Garner Cleveland: Sports

July 28, 2014

N.C. State, Wake Forest get NCHSAA football finals

The NCHSAA will hold its state championship football games at N.C. State and Wake Forest universities this season.

N.C. State and Wake Forest will be the sites of the eight N.C. High School Athletic Association football championship games in December. North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium, which usually is a title game host, will be unavailable because of construction.

Davis Whitfield, the NCHSAA commissioner, said this year’s championship games will be scheduled for Friday night, Dec. 12, and at noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13.

“Our coaches have told us they don’t like playing before noon and that they’d like a little more time between games,” Whitfield said. “The winning teams want to have a chance to enjoy the title on the field a little longer.”

The NCHSAA divides its four classifications for football and plays title games in 1A, 1AA, 2A, 2AA, 3A, 3AA, 4A and 4AA.

Playoff changes: The NCHSAA is considering playoff changes in baseball, softball and basketball.

The softball finals are expected to move from Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Softball Complex to N.C. State and UNC Greensboro. The venue change will make the championship series more like the baseball finals.

The baseball championship series will have a different look, as well. The NCHSAA is searching for an alternative site to N.C. State. The NCHSAA championship series has date conflicts with the NCAA playoffs, which N.C. State would like to host. Three of the past four years, the NCHSAA has had to move its finals from the Wolfpack’s Doak Field.

“N.C. State has been a wonderful host for us and we are very proud of the the job that (coach) Elliott Avent has done with State’s program,” Whitfield said. “We understand the school’s desire to host NCAA playoff games and support that, but we need to look for alternatives.”

Whitfield said the NCHSAA also is examining it basketball regionals but hasn’t finalized a format.

Wheelchair athletes: The NCHSAA is considering changes to its team scoring in the state track championships. Winston-Salem Mount Tabor nipped Apex for the boys’ 4A title in the spring 63-57, helped by eight points earned by two wheelchair athletes.

The two wheelchair athletes competed in four races unopposed or against each other.

“We definitely don’t want to do anything that would discourage participation. That would be going backward,” Whitfield said. “But we understand that the scoring system is something we need to examine.”

State associations throughout the country use various scoring systems in the state championships for athletes with impairments. The NCHSAA might develop a system that would require athletes in events without a full field to meet a minimum time or distance to earn team points.

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