PREP CHAMPIONSHIP REDUX
It was a bit of a disappointing weekend as all three teams from The Free Press area lost in their state championship games. Kinston saw a 14-0 lead disappear against West Stokes in the 2AA game; Ayden-Grifton rallied but didn’t have enough against Swain County in 1AA; and Jones Senior blew a 6-0 lead to fall to Murphy in 1A.
My take: I was at Friday’s 1A final and Saturday’s 2AA final — and it was eerie how closely the two games were. Both Jones Senior and Kinston jumped out to leads and dominated the first half of play, only to see Murphy and West Stokes take the momentum away … and ultimately, the victories.
Kinston, in particular, was painful because the Vikings had three touchdowns called back on penalties. Although KHS coach Nick Anderson can’t say it, I will — at least two of those called back were sketchy at best.
Momentum is a crazy thing. Kinston was up 14-0 late in the first quarter and appeared ready to blow out West Stokes when it had 1st and goal twice — but couldn’t convert because of multiple penalties. The Wildcats took advantage and momentum shifted to them.
Likewise, Jones Senior dominated virtually the entire first half before mistakes — two turnovers — shifted momentum to Murphy. As a result, the Bulldogs took advantage and ran away with the 21-6 win.
Regardless of the defeats, it was a heck of a weekend in Raleigh and Winston-Salem — and the players and coaches from Kinston, Ayden-Grifton and Jones Senior have NOTHING to be ashamed of.
A few years ago, I wrote in a football preseason preview about how there was no football tradition in Lenoir County and our area. I hope this weekend shows the tradition has started and that 20 years from now we look back on this as being the beginning.
K WINS SI SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year this morning. His counterpart at Tennessee, Pat Summitt, was named the Sportswoman of the Year.
My take: Extremely deserving — not just because of the victories, but because of the way both have climbed to the top of their profession. Neither has had any sort of significant NCAA investigation and both are universally respected by their peers (if not by their opponents!).
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, but K and Summitt are the best in their fields.
It’s on: LSU and Alabama will face again this season, this time for the BCS national championship.
Somehow, the ACC got two teams in BCS games: Clemson vs. West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and Virginia Tech vs. Michigan in the Sugar Bowl. Clemson, the No. 15 team in the final BCS standings, earned its game by winning the ACC championship game against Virginia Tech, which finished 11th in the BCS standings.
My take: I have no problem with LSU-Alabama, although the critics are pointing out the Tide shouldn’t play for a national championship if they couldn’t even win their own league. So I guess that means teams that don’t win their conference in NCAA basketball should be ineligible for the NCAA tournaments? No, I don’t think so, either.
And anyone with half a brain — and any football acumen — knows that LSU and Alabama are the two top teams in NCAA football this year. Should be a heck of a game.
I am bewildered, though, how Virginia Tech received a BCS at-large bid. Seriously? There are literally four to five other teams that deserved it more than the Hokies.
The iPod shuffle
Not Enough Time — INXS
Summer Love/Set The Mood Prelude — Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
Basket Case — Green Day
Chain Hang Low — Jibbs
Crying In The Chapel — Elvis Presley