I was blessed this past week that I got to watch two full high school football games. Both games were different, but both reinforced why I love NC high school football.
On Thursday night, I had the pleasure to watch Northern Durham host Friendship at Durham County Stadium. My great friend, Mike Wilson, watched the game with me on the sidelines. We got to witness some defense...some great defense, and some great play calling on both sides.
Northern Durham is loaded! The Knight's defensive staff has their players on top of their game. Rarely do I see such great defensive technique in September. The players are going full throttle from the snap to the ref's whistle. If I had to protect Fort Knox, I'd probably take some pointers from Coach Wilson, Northern's defensive coordinator. This defense is not just stout, but they are focused. Mistakes are minimal and teamwork is maximized. The great leadership from these athletes propelled the Knights to an 18 to 7 victory. I was happy for my buddy John Hammett and his family. Like many coaches across the state, John is lucky to have his family sacrifice their time with him. John is a winner and so were the Knights.
On Friday night, I got to watch Randleman host Providence Grove on the Tiger's homecoming. The fans....are the best in the state, regardless of classification. For coaches who want to tap into student support, you should contact Randleman's principal. The student section were whity, vocal, and more than anything else, came out in quantity to support their team. The stadium was not just beautiful, but had an atmosphere conducive for a family affair at a high school football game.
Shane Handy, a man who I deeply respect, and his staff impressed me with their coaching clinic throughout the game. Providence Grove played a great game, and the Patriots played at full throttle. The time that the Tigers scored, the Patriots played some stingy defense. Late in the 2nd quarter with Randleman leading 14 to 0, I saw the most impressive play...a team event by the way, occur. The Providence quarterback threw to a receiver that seemed to me to be wide open. Out of the clear blue, this man, Dominick Poole, came out of nowhere and intercepted the ball. After catching the ball, Dominick donned his cape and ran 99 yards (or more like 150 yards in total) to the end zone. I saw more great cuts...and great blocks, than I have the entire season. Randleman's defense all jumped in and helped Superman Poole to the end zone.
When I spoke to Coach Handy, after the game, he complimented Providence Grove on how tough that team played. I concurred with Coach Handy (who has tremendous humility for such a successful coach) because I fully agreed with his assessment. Providence Grove limited Randleman to only 7 points in the second half, a very impressive feat against a team known for being a "2nd half squad". The final score was 27 to 0.
Please support your local team and buy a ticket to watch some great character being developed. Some question our nation's future, but I'm not one of them. Instead, our generation of high school students inspire this 47 year old.