Leesville Road planned to begin its football season with a practice on Thursday at 12:01 a.m., but had to postpone until 8 a.m. because of heavy rain and lightning.
“The guys were really jacked up and excited about the midnight practice, but there was no way,” Leesville coach Chad Smothers said. “We were in a downpour and trying to go out wouldn’t have been beneficial so we bagged it.
“The kids came back at 7:30 in the morning and we had a really good practice.”
The Pride had 108 candidates at the first official workout.
Leesville is coming off back-to-back 12-1 seasons. It lost to Garner both years in the playoffs.
New Garner coach Thurman Leach had about 140 candidates at the Trojans’ 7:30 a.m. start.
“We’ve got a lot of new kids,” Leach said. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill. Our practice was not too bad.”
Leach, a longtime assistant at Garner who succeeded Nelson Smith as head coach, said it was a different experience for him on the field, even though he has been conducting offseason workouts.
“In the past, I could focus on my group, the defensive linemen and the linebackers,” Leach said. “Now that’s expanded. I’m very fortunate that I have a group of experienced coaches.”
Adam Hamrick, a former Garner quarterback, joined the staff after coaching at Knightdale in 2012.
Caps on the rise: The Broughton boys’ cross country team is not only ranked No. 1 in the state by ncmilesplit.com, but it’s getting some serious national consideration as well.
The national milesplit website has Broughton among the top 10 teams in the country in its preseason rankings based on returning runners’ best times.
Coach Dave Christian’s club has four runners – Will Roberson, John Dalton Rohr, Jeremy Brown and Asher Smith-Rose – with career bests under 16 minutes.
Southern Pines Pinecrest (No. 4), Cardinal Gibbons (6), Apex (7), Chapel Hill (10) and Green Hope (11) also are within the North Carolina boys top dozen.
Green Hope, which has won four straight N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A titles, is the top team in the North Carolina girls rankings.
Cardinal Gibbons is third, Millbrook is fifth, and Ravenscroft is 12th.
Heels offer Ingram: University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams offered a scholarship to 6-foot-6 junior forward Brandon Ingram of Kinston High. He helped the Vikings win the past two NCHSAA 2A championships.
Broughton football revamped: New Broughton football coach Billy Lane said he wants to chart a new course for the program.
“We installed a new philosophy – ‘Spot the Ball’ – which comprises more than just running an up-tempo, no-huddle offense,” Lane said. “It’s a mindset that dictates our approach in all phases. We want to move fast, play with purpose and intent, and maintain present-moment focus at all times.
“We want to make concrete strides in installing program philosophy.”
Soccer All-Americas: Alexis Shaffer and Alexis Degler of Green Hope have been named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America high school All-America team for the winter and spring seasons.
The seniors helped Green Hope to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championship and an undefeated season.
The team includes 29 players from 17 states. Shaffer and Degler were the only players chosen from North Carolina.
Shaffer was a two-time NSCAA All-America selection.
Tennis academics: The Roxboro Person girls’ tennis team has five players with overall weighted grade-point averages above 4.0, led by sophomore Cassidy Gillie’s 4.5.
All of the players on the Millbrook girls’ tennis team have GPAs above a 3.8.