Paul Connell

The Grid w/ Matt & Matt: Week 12

CHAPEL HILL– It’s the final week of high school gridiron action of the regular season. Postseason play begins next week. A few intriguing local showdowns certainly have the potential to light up your Friday night, but none more so than the Orange Panthers’ drive to perfection against Southern Durham. On at 7 p.m., tune in to the undefeated Orange “Crush” Panthers as they attempt to put the finishing touches on the season with yet another victory. This week, Head Coach Pat Moser’s squad faces a formidable opponent in the form of the 8-2 Spartans of Southern Durham. Last...

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Shoop Heads For Purdue

When Everett Withers and the remains of the Butch Davis coaching regime were not retained, only one member of the old staff stayed in Chapel Hill. John Shoop was still under contract for the 2012 season at UNC, so for the first time since grade school Shoop spent an autumn off the football field. Besides a completely new experience, he said it turned out to be one of the best years of his life. He grew a beard and wore cool, outdoorsy clothes. He watched his son and daughter in their school activities, like a normal parent. The Shoops actually took weeks and weekends off to travel, see the world and visit family and friends. While the early morning meetings and late-night game-planning were not part of his life and he barely stepped on a football field, the game he has loved forever was never far from his mind. He wrote a weekly column for Chapelboro, previewing the local college and high school games of note. He called Friday night prep games on WCHL radio with play-by-play sidekick Paul Connell. And, as the only member of Davis’ staff who still lived in Chapel Hill, Shoop unobtrusively remained an advocate for the players he had recruited and coached at Carolina. He wanted them to succeed under new coach Larry Fedora and he supported the players who had been through two...

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