SportsTalk: Area Schools Getting Winter Sports Underway

Area schools are now getting winter sports underway.  At Vance Charter School basketball has just started, according to athletic director Lance Stallings.  They’ve only played two games this year including Wednesday’s game against Granville Central.  The boys were unable to pull out a victory but the girl’s team did.  There’s no rest either as Vance Charter will return to the court Friday taking on Falls Lake in the first home game of the season.  “Regardless of the sport or the time of the year Falls Lake is well prepared,” Stallings said.  “It’s a Green Out Game.  We will raise awareness about school violence,” Stallings added.

Meanwhile Stallings says they have approximately 10 students on this year’s swim team which has its first meet on December 7th.  Additionally, cheer leading will be headed to a competition event Saturday at the Raleigh Convention Center where they will face off against ten other area schools.

It’s much the same at Crossroads Christian as the Colts basketball teams are off to a terrific start.  The boy’s team is undefeated at 5-0 and are ranked #1 in the state and the girl’s team is 3-1 and ranked third in the state.  Alyssa Phillips leads the girls team who will play Lawrence tonight.  The boys return to action Saturday against St. Thomas with seniors Ben Gladdio and Robert Jenkins leading the way.

“If we win both games, I will have 400 career wins,” said Scottie Richardson. Richardson, in addition to his athletic director duties also coaches basketball at the school.  The Colts will also play against 11 other teams in the Battle of the Bull tournament at Falls Lake over the holidays.  Once those holidays are over spring sports will begin workouts at both Crossroads Christian and Vance Charter.




SportsTalk: Adcock Reflects On First Season With Mariners

Ty Adcock never imagined himself as a pitcher.  At South Granville he threw a couple of innings for fun but pitching never really interested him.  He was a catcher and an outfielder.  It wasn’t until his junior year at Elon that a coach noticed his arm strength and felt his talents were better suited on the mound.

In June of last year after a minor league game Adcock got the call to head for Seattle where he would throw his first pitch in the Major Leagues.  “It was a bizarre experience,” Adcock said of receiving the call.  Adcock was a guest on Wednesday’s SportsTalk. “I knew I had what it takes to play in the big leagues,” Adcock continued.  “It doesn’t feel real.  It was everything you dream of as a kid,” Adcock explained about his first game in a Mariners uniform.

He doesn’t remember the name of the first batter he faced from the Miami Marlins but does remember the batter grounded out on the first pitch.  He threw for two innings in that game as a member of the Mariners’ bull pen.

Now that his first season is under his belt he is busy preparing for spring.  He will head to spring training in late January and hopes to be one of the eight pitchers the Mariners keep in their bull pen when the 2024 season starts.  “It’s up to management to see if they feel I’m a good fit for the organization,” Adcock concluded.



Vance County High School

SportsTalk: Elliott Reflects On Vipers Season

Vance County Vipers Head Football Coach Aaron Elliot summed up the school’s loss to Terry Sanford in the first round of the state high school playoffs with three words “Too many mistakes,” he said on Thursday’s SportsTalk.  The 34-27 loss followed an undefeated regular season for Vance County.  “We knew they were a good team.  Certainly not a 26th ranked team,” Elliott commented.  After the loss Elliott gave his team one week off but now they are back to work preparing for next season.  The Vipers have already headed back to the weight room.

The Vipers will lose 10 seniors from this year’s team when the hit the gridiron late next August but Elliott sees a bright future for the Vipers.  “Our team will work personnel.  We will put kids in the right place to be successful,” Elliott said.  He says he expects the conference to improve next year.  Louisburg went to the second round of the playoff, J.F. Webb had their best season in years and there’s always Southern Durham to contend with.

While naturally disappointed that the Vipers lost he continues to look favorably on this past season and should have another great year in 2024.



SportsTalk: Local High School Basketball Prepares For Tipoff

Area high school basketball teams will be tipping off the local basketball season in a few days and coaches have high expectations for the season.

At Vance Charter, head basketball coach Taron Downey is optimistic about the Knights.  “The future is bright,” Downey said on Wednesday’s SportsTalk. “We have young guys but one of the best groups I’ve had,” Downey continued.  Only three seniors will return to the Knights this season.  While he has high expectations of his team he knows that teams from Voyager and Henderson Collegiate will pose problems.  “Our young guys don’t know what to expect.  If I can get a guy to make a jump shot we will be OK,” Downey stated.  They start off the season with a matchup on the road against East Wake Academy on Monday night.  Tomorrow (Thursday) they will take part in a Night Out with The Knights, 6pm, at the Vance Charter Gym with plenty of food and some fun on the court to give players, students, parents and kids a chance to enjoy a fun evening.

J.F. Webb’s head coach, Alex Tharpe, expects his team will improve from last year’s 14-10 regular season record.  While they made the state playoffs last year, he says it will be a somewhat different team this year.  “We will have a different look.  We want to run and push the tempo,” Tharpe said on Wednesday’s SportsTalk.  Of course J.F. Webb will have to contend with a strong Southern Durham team this season that usually dominates the conference.  The Warriors will return six seniors, one of whom is a starter.  Webb is also preparing for the South Granville holiday basketball tournament next month.  Before that can happen, they must prepare for opening night this Friday at Oxford Prep.  “It’s one of the best Oxford Prep teams I’ve seen,” Tharpe said of his opening game opponent.

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UNC Football Retains the Victory Bell After Emotional Double Overtime Victory 47-45

— text and picture by Patrick Magoon freelance writer for WIZS

The Victory Bell remains in Chapel Hill after an emotional battle between the North Carolina Tar Heels and long-time rival Duke Blue Devils called for double overtime. UNC quarterback Drake Maye completed 28 passes for 342 yards and one touchdown. Maye also ran 12 times for 22 yards, including a rushing touchdown.

“I saw Drake Maye do some things tonight, that were just unbelievable,” said UNC head coach Mack Brown. “He made play after play after play, including the two-point play that normal people just don’t make.”

Through the air, Maye looked poised in the pocket, dispersing the ball to seven offensive playmakers. One of Maye’s top targets, wide receiver Tez Walker, reeled in seven passes for 162 yards.

UNC’s ground attack was equally successful. Tar Heel running back Omarian Hampton demonstrated elusiveness and explosive speed, carrying the ball 31 times for 169 yards.

UNC wasted no time putting points on the board. Their first offensive drive consisted of 10 plays, which accumulated 75 yards. During that drive, Maye connected with Walker for a 43-yard completion before rushing into the end zone for a one-yard score.

After UNC’s defensive unit limited Duke to four yards, Maye led a fast-paced offensive attack, advancing the 67 yards in 3:51 to set up a 31-yard field goal.

Towards the beginning of the second quarter, Duke, down by 10, found its footing and marched 70 yards for a touchdown to shrink UNC’s lead to six. However, for most of the first half, UNC was dominating in total yards and success through the air.

On the ensuing possession, the Blue Devils took advantage of UNC’s poor field position by forcing an interception to set up a scoring opportunity at the UNC 14. A few plays later, Duke quarterback Grayson Loftis rushed three yards into the end zone to give his team its first lead of the night.

UNC’s last drive of the first half resulted in a 25-yard field goal to reclaim the lead.

After Duke failed to gain a yard on its first drive of the second half, UNC went 55 yards to set up a 27-yard field goal and extend its lead to six.

Throughout the third quarter, The Tar Heel defense stunned the Blue Devils, limiting them to 16 yards of total offense and forcing multiple punts. With the clock winding down at the end of the third quarter, UNC’s offense found themselves in an excellent scoring position. Then, at the top of the fourth quarter, Hampton plowed his way into the end zone, building a comfortable 12-point lead.

Duke’s offense bounced back in the fourth quarter, outscoring UNC 22-10. After scoring three touchdowns, Duke managed to take the lead with 41 seconds left in the game. However, that lead was brief because UNC kicker Noah Burnette booted the ball 43 yards through the end zone to tie the game up at 36-36.

Duke received the ball to start the first period of overtime. With minimal success, they had to settle for a 49-yard field goal. The Tar Heels responded with another Burnette field goal to force a second overtime.

On UNC’s second possession in overtime, Maye rushed five yards into the end zone and completed a two-point conversion. Duke, down by eight, responded with a touchdown after Loftis hit wide receiver Jordan Moore in stride. Unfortunately for Duke, the two-point try was unsuccessful as the ball fell incomplete. Tar Heel fans immediately stormed the field to celebrate the hard-earned victory.

“What a game,” said Brown. “It was fun to coach. It was fun to watch and both teams competed.”


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UNC Football Demolished Campbell in Bounce-Back Win, 59-7

— text and picture by Patrick Magoon freelance writer for WIZS

After disappointing back-to-back losses, the North Carolina Tar Heels found their footing, scoring 52 unanswered points against the visiting Campbell Fighting Camels.

“Our guys did what you’re supposed to do,” said UNC head coach Mack Brown. “They took the team that they were better than and dominated them.”

Sophomore running back Omarion Hampton ran rampant, rushing 15 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns. After one half, Hampton became the latest Tar Heel to amass 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Through the air, UNC quarterback Drake Maye completed passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns.

“The offensive line did their thing all day,” said Hampton. “They opened up the holes and allowed me to reach 1,000 yards.”

UNC took an early lead in the first quarter after Devontez Walker caught a 10-yard touchdown pass. However, the lead was short-lived after Campbell responded with a seven-play, 62-yard scoring drive to the game at 7-7 towards the end of the first quarter.

At the start of the second quarter, Hampton demonstrated his explosive running abilities with a 54-yard rushing touchdown, and UNC reclaimed its lead. UNC scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter as Campbell struggled to build momentum.

Entering the third quarter, UNC, holding onto a comfortable 14-point lead, wasted no time scoring for the fifth time. Maye completed three passes for 75 yards in 37 seconds. At this point, Campbell couldn’t match UNC’s intensity and continued to fall further behind.

Throughout the remainder of the game, UNC’s strong defensive unit forced three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception) and allowed just 98 yards of total offense. The unit, led by linebackers Cedric Gray and Power Echols, accumulated 79 total tackles, including five sacks and 10 TFLs. UNC’s defense also batted down four passes.

Vance County High School

SportsTalk: Vipers Prepare For Terry Sanford In First Round Of Playoffs

The Vance County Vipers open the playoffs Friday night at home against Terry Sanford High School.  The Bulldogs are 6-4 this season while the Vipers are a perfect 10-0 but Vipers Head Coach Aaron Elliott knows that the Bulldogs will be a challenge.  “We don’t look at them as a 26 seed.  They play in a strong conference,”  Elliott said on Thursday’s SportsTalk.  The Vipers will have to play strong on defense as the Bulldogs’ quarterback Jaylen Wright has thrown for over 1900 yard and 26 touchdowns this year.  The Bulldogs have scored 387 points this year so they know how to get in the end zone.

The Vipers have relied on great running all season long as well as a potent passing attack of their own but Elliott knows where his team’s bread is buttered.  “Defense will be the key.  I always hear defense wins championships,” Elliot said.  His defense has been stellar all season and the Vipers are coming off a 61-6 victory over rival J.F. Webb.  Terry Sanford is on a three game winning streak and should prove to be the toughest opponent the Vipers have faced since Southern Durham.

Join WIZS for Vance County Friday Night Football starting with the pregame at 6:50, immediately following the Joy Christian Center broadcast with kickoff at 7pm.


Vance County High School

The Local Skinny! Elliott Credits Community Support And Consistency To Vipers’ Success


The Vance County High School football team marched through the 2023-24 season, tackling opponents one after the other and coming out with wins each time. The Vipers hope to build on that 10-0 record later this week in the opening round of the state playoffs.

Head Coach Aaron Elliott said he and his staff have been preaching consistency to the team, and that is paying dividends.

The Vipers host the Terry Sanford Bulldogs Friday night at 7 p.m. and Elliott said he hopes the community will come out to support the local team.

“This year has been a little different than last year,” Elliott said on Monday’s The Local Skinny! Last year, he said, the coaching staff was working to build that culture of consistency to the football program that had been missing.

Elliott played football here and remembers how Northern Vance and Southern Vance fans got behind their teams. “There was a big deal for Friday night” games, he said.

And he’s looking to get that momentum going again.

“Having a 10-win season,” Elliott said, shows that the kids have bought in to what coaches have been saying. Those wins – one by a whopping 76 points – shows that the players are enjoying the process.

Elliott said he and the team appreciate all the community support that businesses, churches and others have shown, whether by providing meals or sending congratulatory emails, phone calls or text messages.

“That’s been real important,” he said.

He said he’s proud of the way the staff has worked to instill that sense of consistency to the players, and it’s what has contributed to their success this season.

“These kids really feed off the community’s energy,” Elliott said.

The 6th-seed Vipers face the Bulldogs in the first round, and Elliott said if they get the W Friday, they’ll stay at home for the next round – and possibly for a third game at home, depending on how the bracket shapes up.

He said the Bulldogs, like the Vipers, have a good quarterback who can run and throw the football. “We’re going to have to play good and not take them lightly,” he said. But they’ve got a good defense, too, and Elliott’s been watching a lot of film to be ready for Friday.

“I feel real confident on what we can do on offense,” he said. “We’ve gotten really good at executing plays on offense.”



Vance County High School

SportsTalk: Vipers Tangle With Warriors For Final Regular Season Game

With the Vance Co. Vipers assured of a playoff spot and at least a share of the conference championship, one could think that the Vipers would be taking it easy in the final regular season finale Friday night against the J.F. Webb Warriors. One could also be wrong. Coming off a dominant performance last week at a rain soaked Carrboro, the Vipers want to finish the regular season at 10-0 and not share the conference championship but win it outright. “We’ve had a good week of practice,” head coach Aaron Elliott said on Thursday’s SportsTalk. That may be a bit of “coach speak” that one expects but Coach Elliott isn’t letting the Vipers relax. “We needed to clean some things up on defense,” Elliott said referring to how Carrboro was able to use a short passing game to move the ball. Win or lose, the Vipers are in the playoffs. “We won’t know who we are playing until lunchtime on Saturday,” Elliott stated. The Vipers can’t look past an improved J.F. Webb team though. “They are disciplined, it’s Senior night and it’s a rivalry,” said Elliott.

J.F. Webb Head Coach Keionte Gainey echoes Elliott’s feelings about the rivalry. He knows, even in his first year at Webb, that the rivalry is important. Gainey only has a handful of seniors on his team and has, much like Coach Elliot has done at Vance County, turned the J.F. Webb program around. Webb is 5-4 this season. “It’s the most wins we’ve had since 2010,” Gainey said on Sports Talk Thursday. While that is impressive, what may be more impressive is that his players have increased their GPA from 1.9 to 3.0. He credits the team’s improvements both on and off the field to players, teachers, administration and community buying into his program.

Expect a packed house Friday night at J.F. Webb High School in Oxford. WIZS’ live coverage will begin around 6:50 p.m. immediately following the Joy Christian Center broadcast with Bill Harris and Doc Ayscue on Vance County Friday Night Football.