If there’s one overriding thought I have going forward out of Friday’s 4AA eastern regional championship game, it’s this: Garner and Wake Forest need to play during the regular season.
What could be better in the regular season than Wake County’s two best programs matching up every year?
The level of play, outright respect on both sides and atmosphere in Trentini Stadium on Friday were all impressive.
From a Garner perspective, the Trojans saw a level of play Friday night they had not seen throughout the regular season or the playoffs. There’s an easy way to help fix that, going forward: boost up that non-conference schedule.
No, the level of play between any two teams is not the same in August or September than it is in December, but getting that top-rung gauge of what it takes would be invaluable.
The Trojans, frankly, don’t get that right now, in the non-conference schedule or the conference slate. Middle Creek isn’t it and certainly Broughton and Cary are not.
So if there’s no series on the table with Wake Forest to be had, call Richmond County or Scotland County or Jack Britt. I can understand the desire to play teams like Middle Creek and Cleveland because of the attendance, but a game against Wake Forest, Richmond, Scotland, Britt or Millbrook would certainly draw more fans than games against Broughton or Cary.
Sure, there are many factors that go into who to schedule in football from cross scheduling needs in other sports to who’s available and when and so on. But I think rethinking the schedule a bit would help the Trojans in the long run.
What’s in it for the schools?: One of the somewhat lower profile items from the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s fall board meeting was the decision to go into an agreement with Time Warner Cable to allow live television broadcasts of regular season football games on Thursday nights.
TWC will be able to request that certain games be moved to Thursday for broadcast. The NCHSAA has said schools will have the option to move the game to Thursday and be televised or leave the game on Friday and not be televised.
I wonder what benefit there is in those broadcasts for the participating schools? Thursday games have proven to be consistently a lesser draw gate attendance wise. And I’m certain this isn’t a non-financial arrangement between the NCHSAA and TWC.
So shouldn’t the schools playing in those games receive some sort of financial compensation? I’d say they should.
With funding high school athletics certainly not on the rise from school systems and other revenue streams tougher to maintain than in years past, the only untapped frontier where there is potentially room for growth is broadcast rights.
Yes, the NCHSAA does wonderful things for high school athletics, but any fees received from television broadcast rights should be shared to some degree with the high schools themselves.
Otherwise, this just feels like one of those cases that so many high school athletic leaders lament about where funds raised through special or playoff games seem to not benefit the student-athletes and local schools as much as they should.
Locals in the Grey Cup: Two local football standouts played in Canada’s equivalent of the Super Bowl last month. Garner graduate Brandon Banks and Southeast Raleigh grad Brian Simmons are members of the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
The Calgary Stampeders defeated the Tigers Cats 20-16 to win the 102nd battle for the Grey Cup.
Banks scored Hamilton’s only touchdown in the game on a 45-yard reception. He totaled a team-high 81 receiving yards and had 119 total yards on punt or kick off returns. His longest punt return covered 45 yards on the night.
Simmons is the Tiger Cats’ starting right guard and is in his fourth year of CFL play. He played at Oklahoma (2006-09) after time at Hargrave Military Academy and Southeast.
Banks previously played for the Washington Redskins in the NFL. He’s primarily a kick returner for Hamilton. He topped the 1,000-yard mark in career kick off return yardage in his CFL career this season.
Milhouse garners honor: Garner native Greg Milhouse was one of seven Campbell University players selected for the Pioneer Football League All-Conference teams.
Milhouse, a junior defensive lineman, was named to the second-team.
In his first season with the Camels after transferring from Appalachian State, Milhouse picked up Second Team All-PFL honors with 57 total tackles, including 5.0 for loss and 2.5 sacks. The junior batted down five passes, hurried five quarterbacks, plus forced and recovered a fumble in 2014.
Hall shines at snapping camp: Wake Christian Academy sophomore Mitch Hall impressed at the Rubio Long Snapping Camp in Cornelius recently. Success there can go a long way. Last year, more than 100 Rubio Long Snapping alums snapped in college or the NFL.