7-21-21 roundup: College football, Legion baseball, High school football, Pro baseball

By Richard Walker

After going 2-4 last season with nine games postponed and/or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Charlotte 49ers coach Will Healy and his players are eager for the 2021 season.

Will Healy

“It’s exciting to talking about football again,” Healy said during Wednesday’s Ryan’s Conference USA Kickoff zoom news conference. “I know my job the last 18 months has been talking about something else. But we learned a lot and hope we don’t through the same thing again.”

Preseason projections of the 49ers range from 3-9 by College Football News to 6-6 by Athlon Sports.

“I think we’re more prepared, having gone through last year,” said senior linebacker Tyler Murray, one of 11 returning starters. “We’re looking way better than last year.”

Murray led the 49ers in tackles and interceptions last season while senior wide receiver Victor Tucker is a returning all-conference player who averages 4.5 receptions per game during his career.

“I think the sky’s the limit for this offense,” Tucker said.

Senior quarterback Chris Reynolds has set a 49ers’ program-record with 24 starts and 11 wins in his first three seasons. But former four-star high school recruit James Foster transferred in from Texas A&M and is expected to compete for the starting job.

“No question, Chris Reynolds is our starter,” Healy said. “But James Foster has been great for our program. He’s become a part of our culture – and he’s made Chris Reynolds better.”

Charlotte’s season starts with a historic first home game against an ACC team when the 49ers host Duke on Sept. 3.

“That’s a pretty big opening weekend for the city of Charlotte,” Healy said, noting that Appalachian State meets East Carolina on Sept. 2 and Clemson meets Georgia on Sept. 4 at the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium. “We’ve finally got the opportunity to get fans back in the stadium (after COVID-19 protocols limited fans in 2020). We’ve got to put a good product on the field.”

Here’s Charlotte’s 2021 schedule with game times and TV coverage:

Sept. 3 Duke, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Sept. 11 Gardner-Webb, 6 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Georgia State, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 Middle Tennessee, 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 2 at Illinois, TBA
Oct. 8 at Florida International, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 16 BYE
Oct. 21 Florida Atlantic, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 30 at Western Kentucky, 4 p.m.
Nov. 6 Rice, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 13 at Louisiana Tech, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 20 Marshall, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.


High school football

Crest High senior defensive lineman Eli Hall announced he was committing to sign to play college football at Wake Forest.

Crest High’s Eli Hall announced his commitment to Wake Forest on Wednesday.

Hall, a 6-foot-3, 250-pounder, is rated a three-star prospect (out of five) by 247sports.com. He also had offers from Akron, Appalachian State, Auburn, Campbell, Duke, East Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kent State, Liberty, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Old Dominion, Penn State, South Carolina, Southern U., Southern California, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Hall committed to the Deacons and head coach Dave Clawson shortly after he was offered on July 10 but he made it official on Wednesday.

“It was really just the atmosphere,” Hall told 247sports.com. “Every coach was with me. Every coach was loving on me. It was like home. When I started looking at my circle and stuff, I started thinking that I wanted to stay close to home. And then, education of course. Those are my big things.”





Legion baseball

The N.C. Area IV championship series schedule between Cherryville Post 100 and Rutherford County Post 423 will begin on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Cherryville’s Fraley Field.

The second game (also in Cherryville) is Friday at 7 p.m. with a third game (if necessary) played at Cherryville on Saturday at 7 p.m.




Junior Legion baseball

Cherryville American Legion Post 100’s Junior team will make its fourth N.C. state tournament appearance starting on Thursday when High Point Post 87 hosts the event at three fields – High Point’s Finch Field and Truist Point and Lexington’s Holt-Moffitt Field.

Cherryville (15-3), the No. 1 seed in Area IV, already knows its pool play schedule.

Post 100 will meet the Area III runner-up High Point on Friday at 4 p.m. at Truist Point, Area II champion Morehead City on Friday at Holt-Moffitt Field at 4 p.m. and Area I runner-up Kinston on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Should Cherryville finish first or second in its Stars division pool, it would advance to semifinals on Saturday at Finch Field at either 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. The 2021 N.C. Junior Legion state championship game is slated for Sunday at 2 p.m.

Here’s the 2021 N.C. Junior Legion baseball tournament schedule:

Thursday’s games
(at Truist Point)
High Point vs. Cherryville, 4 p.m.
Morehead City vs. Kinston, 6:45 p.m.
(at Finch Field)
Carson vs. Matthews, 4 p.m.
(at Holt-Moffitt Field)
Wayne County vs. Lexington or Mount Airy, 7 p.m.

Friday’s games
(at Holt-Moffitt Field)
Morehead City vs. Cherryville, 4 p.m.
High Point vs. Kinston, 6:45 p.m.
(at Truist Point)
Wayne County vs. Carson, 4 p.m.
Lexington or Mount Airy vs. Matthews, 6:45 p.m.

Saturday’s games
(at Finch Field)
Cherryville vs. Kinston, 1 p.m.
High Point vs. Morehead City, 3:45 p.m.
(at Holt-Moffitt Field)
Matthews vs. Wayne County, 1 p.m.
Carson vs. Lexington or Mount Airy, 3:45 p.m.

Sunday’s games
(at Finch Field)
Semifinals at 2 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.

Monday’s game
(at Finch Field)
Championship game, 2 p.m.




N.C. Sports Hall of Fame

Longtime Charlotte 49ers Director of Athletics Judy Rose is among 11 that will be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame during its 57th banquet on Friday.

The 2021 induction class also includes Debbie Antonelli, Mack Brown, Dennis Craddock, Dr. Charles Kernodle, Mac Morris, Trot Nixon, Julius Peppers, Bobby Purcell, Tim Stevens and Donnell Woolford.

Rose, one of the nation’s most respected directors of athletics, spent 43 years with the Charlotte 49ers athletic department, including 28 as a trailblazing athletic director. She became the third female to serve as the athletics director of an NCAA Division I program when she accepted the position in 1990. In 1999-2000, she became the first female to serve on the prestigious NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. She served as President of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in 2003-04, was the NACDA Southeast Region Athletics Director of the Year in 2001 and was a finalist for the Sports Business Journal AD of the Year award in 2013.



Pro baseball

The Gastonia Honey Hunters split a doubleheader at Southern Maryland on Wednesday, losing 13-1 in the opener and winning 14-1 in the nightcap.

Gastonia is 21-27 entering Thursday’s final game of the four-game series at Southern Maryland.