Let’s start locally.
Carlos Watkins had a solid spring for Clemson Football. The Tigers junior will likely see a lot more of the field this coming season. He had four tackles in the spring game for the Orange team and a sack just a couple of weeks ago. Clemson is definitely one of the better programs in the nations. When you beat LSU, Ohio St. and Oklahoma in the last three bowl games, something is going right. They have beaten Auburn and Georgia as well during the last three season.
Watkins has got to feel like this could be a year that he could contribute greatly in this season. It’s been long overdue for the young man.
“Remembering the Hilltoppers” has now showed twice in the county with great reviews. The movie depicts the 1980 basketball season in which R-S Central went 32-0 to win the 3A state title. It was shown on April 11 and 18, but there has not been a date set for another viewing.
The NFL Draft is less than a week a way. Carolina needs a left tackle, running back, wide receiver, safety and cornerback. Most experts think that they will get a left tackle first. While the Panthers did sign veteran Michael Oher, many believe that isn’t a long term resolution. I tend to agree with that concept.
I wouldn’t be shock if Carolina went cornerback in first round, but likely it will be a left tackle. It could be Andrus Peat, D.J. Humphries or Cedric Ogbuehi that goes to Carolina. Any of the three would be a solid pick, but I am willing to say Peat goes earlier.
East Rutherford softball has now won eight straight SMAC games and continues to find ways to win. While it’s not exactly the same team as a year ago, they are scary good. East Rutherford will host Shelby on Thursday, Feb. 23rd.
R-S Central is in same boat. They continue to hit the ball well and play well enough from the pitching circle and defensively to win games. The Lady Hilltoppers have won three straight and just have seven regular season games left before the playoffs. R-S Central will host non-conference foe Freedom on Thursday Feb. 23 and top team Kings Mountain on the 29th.
Chase isn’t bad either. They play well enough defensively and do have some pop in the bat, despite being young. Right now, it looks as though Chase could be the third team from the SMAC to enter the playoffs. I have a feeling that they could give a first round 2A opponent some problems, but we will see. They will host Burns on Friday Feb. 24.
East Rutherford baseball has won four SMAC games in a row. As good as the pitching and defense is, that doesn’t shock me. R-S Central has lost three of their last four and all three of those by three runs or less. Chase is looking for a tenth win this season. Maybe they are the hottest baseball team in the county at the moment by winning seven of their last eight games. A 5-3 loss to East Rutherford is the only blip during this stretch.
Thomas Jefferson girls soccer (4-2-1) are in a competitive conference this season as they have lost their last two meetings. They still have at least eight more games to go and I expect they can make some noise in the 1A playoffs.
R-S Central (7-4-1) has three wins and a tie over the last contests and their next three games are at home. East Rutherford (6-5)easily took care of East Burke in their lone game of the week and will host Shelby in a big match up on Feb 24.