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Afternoon Sports Report; Dec. 5, 2011

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.

BOWL-A-RAMA

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

KHS championship football updates on Twitter

To keep up with Kinston’s 2AA championship game with West Stokes, follow me on Twitter at BCHanks. Game starts at 3 p.m.; I’ll have halftime and postgame thoughts here on the blog.

HALFTIME UPDATE: Kinston leads 14-7. Vikings jumped ahead 14-0 on separate 3-yard TD runs by Shaheed Swinson and C.J. Bradshaw. West Stokes closed to within 14-7 with 2:11 left in half. Visit my Twitter feed for more updates.

Morning News Report; Dec. 2, 2011

KHS HOOPS PLAYING AT HOME TONIGHT

While its football team readies for tomorrow’s 3 p.m. 2AA championship game appearance against West Stokes, the Kinston boys’ basketball team will tip off its 2011-12 season against Whitney Young, a top-25 nationally-ranked team out of Chicago.

My take: It’s a last-minute change to their schedule — the Vikings were supposed to play Whitney Young in Tampa, Fla., this weekend, but situations beyond Kinston’s control led to the game taking place at Viking Gym tonight.

Should be a heck of a game, too — this is the high school Michael Jordan sent his sons to play and there’s a lot of talent on that Whitney Young squad now. If you have no plans tonight, get out to the gym and check out the new edition of the Vikes.

TROJANS KICK OFF CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND

Jones Senior starts this weekend’s slate of state championship appearances when the Trojans face Murphy for the 1A title at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium at 7:30 p.m. today.

Ayden-Grifton faces Swain County at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Wake Forest’s BB&T Field in Winston-Salem for the 1AA championship while Kinston takes on West Stokes at 3 p.m. tomorrow back at Carter-Finley.

My take: A crazy, crazy weekend ahead for Ryan Herman, Justin Hill, Keith Spence, David Hall and I as we get these stories back to y’all.

If you’re going to either of the games — or even if you’re not — you HAVE to pick up a copy of today’s Free Press. Herman and sports guru Randy Jones have put together an awesome pullout fan’s guide to the state championship in today’s paper. You do not want to go to the game(s) without it.

NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS TO 8.6 PERCENT

In a surprising — but awesome — bit of news, unemployment dropped from 9 to 8.6 percent nationally in November.

My take: That is GREAT news, especially to those folks who are unemployed in this horrible economy.

The only thing I didn’t like about it was the way the Republicans immediately jumped on this, saying “Oh, it’d be even lower if we were in charge.”

Whatever. I’m not the biggest Obama fan — in fact, he’s done a pretty poor job IMHO. But good grief, let the man have ONE victory, OK, GOP?

BRITNEY SPEARS TURNS 30

Pop music princess Britney Spears turns 30 today.

My take: So shoot me, I’m a peripheral fan. Yes, I know she probably doesn’t sing 90 percent of her lyrics. But you know what — she’s easy on the eyes:

 

Click on those bad boysfor a better view. And happy birthday, Britney.

The iPod shuffle

Planet Earth — Duran Duran

Careless Whisper — Wham!

Friends In Low Places — Garth Brooks

I Shot The Sheriff — Eric Clapton

I Want To Break Free — Queen

Morning News Report; Dec. 1, 2011

SYRACUSE SEX STORY TAKES ANOTHER WEIRD TWIST

With all the disturbing news coming out of Syracuse about former Orangemen assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine and his alleged sexual abuse of former ballboys, here’s another weird twist — allegedly, his wife was having sex (not just with one of her husband’s accusers) but with SU players.

My take: And just when you think this can’t get any worse or tasteless, this happens. Good grief.

IS YOUR CELL PHONE SPYING ON YOU?

If it’s a Nokia, HTC or Blackberry smartphone, then it probably is.

My take: Never doubt that Big Brother is checking up on you … and more often than you think.

GAY SOFTBALL LEAGUE SETTLES WITH BISEXUAL PLAYERS

A gay softball league in Seattle has settled a lawsuit with players it perceived to be straight ringers.

My take: Can you imagine the questioning these three dudes had to go through? Uh, me neither.

And who — besides, Jon Dawson, of course — knew there was such a thing as the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance? NTTAWWT.

My favorite quote in the report: “This is not a bisexual World Series. This is a gay World Series.”

The iPod shuffle

Waiting On A Friend — The Rolling Stones

Nothing Compares 2 U — Sinead O’ Connor

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me — Elton John

Too Bad — Nickelback

Dreams — Fleetwood Mac

P.S.: Don’t forget to check out the Free Press High School Football Podcast for this week; we have Nick Anderson, Nick Stevens, Paul Cornwell, Chris Hughes and John Davis joining us this week for the state championship edition of the show.

Podcastious goodness

On this week’s very special episode of The Free Press High School Football Podcast – Championship Edition, Ryan Herman, Jon Dawson and Bryan Hanks are joined by Kinston football coach Nick Anderson, WRAL/HighSchoolOT.com’s Nick Stevens, Ayden-Grifton football coach Paul Cornwell, CarolinaPrep.com’s Chris Hughes and Jones Senior football coach John Davis. The guys preview the three state championship games — Kinston/West Stokes (2AA), Ayden-Grifton/Swain County (1AA) and Jones Senior/Murphy (1A) and offer their own predictions.

Also, check out my boy Jon Dawson’s interview with Martin Barre of Jethro Tull in this week’s Free Press Radio Program podcast. Good stuff!

Morning News Report; Nov. 25, 2011

Happy Black Friday to all my African-American friends, who celebrate this day every year to commemorate the history of their struggles and successes in America.

Wait — that’s not what “Black Friday” means? It’s so idiots can stand in line for hours and even days to buy junk? Oh … OK. Well, have a happy one of THOSE, too.

Anyhoo, now on to your MNR:

IDIOTIC BLACK FRIDAY NEWS

And yes … the idiots were out, even here in Kinston. Evidently, police/security had to use pepper spray at our Walmart when shoppers got out of hand; here’s a YouTube video of the incident:

Kinston isn’t the only place, though — evidently this type of behavior and results were taking place all over the country.

My take: Craziness. There’s nothing out there that would be worth me being potentially pepper-sprayed to buy it.

And what does this say about us as a society? When it comes down to brass tacks, we’re all just animals who react as such when presented these type of situations. Sad, really.

SHOWDOWN FRIDAY FOR KHS, A-G, JS

It’s finally here — the Eastern Regional finals for Kinston (vs. Reidsville), Ayden-Grifton (at Wallace-Rose Hill) and Jones Senior (at Manteo). What’s on the line? Only a trip to the 2AA, the 1AA and the 1A state championships.

My take: Want to know who’s winning but can’t make the game? I’ll be at Kinston but will be updating my Twitter feed at BCHanks throughout the game(s).

KHS quarterback C.J. Bradshaw has organized a “Black Friday” event of his own — he and the Vikings are encouraging everyone to wear black to tonight’s game.

Also, our good friend Michael Moon — an FOB, Free Press free-lancer, KHS softball coach and all-around good fella — let us know the Vikings softball team will be selling raffle tickets at tonight’s game for a new PlayStation3 that will be given away at the end of the third quarter. Tickets are $2 each or three for $5. You know, a PS3 would be an EXCELLENT gift for someone … and you wouldn’t even have to stand in line for 10 hours to get it.

LATEST ‘TWILIGHT’ MOVIE CAUSING MALE VIEWERS TO HAVE SEIZURES

The latest installment of the boorish “Twilight” series is not only terrible, according to critics — it also could be hazardous to your health. Evidently, the vampire birthing scene is causing some male viewers to have seizures. No joke.

My take: As if you — my predominantly male reading audience — needed another reason NOT to see this junk, at least now you have a reason; just tell your significant other, “Hey, if I go, it could give me a seizure! Don’t believe me, check Hanks’ blog!”

The iPod shuffle

You Made Your Bed — Robin Rogers

Beautiful Day — U2

Come As You Are — Nirvana

Dumb — Nirvana

Shake Ya Tailfeather — Nelly featuring P. Diddy & Murphy Lee

P.S.: I had the honor of seeing FOB — and defending Blog Pick ‘em champ — Eastern two weeks ago at the NCISAA 8-man championship game in Raleigh. Eastern — aka Mike Williams — is an official with the NCISAA who has attended EVERY 8-man championship game. And, as evidenced by his great play in our pick ‘em game, he knows his football! Here’s a photo I took at the game two weeks ago:

P.P.S.S.: A dear friend of mine, Michelle Hillison, has a very talented daughter who took some great photos of UNC’s victory against Tennessee State Tuesday night. They were so good, I used one with the game story. To see all of up-and-coming sports photographer Hayley Hillison’s photos from Tuesday’s game, click here.

Podcast Central: Madison Taylor on social media, prep football playoffs

As I mentioned Tuesday, I’ve been in Burlington this week for social media immersion training at the Times-News. On this week’s Free Press Radio Program, T-N Editor Madison Taylor and I chat about social media — and how it’s going to change things at his paper, at The Free Press and at all Freedom Communications properties in North Carolina.

Also, here is this week’s Free Press High School Football Podcast, where Ryan “Hermanator” (copyright 2008, Heelatious) Herman and I wrap up Parrott Academy’s incredible season (along with Patriots coach Bert Bright’s swan song), talk about last week’s second-round wins for Kinston, Ayden-Grifton and Jones Senior and preview Friday’s third-round games.

By the way, check out Madison’s EXCELLENT blog by clicking here; really appreciate Madison (@madisontdawg on Twitter) allowing me to use his office to tape both these pods today. Kids, he’s one of the good guys — check his blog and Twitter out: he makes me chuckle several times a day.

Free Press High School Football Podcast — Playoff Edition

Check out what I think is our best Free Press High School Football Podcast yet — featuring Ryan Herman and I, along with WCTI ABC-12′s Brian North and WRAL CBS-5/highschoolot.com’s Nick Stevens.

On the show, North breaks down the playoffs with Herman and I. Nick talks about the ridiculousness of the pod system. And Herman does a fantastic job breaking down the playoffs — and the situations at South Lenoir and North Lenoir.

Seriously — if you’re a high school football fan, you don’t want to miss this one. It’s pretty awesome.

Breaking down the prep football playoffs with Nick and Chris

Pull up a chair and enjoy a show that was taped yesterday at WRAL in Raleigh — I joined WRAL CBS-5/highschoolot.com’s Nick Stevens, Chris Edwards and James Alverson to break down the prep football playoffs all over the state of North Carolina:


 

My take: Not going to give away who I picked to win the eight titles (although those familiar with my homerism won’t have TOO much trouble), but it was a fun project. Really appreciate Nick asking me to be a part of it.

Speaking of Nick, he will be joining Ryan Herman and I on this week’s Free Press High School Football Podcast, along with WCTI ABC-12′s Brian North.