HILLSBOROUGH – The Orange Football Panthers continue their quest for a state title with another meeting with Southern Durham Friday night in the third round of the 3AA State Playoffs.
The Panthers and Spartans met in the regular season finale in Durham when Southern took the 55-41 win to secure the conference title. Since then, the Spartans have taken down Chapel Hill and Cardinal Gibbons in the first and second rounds respectively.
Orange is coming off a 59-50 win against Cleveland. Despite going 10-1 in the regular season, Orange was given a No. 6 seed and has been playing on the road since hosting the opening round.
The winner advances to the regional final, just one game away from the state championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and you can hear all the action on WCHL and Chapelboro.com beginning at 6:30 p.m. with The Grid with Matt and Matt.http://chapelboro.com/sports/high-school/orange-continues-state-title-quest-southern/
HILLSBOROUGH–Orange High School has been quietly going about their business this season-as quietly as a dominant, undefeated powerhouse can be. Or as quietly as a unit that has outscored its opponents 422-85 can possibly be.
But now, here they are. The Orange “Crush” Panthers are on the doorstep of perfection. If they defeat 8-2 Southern Durham Friday night, Head Coach Pat Moser’s boys will have run the gauntlet and completed a perfect regular season of play at 11-0.
***Listen to the interview***
But Coach Moser says around the locker room, they really haven’t been talking about the shot at an undefeated campaign. They just take it one step at a time.
“There’s really been no talk of it amongst the team. We haven’t brought it up as a staff,” Coach Moser says.
Coach Moser says some of the “old-timers” around the school have reminded him the last time Orange had a run like this back in the 70’s, their one blemish on the schedule came to a familiar opponent, Southern Durham. So you can bet Orange is fully engaged for the battle that lies ahead under the lights Friday night.
“It’s important [to go undefeated]. And we want to do it. But at the same time, Southern Durham is a top-notch state contender, and we’re going to have to play well,” Coach Moser says.
Last week’s opponent for the Panthers, Cardinal Gibbons, reminds Coach Moser a lot of Southern Durham, and the explosive offensive challenge his team will face. Coach Moser says he will be hoping for a similar defensive solution to cap off the regular season. The score was tied at 28 last week before some halftime adjustments inspired Orange to deliver a second half shutout, leaving no do doubt of their dominance.
“They’re very similar to Cardinal Gibbons. The only difference really is they have quarterbacks that can move and scramble. They both can deliver the ball deep. Their offenses are explosive and can score quickly. They got big play capability,” Coach Moser says.
Everyone can follow along as Orange aims for the undefeated season on Friday night starting at 6 p.m. with The Grid with Matt & Matt pregame show on 97. 9 FM WCHL followed by live streaming of the big game on Chapelboro.com.http://chapelboro.com/sports/high-school/drive-to-perfection-orange-panthers-sit-on-doorstep-of-undefeated-year/
Photo courtesy of The News of Orange
HILLSBOROUGH–Local Orange High School graduate Marquis Riley just got a call from the Atlanta Braves.
Riley has spent the last year playing second base for the Joliet Illinois Slammers, a baseball team where players have no real shot to move to the next level.
But Riley caught the eye of some Atlanta Braves scouts and now he will be signing a minor league contract with the organization. Riley will now compete in the Braves’ spring training for a roster spot on one of the many minor league squads ranging from A, AA and AAA.
“It’s a good experience. I’ve been working hard trying to get here, and now I’ve got the opportunity, and hopefully now I can just make the most of it,” Riley says.
Agents say it is likely Riley will end up starting with the Rome Braves in Georgia.
While at Orange High School, Riley led the Panthers to state title in his senior season.
“Hardly anybody could strike him out. He had this thing where no matter what, [even if] he got two strikes on him, he was putting the ball in play. He rarely struck out in high school and college. His senior year, I don’t think he struck out at all. That’s pretty much unheard of,” Orange baseball coach Dean Dease says.
Riley says although he has been working hard to improve his game, he is a bit surprised at how soon he got the call up to the next level.
“It was something that I had kind of hoped would happen. I had kind of given up on it. I thought if I was going to get picked up, it would happen during the season, and I’d have to wait until next year,” Riley says.
But now that Riley has broken in the door, he hopes to continue to rise through the ranks and make it all the way to the major leagues someday.
HILLSBOROUGH– The dog days of summer provide a definite lull in the normal buzzing of sports activity in every other season. With the unfortunate void, minds tend to wander to the end of August, when the glories of football return.
Although on a national scale, the college and professional games garner nearly all the attention, for some purists, there is nothing better than Friday night lights. Yes, high school football reigns supreme in many regions.
And if you can cast your eyes past the giant in the room that is UNC in these neck of the woods, you may just find a palpable mix of passion and performance on the gridiron that has many locals all fired up!
This time on The Grid, I had the opportunity to chat with Pat Moser, Head football coach down in Hillsborough at Orange High School.
***Listen to the full interview***
And with the start of the 2013 high school football season just one week away, Coach Moser is busy polishing up his team for a chance at Great 8 conference glory.
And his Panthers squad is the focus of our final preseason column on The Grid. Go ahead and start crying, I know.
Fifth-year Head coach Pat Moser says he’s excited about the 2013 season for his Panthers squad. He says last season’s 12-3 record and run to the state quarterfinals with a win over perennial powerhouse Eastern Alamance has only added to his team’s confidence level.
“It was big for our program. Eastern [Alamance] has been good for quite some time. So for us to be able to beat Eastern Alamance, it allowed us to come of age a little bit with our program,” Moser said.
What’s more, Moser says he really likes this group of young men. And it doesn’t hurt that Orange’s junior varsity team went undefeated last season. Any voids left by graduating seniors would seem to be in good hands.
“We’ve got a good group of kids coming back from last year’s team. We’ve got an undefeated JV team to add to some good returners from our varsity,” Moser said.
Moser spoke like a man not lacking of any confidence in his team’s experience. Their mix of athleticism and experience could be a recipe for winning football this season.
Entering their debut campaign in the new and improved Great 8 conference, Moser says he knows his team has been putting in the hard work the entire offseason in preparation for the week-to-week grind of the power conference, where no one can be taken lightly.
“I don’t think there is any team in the state of North Carolina that has worked any harder than we have in the offseason,” Moser said.
And putting in those long hours and knowing that you have been putting in the effort can only breed more confidence in a group of high school boys. You expect it to pay off—in wins.
Moser says senior quarterback Garrett Cloer will be the ultimate key to the Panthers’ success on the football field this fall. According to Moser, his signal caller must manage the game with intelligence and distribute the ball to the playmakers. He must be a “field general and do enough passing early on to keep the threat there.”
Yes, Coach Moser acknowledged the brutal in store for his team, especially with the conference slate, but Moser says he thinks his kids are up to the challenge.
“They expect to win. And they are a group of winners. […] Our guys are primed and ready to go,” Moser said.
Let’s take the man by his word. We’re ready to go too! And one week from today, we have liftoff. The talk and speculation is over. It is time to settle it on The Grid.
CHAPEL HILL – As a teenager, many decisions are made on your impulse and need for gratification, said District Court Judge Charles Anderson in the Hillsborough Courthouse on Thursday to Collin Parker Lunsford, a recent graduate of Orange High School.
Lunsford, of Little River Church Road in Hillsborough, pleaded guilty to a vehicle speed competition, resulting in the death of Kacie Chamberlain, 16, and Chase Underhill, 16, on December 29, 2012.
Lunsford was charged with four misdemeanor charges initially; the court dismissed two deaths by motor vehicle charges; his other two charges of reckless driving and pre-arranged speed competition initially stood.
According to Lunsford’s Defense Attorney, Sam Coleman, Lunsford saw Underhill and Chamberlain, along with two other passengers, while driving. Lunsford and Underhill then agreed to a race on Little River Church Road. Both driving pickup trucks, Underhill lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree off the road. The accident occurred at 10:30 p.m.
Lunsford stayed at the scene until McCray Williams, 15, and Sam Whaley, 16, the other two passengers in Underhill’s vehicle, were airlifted to Duke University Medical Hospital.
Williams and Whaley had injuries, but are recovering.
Coleman said none of the passengers in Underhill’s truck were wearing seat belts.
On Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman announced that the speed competition was not pre-arranged. The charge was moved down from a Class 1 to a Class 2 misdemeanor, for a non-prearranged speed competition.
Nieman said Lunsford’s lack of a criminal record and willingness to take responsibility also factored into the verdict.
Underhill’s mother, April Davis, spoke in court on Thursday.
“One of the things I needed to say is you can’t know what it feels like to be the mother of Chase right now,” said Davis. “He loved Kacie and he’d do anything to protect her.”
Davis said she forgave Lunsford while visiting the Whaley home.
“If we can save one family from going through our pain, then it’s worth it,” said Davis.
Coleman said Lunsford was seventeen when the incident happened. He told the court since two days after the wreck, he has not driven a car.
Judge Anderson said it is easier to forgive a mistake than to not learn from a mistake. He said he wants the incident to serve as a lesson and that money and jail time will not keep other kids from recklessly driving.
Lunsford must pay a court cost of $110 for reckless driving; he must serve eighteen months of probation; and his two charges dictate 30 days in jail, each; but the jail time is suspended, unless Lunsford violates his probation.
Judge Anderson ruled that, in December, Lunsford must present a program or curriculum about teenage driving safety to be implemented throughout the Orange County school system, police department, and other jurisdictions. He said he must share his work with his lawyers and social worker, Peter Kramer. And, he said the program is intended to teach teens to be careful on the roads and avoid racing and speeding.
“This project is to provide light at the end of the tunnel,” said Judge Anderson.http://chapelboro.com/news/crime/oc-teenage-speed-competition-driver-pleads-guilty/
ORANGE COUNTY – Orange County Schools added 450 alumni Friday night in the Dean Smith Center as Orange and Cedar Ridge high schools held their 2013 commencement.
Orange, in its 50th year, sent 232 now former students on to their next journey in life. Cedar Ridge, in its 11th year, awarded diplomas to 218 graduates.
Many have chosen to continue their academic career at colleges and universities near and far, including many schools in the UNC system. Some have chosen to serve our country in one of the armed forces. Others have announced they will seek employment directly out of school, while some have also not yet decided where the road will take them.