who is one of the top scorers in the state with 51 goals and 24 assists. “The new girls see how she does things, and they try to mimic her,’’ White said.

Walker said it was tough for the team to get started this year with only four practices before they had to play.

After losing six seniors from last season, Walker said the team got a big confidence boost with the first win over Pinecrest.

“We were all very, very excited,’’ she said.

As they prepare for the postseason, the team faces a different challenge. Their last game was on March 2. They’ll have been off just short of two weeks when they play their first state playoff game.

Walker said the team has been trying to stay focused and fired up during the long layoff. “We are trying to keep them from doubting themselves and keep everyone in the game,’’ she said.

  • When football officials from the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association call games during this spring season, some of them will have a highly qualified observer watching their work from the stands.
Brad Allen

Robeson County native and veteran NFL official Brad Allen recently volunteered to help regional supervisor of officials Neil Buie with weekly evaluations.

Aside from the benefit of having an NFL official review his crews, Buie said there’s another positive. “This is someone a lot of the guys know personally, respect personally and admire personally,’’ Buie said. “I think it means even more that it’s one of their own doing it who has made it to the pinnacle of officiating.’’

It’s not unusual for Allen to give back to the sport. When he was calling NCAA football games, if he didn’t have to leave early to travel to a game site on Saturday, Allen would officiate high school junior varsity games on Thursdays.

“He’d call jayvee football and then have Ohio State and Michigan on Saturday,’’ Buie said.

  • The already busy spring sports season gets even busier on Monday as regular-season play begins in five sports.

They include boys’ tennis, softball, girls’ soccer and boys’ and girls’ golf.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Gladden (40) earlier this season. McArthur was recently named the girls’ basketball Coach of the Year in District 4 by the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association. The following Fayetteville and Cumberland County players were named to the All-District 4 team: Boys - D’Marco Dunn, Westover, Player of the Year; Davis Molnar, Terry Sanford; Isaiah Washington, Pine Forest; Mikey Campbell, Westover. Girls - Nyla Cooper, Jack Britt, Player of the Year; Miya Giles-Jones, Terry Sanford; Ashara Hayes, Jack Britt; Skylar White, E.E. Smith; Montasia Jones, Pine Forest; Jayda Angel, Cape Fear; Ayanna Williams, Seventy-First.[/caption]

LAST WEEK'S SCORES

March 5

Football

Cape Fear 49, Douglas Byrd 0

Westover 33, E.E. Smith 32 OT

Gray’s Creek 34, Terry Sanford 32

South View 12, Pine Forest 7

Hoke County 14, Seventy-First 8

Baseball

Arendell Parrott 12, Freedom Christian 8

Girls’ soccer

Burlington School 9, Freedom Christian 0

O’Neal 2, Village Christian 1

March 6

Baseball

Greenfield 7, Fayetteville Academy 1

Faith Christian 9, Freedom Christian 4

March 8

Baseball

O’Neal 10, Northwood Temple 0

Riverside Christian 7, Village Christian 3

Girls’ soccer

Fayetteville Academy 9, Northwood Temple 0

Harrells Christian 3, Freedom Christian 1

Softball

Riverside Christian 10, Village Christian 0

March 9

Boys’ soccer

Cape Fear 1, South View 1 2 OT

Boys’ lacrosse

Terry Sanford 8, South Garner 4

Baseball

Northwood Temple 15, Fayetteville Academy 13

Coastal Christian 16, Fayetteville Christian 7

Grace Christian 11, Village Christian 2

Girls’ soccer

O’Neal 3, Northwood Temple 0

Girls’ lacrosse

Cape Fear Academy 20, Fayetteville Academy 16

March 10

Boys’ soccer

Terry Sanford 2, Pine Forest 0

Jack Britt 9, Seventy-First 1

March 11

Baseball

Arendell Parrott 11, Fayetteville Academy 0

Freedom Christian 10, Village Christian 2


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