10-20-23 roundup: Pro football, basketball and soccer, High school football, volleyball and tennis, College football, NASCAR

By Richard Walker

When Vince Hefner took the microphone for the 1st time at Cherryville’s Rudisill Stadium, he definitely got the crowd’s attention.

Vince Hefner

“Welcome to Friday night football in Shelby,” Hefner told The Lincoln Times-News earlier this week. “I didn’t even know where I was. I was so embarrassed. I told myself I would never do this again.”

That was 18 years ago, but the Gardner-Webb graduate who is the lead pastor at Cherryville First Baptist Church, grew more and more comfortable in the role and has become affectionately known as “Dr. Vince” over the years calling Cherryville athletic events.

But Cherryville’s high school football regular season finale on Thursday against Burns was Hefner’s final time as public address announcer.

“I think 18 years is a pretty long run,” Hefner said. “Maybe someone else wants to give it a try. Every couple of years they have a new sports boosters president. It’s good to keep things fresh.”

Hefner admits it’ll be bittersweet for him to walk away as he and his wife Sherry have enjoyed the long tenure; Sherry sits by Vince’s side with binoculars to serve as a spotter.

“As a PA announcer, I just want to be a voice,” he said. “I want to call the game in a way that is professional to both sides. You represent Gaston County, you represent Cherryville High School, the principal, the faculty, the students, and the coaches.”

In terms of his announcing style, Hefner said he drew inspiration from Danny Eaker, the longtime public address announcer for Cherryville American Legion Post 100 baseball and other Cherryville sports in addition to handling radio announcing duties for Cherryville’s WCSL-AM 1590 radio station.

“Danny was a big influence,” Hefner said. “In the press box, he was calm and thoughtful. He just had that real professional demeanor. He was always respectful to the other team.”

Since Hefner’s church is located beside Cherryville’s athletic facilities, it’s only natural that it also serves as a location for pregame mealds, devotional time and sports banquets highlighted by hosting N.C. American Legion state tournament banquets, N.C. American Legion Hall of Fame banquets and Cherryville Sports Hall of Fame banquets.

“I am a Cherryville guy, and it’s all about being a part of the community,” Hefner said. “We are just trying to spread a positive Christian attitude to others.”











College athletics

Former Ashbrook High standout Reggie Hopkins will be among 6 inducted into the Queens University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Reggie Hopkins

A 2006 Ashbrook High graduate, Hopkins will be honored on Feb. 2, 2024 in the 11th induction class along with former athletes Kelley Duffey DeSmit, Maria Housiadas Paloumpas, Christiaan Lee-Daigle and Felix Duchampt and former coach and administrator Jeff Aumend.

Hopkins will become the 8th men’s basketball player to be inducted after setting a longtime career scoring leader (1,811 points from 2007 to 2011) that stood until the 2022-23 season. His 242 career 3-pointers remains a school record.











High school football

(Thursday’s Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties results:)
North Gaston 43, Cramer 10
Crest 49, Huss 3
Kings Mountain 24, Ashbrook 3
South Point 30, Forestview 26
Burns 58, Cherryville 7
Thomas Jefferson 37, Highland Tech 14
Shelby 49, East Gaston 13
West Lincoln 26, East Burke 0

(Friday’s Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties results:)
Mountain Island Charter at Winston-Salem Carver
North Iredell at East Lincoln
North Lincoln 38, West Iredell 7
Maiden 37, Lincolnton 34 (OT)

(Other area games:)
Catholic 42, East Meck 0
Providence 77, Garinger 12
Independence 56, Rocky River 7
Myers Park 59, Berry 6
Kell 34, Olympic 14
Porter Ridge 49, South Meck 13
Hough 63, Harding 6
Mallard Creek at West Meck
North Meck 21, Hopewell 0
Chambers 30, West Charlotte 14
Hickory 40, Foard 0 (Thursday)
Statesville 48, St. Stephens 10 (Thursday)
Bandys 49, West Caldwell 7 (Thursday)
Bunker Hill 48, Newton-Conover 21 (Thursday)
R-S Central 41, Cloudland, Tenn. 28
Chase 59, Patton 0 (Thursday)
East Rutherford 63, Polk County 20
Lake Norman Charter 7, South Stanly 6

(Next week’s Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties games:)
Ashbrook at Huss
Crest at Kings Mountain
Forestview at Cramer
North Gaston at South Point
Burns at Shelby
Cherryville at Bessemer City
East Gaston at Highland Tech
Mountain Island Charter at Corvian Community
East Lincoln at North Lincoln
Lincolnton at West Lincoln

(Other area games:)
Garinger at Rocky River
Independence at Butler
Providence at East Meck
Berry at Olympic
Kell at Palisades
Myers Park at South Meck
Harding at West Meck
Hough at Hopewell
Mallard Creek at Chambers
North Meck at West Charlotte
Hickory at Statesville
St. Stephens at Foard
West Iredell at North Iredell
Bunker Hill at Bandys
East Burke at West Caldwell
Newton-Conover at Maiden
R-S Central at Chase










Pro soccer

The 2nd-year Charlotte FC enters Saturday’s 2023 regular season finale needing a victory and some help to make its initial MLS postseason appearance.

Charlotte FC needs a win over Inter Miami CF in Saturday’s 6 p.m. game – and all-time soccer great Lionel Messi is expected to play for the visitors.

And in addition to a win, Charlotte FC needs at least 2 of the 3 teams above them in the standings – CF Montreal, New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire FC – to drop points in their simultaneous matches on Saturday. All 3 have tough road games.

Here is Charlotte FC’s full 2023 schedule with results:

(9-11-13 record)
Feb. 25 New England Revolution (L 0-1)
March 4 at St. Louis City SC (L 1-3)
March 11 Atlanta United FC (L 0-3)
March 18 at Orlando City SC (W 2-1)
March 25 New York Red Bulls (T 1-1)
April 1 at Toronto FC (T 2-2)
April 8 at Real Salt Lake (L 1-3)
April 15 Colorado Rapids (T 2-2)
April 22 Columbus Crew (W 1-0)
April 29 at D.C. United (L 0-3)
May 6 New York City FC (W 3-2)
May 13 at Atlanta United FC (W 3-1)
May 17 Chicago Fire FC (W 2-1)
May 20 Nashville SC (L 1-2)
May 27 at L.A. Galaxy (W 1-0)
May 31 at Philadelphia Union (L 0-1)
June 3 at Columbus Crew (L 2-4)
June 10 Seattle Sounders FC (T 3-3)
June 21 at New York Red Bulls (T 2-2)
June 24 CF Montreal (T 0-0)
July 5 at New York City FC (T 1-1)
July 8 FC Cincinnati (T 2-2)
July 15 at CF Montreal (L 0-2)
Aug. 26 L.A. FC (W 2-1)
Aug. 30 Orlando City SC (T 1-1)
Sept. 2 at Nashville SC (T 1-1)
Sept. 16 D.C. United (T 0-0)
Sept. 20 Philadelphia Union (T 2-2)
Sept. 23 at FC Cincinnati (L 0-3)
Sept. 30 at New England Revolution (L 1-2)
Oct. 4 Toronto FC (W 3-0)
Oct. 7 at Chicago Fire FC (W 2-0)
Oct. 18 at Inter Miami CF (T 2-2)
Oct. 21 Inter Miami CF, 6 p.m.

(Leagues Cup schedule – Group stage)
July 21 at FC Dallas (T 2-2, wins 4-1 on penalty kicks)
July 29 Necaxa (W 4-1)
(Round of 32)
Aug. 3 Cruz Azul (at Dallas TX) (T 0-0, wins 4-3 on penalty kicks)
Aug. 7 at Houston Dynamo (W 2-1)
Aug. 11 at Inter Miami (L 0-4)










High school cross country

North Lincoln won both the boys and girls titles in the Western Foothills 3A Conference.

(Final boys standings:)
1. North Lincoln 22
2. St. Stephens 81
3. North Iredell 84
4. Foard 112
5. East Lincoln 152
6. Hickory 153
7. West Iredell 160
8. Statesville 186

(Boys all-conference:)
North Lincoln: Parker St. Jean, Eli Rush, Logan Richardson, Daniel Brown, Ayden Lopez, Bryce Anthony, Connor Bagwell
St. Stephens: Noah Hedrick, Gage Marley, Noah Vanbeurden
East Lincoln: Ashley Odom
North Iredell: Maddox Gant, Brody Smith
West Iredell: Bryant Moore, Cross McKinney
Runner of the Year: Bagwell (NL)
Coach of the Year: Patrick Smith (SS)

(Final girls standings:)
1. North Lincoln 15
2. St. Stephens 80-x
3. East Lincoln 80-x
4. North Iredell 84
5. Hickory 118
6. Fred T. Foard 169
x-tie Breaker to SS (6th place runner)

(Girls all-confernece:
North Lincoln: Bella Wood, Cambelle Reffner, Olivia Ferraro, Sienna Rush, Elan Eurey, Bella Green, Elise Handy
St. Stephens: Gutierrez Flores, Jade Gonzales-Cardenas, Callie Beard
Hickory: Harper White
East Lincoln: McKenzie Benfield, Lauryn Stewart
North Iredell: Breanna Sturtevant, Julia Hollar
Runner of the Year: Ferraro (NL)
Coach of the Year: Patrick Smith (SS)












High school volleyball

Twelve teams from Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties have qualified for the state playoffs. Here are their postseason pairings:

-Oct. 21
(3A 1st round)
No. 28 North Lincoln at No. 5 Ashe County
No. 21 East Lincoln at No. 12 West Henderson
No. 30 Smoky Mountain at No. 3 Kings Mountain
No. 22 South Point at No. 11 South Rowan
No. 18 Forestview at No. 15 Crest

(2A 1st round)
No. 30 Lincoln Charter at No. 3 Southwestern Randolph
No. 23 Eden Morehead at No. 10 East Gaston
No. 31 West Lincoln at No. 2 Brevard

(1A 1st round)
No. 25 South Stanly at No. 8 Piedmont Community Charter
No. 21 Union Academy at No. 12 Mountain Island Charter
No. 31 Cherryville at No. 2 Highland Tech










High school girls tennis

Eleven teams from Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties have qualified for the state playoffs. Here are their postseason pairings:

-Oct. 18
(3A 1st round)
Foard at Forestview – Foard 6-3
Hickory at North Lincoln – NL 6-0
Kings Mountain at Piedmont – Piedmont 5-1
North Gaston at Ashe County – Ashe 9-0
Smoky Mountain at East Lincoln – EL 9-0

(2A 1st round)
Mount Pleasant at Burns – Burns 6-2
Lincoln Charter-BYE
Reidsville at West Lincoln – WL 9-0

-Oct. 23
(3A 2nd round)
East Lincoln at W-S Atkins
Rockingham County at North Lincoln

(2A 2nd round)
Southwestern Randolph at Shelby
East Surry at Lincoln Charter
West Lincoln at North Stanly
Burns at West Stanly

(1A 1st round)
Draughn at Highland Tech
Piedmont CC at South Davidson











Pro basketball

Here is the Charlotte Hornets’ 2023 preseason schedule:

Oct. 10 at Miami Heat (L 109-113)
Oct. 12 at Washington Wizards (L 92-98)
Oct. 15 Oklahoma City (W 117-115)
Oct. 19 Boston Celtics (L 99-127)

Here is the Charlotte Hornets’ 2023-24 regular season schedule:

Wed. 25 ATLANTA 7 p.m.
Fri. 27 DETROIT 7 p.m.
Mon. 30 BROOKLYN 7 p.m.
Wed. 1 at Houston 8 p.m.
Sat. 4 at Indiana 7 p.m.
Sun. 5 at Dallas 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 8 WASHINGTON 7 p.m.
Fri. 10 at Washington 7 p.m.
Sun. 12 at New York Noon
Tue. 14 MIAMI 7 p.m.
Fri. 17 MILWAUKEE 7 p.m.
Sat. 18 NEW YORK 6 p.m.
Mon. 20 BOSTON 7 p.m.
Wed. 22 WASHINGTON 7 p.m.
Sun. 26 at Orlando 6 p.m.
Tue. 28 at New York 7:30 p.m.
Thu. 30 at Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 2 MINNESOTA 5 p.m.
4-9 Two games TBD
Mon. 11 MIAMI 7 p.m.
Wed. 13 at Miami 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 15 NEW ORLEANS 7 p.m.
Sat. 16 PHILADELPHIA 7 p.m.
Mon. 18 at Toronto 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 20 at Indiana 7 p.m.
Sat. 23 DENVER 7 p.m.
Tue. 26 at LA Clippers 10:30 p.m.
Thu. 28 at L.A. Lakers 10:30 p.m.
Fri. 29 at Phoenix 9 p.m.
Mon. 1 at Denver 9 p.m.
Tue. 2 at Sacramento 10 p.m.
Fri. 5 at Chicago 8 p.m.
Mon. 8 CHICAGO 7 p.m.
Wed. 10 SACRAMENTO 7 p.m.
Fri. 12 at San Antonio 10 p.m.
Sun. 14 at Miami 6 p.m.
Wed. 17 at New Orleans 8 p.m.
Fri. 19 SAN ANTONIO 7 p.m.
Sat. 20 PHILADELPHIA 7 p.m.
Mon. 22 at Minnesota 8 p.m.
Wed. 24 at Detroit 7 p.m.
Fri. 26 HOUSTON 7 p.m.
Sat. 27 UTAH 7 p.m.
Mon. 29 NEW YORK 7 p.m.
Wed. 31 CHICAGO 7 p.m.
Fri. 2 at Oklahoma City 8 p.m.
Sun. 4 INDIANA 6 p.m.
Mon. 5 L.A. LAKERS 7 p.m.
Wed. 7 TORONTO 7 p.m.
Fri. 9 at Milwaukee 8 p.m.
Sat. 10 MEMPHIS 7 p.m.
Mon. 12 INDIANA 7 p.m.
Wed. 14 ATLANTA 7 p.m.
Thu. 22 at Utah 9 p.m.
Fri. 23 at Golden State 10 p.m.
Sun. 25 at Portland 9 p.m.
Tue. 27 at Milwaukee 8 p.m.
Thu. 29 MILWAUKEE 7 p.m.
Fri. 1 at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Sun. 3 at Toronto 6 p.m.
Tue. 5 ORLANDO 7 p.m.
Fri. 8 at Washington 7 p.m.
Sat. 9 BROOKLYN 7 p.m.
Mon. 11 at Detroit 7 p.m.
Wed. 13 at Memphis 8 p.m.
Fri. 15 PHOENIX 7 p.m.
Sat. 16 at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Tue. 19 at Orlando 7 p.m.
Sat. 23 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Mon. 25 at Cleveland 7 p.m.
Wed. 27 CLEVELAND 7 p.m.
Fri. 29 GOLDEN STATE 7 p.m.
Sun. 31 LA CLIPPERS 6 p.m.
Mon. 1 BOSTON 7 p.m.
Wed. 3 PORTLAND 7 p.m.
Fri. 5 ORLANDO 7 p.m.
Sun. 7 OKLAHOMA CITY 6 p.m.
Tue. 9 DALLAS 7 p.m.
Wed. 10 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 12 at Boston 7:30 p.m.
Sun. 14 at Cleveland 1 p.m.

Charlotte’s In-Season Tournament Group Play Schedule:

Nov. 10 at Washington, 7 p.m.
Nov. 14 MIAMI, 7 p.m.
Nov. 17 MILWAUKEE, 7 p.m.
Nov. 28 at New York, 7:30 p.m.
Quarterfinals: Dec. 4-5 at higher-seeded teams
Semifinals: Dec. 7 at Las Vegas
Championship game: Dec. 9 at Las Vegas

The NBA In-Season Tournament Groups:

Western Conference
A: Memphis, Phoenix, L.A. Lakers, Utah, Portland
B: Denver, L.A. Clippers, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston
C: Sacramento, Golden State, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, San Antonio

Eastern Conference
A: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Indiana, Detroit
B: Milwaukee, New York, Miami, Washington, Charlotte
C: Boston, Brooklyn, Toronto, Chicago, Orlando










Pro football

The 2023 Carolina Panthers’ schedule:
Sept. 10 at Atlanta (L 10-24)
Sept. 18 New Orleans (L 17-20)
Sept. 24 at Seattle (L 27-37)
Oct. 1 Minnesota (L 13-21)
Oct. 8 at Detroit (L 24-42)
Oct. 15 at Miami (L 21-42)
Oct. 22 OFF WEEK
Oct. 29 Houston, 1 p.m.
Nov. 5 Indianapolis, 4:05 p.m.
Nov. 9 at Chicago, 8:15 p.m.
Nov. 19 Dallas, 1 p.m.
Nov. 26 at Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Dec. 3 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Dec. 10 at New Orleans, 1 p.m.
Dec. 17 or 18 Atlanta, TBD
Dec. 24 Green Bay, 1 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Jan. 6 or 7 Tampa Bay, TBD












College football

Here is this week’s Carolinas NCAA Division I (FBS and FCS) schedule:

(Thursday, Oct. 19)
N.C. Central 16, Morgan State 10

(Saturday, Oct. 21)
S.C. State at Delaware State, noon
Marist at Presbyterian, 1 p.m.
Richmond at North Carolina A&T, 1 p.m.
Valparaiso at Davidson, 1 p.m.
Charlotte at East Carolina, 2 p.m.
Monmouth at Elon, 2 p.m.
Furman at Western Carolina, 2:30 p.m.
Charleston Southern at UT-Martin, 3 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m.
South Carolina at Missouri, 3:30 p.m.
Maine at Campbell, 4 p.m.
Wofford at Mercer, 4 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky at Gardner-Webb, 6 p.m.
Virginia at North Carolina, 6:30 p.m.
Appalachian State at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.
Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State, 7 p.m.
Duke at Florida State, 7:30 p.m.
Clemson at Miami, Fla., 8 p.m.

Here is next week’s Carolinas NCAA Division I (FBS and FCS) schedule:

(Thursday, Oct. 26)
S.C. State at N.C. Central, 7:30 p.m.

(Friday, Oct. 27)
Florida Atlantic at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

(Saturday, Oct. 28)
UT-Martin at Gardner-Webb, 1:30 p.m.
East Tennessee State at Furman, 2 p.m.
North Carolina A&T at Hampton, 2 p.m.
Mercer at Western Carolina, 2:30 p.m.
The Citadel at Samford, 3 p.m.
Campbell at Richmond, 3:30 p.m.
Bryant at Charleston Southern, 4 p.m.
Presbyterian at Davidson, 7 p.m.
Florida State at Wake Forest, TBD
North Carolina at Georgia Tech, TBD
Duke at Louisville, TBD
Clemson at N.C. State, TBD
South Carolina at Texas A&M, TBD
East Carolina at UTSA, TBD
Southern Miss at Appalachian State, TBD
Marshall at Coastal Carolina, TBD











Auto racing

The 2023 NASCAR schedule (with winners in parentheses):

Feb 5 Clash at The Coliseum, Los Angeles CA (Martin Truex, Jr.)
Feb 16 Duel No. 1, Daytona Beach FL (Joey Logano)
Feb 16 Duel No. 2, Daytona Beach FL (Aric Almirola)
Feb 19 Daytona 500, Daytona Beach FL (Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.)
Feb 26 NASCAR Cup Series at California, Fontana CA (Kyle Busch)
Mar 5 NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV (William Byron)
Mar 12 NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix, Avondale AZ (William Byron-2)
Mar 19 NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta, Hampton GA (Joey Logano-2)
Mar 26 NASCAR Cup Series at Circuit of the Americas, Austin TX (Tyler Reddick)
Apr 2 NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond, Richmond VA (Kyle Larson)
Apr 9 NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol, Bristol TN (Christopher Bell)
Apr 16 NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville, Martinsville VA (Kyle Larson-2)
Apr 23 NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega, Lincoln AL (Kyle Busch-2)
May 1 NASCAR Cup Series at Dover, Dover DE (Martin Truex, Jr.-2)
May 7 NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas, Kansas City KS (Denny Hamlin)
May 14 NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington, Darlington SC (William Byron-3)
May 21 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Open Race, North Wilkesboro NC (Josh Berry)
May 21 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race, North Wilkesboro NC (Kyle Larson-3)
May 29 NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, Concord NC (Ryan Blaney)
Jun 4 NASCAR Cup Series at World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison IL (Kyle Busch-3)
Jun 11 NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma, Sonoma CA (Martin Truex, Jr.-3)
Jun 25 NASCAR Cup Series at Nashville, Lebanon TN (Ross Chastain)
Jul 2 NASCAR Cup Series at Chicago, Chicago IL (Shane van Gisbergen)
Jul 9 NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta, Hampton GA (William Byron-4)
Jul 17 NASCAR Cup Series at New Hampshire, Loudon NH, noon on USA (Martin Truex, Jr.-4)
Jul 23 NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono, Long Pond PA, 2:30 p.m. on USA (Denny Hamlin-2)
Jul 30 NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond, Richmond VA, 3 p.m. on USA (Chris Buescher)
Aug 6-7 NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan, Brooklyn MI, noon on USA (Chris Buescher-2)
Aug 13 NASCAR Cup Series at Indianapolis Road Course, Speedway IN (Michael McDowell)
Aug 20 NASCAR Cup Series at Watkins Glen, Watkins Glen NY (William Byron-5)
Aug 26 NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona, Daytona Beach FL (Chris Buescher-3)

(Cup Playoffs)
Sep 3 NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington, Darlington SC (Kyle Larsen-4)
Sep 10 NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas, Kansas City KS (Tyler Reddick-2)
Sep 16 NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol, Bristol TN (Denny Hamlin-3)
Sep 24 NASCAR Cup Series at Texas, Fort Worth TX (William Byron-6)
Oct 1 NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega, Lincoln AL (Ryan Blaney-2)
Oct 8 NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, Concord NC (A.J. Allmendinger)
Oct 15 NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV (Kyle Larsen-5)
Oct 22 NASCAR Cup Series at Miami, Homestead FL, 2:30 p.m. on NBC
Oct 29 NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville, Martinsville, 2 p.m. on NBC
Nov 5 NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix, Avondale AZ, 3 p.m. on NBC