Log in Newsletter

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 final approval in March.

The former Patriot Athletic and Sandhills Athletic conferences have been reshuffled, and the NCHSAA has also returned to alignments of previous years by adding Harnett County schools to the proposed mix.

Both of the new proposed conferences with Cumberland County teams will be split conferences, meaning both will have members from different size classifications.

Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools and a member of the NCHSAA Board of Directors, said the NCHSAA’s emphasis on limiting travel for member schools and keeping rivals together resulted in more split conferences statewide.

The proposed Conference 22 will be top heavy with Cumberland County and Robeson County 4-A schools: Gray’s Creek, Jack Britt, South View, Lumberton and Purnell Swett.

Gray’s Creek will be new to the 4-A ranks.

The other three schools are 3-A: Douglas Byrd, Seventy-First and Cape Fear. Seventy-First returns to the 3-A ranks where it was back in the 1970s.

The proposed Conference 23 has only two 4-A schools, Pine Forest and Overhills.

The remaining members are 3-A: E.E. Smith, Terry Sanford, Harnett Central, Triton and Western Harnett.

Both conferences show a clear geographical influence, with Conference 22 containing schools in central and southern Cumberland with the two Robeson County 4-A schools.

Conference 23 is a mix of central and northern Cumberland schools with a trio of Harnett schools.

The realignment process is far from over and will resume Jan. 8 when schools must submit concerns or adjustments to the first draft.

The Realignment Committee will meet on Jan. 13 to consider the requests from the schools and release a second draft on Jan. 14.

The second draft must be appealed by Jan. 21. East and West realignment meetings will be held on Jan. 27-28 where the appealing schools can offer their concerns about the second draft.

The Realignment Committee will meet again on Feb. 3 and issue a third draft on Feb. 4.

If needed, a final round of appeals will be submitted on Feb. 10, with those appeals going from the committee to the full NCHSAA Board of Directors on Feb. 17.

On a date to be determined in March, final appeals based on procedural errors only go to the full board, which will then vote on the final realignment plan. If approved, it will go into effect on Aug. 1.


Breaking from high school news for a moment, Fayetteville got some good news from Major League Baseball this week when it was confirmed that the Fayetteville Woodpeckers survived the national purge of minor league teams and will be allowed to field a team in 2021.

According to multiple published reports, the Woodpeckers will continue to be an affiliate of the Houston Astros but will drop from high Class A to low Class A.

The Asheville Tourists will become the new high Class A team for Houston.

The Woodpeckers have been in operation since 2017 when they were added to the Carolina League as an expansion team.

They spent their first two years as the Buies Creek Astros before moving into Fayetteville’s Segra Stadium in 2019. They didn’t play in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.



The shortened and delayed high school volleyball season for Cumberland County Schools is winding to a close, which means that it’s time to honor the seniors in a year that has been like no other. Terry Sanford played its final home game this week and recorded a 25-14, 25-10, 25-13 win over Westover. Bulldog seniors recognized at the match, from left, include Mia Arnold, Keonna Bryant, Anastasia Murray, Morgan Williams, Kara Walker and Taylor Olivas.[/caption]



Dec. 15

Terry Sanford at South View

Gray’s Creek at Douglas Byrd

Cape Fear at Pine Forest

Overhills at Westover

Scotland at Jack Britt

Seventy-First at Pinecrest

Dec. 15

Westover at Gray’s Creek

South View at Overhills

Pine Forest at Terry Sanford

E.E. Smith at Cape Fear

Jack Britt at Lumberton

Seventy-First at Hoke County

Dec. 17

Westover at Douglas Byrd

South View at Gray’s Creek

E.E. Smith at Terry Sanford

Cape Fear at Overhills

Richmond Senior at Jack Britt

Lumberton at Seventy-First


Dec. 16

South View, Westover, Gray’s Creek at South View

Cape Fear, Pine Forest, E.E. Smith at Cape Fear

Terry Sanford, Douglas Byrd, Overhills at Clark Park


Dec. 12

Jack Britt, Seventy-First, Richmond Senior at Westover Recreation Center

Lumberton, Pinecrest, Hoke County at Westover Recreation Center

Dec. 16

Gray’s Creek, E.E. Smith, South View at Westover Recreation Center

Terry Sanford, Overhills, Westover at Westover Recreation Center

Dec. 17

Cape Fear, Douglas Byrd, Pine Forest at Westover Recreation Center


Dec. 11


Fayetteville Christian at Village Christian

Faith Christian at Fayetteville Academy

Trinity Christian vs. Gray Collegiate

Dec. 12

Trinity Christian vs. Hartsville, S.C.

Dec. 15

Northwood Temple at New Life Christian

Village Christian at Berean Baptist


Dec. 11

Fayetteville Christian at Village Christian

Faith Christian at Fayetteville Academy

Dec. 15

Northwood Temple at New Life Christian

Berean Baptist at Village Christian

Last week’s results


Dec. 8

Terry Sanford 3, Westover 0

Cape Fear 3, South View 0

Seventy-First 3, Jack Britt 2

Overhills 3, Douglas Byrd 0

Dec. 10

Terry Sanford 3, South View 2

Gray’s Creek 3, Douglas Byrd 0

Scotland 3, Jack Britt 0

Pinecrest 3, Seventy-First 0



Dec. 4

Davidson Day 65, Freedom Christian 62

Trinity Christian 108, Berean Baptist 70

Dec. 5

High Point Christian 91, Fayetteville Christian 62

Freedom Christian 73, North Raleigh Christian 57

Dec. 7

O’Neal 75, Village Christian 38


Dec. 5

Victory Christian 39, Trinity Christian 36

Dec. 7

O’Neal 51, Village Christian 39

Dec. 11

Freedom Christian at Wayne Country Day