Stevens: Technology brightens Friday night lights

tstevens@newsobserver.comNovember 11, 2013 

Friday night’s collection of high school football games might have been the best I can remember, and because of Twitter accounts and online coverage I could track a dozen games at once.

Years ago, the only way to get high school scores on a Friday night was to call the newspaper. Later, radio station WPTF began a Friday night high school scoreboard show. Television stations added shows later.

But technology has changed to the point that you can get play-by-play results in almost live time. By 11 p.m., full accounts of most of the biggest games already are posted at

For example, take a look at three of the most exciting games from Friday night as reported on the PrepsNow Twitter account:

8:19: South Johnston 21, Smithfield-Selma 0 5 minutes to play 1st half

8:52 p.m.: Wakefield 20, Leesville Road 17. End of 3rd qtr.

8:53: Sanderson 34, Millbrook 24 entering the 4th

8:59: Leesville's Malcolm Hitchcock runs in a 1-yard score on fourth and goal. Leesville Road 24, Wakefield 20 with 9:09 remaining

9:10: Chris Samuels gets Smithfield-Selma on the board with an 8-yd TD run and two-point conversion. Spartans trail South Johnston 21-8 3rd qtr

9:19: Football: Wakefield 27, Leesville Road 24 w/ 3:03 remaining. Brabrand runs in a 4-yard Wakefield score to give Wolverines the lead. # cap8

9:30: This is what Millbrook vs. Sanderson is all about. 41-40 with 1:44 in the 4th Quarter on Sanderson's Senior Night. # WildcatPride # RIVALRY

9:36: Wakefield 34, Leesville Road 31 with 50 seconds remaining. Wolverines score on a Brabrand to Dennis pass. # cap8

9:37: South Johnston 21, Smithfield-Selma 15. Raequan Smith with the 3-yd TD run for Spartans. 8:33 left 4th quarter

9:46: Football: Wakefield 34, Leesville Road 31. Final. Wild ending here. Wakefield wins first outright # cap8 title since 2005.

9:46: Millbrook survives as Sanderson misses last second field goal to take 41-40 win

9:54: South Johnston fumbles the ball, Smithfield-Selma recovers. Trojans lead by six with 3:38 left

10:03: Chris Samuels finds Raequan Smith for 33-yd TD pass with 1:29 left. XP gives Smithfield-Selma 22-21 lead over South Johnston

10:12: South Johnston comes up short on FG attempt. Smithfield-Selma will break 40-game losing streak – states longest – with a 22-21 WIN

Add Southern Durham’s wild 54-41 win for the Big Eight 3A title and Southeast Raleigh’s rally past Clayton, plus Shawn Stankavage’s seven touchdown passes for Cardinal Gibbons, and it was quite a night.

And instead of waiting until the next morning, the N&O had stories online from 13 games before 11 p.m. Eventually, 577 pictures from seven games were posted.

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