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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.

Plenty of storylines as we enter week two


Aug 25, 2014

Durham Hillside's #10 runs the ball as New Bern defeats Durham Hillside 12 to 0  at Durham Hillside High School Friday August 22, 2014. (Photo by Jack Tarr/WRAL contributor.)

Durham Hillside's #10 runs the ball as New Bern defeats Durham Hillside 12 to 0 at Durham Hillside High School Friday August 22, 2014. (Photo by Jack Tarr/WRAL contributor.)

Each weekend I sit down and start mapping out the week to come. It's something everyone in the media has to do at some point.

We have a lot of storylines to cover this week, and they're not all in football.

Here are a few:

Wake County Cup continues Monday

There are four boys soccer teams left in the winners bracket of the 2014 Wake County Cup, and the semifinals are slated for Monday evening.

Apex will take on Sanderson at 5:00, followed by Millbrook and Cardinal Gibbons at 7:00. Both games will be played at Cardinal Gibbons High School.

Rain and lightning caused problems for the Wake County Cup last week, so hopefully Mother Nature will be a little bit nicer on Monday night.

Thursday night football

If you've followed HighSchoolOT.com for a while, you know I cannot stand the thought of varsity football games on a Thursday night. But a handful of schools just won't listen to me, I don't know why?! 

We

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Five things to take away from opening week


Aug 24, 2014

Elijah Perry #4.  Garner travels to Middle Creek for the 2014 season opener.   Middle Creek holds on to win 28 to 21.  (Photo by:  Suzie Wolf)

Elijah Perry #4. Garner travels to Middle Creek for the 2014 season opener. Middle Creek holds on to win 28 to 21. (Photo by: Suzie Wolf)

Week one of the high school football season is in the books and it was one of the more entertaining opening weeks that I can remember.

We had several great games, several great finishes, some comebacks, and more great individual performances than I could possibly name in this column. It's a good thing we still have 16 weeks of the season left.

Here are five of my takeaways from week one.

If this is a hint of things to come, it's going to be a fun season:

Think about all the close games, all the thrillers that went right down to the wire, and all the games that were decided in the final minutes.

I had one of them. Cleveland led Clayton by 17 points in the second half, but the Comets stormed back and took a four-point lead with less than two minutes left in the game. I learned long ago you never leave a Cleveland game early though because often times there are some crazy things about to happen. That was the case on Friday night. With less

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Nick's Last Minute Picks: Week 1


Aug 22, 2014

Garner wins the fourth game over Sanderson at the 2014 HighSchoolOT Jamboree 7 -0. (Photo By: Beth Jewell)

Garner wins the fourth game over Sanderson at the 2014 HighSchoolOT Jamboree 7 -0. (Photo By: Beth Jewell)

It's another year of Football Friday and I'm back to give you my weekly picks.

Historically I'm not so good at this, so if you're picking games in our Football Friday Challenge, beware of using my picks.

Speaking of the Football Friday Challenge, you can sign-up to play the game for free. You pick the winners of ten games each week, including a tie-breaker game, and we give the weekly winner a $20 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods.

There are 17 weeks in the season, we'll use your top ten weeks at the end to determine the overall winner. The overall winner will get a $100 gift card.

You can also compare your Football Friday Challenge picks to some of our VIPs – myself, Zach Mayo, James Alverson and Chris Edwards of HighSchoolOT.com; Tom Suiter, the host

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High school coaches should play a bigger role


Jul 27, 2014

Basketball - Generic Graphic

Basketball - Generic Graphic

On Saturday I published a column about the dire state of basketball today. There are many contributing factors, from club basketball, to self-proclaimed scouts, to trainers.

All of these characters have too much influence on basketball. But there's another factor that impacts the sport – a lack of influence from the high school coach.

We hold high school coaches accountable. You may not agree with their coaching strategies all the time, but they have an athletic director and principal to report to, they have a school district to report to, they have a state association to report to, and they have a national body to report to.

If a high school coach does something unethical or illegal, they're going to face repercussions. At the club level, not so much. There's little organization at the club level. There are multiple leagues for club teams to play in. And if a coach does happen to be disciplined,

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Consider the source: Ask questions, be skeptical


Jul 27, 2014

Basketball, Generic

Basketball, Generic

For those who don't know me, basketball is far and away my favorite sport.

To me, there is nothing more exciting than watching two good teams going back and forth, two good coaches making adjustments and the fans so close to the floor that you can hardly hear yourself think.

These days, there is noise coming from other places, though: noise you can't ignore, even though we would all be wise to do so.

For many years, there has been a dark side to basketball. Many people point to AAU as the source. I won't even say AAU because AAU is just one organization in what has become a sea of club basketball leagues.

Heck, there are many tournaments that are held that aren't sanctioned by any league.

Does club basketball hold responsibility for the problems our sport has today? Without a doubt.

Club basketball has become so much about one thing for many kids and parents – the scholarship. And for some coaches and directors, they seek power, influence, and –

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