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Earl’s Projections Week 4


By Earl Vaughan Jr.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, tonight's Terry Sanford at Kernersville Glenn football game has been canceled.

Way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and I was still figuring out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I had a brief fling with a career as a teacher.

I took education courses at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, which led to a stint as a student teacher at New Hanover High School.

I still have memories of walking those halls and teaching an English class there, so I had more than a passing interest recently when there were reports of a shooting in the same school where I used to spend time.

The story continued recently when New Hanover and Leesville Road had to cancel their football game because of the shooting, and then Leesville Road started pressing New Hanover to forfeit the game because the teams couldn’t work out a mutual date to reschedule it.

Just this week, Leesville Road backed off its bid to get a forfeit and agreed to call the game a no contest.

Some were upset that the N.C. High School Athletic Association didn’t step in and make the call, but it reminded me of an incident in Cumberland County several years ago when I first began covering high school sports.

There was a three-way tie for two state playoff spots between E.E. Smith, Reid Ross and Richmond Senior. The three teams had split the regular season meetings.

Back then, ties were broken by a vote of the conference members. There were six teams in that conference, and the vote kept coming up 3-3.

The schools appealed to the NCHSAA to break the tie. But the NCHSAA, then headed by the late Simon Terrell, said it was up to the schools to solve the problem, and if they didn’t determine a playoff qualifier, they would forfeit the spot.

Finally, the schools decided to hold a draw to decide the winner. Reid Ross won the top spot, but that left Smith and Richmond tied. Since Smith beat Richmond, some felt the spot should be awarded to Smith. But the non-county schools argued you could not discount the fact that Richmond beat Ross, so a second draw was held and Richmond won.

That left Smith with a 9-1 record sitting at home.

The lessons learned were painful. One of the biggest was that voting is a horrible way to break ties because personal favorites often enter into the process. Moving forward, ties were broken by draws or coin flips.

But the other lesson learned was the role of the NCHSAA, which continues to this day. As with the present Leesville-New Hanover situation, schools were encouraged to work it out themselves and not force Big Brother to make the call.

Yes, there was a contract between New Hanover and Leesville Road ensuring the game would be played and including a cash penalty if it wasn’t. Some years ago, the NCHSAA suggested schools use contracts to prevent frivolous cancellations.

But nobody thought to include a school shooting clause, something that nobody would have even considered during the Jurassic Period when I was in school.

That’s where compassion and considering that schools are all in the same boat come in. And that’s why there’s a human side to the NCHSAA that encourages schools to solve unexpected problems and not stick 100 percent to some harsh bureaucratic bottom line.

The record: 11-6

Things got a little better last week, but I was still a long way from being able to do any crowing about my success.

The record was 3-2, pushing the season count to 11-6, an unimpressive 64.7 percent.

Let’s see if it gets any better this time.

Cape Fear, Douglas Byrd, E.E. Smith, Gray’s Creek, Westover and Pine Forest have scheduled open dates. Jack Britt’s game with Scotland was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. Terry Sanford was originally open, but its game at Kernersville Glenn was moved to Friday because of COVID-19.

Hoke at Seventy-First - Hoke’s fast start came to a sudden stop last week when it was blanked at home by South View. Things don’t get any better for the Bucks this Friday as they travel to face a Seventy-First team that’s looking among Cumberland County’s best so far this year … Seventy-First 22, Hoke County 12.

Terry Sanford at Kernersville Glenn - The Bulldogs have wounds to lick after scrambling to schedule a game with Southern Durham last week, then coming up on the short end of a 34-32 score at home against the previously winless Spartans.

Now the Bulldogs hit the road for what was supposed to be their season opener at Glenn. Glenn lost 30-6 last week to Charlotte Chambers, formerly known as Charlotte Vance, which won the last two NCHSAA 4-AA state titles. … Glenn 28, Terry Sanford 14.

South View at Richmond Senior - My old friend Deon Cranford, who is an amazing encyclopedia when it comes to Richmond Senior football history, shared these tidbits on social media earlier this week.

Richmond is 11-0 all-time against South View. On top of that, Richmond is 103-26 all-time against Cumberland County Schools. A win this week will give them an even 80 percent success rate against county schools.

This South View team is no pushover, and I’ve not been terribly impressed by the fact Richmond’s defense has given up 92 points in three games while South View has only allowed none in the two games its played.

That being said, that stadium in Rockinham next to Highway 1 is a tough place to get a W, and I think the Tigers will have their hands full this week. … Richmond 24, South View 21.