Pittsburgh Holds On, Cuts Duke’s Fourth Quarter Comeback Short

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— story and pictures by Patrick Magoon (patrickmagoon.com) of WIZS — Patrick Magoon is a recent UNC-C communications graduate looking to build his sports portfolio by writing and taking photos for WIZS

Despite an uncomfortably slow and disheartening first three quarters for Duke’s offense, the team erased Pittsburgh’s early 23-point lead within the final fifteen minutes and kept the game at an equal level until the Panthers pieced together a game-winning offensive series with just under 50 seconds left on the clock.

Sometimes a slow start can make a big difference in the end.

Duke left the half confused and looking for answers after conceding 19 points and successfully scoring points on just one offensive series. Two early interceptions and a costly fumble recovered by Pittsburgh in the first quarter had Duke down ten and fighting a treacherous uphill battle for the remained of the game.

While Pittsburgh’s ground game also struggled against the Blue Devils’ solid defensive line at times, Duke’s series of offensive woes trumped the failed drives of the visiting Panthers. Once Pittsburgh got on a roll, Duke couldn’t keep up.

The Panthers, at the top of the third quarter, extended their lead to 23 points after capping off a 2-play, 7-yard offensive series with a Nakia Griffin-Stewart 4-yard touchdown catch. Duke’s first touchdown of the night didn’t come until the final three minutes of the third quarter when Quentin Harris rushed into the endzone for a 4-yard score.

But wait, the Blue Devils’ scoring efforts didn’t stop there. Oddly enough, the best was yet to come.

Duke outscored the Panthers 20-7 in the fourth quarter after capitalizing on three careless turnovers. The Blue Devils recovered a fumble, which resulted in a triumphant 9-play, 43-yard touchdown drive. After the successful completion of the two-point attempt, Pittsburgh’s lead shrunk to just one score. With approximately 13 minutes left on the scoreboard, Duke had plenty of time to keep the momentum churning and fight for the lead in crunch time.

Minutes later, Pittsburgh’s offense returned to the field and made another brutal mistake. Pickett’s pass was picked off by Duke’s Edgar Cerenord, who returned it to the 25-yard line. The late turnover set up a 7-play, 25-yard scoring play, which gave Duke its first lead of the game.

With time running out, the Panthers, in 47 seconds, drove the ball 82 yards down the field. Pittsburgh’s V’Lique Carter evaded multiple tackles and took the ball 26 yards to the end zone, which secured the win.

Duke showed superior toughness and determination but never fully recovered from their careless first-half mistakes.

Best offensive performances

 Duke: RB Deon Jackson (60 yards rushing and 47 yards receiving), Aaron Young (32 yards receiving), and Jalon Calhoun (27 yards receiving).

Pittsburgh: Todd Sibley Jr. (60 yards rushing), V’Lique Carter (18 yards rushing), Taysir Mack (85 yards receiving), and Maurice Ffrench (54 yards receiving).

Best defensive performances

Duke: Koby Quansah (11 tackles, one for a loss), Brandon Hill (10 tackles, one for a loss), Victor Dimukeje (two tackles, both sacks) and Marquis Waters (nine tackles, 0.5 for a loss).

Pittsburgh: Paris Ford (12 tackles, one touchdown), Saleem Brightwell (12 tackles), Kylan Johnson (nine tackles, one for a loss, and one PD), and Patrick Jones II (six tackles, two sacks)

Coach’s Corner 09/27/19

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Register to Represent Carolina Panthers in the Madden NFL 20 Club Championship

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-Information courtesy Amy Martin, Broadcast Manager, Carolina Panthers

Take home the title for the Carolina Panthers! Sign up by October 7 for your chance to represent the Carolina Panthers in the Madden NFL 20 Club Championship as you take your favorite team to the top of this EA Major Series.

The top four Panthers gamers will be flown to California to participate in a live studio show to determine who will represent the Panthers in the official Madden NFL 20 Club Championship!

Register now at www.MaddenChampionship.com/compete.

• Fans are able to register for the Madden Club Championship under their favorite team.

• The top four players that register as Panthers fans will then be flown to California to compete to be the top Panthers player in the Studio Show. Each NFL team’s Studio Show winner will then compete against each other in the Madden NFL 20 Club Championship.

    • November 21-23, 2019 – Panthers Studio Show
    • December 18-21, 2019 – Club Championship Live Finals

• Fans will be able to tune in to the Studio Show and the Championship via Twitch through EAMaddenNFL.

H-V Rec. Youth Basketball Registration Underway

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-Information courtesy Tara Goolsby, Henderson-Vance Recreation and Parks Facilities Supervisor, Aycock Recreation Center

Henderson-Vance Recreation and Parks Youth Basketball registration will be held Monday, September 23 through Sunday, November 3, 2019, at the Aycock Recreation Center.

Youth basketball is for boys ages 4-18 and girls ages 4-14.

Registration fee is $40 ($30 for those who played a sport in the 2019 season). Program fee waivers are available to those who qualify.

For more information, please contact Steve Osborne at (252) 438-2670 or email [email protected]

UNC-Charlotte 49ers ‘Electrifying’ Offense Outpaces UMass Minutemen

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— story and pictures by Patrick Magoon (patrickmagoon.com) of WIZS — Patrick Magoon is a recent UNC-C communications graduate looking to build his sports portfolio by writing and taking photos for WIZS

Before kickoff on Saturday, September 14, the Massachusetts Minutemen (UMass) led 1-0 in series play against the Charlotte 49ers. UMass dominated the 49ers in the first quarter of last season’s meeting, outscoring them 28-0. Several months later, the 49ers got their revenge.

The 49ers wasted no time putting points on the scoreboard. In the opening minutes of the second quarter, the 49ers took a 28-0 lead over the Minutemen. Charlotte’s electrifying, confident offensive unit kept up the intensity, outpacing the Minutemen and piecing together an impressive stat sheet.

Superior blocking on special teams and reliable run blocking schemes paved the way for several highlight-worthy plays executed by some young talents. In total, the 49ers scored 52 points, accumulated 533 yards from scrimmage and rushed for a season-high 338 yards.

Charlotte’s defense demonstrated excellent speed off the line and intelligent positioning, limiting Minutemen’s Andrew Brito to 127 yards and forcing an interception. Brito was forced to get rid of the ball quickly as Charlotte’s defensive line continuously pushed him out of his comfort zone. The unit’s ability to consistently evade blockers resulted in an exciting five-sack performance.

With solid performances coming from the dynamic duo of Chris Reynolds (10-of-12 passing for 155 yards) and running back Benny LeMay (113 yards), the 49ers have now scored 40-plus points in back-to-back-to-back games and lead C-USA in total offense.

Up next, the 49ers will travel south to face Clemson, who is fresh off a stunning 49-6 win on the road.

Coach’s Corner 09/13/19

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Coach’s Corner with Darry Ragland 09/06/19

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Coach’s Corner 08/26/19

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Town Talk 08/20/19: Vipers Kick Off Friday Night Football With Game Against Bunn

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It’s officially football season, and WIZS has you covered locally with “Vance County Friday Night Football” live every Friday evening on 1450AM, 100.1 FM, and via live stream at www.wizs.com. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m.; kickoff and play-by-play coverage begin at 7 p.m.

Also, be sure to tune-in to WIZS’ weekly Coach’s Corner Show each Friday at 1 p.m. This week, to kick off the season, the Coach’s Corner will originate live from Citizens Pub and Grill in downtown Henderson.

WIZS’ own John Charles Rose and Trey Snide were on Tuesday’s edition of Town Talk to provide an overview of the Vance County High School Vipers’ second overall athletic season and first season as part of the Big Eight 3A Conference.

Playing in their first game this Friday evening, August 23, 2019, the Vipers take on the Bunn Wildcats at home. The Vipers finished with a 4 – 7 record in their first season of play as a combined high school last year.

The first four games of the season are nonconference matches; conference play in the Big Eight 3A begins with a game against the Chapel Hill Tigers on September 27.

The final game of the regular season is scheduled at home against the Cedar Ridge Red Wolves on November 8.

The Vipers will also face the East Chapel Hill Wildcats, Southern Durham Spartans, Orange Panthers, Northern Durham Knights and Northwood Chargers in conference play.

Snide, who enters his third year covering Friday Night Football for WIZS, said Vipers Coach Darry Ragland is excited about this season, especially quarterback Samein Burwell.

“This is the first year Burwell has had a complete off-season and workout program,” said Snide. “In the sixth, seventh or eighth game of the regular season, that’s when Burwell finally had a full year under his belt under the brand new offense the Vipers were bringing with Coach Ragland.”

Snide said Ragland has expressed “excitement about Burwell’s potential” and hopes to improve on last year’s record of 1,800 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

On the Wildcats end, second-year Bunn Head Football Coach Bradley Murphy spoke with Snide and said the Vipers can expect his team to bring “hustle and effort” to Friday’s match.

“We are going to come and give our best effort and best hustle on and off the field,” Murphy said. “I tell my boys all the time if they give their best, I’ll be proud of them at the end of the game regardless of the final score.”

Snide said the outcome of this first game, along with additional nonconference games scheduled against the Warren County Eagles, J.F. Webb Warriors and Roanoke Rapids Yellow Jackets, will set the tone for the Viper’s season.

“We are going to see what this team is all about, especially in the first four games leading up to the Big Eight Conference. These are teams we should be able to handle pretty well if the offense and defense can play on the same playing field,” Snide said.

Snide and WIZS’ other “colorful” cast of Vance County Friday Night Football announcers are looking forward to rooting on the Vipers this season. In fact, Rose said he can document coverage of what is now known as Vance County Friday Night Football back to at least 50 of the station’s 64 years on the airwaves.

“None of this is about us, however,” said Rose. “This is about the school, this is about Vance County, this is about the listenership, but most important, this is about the student-athletes. WIZS cannot wait to highlight the student-athletes – the quarterbacks, the defensive players, as well as the coaches and assistant coaches.”

To hear the Vance County Friday Night Football Town Talk discussion in its entirety, please click the play button below. Listen live to WIZS’ Town Talk Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on 1450AM, 100.1 FM or online at www.wizs.com.

Carolina Panthers’ Backup Quarterbacks Fail to Impress in Preseason Matchup

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-Article and photos by Patrick Magoon

Sluggish. Sloppy. Uncoordinated. Rushed. All four of those terms could be used to describe the performance from Carolina Panthers’ backup quarterbacks in Friday’s home preseason matchup against the Buffalo Bills.

Despite star quarterback Cam Newton sitting out for the entirety of another preseason game, neither third-round pick Will Grier nor second-year quarterback Kyle Allen could gain a clear advantage of the other. Grier and Allen threw for a combined 107 yards, and both quarterbacks finished with a passer rating below 50.

As Carolina’s coaching staff continues to evaluate its talent pool behind Newton, Grier and Allen have got to make better decisions on the field.

Several pass attempts from Grier and Allen were forced and often significantly overthrown, which Ron Rivera noticed and commented on after the game.

After Allen exited the game in the third quarter, Grier had an opportunity to gain significant traction in the fight for the backup quarterback role. He had a promising start, connecting with running back Jordan Scarlett for a 14-yard touchdown during his first series, but then lost control of the game almost immediately after that scoring play.

Griers’ three drives in the third quarter all concluded with punts.

Bills’ Kevin Johnson capitalized on a poorly underthrown ball from Grier, which was grabbed in the air and taken 70 yards down the field for a touchdown. “He made a bad read on the throw and threw it outside when he should have thrown it inside and, unfortunately, it got intercepted,” said Rivera.

Following the interception, Carolina’s offensive unit was shaken up and couldn’t recover with what little time was left in the second half. They reached the end zone just once, in the fourth quarter, after Taylor Heinicke took control of the offense.

Heinicke pieced together a solid 11-play, 75-yard series that ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Rashaad Ross.

The Panthers aren’t going to keep fourth quarterbacks, but Rivera will continue to carefully evaluate each quarterback’s performance when challenged by various game scenarios. While Grier’s methods of execution were underwhelming last night, he remains in the same boat as teammates Allen and Heinicke.

“We’ve still got two weeks left to go to make a decision on certain things and we’ll see what happens,” said Rivera.