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Nick Stevens

Nick Stevens

Nick Stevens, a Raleigh native, is the senior editor of HighSchoolOT.com. Nick has covered high school sports for WRAL since 2006, and helped create what is now HighSchoolOT.com. In his blog, Nick provides insight and analysis on area high school sports teams, players and topics. He also provides his opinion on numerous issues surrounding high school sports. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT. You can contact Nick by clicking here or by sending an e-mail to nstevens@wral.com.

For Panther Creek, the key was defense


Oct 11, 2014

Brant Grisel (9) of the Middle Creek Mustangs.  Panther Creek High School traveled to Middle Creek High School and upset the home team on Homecoming defeating them with a score of 13 to 3.     (Photo by:  Suzie Wolf)

Brant Grisel (9) of the Middle Creek Mustangs. Panther Creek High School traveled to Middle Creek High School and upset the home team on Homecoming defeating them with a score of 13 to 3. (Photo by: Suzie Wolf)

We said it on HighSchoolOT Round Table this week. We said it on the pregame show on 620 The Buzz on Friday night. If Panther Creek was going to beat Middle Creek, they would have to do it with their defense.

During Friday's pregame show I said the biggest key for Panther Creek was not allowing the Mustangs to get off to a fast start. James Alverson added that the defense needed to create opportunities and capitalize on them.

All of this became reality.

Panther Creek held Middle Creek scoreless in the first half. In other words, they didn't allow Middle Creek the opportunity to get off to a fast start. It's hard to come back from behind against the Mustangs, but Panther Creek never trailed.

The Catamounts forced eight turnovers. Eight! That's the defense giving the offense opportunities. It also put the Middle Creek defense back on the field for extended periods of time.

And one of the Panther Creek turnovers was a pick six. Isaiah Laster grabbed a short

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Alumni Watch: Berrios brothers have big week


Sep 7, 2014

Braxton Berrios (8) finds some running room.  Leesville Road loses to Panther Creek at home with a score of 34 to 21.

Braxton Berrios (8) finds some running room. Leesville Road loses to Panther Creek at home with a score of 34 to 21.

Austin and Braxton Berrios, both products of Leesville Road High School, had big days on Saturday in the world of college football.

Braxton led the Miami Hurricanes in receiving with six receptions for 63 yards, averaging 10.5 yards per catch. His longest reception was for 22 yards.

The true freshman also returned three punts for 21 yards.

Austin scored the game-winning touchdown for Louisburg College against Fork Union Military Academy on Saturday, lifting the Hurricanes to a 28-25.

Johnathan Alston (Bunn): Alston caught three passes for 47 yards for NC State in the Wolfpack's 46-34 win over Old Dominion. He also carried the ball one time for three yards.

Ben Bolling (Knightdale): Bolling caught one pass for two yards for Campbell against Appalachian State.

Trent Bostick (Richmond): Bostick caught four passes for 92 yards to lead Charlotte in receiving against Johnson C. Smith.

Kameron

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Nick's Last Minute Picks: Week 3


Sep 5, 2014

Hillsides #5  runs the ball as Southern Durham defeats Hillside 16 to 13 Friday August 29, 2014 at O'Kelly-Riddick stadium in Durham, NC. (Photo by Jack Tarr/WRAL contributor.)

Hillsides #5 runs the ball as Southern Durham defeats Hillside 16 to 13 Friday August 29, 2014 at O'Kelly-Riddick stadium in Durham, NC. (Photo by Jack Tarr/WRAL contributor.)

Welcome to week three!

We saw a couple of surprises last week, and we even had a few close games. Will we have the same this week?

One thing I think we're going to see tonight is the PAC 6 picking up its first win. I'm picking Hillside to pick up the win tonight in South Carolina. 

Here are my other last minute picks...

Nick's Last Minute Picks: Week 3

Beddingfield @ Pinecrest

C.B. Aycock @ North Lenoir

Cape Fear @ Gray's Creek

Cardinal Gibbons @ Ravenscroft

Chapel Hill @ Carrboro

D.H. Conley @ Washington

Dudley @ Person

East Chapel Hill @ Cedar Ridge

Fike @ Kinston

Garner @ Broughton

Goldsboro @ Southern Wayne

Harnett Central @ Triton

Hertford

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Streaks come to an end in week two


Aug 31, 2014

Isaiah Totten (#5) of Apex High School runs with the ball.  Apex High School defeats Leesville Road 44 to 14 at Apex High School on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Photo By: Beth Jewell)

Isaiah Totten (#5) of Apex High School runs with the ball. Apex High School defeats Leesville Road 44 to 14 at Apex High School on Thursday, August 28, 2014. (Photo By: Beth Jewell)

It's fair to say that this is going to be an interesting season of high school football.

We've seen some teams who have been down in recent years get off to hot starts. But we've also seen some teams who we are used to being near the top take early falls.

There are a number of storylines and talking points that we could tackle this week, but the streaks seem to be a consistent theme, and it wasn't limited to just Friday. We saw a number of these themes reveal themselves on Thursday.

Peak City on the rise?

Quick. When was the last time Apex won its first two games of the season? If you guessed 2008 you are correct.

In 2008, the Cougars beat Holly Springs (35-24) and Broughton (28-24) in the first two weeks of the season. That was also the last time Apex had a winning season. The Cougars finished 10-5 overall and 7-1 in the conference, all leading to a third-round appearance in the state playoffs.

Heck, the last time Apex won more than

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Alumni Watch: Todd Gurley has big opening week


Aug 31, 2014

Fans in Tarboro remember Todd Gurley well (as do Tarboro's opponents).

He scored dozens of touchdowns and helped bring state titles back to Tarboro before he committed to the University of Georgia. Now he's scoring lots of touchdowns for the Bulldogs.

On Saturday evening, Gurley ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries against No. 16 Clemson. He also added a 100-yard kickoff return for another touchdown.

12th-ranked Georgia went on to defeat Clemson 45-21, moving to 1-0 on the season.

In his first two seasons at Georgia, Gurley rushed for 2,374 yards and 27 touchdowns on 387 carries. He also caught 53 passes for 558 yards and six touchdowns.

Georgia returns to action on Sept. 13 when it visits No. 9 South Carolina at 3:30 p.m.

NC State gets help from a couple locals

Former Wakefield kicker Niklas Sade drilled home a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter for NC State, bringing the Wolfpack within 7-3 of Georgia Southern.

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