Vance County High School

SportsTalk: Vipers To Return To The Field On Sept. 24th

There may be some who recall the old PAC 6 – 4A conference and hard fought battles between the Vance Vikings and the Northern Durham Knights at Veterans Field in downtown Henderson or at Durham County Stadium. Those two teams hooked up for some great high school football games back in the 1980’s.  While the Vikings are no longer with us, their spirit remains in the Vance County Vipers and they will once again tangle with the Northern Durham Knights in Durham on Sept. 24th. It will be the Vipers first game since defeating Durham-Riverside almost two weeks ago where, unfortunately, they were exposed to Covid shuttering the school’s football program for two weeks. The good news is that even though there was exposure, none of the Viper’s players or coaches tested positive.

Vance County Head Football Coach Wilbur Pender said today on SportsTalk with Trey Snide, “This week has been something else. It’s different. It’s weird.  When you have football in the fall and have to sit on your hands for two weeks you get a bit antsy.”

While the team has been quarantined coaches have stayed in touch via phone and computer. Coach Pender said he and his staff check in on the players to make sure they eat right, get in workouts instead of playing video games and stay on top of their school work. “Players are chomping at the bit,” Pender added about the chance to return to action.  However, Pender also noted that the health and well being of players and staff is the top priority. They won’t have to wait much longer as the quarantine ends Friday and the students return to school and practice on Monday to begin preparations for the Knights.

They will have their work cut out for them too. The Knights boast several offensive line men on the northside of 300 pounds and will run hard at the Vipers. The Knights are 1 -2 having been beaten by Scotland Co. 52 – 0 and losing 56 – 6 against Knightdale. There only victory was a 25 – 23 win against Franklinton.

Meanwhile, the Vipers put their 2 – 1 record on the line but Coach Pender feels good about his chances. Effective execution on offense, allowing a good mix of run and pass should put the Vipers where they want to be against Northern Durham. “Any play can become a home run play,” Pender said.

The Vipers will play the Knights on Friday Sept. 24th in Durham with kick off at 7pm.

Remember to listen to the Live Play by Play on WIZS Radio if you are unable to attend the game.



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SportsTalk: Louisburg High Football To Play Two Games In Four Days

Last year one of the best high school teams in our area was Louisburg High School. Finishing the season at 6-3, Louisburg managed to make to the third round of the state playoffs before being eliminated by Tarboro. This year the Warriors are off to solid start winning the first game of the season by an impressive 54 -0 score over Rocky Mount Prep. Tonight the Warriors are on the road as they take on Warren County.  Despite losing to Vance County in the opening game, Louisburg head coach Dontae Lassiter says he has great respect for a strong Eagles team. “Tonight will be a good gauge to see where our team is,” Lassiter said.

Perhaps Monday may prove an even better test. There is no rest for the weary when it comes to football for Louisburg. They will have to hit the practice field again tomorrow because they will be back on field Monday night to take on 0-1 Kip Pride. “They are huge; Monstrous up front,” Lassiter said after observing film. To top it off, Kip Pride will have had a week to rest up before traveling to Louisburg to face the Warriors who will have had only two days rest. “We’ll figure it out. Our team is just as talented if not more so than last year,” Lassiter said of the Warriors. “We are doing the best wc can with what we can,” Lassiter continued.

Covid has caused these scheduling issues and the team had players who were quarantined although did not test positive. In regards to the impact of Covid this season, Lassiter said this year is by the seat of the pants. “Everybody has to be ready to go every day. Not every week, but every day,” Lassiter said of the team’s preparation this season.


Vance County High School

SportsTalk: Vipers Hope To Keep Winning Once They Return To The Field

The life of football coach can be filled with great joy and equally great frustration. Vance County High School Head Football Coach Wilbur Pender has seen both in the last three weeks. After winning the opening game of the season against Warren County, the Vipers were shut out by Roanoke Rapids but rebounded last Friday night with a 47 – 36 victory over Durham Riverside in what turns out to be the team’s first win over a 4A school. With quarterback Nazir Garrett dialing up 5 Touchdown passes and the ground game chewing up 200 years, the Vipers were looking forward to Friday night’s game against Northern Durham. Did we mention frustration? Yes, and that frustration is, of course, due to Covid. A Covid exposure will push the Northern Durham game back to a bye week and the following week’s game against Jordan has been cancelled.

“We can only control things we can control,” said coach Pender on Thursday’s SportsTalk with Trey Snide. While the coach might not be able to tackle Covid, he can be pleased with his team’s performance this past Friday night and he feels the Roanoke Rapids loss is what paved the way for the win over Riverside. “That loss helped focus the team,” Pender said. After an excellent week of practice Pender said the team was confident and executed the prepared game plan paving the way for the victory.

“I’m never going to say I’m satisfied. I’m always looking for improvement,” Pender said of his team. He doesn’t feel the team has hit its stride yet, particularly on defense. His defensive team is young with quite a few freshmen and those players are making freshmen mistakes. Pender says they need to work on tackling and creating more turnovers so his offense has more opportunities.

With Covid in the picture Pender says his biggest worry is that the team will have a fall off once they return to the field. “It’s like building a plane as you are flying it,” Pender said of the challenges of his first year coaching the Vipers. Hopefully, the remainder of the season will see more of the joy and less of the frustration once the Vipers are back on the field.


Vance County High School

Vance County High School Cancels Upcoming Football Games

While Kerr Vance Academy has suffered few disruptions due to Covid, Vance County High School is not as fortunate. According to the school’s athletic director, Joe Sharrow, this Thursday night’s scheduled JV Football game and Friday night’s varsity game and next week’s JV and varsity football games have all been cancelled due to a Covid exposure. The school hopes to be able to make up the games at some point in the near future.

SportsTalk: Sam Feaver Settles in as KVA Athletic Director

George Hoyle has left some big shoes to fill as Kerr-Vance Academy’s Athletic Director. The school has had numerous state championship teams over the years and now Sam Feaver will try and fill those shoes. Feaver has a lot on his plate and says the community has been great and thanked George Hoyle for making the transition smooth.

Coming from Crescent in Durham where he also served as AD, Feaver knew that athletics were a huge part of Kerr-Vance Academy. Feaver was surprised, though, at how much student’s families are invested in the athletic programs.

While most athletic directors also double as a head coach, Feaver is not coaching any of the school’s teams at the moment but is open to it. “I have experience with boy’s basketball and soccer, and I’m open to stepping in.”

One of the big issues Feaver faces as KVA AD is finding coaches. At the moment the school has an opening for a varsity boys, middleschool and JV coach and will either need a varsity girls soccer or softball coach.

Feaver says that things have been going well so far in regards to Covid with little in the way of interruptions. The fall season has been a safe one so far for KVA.


SportsTalk: Vance Vipers FB Coach Pender Previews Roanoke Rapids

Click to Play Audio Preview of VCHS at Roanoke Rapids

Vance County Vipers over Warren County Eagles Recap


34 TO 26





Vance County High School

SportsTalk: Frances Excited About Fall Sports at Vance County High

“I was surprised at the offer,” new Assistant Athletic Director Christine Frances said about Vance County High School after they contacted her about the position. In fact, the position didn’t even exist until recently.  With Athletic Director Joe Sharrow also taking on the Assistant Principal’s job at the school the athletic programs needed an extra set of eyes and Frances was chosen.

Frances says that in addition to football, which kicks off Friday night, the school has women’s volleyball, cross country, women’s golf, men’s soccer and cheerleading either underway or about to be.

“Coaches are thrilled to be back to something close to normal,” she said. Many sports last year struggled during a season dominated by Covid. She said this year should be better and that it will “feel more like a sports season.”

Fans will be allowed to games this year but Frances stressed that social distancing as much as possible is one way to keep everyone safe. She also said masks should be worn particularly in the ticket and concession areas. Safety is a top priority of the school.

Frances also took a moment during her appearance on SportsTalk with Trey Snide to congratulate Joe Sharrow.  Sharrow was named as a NIAAA Certified Athletic Administrator this week.

For complete details and audio click play.

SportsTalk: Pender Ready to Kick the Football Season Off

It’s an exciting time of year for new Vance County High School Head Football Coach Wilbur Pender. Friday night kicks off the 2021 season against long-time rival Warren County. Going into the contest Pender is looking forward to the atmosphere and for plenty of fans to show up in the stands at Viper Stadium.  Last season most teams played with no fans or a very few fans in the stands due to Covid, but it will be different Friday night, and Coach Pender is looking for those fans to be loud and help create the atmosphere that will help notch the first “W” of the season against the Eagles.

Pender has only been at the school for three weeks, and his first practice with the team was August 2nd. Off season was solid but not as long as Pender would have liked. He feels the team would have benefitted from more 7-on-7 practices to allow the timing on both sides of the ball to be better. Despite his late arrival to the Vipers, he is still enthusiastic. “I am excited to see all the players,” Pender said. He spotlighted running back Carl Stephens and QB Isarael Terry as two players who will play a big role for the Vipers this season.

Pender says the Vipers have kids who can run and kids who can catch and that he and his staff, which includes some new faces mixed in with returning staff, have to put the players in a position where they can be successful. He’s also looking to have some fun along the way. “Football should not be a job or a chore. We want the kids to love being here,” Pender said.

While Pender certainly has his eyes on the Won – Loss column, he says there is more to it than victories on the field. “My philosophy is to build great young men for life, preparing kids for almost anything they will encounter.”

The Vipers will take on Warren County at 7pm Friday night at Viper Stadium.  If you cannot attend, but sure to tune it to 1450 AM / 100.1 FM or click on Listen Live at

For complete details and audio click play.