Beasley, Brooks, Wilson, Sellers Star in Orange Scrimmage vs. South Granville

For the many that gathered at Orange Football practice field on Wednesday night for the Panthers’ first football scrimmage of 2017, they may not have recognized the team that ended last season in the 2nd round of the state playoffs against Havelock.

Former head coach Pat Moser was probably at a pond somewhere in Graham fishing. The double wing offense, which had been synonymous with Orange football in 1998, was nowhere to be found. Stone Edwards, a stalwart on the defensive line for the past three years, was in Nashville preparing for his freshman season at Vanderbilt. Last year’s starting quarterback, Jackson Schmid, now hangs his hat at Division III Wheaton College in Illinois.

What was remaining has been well documented. Payton Wilson, the #2 outside linebacker in the country who committed to UNC in May, received snaps at quarterback and wide receiver on offense. Marvante Beasley, who rushed for 1,040 yards in 2016, fresh off a summer of training camp visits to schools like Virginia Tech and Appalachian State. Defensive end Ryan Sellers, who led a powerful Orange defense that yielded just three touchdowns in the 2016 regular season, anchoring the defensive line with Noah Rogers and Daylan Alston.

In a 140-play scrimmage, Orange out scored South Granville 6 touchdowns to 3. Each team had 15 offensive plays. Orange scored twice on each of its first two possessions. Senior Brandon Huss started at quarterback, alternating with Rodney Brooks throughout the scrimmage. Huss scored the opening touchdown on a 3-yard run, which was set up after a long catch-and-run by wide receiver Eryk Mercado.

Later on the same drive, Brooks was inserted at quarterback and threw to Hunter Pettiford to move into Viking territory. Beasley scored on a 33-yard run on the next play.

Brooks later threw to senior wide receiver Kendall Whitted for a 38-yard touchdown. Beasley scored two touchdowns.

South Granville, running a triple option attack, scored on its opening possession. They also scored on an interception return for a TD.

Orange will return to action at Auman Stadium on Friday night at 7:00 against traditional scrimmage opponent Eastern Alamance. Next Friday, the Panthers travel to Rocky Mount to face Northern Nash for the season opener, which you can hear on starting at 6:45.

Orange Midfielder Omar Landeros Discusses the Season Opener at Carrboro

Coming off an 8-11-1 season in 2016, the Orange boys soccer team starts its season on Monday against might Carrboro at Jaguars Stadium. Rising senior Jamar Davis led the Panthers last season with 20 goals and six assists. Omar Landeros will provide leadership at midfield as Orange contends with a bigger and better Big 8 conference, which added East Chapel Hill, Northern Durham and Hillside during the summer.

Cedar Ridge Center Back Henry Mellor Discusses Monday’s Season Opener

It will be a young Cedar Ridge boys soccer team that takes the field on Monday night in the season opener at Durham School of the Arts. The Red Wolves lost nine seniors from last year’s team, including leading scorer Trent Gill, who scored 16 goals, midfielder Elmer Trujillo, who scored six goals, and Rene Castellanos. In 2016, the Red Wolves finished 10-6-4 overall, 7-3-2 in the Big 8, behind only Chapel Hil. One player who is returning is senior center back Henry Mellor, who will guide the back line for head coach Chris Walker.

Cedar Ridge’s Widman Named Big 8 Lax Player of the Year; Orange’s Wolter GK of the Year

Regardless of whether new Cedar Ridge graduates Jack Widman, Sean Tobin, Cole Bullard, Kelsey Acome, Carter Danku, Ethan Strowd, Alex Bernal or Issac Rivera go now after turning their tassels on Friday at the Smith Center, they can rest assured they are in exclusive company.

Their own.

They will forever be known as the first high school lacrosse team from Hillsborugh to play for a state championship. Though they lost to Weddington 21-6 at WakeMed Soccer Park on May 19, it didn’t erase the fact that the Red Wolves won the 3A/2A/1A Eastern Regional Championship.

On Thursday, Widman was named the Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year. Widman scored 59 goals, notched 33 assists and finished with 92 points in his senior season. In his career, he scored 105 goals, 75 assists and 180 points. He also won 65% of his faceoffs, capturing 80 out of 123 draws.

Widman’s classmate Cole Bullard was named Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year. Bullard scored 20 goals and eight assists for the Red Wolves. Bullard had a season-high four goals in the May 9 playoff victory over Eastern Alamance. He scored a team-high two goals in the state championship game.

Orange’s Tyson Wolter was named Big 8 Goalie of the Year. Wolter played 565 minutes and made 152 saves, finishing with a .593 save percentage. The Panthers ended the year 11-4.

Ironically, Orange’s David O’Neal was named Big 8 Coach of the Year. The announcement came during the same week where it was publicly revealed that O’Neal wouldn’t return to the Orange sideline next season. A source close to the team says that O’Neal’s undoing came after an incident during a game with Cedar Ridge on April 7 when several coaches were ejected contesting a check by midfielder Payton Wilson.

Under O’Neal’s direction, the Panthers defeated Cedar Ridge 14-13 and finished 11-4.

Also making the All-Big 8 team for Cedar Ridge:

* Senior attacker Sean Tobin, who finished with 45 goal and 18 assists. Tobin scored 63 points and ends his CRHS career with 146 goals and 69 assists. The 146 goals is a school record.

* Kelsey Acome. The midfielder registered 12 goals and five assists. He led the team with 136 ground balls.

* Midfielder Carter Danku. Another senior who finished with 21 goals and 22 points on the season. Danku S finished with a hat trick in a 16-14 win at Chapel Hill that clinched Cedar Ridge’s 2nd straight Big 8 Championship.

* Junior Ian Corbin. The defenseman played 16 games and proved a reliable presence for goalie Zak Berry.

In addition to Wolter, two other Orange players were named to the All-Big 8 Squad. Sophomore Tanner Boyer led the team with 34 goals and 22 assists, along with 56 points.  Boyer had six hat tricks, including four-goal games against Eastern Alamance and Voyager Academy. He totaled seven points in an 8-7 victory over 2016 3A/2A/1A Eastern Regional Champion Carrboro.

Junior Payton Wilson also made the all-Big 8 team, the third time this yerar he appeared on an all-conference team. He was also the Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year in football and the 3A 220-pound state champion. Wilson used his grappling experience to win 58 faceoffs, a 65% success rate. His also scored 16 goals in what will be his final season of lacrosse at Orange. Last month, Wilson committed to play football at UNC and plans to enroll in early 2018.

Cedar Ridge’s Demetrius Lyles and Nick Bachelder were named honorable mention All-Big 8. Orange’s Jaylin Jones was also named honorable mention All-Big 8.

Davidson, Hamlett, Givens, Hurdle, Lloyd Named All-Big 8 For State Champion Panthers

To the surprise of no one, Mia Davidson was named Big 8 Player of the Year for the 3A State Champion Orange Panthers Softball Team.

Orange placed five players on the All-Big 8 team, including the three senior tri-captains: Davidson, pitcher Kristina Givens and shortstop Abby Hamlett.

Also named to the All-Conference team for Orange were junior centerfielder Alysann Lloyd and freshman 1st baseman Jaden Hurdle.

In addition, Cedar Ridge placed two players on the All-Big 8 squad, Kara Wagoner and Tionna Carter.

Davidson finished the season with a .517 batting average, along with 12 home runs and 50 RBI. Her on-base percentage was .750. Davidson, who was named the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year for the second consecutive year on Monday, heads to Mississippi State with 53 career home runs, a North Carolina record.

Givens finished 22-3 in 256 pitching appearances. She threw five complete games, but her biggest contributions came in Orange’s run to the 3A State Championship. She threw 230 pitches in one night as the Panthers won two games against West Brunswick to capture the 3A Eastern Regional Championship. The following weekend, she threw 238 pitches in sweeping the state championship series against Piedmont.

Early in the season, Hamlett moved to shortstop in order to make room for freshman Grace Andrews at 2nd base, and it proved to be the right fit. Hamlett finished with a .489 average with a team-leading 43 hits. She was second on the team with 45 runs. She also led the team with 15 multi-hit games. Hamlett will go to East Carolina next fall for a medical career, and may also try out for softball.

Lloyd hit .342 with 25 hits and 24 RBIs. She hit six doubles. Lloyd was also the top hitter for Orange during the West Brunswick series, going 4-for-10 with 3 RBIs.

Hurdle anchored first base and may have been the biggest addition on the team. For the regular season, she had the top batting average on the team. She finished with a .443 average with 39 hits and 39 RBIs. Hurdle had RBI singles in each of the state championship series games against Piedmont, plus a 3-run homer in game 1 of the West Brunswick series.

For Cedar Ridge, Wagoner, a sophomore, hit .419 with eight RBIs. Carter hit .400 with 12 RBI.

J.F. Webb’s Leo Brunelli, who is also the boys basketball coach, was named Big 8 Coach of the Year. Webb’s Mary Ann Clement was named the Big 8 Pitcher of the Year.