Viking Basketball in Action at Mitchell over Weekend

The Avery Viking men’s and women’s basketball teams are in action at Mitchell High School over the weekend, facing RS Central on Friday, November 27th, at 3 PM with the Lady Vikings playing first, followed by the men.  The two teams are in action on Saturday as well facing Sullivan North at Noon.

The Lady Vikings are looking to rebound from their 2 point loss at the hands of Cloudland on Tuesday that opened their season.  The Men will look to improve on their 1-0 start, hoping to follow up their huge 65-63 victory from Tuesday with another victory in today’s action.  GO VIKES!


Irish Fall to Huskies 33-30 in 2 OT

In the early 1800’s fur traders founded a small town along the south bend of the St. Joseph’s River in northern Indiana.  In 1842, Reverend Edward Sorin founded an all-male university just north of South Bend.  That university…the University of Notre Dame.  Today, The University of Notre Dame still sits just on the northern edge of South Bend, and has become the drawing point for this not-so-little town today.

Notre Dame is now home to just over 11,000 students today and since 1972 has been open to women, who now make up around 47 percent of the student population.  All in all, you could say that this little Catholic University has become a big deal in the realm of Colleges and Universities throughout the Nation.  That history has been aided by a storied football program that began 122 years ago and has become one of the elite programs in Division I FBS football.

The University of Michigan football team first introduced the sport to a group of Notre Dame Students in 1887; since that time the team has won 11 consensus National Championships (1924, 1929, 1930, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977, and 1988).  The story has taken football fans through coaches like Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy and Lou Holtz.  The story includes George Gipp, The Four Horsemen, Joe Montana and Brady Quinn.  It is a story of history and a story of pride…a story of the Fightin’ Irish.

The 2009 version is coached by Charlie Weis, and has been surrounded by questions of the future, questions of the past, and questions about expectations…all questions that could be answered when the season ends…but those questions were on the back burner when the University of Connecticut came to town to face the Irish on Saturday.  For 4 hours on Saturday evening it was about playing football.

Saturday was the first meeting between the two schools, and the history of the UConn Huskies seems much smaller when lined up aside Notre Dame.  UConn has only been a part of Division I FBS for 7 years and what has been done in those 7 years came full circle when they took to the turf of Notre Dame Stadium.  The Huskies entered the contest with upset on their mind, wanting nothing more than to get the win, although the reasoning likely was not to ruin Senior Day for 33 Irish players.  The reason was deeper than that.

The Huskies have struggled to follow up their great 2008 campaign due to the untimely death of RB Jasper Howard a few weeks back.   Since the death of Howard, the Huskies entered the contest losing 3 straight, having not won since their 38-25 victory over Louisville on October 17.  Husky Coach Randy Edsall has done a great job keeping his team together following the loss of Howard, and the team has become unified beyond measure.

The Irish won the toss and differed to the second half, and the Huskies took the opening kick to begin the contest.  The Huskies would start from their own 24 yard line, and the Irish would hold them to 3 plays and 4 yards, forcing a UConn punt and giving the Irish their first possession on their own 31 yard line.  Jimmy Clausen would then lead the Irish down the field on 9 plays, going 69 yards and capping the drive with an 8 yard pass to Golden Tate in the end zone to put the Irish up 7-0 just over 4 minutes into the contest.

The teams would then trade possessions, but the Irish would begin to drive as the quarter closed working their way to the UConn 1 yard line as the period came to a close.  The Irish took only two plays in the 2nd quarter to extend the score to 14-0, capping the drive with a 1 yard QB sneak by Clausen.

The Huskies took the ensuing kick and start a drive on their own 25.  On a crucial 3rd and 4 from their own 31, Husky QB Zach Frazer would fire a pass just out of the reach of intended receiver Michael Smith, but an unnecessary roughness call would give the Huskies new life on the drive, giving them 1st and 10 from their own 46.  Five plays later the Huskies would capitalize as RB Jordan Todman would scurry in from 43 yards out to cut the Irish lead to 14-7.

The UConn defense would step up forcing the Irish to punt after just 4 plays and 15 yards.  The Huskies would then charge 52 yards on 13 plays, capping the drive with a 39 yard David Teggart Field Goal to cut the lead to 14-10 with 3:42 remaining in the first half.  The teams would trade possessions to end the half.

During the first half, Clausen was 17 of 24 for 179 yards and 2 TD (1 passing, 1 rushing).  Golden Tate had 6 catches for 96 yards.  Tate’s 5th grab of the day, a 39 yard reception, made him the single season Irish reception leader.  The 39 yards also made him the single season yardage leader, passing Jeff Samardzija’s total of 78 catches in 2006 and 1,249 yards (2005).

As the second half opened the Irish took the opening kick, turning it into an 11 play, 77 yard drive that ended with an Irish field goal to extend the lead to 17-10.  Todman would then take the ensuing kickoff and return it 96 yards to tie the contest at 17-17 with just over 9 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.  The Irish and the Huskies would trade possessions, before the Irish would then take the ball and drive the field with Clausen finding Michael Floyd at the UConn 17 to give the Irish a first down, but Robert McClain would reach in and strip Floyd at the 14 yard line, and the Huskies would recover the fumble to halt the Irish drive.

The 3rd quarter would come to a close with the game knotted at 17-17 and the Irish possessing the ball at the UConn 39 yard line.  The Irish would drive the field and cap their opening drive of the final stanza with a 23 yard kick from David Ruffer to give the Irish a 20-17 margin with just under 11 minutes to play.  The defenses would step up and neither team would mount a scoring drive until late in the game.  The Huskies would drive the field, unable to drive deep against the Irish defense, but adding a field goal to tie the contest at 20-20 with just over a minute remaining in regulation.

The Irish would begin a drive with hopes of pulling out one of Clausen’s classic 4th quarter drives.  The Irish began to drive, but the Husky defense had other plans for the Irish forcing a fumble at the Notre Dame 41 yard line and recovering to get the ball back with 49 seconds remaining.  The Huskies would need just 10 yards to be in reasonable field goal range, but would get some great moves from RB Andre Dixon to move them to the Irish 20.  The Huskies would bring out the kicking team, resting the game on the foot of Teggart from 37 yards.  Teggart had hit from 39 earlier in the game, but this one would sail wide left to send the game into overtime.

In the first overtime period the Irish would choose defense  and the Huskies would start riding the legs of Dixon as he moved them down the field setting up a pass from Frazer to Kashif Moore in the corner of the end zone giving UConn their first lead of the game at 27-20.

The Irish then took the ball and following two incomplete passes to Ragone and Tate, Clausen would find Floyd inside the Irish 10 giving them 1st and G from the 4 yard line.  Clausen would then lay a lob pass up and Floyd would go up to make the grab and get the Irish back on the board, tying the game at 27-27 and sending it into a second OT period.

The Irish would be held to just six yards in the second OT being forced to kick the field goal to take a 30-27 lead with the Huskies taking over.  The Husky run attack would be all they would need, putting the ball in the Hands of Todman and Dixon to move the ball down field and into the end zone to end the game 33-30.

“I’m just so proud of those kids over in the locker room and those assistant coaches,” stated Connecticut Head Coach Randy Edsall.  “We persevered today, and ended up making just a couple of plays at the end that we hadn’t been able to make in some of our other games against what I think is an outstanding football team.

“We’re just thankful that we were able to finally put together a win, so now we can take a game ball and send it down to Joe, Angela and Henry and David, and the Howard family. Because I know one thing, that little number 6 was up there looking down on us today.  Like I said, it’s just to come out here to Notre Dame, and to play in this stadium which I can remember our kids really don’t remember, but the history, the tradition that goes with this place and to be seven years at an FBS school, just a remarkable feat by those young men.”

“I really feel absolutely miserable for those 33 guys (the seniors),” stated Irish Head Coach Charlie Weis. “And as I’ve said the other day and I have never been a hypocrite before. I come in here and start talking about me I’m really barking up the wrong tree, because those guys are the guys I should feel for today. I’ll worry about me tomorrow. But I think today I should be worrying about them.

“They had really made one play on offense, and that was that stretch cut run that we were just talking about. They got a field goal to make it 14 10. Get the ball to start the second half and go right down the field again with change modes which we had practiced. This is what we’re going to do. Go from a multiple wide receiver package to a more condensed package to hammer at them. We didn’t know if that would show up in the second quarter, third quarter. But we did it to start off the third quarter. Went right down the field, had to settle for a field goal.

“So that’s the way our teams have been positioned. When you give up a kickoff return for a touchdown in a 17 10 game, it’s a big momentum swing as it is in any other game. Puts you in a position and put UCONN in a position where they had a legitimate chance to win in the game, which they did.”

Prior to the contest the team locked arms coming out of the tunnel to show unity and show that they were behind their coach 100 percent.

“It was an idea that myself and a couple of guys had,” said Irish QB Jimmy Clausen.  “[It was] just about us being behind Coach Weis 110%. You know, he’s leading the program, and, you know, we just want to show him support.  It was Senior Day, but Coach Weis has gone through a lot. And we’re behind him 110%, and that’s what we were trying to do today.  You know, it was really special. He had tears coming down his face. You know, it’s just hard that we couldn’t get a victory for all those seniors and Coach Weis, too.”

“I’m pretty emotional,” quipped Weis.  “I just try not letting you see it. You know, the fact here’s the only thing that got me was the fact that they wanted to do this and they wanted me up there; that meant a lot to me. You know, that’s all I can say, you know; I’m really proud of these kids. I’m really disappointed for them, especially those guys. Those guys up at the front of that list, I really, really truly feel bad for them.”

The Irish now sit at 6-5 on the season and a number of questions surround the team, but the Irish are looking ahead.  Not looking to next season, but looking to next week when they will hit the road to finish their season at Stanford.  Stanford is coming off a loss at the hands of California, 34-28.  The Cardinal enters the game 7-4 on the season falling out of Pac 10 title contention last week with their loss to the Golden Bears.  The Irish are on the heels of a 3 game losing streak (Navy, Pittsburgh, UConn).  Game time on Saturday is set for 8:00 PM EST on ABC as part of ESPN Saturday Night Football.


Richard Guffins (

Richard Guffins (

BANNER ELK, N.C. — The Lees-McRae College men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four after Jamie Bladen’s goal in the second minute lifted the Bobcats pass the University of Tampa Spartans, 1-0, Saturday night at Tate Field.

Bladen’s game winner came on an assists from Jamie Price. Price beat a defender a laid the pass off the Bladen in the center of the field. Bladen was unchallenged and launched a 30-yard shot that hit the crossbar and bounced in.

“I don’t look for it, but if it is a chance to shoot I am confident I can hit the target and test the keeper,” Bladen said. “It is a team game. I might have scored the goal, but it is a team game. We are glad we made it to the final four, but our goal is to win it (the NCAA Tournament).”

“When I signed Bladen, I knew he was a special talent and he has been proving me right all season and for that I am proud of him,” Lees-McRae head coach Chris Whalley said. “Playing in the NCAA Tou rnament is something I speak to recruits about, and so I am very happy that Jamie, as a freshman, could step up in such in a big game.”

Tampa outshot Lees-McRae 10-9, but the Bobcats had four shots on target compare to Tampa’s two. Tampa held a slight corner kick advantage, 5-4.

Sean Paradise made two saves in the match, but came off his line to knock away Spartan opportunities to earn the shutout. Ryan Thompson made three saves for the Spartans.

“It is an extremely disappointed and heart broken locker room,” Tampa head coach Adrian Bush said. “I am extremely proud of our team, and to see our seniors and what they have become in four years is what all college sports is all about. Those are five great individuals that are going to leave your program.”

“I give Lees-McRae a lot of credit, and I think they are a fantastic team and very well coached. I think it was a game played in the middle third and outside of Bladen’s shot for the goal, I think bot h teams defended very well. I think they (Lees-McRae) will represent the South very well in the Final Four, and we have nothing to be ashamed of our side. Hopefully they will come back with a championship.”

“I think it was overall our best team performance and our goal keeper was rarely tested today,” Whalley said. “To get to the Final Four with this team is an indication of how hard we have worked throughout the campaign. Now we need to continue to work hard in order to achieve our team goals.”

Lees-McRae improves to 18-2-1 overall and will make the school’s first ever Final Four appearance in any sport when they face Lewis, Thursday, December 3rd in Tampa at Pepin Stadium, the site of the Final Four. Tampa’s season ends at 17-3-1 overall.

Avery Post Sports – Live from NOTRE DAME!

We will be live from South Bend today during the Notre Dame vs. UConn game at Notre Dame Stadium.  We’ll update as we can (if possible).  Will be updating via for sure.  Great weekend so far, Pep Rally last night was awesome with Mike Golic of ESPN getting the crowd going…Awaiting start at 2:30 PM – GO IRISH!

UPDATE @ 2:10 PM – Senior Day here in South Bend, 30 minutes to kick-off. Irish on the Field looking poised during walkthroughs.  Today looks to be a good match-up with the Irish taking on the University of Connecticut Huskies out of the Big East Conference.  This is the first ever match-up between the two schools in football and the Irish fans are pumped in anticipation of a Notre Dame victory.

Notre Dame enters the contest 6-4 and hopes to improve their record coming off a loss to Pitt last week in a game that saw a big 4th Quarter comeback fall just short with Pitt stopping the Irish late in the contest to seal 27-22 victory over Jimmy Clausen and the Fighting Irish.  The Irish has totaled at least 20 first downs in each of their 10 contests this season, accomplishing the feat for the first time since the 1974 season.  The Irish rank 9th in total offense and are on pace to record their highest ranking in that catagory since 1992 when they finished the season ranked 3rd in the country.

TE Kyle Rudolph was named as one of the 8 finalists for the 2009 John Mackey Award.  Clausen is making his name here at Notre Dame by littering his name throughout the record books sitting in the top 3 in 15 different catagories.  Sam Young is making his 49th straight start for the Irish at Offensive Tackle, and WR Michael Floyd is second in the FBS rankings among receivers for career Yards Per Game (YPG) with 82.8 yPG.  Golden Tate is only 4 catches shy of the ND single season record of 78 receptions in a season.

UConn enters the game coming off a heartbreaking loss to Cincinnati last week 47-45.

Update – 2:35 PM – “Here Come the Irish, Here Come the Irish” echoing across Notre Dame Stadium as the team comes marching out of the tunnel…it’s football time in South Bend. Captains at mid-field – the Irish win the toss and differ, UConn will take the ball to start the contest.

10:54 – 1st Quarter –  Irish force UConn 3-and- out to open the contest.  Following the UConn Punt, Notre Dame begins their first drive at their own 31 yard line.  The Drive begins with a 7 yard carry by Armando Allen, followed by a 6 yard pass to Allen for the Irish first down.  Clausen leads the Irish attack completeing 6 of 7 passes for 52 yards on the opening drive; completing 3 passes to WR Golden Tate, the last being an 8 yard pass that found Tate wide open in the back of the end zone to put the Irish up 7-0 following the point after.    8 plays 69 yards, 3:11; Irish 7 Huskies 0.

End 1st Quarter – Irish 7 UConn 0 – Golden Tate just became the single season leader in receptions and yardage for the Irish on the same play, a 39 yard pass from Clausen to move the Irish deep into UConn territory.  The Irish have 2nd and goal at the 1 to open the second quarter of play.  Clausen was 12 of 13 passing  for 135 yards and a TD.  Tate had 96 yards and the TD in the first.

14:32 – 2nd Quarter – Irish on the board again as Clausen sneaks across the goal line to put the Irish up 14-0 over the Huskies.  Irish drive takes just over 5 minutes, 8 plays, 80 yards.

11:51 – 2nd – UConn strikes back with a nice drive capped by a 43 yard run from RB Jordan Todman  to cut the Irish lead to 14-7 early in the 2nd quarter.

Halftime – UConn adds a late field goal to cut the Irish lead to 14-10 at the half.  Clausen is 17-24 for 179 yards and a score, adding a second on the ground.  Tate has 6 catches for 96 yards and a score.  For UConn, QB Zach Frazier is 8-17 for 79 yards, while Jordan Todman has 85 yards on 14 carries and a score to lead the Huskies.  Notre Dame receives to start the second half of play.

9:29 – 3rd Quarter – 77 yard, 11 play drive capped by a 20 yard field goal, using 5:31 of the 3rd Quarter clock to get on the board and extend their lead back to 17-10 over UConn.  David Ruffer kicks the 20 yarder from the middle of the field as the Irish continue to hold the lead in this contest.  The Huskies have held their own, keeping the Irish guessing on a number of plays, but not withstanding an Irish D that has been stellar this afternoon.

9:17 – 3rd – Todman takes the ND kick at the 4 yard line and finds a lane through the middle of the field to tie the contest at 17-17.  Great blocking from the wedge opened the center of the field, and Todman’s speed was evident as he ran away from the Irish coverage team.  Notre Dame 17 Connecticut 17.

3:08 – 3rd – Media Timeout following a Notre Dame turnover.  Clausen pass complete to the UConn 16 yard line, but a nice strip from behind by the Huskie defender, and the Huskies recover the fumble and get the ball 1st and 10 at their own 14.

End 3rd Quarter – Irish and UConn tied at 17 with 15 minutes to play.  Irish getting used to close contests this season with most of their games coming down to the wire.  Quarter ends with a 2 to 1 Notre Dame advantage  in total yardage, but a tied contest on the scoreboard. Go Irish!

10:47 – 4th Quarter – Irish move the ball down the field, but are unable to find pay dirt again, settling for the field goal following a 47 yard, 11 play drive that finishes with the Irish holding a slight 20-17 lead over the Huskies.

NOTE:  as time winds down I’ll be heading to the field to make my way to post-game interviews so we will be posting final stats and updates later this evening.  Look to the upper left hand side of the page for the Twitter updates for final updates of the contest.  Go IRISH!

7:26 – 4th – Final Update: Brian Smith intercepts UConn pass in the endzone to halt Husky drive and give the Irish the ball at their own 20.  Irish taking over leading 20-17 here in South Bend.  Heading to field for final moments and press conference, will have final updates later this evening/weekend.

Southeast Regional Moved Back to LMC’s Tate Field

Courtesy Lees-McRae Sports Information

BANNER ELK, N.C. — The NCAA Tournament’s Southeast Regional will return to Tate Field on the campus of Lees-McRae College Sunday for the regional final, Sweet Sixteen, as the Bobcats take on the Trojans from Anderson at 2 p.m.

Play was moved to Avery High School’s turf field Friday with Anderson defeating Carson-Newman in the 4 p.m. match 2-1, and Lees-McRae advancing in the 7 p.m. match with a 6-3 win over Wingate.

Full complete coverage on the NCAA Southeast Regional follow the regional information link below.

Complete NCAA Tournament Bracket

NCAA Southeast Regional Information Page

Lees-McRae Moves On to Southeast Regional With 6-3 Win Over Wingate

Courtesy Lees-McRae Sports Information


NEWLAND, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College Bobcats used four first half goals to advance to the finals of the NCAA men’ soccer Southeast Regional hosted by Lees-McRae with a 6-3 win over the Wingate University Bulldogs Friday at Avery High School.

With the win, Lees-McRae is 16-2-1 overall and will play Anderson in the regional finals Sunday at 2 p.m. with the location to be determined. Wingate season ends with a 13-5-1 record.

Wingate scored the first goal of the match when Jack Vundum scored in ninth minute to give the Bulldogs the 1-0 lead. Jamie McKenna served a cross that Vundum headed the ball into the net past the Bobcat keeper.

Jamie Bladen answered for Lees-McRae in the 13th minute to tie the match. Jamie Price played a cross that was brought down by Richard Guffens to the feet of Bladen, who struck it for the volley and the goal.

In the 14th minute, Lees-McRae got a break on a Wingate own goal to make it 2-1, but scored again in the 38th when Luke Perry found David Palmer on the back post. Palmer slammed home the goal to give the Bobcats, 3-1 lead.

Three minutes later Bladen scored his second goal of the match on a broken play off a corner kick. Bladen corralled the ball put it away for the game to give Lees-McRae a 4-1 lead heading into the half.

The Bobcats tallied there fifth goal 46 seconds into the second half when Wingate scored another own to make it 5-1, and tallied their sixth and final goal of the match in 47th minute when Lee Squires knock home a penalty kick.

Wingate fought back and scored three minutes later when Corey McCollom scored on a Felippe Imperatriz assists.

The Bulldogs scored the final goal of the match in the 56 minute when Luke Mulholland collected a blasted a shot from just outside the 18-yard box for the goal to give the game the final of 6-3.

Sean Paradise earned the win between the pipes for the Bobcats with four saves, and Joey Calandra made four saves for the Bulldogs.

Wingate outshot Lees-McRae 17-14, but Lees-McRae ten shots on goal compared to Wingate’s seven.

Wingate held a 9-2 corner kick advantage.

NCAA Division II Southeast Soccer Regional Moved to Avery High

(Courtesy Lees-McRae Sports Information)

BANNER ELK, N.C. — The Lees-McRae College men’s soccer team will host the NCAA Tournament’s Southeast Regional at Avery High School Friday, November 13th and Sunday, November 15th.  The matches have been moved due to field conditions caused by the amount of rain in the area.

The Bobcats earned the top seed in the region with a 15-2-1 overall record and will play fourth seed Wingate, who defeated  Flagler, 4-0 Wednesday. The match will be at 7 p.m.  at Avery High School in Newland, N.C.

On the other side of the bracket, Conference Carolinas foe, Anderson,  will play Carson-Newman Friday at 4 p.m. at Avery High School

The final round location is to be determined at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Complete NCAA Tournament Bracket

NCAA Southeast Regional Information Page

Directions to Avery High School