Hometown heroes: Local duos helping Appalachian State and Milligan in basketball and NFL Wild Card weekend

By Richard Walker

Adrian Delph

Two local products have helped Appalachian State to a 7-4 overall and 1-1 Sun Belt Conference record entering Friday’s 6 p.m. home game against Georgia Southern.

Adrian Delph, a 2018 Kings Mountain High graduate, is averaging a team-high 12.1 points in addition to 3.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 11 starts this season. And former East Gaston and Gaston Day standout James Lewis is averaging 7.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in 11 games (seven starts).

Delph earlier this season was named Sun Belt Conference player of the week after he scored a career-high 21 points in a 61-57 win at the Charlotte 49ers.

Pro football
Three Charlotte 49ers standouts will start in the NFL playoffs during Saturday and Sunday’s Wild Card weekend.

In one game, former 49ers Larry Ogunjobi (Cleveland Browns) and Alex Highsmith (Pittsburgh Steelers) will play against one another in Sunday’s 8:15 p.m. game on NBC. And in another game, Nate Davis is on the Tennessee Titans’ offensive line in their home game on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on ESPN/ABC.

Ogunjobi, a four-year NFL veteran, started 15 games for the Browns this season, making 46 tackles, including five for losses that includes 2 1-2 sacks. Highsmith, a NFL rookie, has started in the last five Steelers games while making 48 tackles, including five for losses that includes two sacks. And Davis, a two-year starter, started all 16 games this season and played every offensive snap for the Titans.

Also, 2012 Crest High graduate Jonathan Bullard and the Seattle Seahawks host the Los Angeles Rams at 4:40 p.m. on Saturday on FOX. Bullard was signed off the Cardinals practice squad in October, and has made eight tackles in six games for the Seahawks. He’s been inactive in Seattle’s last three games.

Jackson Gabriel in action for Milligan earlier this season. [Milligan athletics photo]

More college basketball
A pair of 2019 Lincoln Charter graduates Jackson Gabriel and Levontae Knox have helped Milligan to a 5-4 overall and 5-3 Appalachian Athletic Conference start entering Saturday’s 4 p.m. home game against Columbia International.

Gabriel is averaging 9.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists in eight games (five starts) and Knox is averaging 3.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

Former Ashbrook standout Evonna McGill, a 2018 graduate, is averaging 9.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in six starts for Elon, which is getting the weekend off due to a postponed game at Towson. Elon is scheduled to play again at home on Jan. 16 at 1 p.m. against James Madison.