ACC Announces Football Schedule Model for 2023-26

— courtesy

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday a new football scheduling model that will go into effect beginning with the 2023 season.

The new model is based on a 3-5-5 structure whereby each team will play three primary opponents annually and face the other 10 league teams twice during the four-year cycle, once at home and once on the road. The schedule allows for each team to face all 13 conference opponents home and away at least once during the four-year cycle. The structure was adopted by the league’s athletic directors and faculty athletic representatives earlier today.

The new schedule will eliminate the Atlantic and Coastal divisions with all 14 schools competing in one division beginning in 2023. The top two teams based on conference winning percentage will compete in the Subway ACC Football Championship Game on the first Saturday in December at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. In May, the NCAA Division I Council approved the deregulation of the current rule that had limited an individual conference’s autonomy to determine their football championship game participants.

“The future ACC football scheduling model provides significant enhancements for our schools and conference, with the most important being our student-athletes having the opportunity to play every school both home and away over a four-year period,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “We appreciate the thoughtful discussions within our membership, including the head football coaches and athletic directors. In the end, it was clear this model is in the best interest of our student-athletes, programs and fans, at this time.”

The three primary partners for each ACC team are as follows:

Boston College: Miami, Pitt, Syracuse
Clemson: Florida State, Georgia Tech, NC State
Duke: North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest
Florida State: Clemson, Miami, Syracuse
Georgia Tech: Clemson, Louisville, Wake Forest
Louisville: Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia
Miami: Boston College, Florida State, Louisville
North Carolina: Duke, NC State, Virginia
NC State: Clemson, Duke, North Carolina
Pitt: Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia Tech
Syracuse: Boston College, Florida State, Pitt
Virginia: Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech: Pitt, Virginia, Wake Forest
Wake Forest: Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech

SportsTalk: Vance Charter Cheerleaders Heading to Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

From a sealed envelope after a recent cheerleading practice, the 21 girls who make up the Vance Charter Cheerleading team discovered that they had been selected to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. Stacey Long, the girls’ coach, said there was excitement followed by disbelief. “Is this really happening,” Long quoted the girls as asking on Thursday’s edition of SportsTalk.

No cheerleading team from the area has ever been selected to participate in the parade. Vance Charter will be the first. The hard work and practice has paid off. The team practices a couple of times a week and it was only last school year that Vance Charter participated in its first competition. In February, they went to their second competition and took first place resulting in an invitation to submit a video, FAQ sheet, GPA’s and titles to the parade organization. Two days after submission came the reply that Vance Charter’s Cheerleading squad would be included in this year’s parade.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Long said of the invitation. Long also said that it will be expensive, around $3,000 per girl, to make the trip to the Big Apple for the parade. To that end, fundraising efforts have begun with a goal of $70,000 for the trip which will last for six nights and include various sightseeing opportunities in addition to the participation in the parade. To help with fundraising efforts, the team is going to businesses seeking sponsorships and will have a calendar fundraiser along with conducting a cheerleader camp. The cheerleader camp will cost participants $150 per person with all of the money from the camp and other fund raising projects going to send the Vance Charter Cheerleaders to New York City.

Bronze level sponsorships are $500, Silver is $1,000, Gold $1,500 and Platinum level is $2,500. All donations of any monetary value are welcomed. For more information on how to donate see their Facebook page at or call Stacey Long at 919-691-3279.


SportsTalk: 7 On 7 Football Makes Positive Impact On Local Youth

In 2007 both Marcus Henderson and Theo Perry graduated from Southern Vance High School and Perry was a part of the Southern Vance Football team that went to the state championship game. While the Raiders were unable to cap off that season with a state title, both Henderson and Perry have continued to work in football and with youth. With the help of fellow Southern Vance alumni and others such as former Vance County High School Athletic Director Joe Sharrow, Henderson and Perry started the Vance County Venom. The Venom are a 7-on-7 football team that plays in a five-team league during the summer to help keep youth from not only Vance County, but Franklin and Warren as well, off the street and involved with something positive in the way of athletics.

Theo Perry serves as head coach and director of the Venom and Marcus Henderson is an organizer. The Venom are a 501c3 non-profit organization and they hope to provide mentorship to young people and to provide them with guidance as they grow as young men and athletes. As coaches, they try to be positive role models, Perry said. “We want to teach them how to be great human beings and to stay out of the streets,” he said.

“The street loves nobody,” Perry said on Tuesday’s SportsTalk. Henderson says “there are too many distraction for kids” out of school during the summer and the Venom provides kids with an opportunity to do something else to positively impact their lives.

The idea for the Venom came from coaching the Tri-City Seahawks at the Henderson-Vance Recreation and Parks Dept. The Seahawks participate in the East Wake League and kids start playing at four years of age. From the Seahawks the idea of the Venom emerged. Sharrow and Vance County High School Principal Rey Horner agreed to let them use the practice field at the high school and parents helped contribute equipment and fund to buy equipment. And Perry and Henderson chipped in money from their own pockets to field the team, too.

Richard Terry of Eastside Barber in Henderson donated a quarterback tee, which Perry said has proven quite useful. In 7-on-7 football, the QB has five seconds to throw the ball. The tee is equipped with a timer, which has helped the quarterbacks improve their ball release.

Turnout from kids has been excellent and they have played games throughout the month of May in Franklinton; they’ll travel to Fuquay-Varina for a make-up tournament this weekend. Additionally, the kids involved with the Venom have had the opportunity to attend football camps with NFL players. Perry said he tells his guys to wear their jerseys to the camps – it’s just one more way to get their name out there. “We’ve gotten so much exposure,” he said. “Exposure is the key – when it’s time for these kids to go to college…you never know who’s out there watching them at an early age.”

“It’s bigger than football,” says Henderson. These young athletes also participate in volunteer work and reach out to the community. Perry says they want to teach how to become correct young men. They both praise the parents who have taken time to bring their kids to practice and games and have supported the Venom in general.

If you would like to help support the Venom, donations can be made to Vance Co. Venom Inc. The mailing address is 1025 Pinkston St., Henderson NC 27537 or via cashapp at $flySantana.

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SportsTalk: Murray Plans For Championships At Henderson Collegiate

“The energy is great and I’m ready to get going,” says Paul Murray. Murray is the new men’s basketball coach at Henderson Collegiate and he is preparing for his first season after spending three years as an assistant at The Burlington School which has a reputation for being “a basketball powerhouse,” as Murray put it on Thursday’s SportsTalk with George Hoyle and John Charles Rose.

When asked about his goals as the head man at Henderson Collegiate, Murray stated his plans were “to take it to the next level.”  From Murray’s point of view, the next level is a state championship. “A State championship or nothing,” said Murray. He also feels that winning a state title is more do-able than most people seem to think.

Murray says he expects Henderson Collegiate to be a fast paced team. “Up-tempo, up-tempo, up-tempo,” Murray stressed. “We want to be the fastest paced team in the country,” he added.  He’s only had one practice so far and that was for an hour this past Saturday but the team did play three games this week winning two by 2o points and losing one in a hard fought game with Franklinton. These off season games will give Murray an idea of what he has to work with throughout next season. It’s a new staff and a new system but one that will hopefully be successful for Murray. Murray got used to success at The Burlington School where, in his three years there, the school sent 13 players to play college ball.  He hopes to repeat that with Henderson Collegiate.

Murray said he always wanted to be a head coach and Henderson Collegiate seemed like the right choice for him. “It was time to do something I wasn’t comfortable with,” Murray said. He felt a little too comfortable and feels like this new position will keep him challenged. In the end, Murray says that the team has one goal at Henderson Collegiate: “Have a lot of fun and win a lot of games.”



SportsTalk: Elliott Prepares For First Season As VCHS Football Coach

Aaron Elliott, the new head football coach for Vance County High School, has had a few days to watch his players during workouts this week. And he’s pretty impressed with what he sees so far, he said on Thursday’s Sports Talk.

Elliott joined Bill Harris, Doc Ayscue and George Hoyle and said he liked the level of leadership the players have shown so far. And he hopes that as the summer continues, the numbers of young people interested in wearing the Vipers uniform will grow.

“My biggest challenge so far has been numbers,” Elliott said. And in between workouts, watching last season’s film and meeting with his coaching staff, Elliott has been spending a lot of time fielding calls from student athletes about possibly returning to the team. He also said he’d heard from almost 20 rising 9th graders who are thinking about playing.

Whether he’s talking to players, prospective players, their parents or his staff, Elliott has spoken consistently about, well, consistency.

“I’m trying to incorporate and bring a philosophy of being consistent,” he said, “gaining trust of players and (others)…that I’m here to stay.”

This is Elliott’s first head coaching job, but he previously had been an assistant with Nash Central High School, and at Louisburg High before that.

He draws from his experience as a line coach to work with others on his staff, some of whom are returning for the upcoming season. “I will be the offensive coordinator and calling the plays,” Elliott said, but added that he would offer additional help wherever it was needed.

The offensive line will be a little young because of several seniors graduating, but the defensive line only lost one player to graduation, and there are several athletes that are at the ready to fill that position. “We should be fairly good defensively,” he said.Without giving away too much from the playbook, Elliott said he plans to run a spread offense with some run-pass options. It’ll be senior QB Nazir Garrett’s responsibility to make good reads, he noted, and to make good decisions about what to do with the football.

And he plans to incorporate special teams into every practice. “To me, special teams is important – you can get turnovers, you can change the momentum of the game” with special teams.

The team will continue with morning workouts Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and participate in a couple of camps over the summer, starting with a camp at N.C. State next Thursday. The first official week is the first week of August, and that’s when the team moves to afternoon practices.

“All in all, these guys are in pretty good shape,” Elliott said. Several players said they’d been working during the off-season, he added. “I wouldn’t say they’re ready to play a football game tomorrow night, but I feel comfortable come August.”


SportsTalk: Ray Noel Prepares For AD Position At VCHS

Ray Noel said he’s looking forward to his new job as athletic director at Vance County High School, but right now, he’s focused on his closing out the school year at Granville Central High School, where he will still be athletic director until the end of June.

July 1 marks his first day in Vance County, and Noel said he’s excited about the new opportunity.

When his teams faced Vance County High School’s teams, Noel said he noticed how close and tight-knit the community seemed to be.

He told David “Doc” Harris, Bill Harris and John C. Rose on Monday’s Sports Talk that really made a lasting impression on him.

“I’d see the turnouts for sports in Vance County,” he said, adding that he looks forward to being part of an athletic program that receives such positive support.

But Noel said he values his 15 years at Granville Central High School – he took a job there upon graduation from Averett University – and will miss the relationships that he has developed with staff during his time there.

Noel takes over the AD position from Joe Sharrow, who announced in April that he would be leaving VCS, took the AD position at Jordan High School in Durham.

“I hope to continue the success that Mr. Sharrow had and take it to the next level if we can,” Noel said.

It’s important for student athletes to be recognized for their efforts, Noel said, and there are a number of athletes at VCHS who will get a lot of attention on social media and elsewhere for their accomplishments in sports.

But, he acknowledged, not everybody who plays high school sports makes it to the next level of sports. Quality, stable athletic programs are important to help students be successful after high school, he said. “We want them to be good men and women out in the job force,” Noel said.




Vance County High School

Noel Named AD For VCHS, Trades Panthers For Vipers

Vance County Schools has named Raymond Noel, a lifelong resident of the area, as the new athletic director for Vance County High School. Noel is a 2002 graduate of J.F. Webb High School in Oxford, where he played football and ran track and field.

He continued his education at Averett University, where he played football and

served as a student assistant for the school’s basketball program.

In 2007, Noel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and a minor in coaching.

Noel’s career immediately took off following graduation as he became the assistant football and basketball coach at Granville Central High School. He also served as the Driver’s Education


In 2015, he took on the head coaching position for the women’s basketball team and, in 2017, became the athletic director, during which time he led athletic teams to multiple-season victories through innovative training strategies. Noel earned his Certified Athletic Administrators Certificate through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

VCHS Principal Rey Horner said he welcomes Noel to the school and the district. “We are excited that Mr. Noel will be joining our district. We know his experience and dedication to athletics will continue to help our Viper programs flourish.”

Noel and his wife, Michelle, live in Granville County with their son, Blake.

Noel will start work in VCS on July 1, 2022.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to lead athletics at Vance County High School,” Noel said in a written statement.
“Thanks to Mr. Horner and the administration for this opportunity. GO VIPERS!”

Crossroads Christian School

SportsTalk: Richardson Says Spring Sports A Success

If you see Crossroads Christian School Athletic Director/Head Basketball Coach Scottie Richardson with a smile on his face, that’s because he is happy with how spring sports have gone at the school. The Colt’s Girls Soccer team made a deep run in the playoffs and the golf team won the conference championship finishing third in the state. On top of that, five seniors who played on Crossroads Christian’s athletic teams will be moving on to play at the college level.

Under Richardson, the Colt’s athletic program has grown to 22 teams in nine sports and that includes 12 All State players in five sports.  No wonder Richardson is happy.

Next school year when Richardson puts on his basketball cap, it will mark his 28th year as a basketball coach.  Last season, Crossroads had it’s first final four post season run, and with changes in the conference, Richardson feels that the school has a real shot at a state championship, so much so that it is Richardson’s goal for the team to bring that championship home to Vance County.



Vance County High School

Aaron Elliott Announced as the Vance County High School Head Football Coach

— press release courtesy of Vance County Schools

Vance County Schools welcomes Jacob “Aaron” Elliott, a native of Vance County, as the Head Football Coach at Vance County High School. A graduate of Southern Vance High School, Elliott went on to attend Liberty University. He began his career in public safety, serving in both Emergency Medical Services and Fire Services.

Elliott joined the football coaching staff at Louisburg High from 2010-2014, coaching the offensive and defensive lineman, achieving a record of 38-19 and a conference record of 17-3. The team had an undefeated conference season in 2013 and he later became the Defensive
Coordinator in 2015 with the team placing as the 1A Eastern Regional Runner Up in 2021. In 2021, Elliott accepted a position with Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools as a Fire Technology Instructor at the Nash Central High School Fire Academy. His coaching continued while at Nash Central, where he contributed to the Bulldogs playoff run which ended in the third round.

Coach Elliott is excited to return to Vance County to serve as an educator and Head Football Coach sharing, “I look forward to continuing the opportunity to coach and lead young men to further their football and academic careers at the collegiate level, while also encouraging their growth as individuals and success in life itself. He will begin his coaching duties effective immediately and will serve as one of the Fire Academy and Public Safety instructors at Vance County High School, beginning in August.

SportsTalk: Johnny Yount of Vance Charter and Mike Joyner of Kerr Vance

Johnny Yount and Mike Joyner are used to success. They expect it.

Vance Charter Girls Soccer Coach Johnny Yount and his team are coming off a playoff run. The Knights were eliminated on Wednesday night with a 2-0 loss to Hobbton.  While they didn’t make to the state finals, Yount was happy with his team which will be losing five seniors to graduation. Next year he will have another senior heavy team with six girls on the roster plus a strong class of freshmen will be moving up as well. “Give it your best and demand it from everyone around you,” Yount said on Thursday’s SportsTalk. Those are the words he tells his team. No doubt next year’s Vance Charter Girls Soccer team will hear those words many times during the season.

Speaking of Hobbton, that’s a school familiar to Mike Joyner, Kerr Vance Academy Athletic director. It’s one of several schools where Joyner has been involved with athletics. He recently spent 8 1/2 years as athletic director at Wake Forest High School and six years as the head baseball coach. This year he retired, or so he thought. “I was retired for seven hours. I worked a basketball game at Wake Forest, slept seven hours and worked a basketball game the next night for KVA,” Joyner said. He said it was tough leaving the kids at Wake Forest but he had to make the right decision for his family and step back. Wake Forest fielded 32 teams where Kerr Vance fields nine. His duties don’t include coaching at KVA so he can actually get home at a normal time and spend time with family.  He says the difference from working in public schools as opposed to private schools is the closeness of the relationships. “It’s more of a family atmosphere,” Joyner said. At KVA he actually gets to spend time with the kids and that was something he was unable to do at Wake Forest.

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