WWAY’s Thursday night sports – April 25


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    WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We’ve posted scores and notes from Thursday’s high school action below. On our 11 sports we showcased baseball and softball from West Bladen vs. North Brunswick.





    WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hoggard football coach Scott Braswell knew he had a special player during Jonathan Cooper’s junior season at Hoggard. On Thursday Braswell watched Cooper’s transition to the NFL during a get together at the C Street Mexican Grille in Wilmington. Several Hoggard coaches attended. Tampa Bay Bucs kicker Connor Barth attended. UNC kicker and NFL hopeful Casey Barth also watched Cooper shine in New York when the Arizona Cardinals tabbed Cooper in the first round.


    CHAPEL HILL (UNC) — North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper was selected No. 7 overall by the Arizona Cardinals Thursday night in the first-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Cooper is the 21st overall first-round draft pick in Carolina history and the fifth in the last six years.

    “What an exciting moment for Jonathan and his family,” said head coach Larry Fedora. “Coop is a great ambassador for our program and the University of North Carolina. He is everything you could ask for in a student-athlete. He is a great player and one of the best I’ve ever coached at offensive guard.

    “He provided great leadership and character during his career at UNC and I’m proud of him for earning his degree. Arizona is getting an outstanding player who is an even better person.”

    A native of Wilmington, N.C., Cooper is one of the most decorated offensive linemen in UNC history. He earned consensus All-America honors and was a finalist for the 2012 Outland Trophy. Cooper started 48 games in his career and was a three-time All-ACC pick, including first-team honors as a senior.

    “He is one of the most athletic offensive guards I’ve seen in 35 years,” said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. “He’s one of the best players in this draft at any position.”

    Cooper is just the fourth offensive lineman and second guard to be picked in the first round from UNC. The other first-round offensive linemen from UNC were guard Ken Huff in 1975 (No. 3 overall), tackle Brian Blados in 1984 (No. 28) and tackle Harris Barton in 1987 (No. 22).

    Cooper becomes the first offensive guard picked in the top 10 since Colorado’s Chris Naeole was selected by the New Orleans Saints at No. 10.

    As a senior, Cooper became the seventh offensive guard in UNC history to earn first-team All-America honors (George Barclay, 1934; Ron Rusnak, 1972; Ken Huff, 1974; Ron Wooten, 1980; David Dreschler, 1981-82; Pat Crowley, 1989). He became the first guard to be first-team All-America since Crowley in 1989 and he was the first consensus first-team All-America at UNC since Julius Peppers in 2001.

    North Carolina’s First-Round Draft Picks (21)
    1965 – Ken Willard (RB) – No. 2, San Francisco
    1971 – Don McCauley (TB) – No. 22, Baltimore
    1975 – Ken Huff (OG) – No. 3, Baltimore
    1981 – Lawrence Taylor (LB) – No. 2, New York Giants
    1981 – Donnell Thompson (DE) – No. 18, Baltimore
    1984 – Brian Blados (OL) – No. 28, Cincinnati
    1985 – Ethan Horton (RB/TE) – No. 15, Kansas City
    1987 – Harris Barton (OT) – No. 22, San Francisco
    1993 – Thomas Smith (CB) – No. 28, Buffalo
    1996 – Marcus Jones (DT) – No. 22, Tampa Bay
    1998 – Greg Ellis (DE) – No. 8, Dallas
    1998 – Brian Simmons (LB) – No. 17, Cincinnati
    1998 – Vonnie Holliday (DT) – No. 19, Green Bay
    1999 – Ebenzer Ekuban (DE) – No. 20, Dallas
    2002 – Julius Peppers (DE) – No. 2, Carolina
    2002 – Ryan Sims (DT) – No. 6, Kansas City
    2008 – Kentwan Balmer (DT) – No. 29, San Francisco
    2009 – Hakeem Nicks (WR) – No. 29, New York Giants
    2011 – Robert Quinn (DE) – No. 14, St. Louis
    2012 – Quinton Coples (DE) – No. 16, New York Jets
    2013 – Jonathan Cooper (OG) – No. 7, Arizona


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Panthers have selected Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei with the 14th overall pick in GM Dave Gettleman’s first NFL draft.

    It marks the first time the Panthers have selected a defensive tackle in the first round since joining the league in 1995.

    Defensive tackle was considered a position of need for the Panthers, who released starter Ron Edwards in a salary cap move earlier this offseason. Lotulelei, 6-foot-2 and 311 pounds, is expected to step in and start right away next to fellow defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, who re-signed in the offseason.

    The Panthers finished 10th in the league on defense last season and 14th against the run.

    He hails from the same school as two current Panthers stars — Steve Smith and Jordan Gross.

    (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


    NEW YORK (AP) – NFL teams went with bulk in the first round of the draft. The first seven picks were linemen. No running back was taken in the first round, the first time that’s happened in 40 years. And no quarterback was taken until the 16th pick.

    __The Kansas City Chiefs chose Eric Fisher, an offensive tackle out of Central Michigan, with the No. 1 overall pick. He’s just the third offensive tackle chosen No. 1 overall since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Fisher called it a “dream come true” to play for the Chiefs, who are looking to rebuild under new coach Andy Reid, the former coach of the Eagles. Fisher became the first player from the Mid-American Conference taken at No. 1.

    __ The Jacksonville Jaguars took 6-foot-6, 306-pound Luke Joeckel (JOHK’-uhl), an offensive tackle from Texas A&M, with the second pick. The Jags are coming off a 2-14 season and also have a new coach in Gus Bradley.

    __ The Oakland Raiders, who’ve gone 10 straight seasons without a winning record and lost eight of their last nine games last year, traded the rights to the third pick to Miami for two draft picks. The Dolphins chose Oregon’s 6-foor-6 linebacker Dion Jordan, who said he was surprised to be taken so highly. The Raiders ended up taking Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden with the Dolphins’ pick at No. 12.

    __ The Philadelphia Eagles, who have a new coach in Chip Kelly following their 4-12 season, chose offensive tackle Lane Johnson out of Oklahoma. He’s 6-6, 303 pounds, but has quickness for a man his size.

    __ The Detroit Lions, who lost their final eight games last season, took BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah with the fifth pick. Ansah, a native of Ghana who first tried out for the BYU basketball team before starting his football career, moved way up the draft board during the NFL combine in the spring.

    __ Cleveland took LSU defensive end Barkevious (bahr-KEE’-vee-uhs) Mingo with the sixth pick. The 6-foot-4, 241-pound Mingo played defensive end in college, but will likely be used as an outside pass rusher by the Browns, who are going with a 3-4 defense.

    __ At No. 7, the Arizona Cardinals selected North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper to bolster one of the NFL’s worst offenses during their 5-11 season that began with a 4-0 start.

    __ St. Louis traded up to get the eighth pick from Buffalo. The Rams took 5-foot-8, 174-pound wide receiver Tavon (TAY’-vahn) Austin, a speed merchant who turned in a 40-yard dash time in 4.3 seconds, who is expected to become one of quarterback Sam Bradford’s favorite targets.

    __ The New York Jets took Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner with the ninth pick. He’s expected to help fill the void left when the Jets traded Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay.

    __ Rounding out the top 10 picks, the Tennessee Titans drafted Chance Warmack, a guard out of Alabama. He was a unanimous All-America off the Crimson Tide national championship team.

    __ The first quarterback taken was Florida State’s E.J. Manuel by Buffalo at No. 16. With Ryan Fitzpatrick out, Manuel has a chance to be a rookie starting QB this season.

    __ West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was expected to go in the first round this year. But the strong-armed, erratic thrower will still on the board when the second round starts Friday. He’s the all-time passing leader with 11,662 career yards at WVU.

    __ The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens concluded the first round by taking Matt Elam (EE’-lahm), a safety out of Florida. He is expected to fill the void left when veteran All-Pro Ed Reed signed with Houston in the offseason, and Bernard Pollard was cut after the Ravens won it all.

    (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


    WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) -– Sophomore pitchers Casey Rowland and Jordyn Schmidt combined to limit North Carolina Central to just one run on four hits as UNCW swept the visiting Eagles, 9-0 and 5-1, in a collegiate softball doubleheader Thursday at Boseman Field.

    The Seahawks improved to 15-32 overall as they ended a nine-game losing skid with the sweep. The Eagles, meanwhile, dipped to 4-42 on the season. UNCW returns to action Saturday as it opens a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series versus Drexel with a Noon doubleheader at Boseman Field.

    Rowland picked up the win in game one as she allowed just one hit, an infield single to NCCU junior London Germ in the top of the fourth, while striking out eight in four innings of work to improve to 9-12 on the season. Schmidt, meanwhile, earned the victory in game two as she gave up just one unearned run on three hits in seven innings in the circle. Schmidt did not issue a walk and struck out six as she moved her season mark to 5-14.

    In game one, the Seahawks took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first as double down the left field line by junior KC Shue plated the first two runs of the frame before a fielder’s choice by freshman Erin Brown brought home the final run.

    Buckworth doubled the Seahawks advantage to 6-0 in the bottom of the second, hitting a three-run blast to center field for her second home run of the season.

    UNCW closed out the scoring in the third, using an Eagles error and a run-scoring single from Buckworth to tack on three runs and determine the final 9-0 margin.

    Buckworth was 3-for-3 with four RBI and two runs scored to power a Seahawks lineup that finished with 10 hits in the opener. Brown and fellow freshmen Jordin Phillips were both 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored while Shue was 1-for-3 with two RBI.

    Game two saw the Seahawks go in front, 1-0, in the bottom of the third as junior Morgan McCann tripled to left field and was brought home one batter later on a sacrifice fly by senior Olivia Poplin.

    NCCU would tie the game at 1-all in the top of the sixth as sophomore Emerie Germ singled home freshman Markell Wylie, who reached base on an error to open the inning.

    The Seahawks took control of the contest in the bottom half of the sixth, plating four runs on four hits to build a 5-1 cushion. Freshman CJ opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right that plated sophomore pinch runner Jessica Rappe before run-scoring singles by McCann and Poplin brought home the final three runs of the frame.

    McCann was 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored to guide the UNCW lineup in the nightcap. Poplin was 1-for-2 with two RBI while six other players notched one hit apiece.

    Senior Bianka Molina was saddled with the loss for the Eagles in game two as she moved to 1-13 on the season. Molina was charged with four runs on six hits and four walks. She struck out four. Germ was 1-for-3 with a RBI to pace the Eagles lineup in game two. Wylie and junior Camille Hampton accounted for NCCU’s other two base hits in the contest.


    WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) -– Senior Chris Cooprider of UNCW has been named the Most Outstanding Performer at the recent Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Tennis Championships in a vote of the league’s coaches.

    Cooprider, from Denver, Col., won both of his singles and doubles matches as the Seahawks raced to their third CAA title in five years with a pair of convincing 4-0 victories over Drexel and William & Mary.

    It marks the second time Cooprider has earned the award and the third MOP honor for a UNCW netter. Cooprider also picked up the honor in 2011 following in the footsteps of Ilia Ziamtsou in 2009.

    Cooprider is also only the third player in the history of the CAA to win the award twice. He joins VCU’s Olivier Tauma (1996, 1997) and Daniel Andersson (1999, 2000) in that elite company.

    “What an honor for Coop,” said Mait DuBois, UNCW’s sixth-year head coach and 2013 CAA Coach-of-the-Year. “I don’t think there are many players in college tennis who can say they have won two tournament MVP awards. To win this honor a couple days after he was voted our team MVP really demonstrates the consistency of his performance day-in and day-out.

    “He was extremely solid for us throughout the tournament. He was the first guy off the court in both matches in singles and won both of his doubles matches. He has been doing an excellent job with his mental intensity lately and is just refusing to give away any free points.

    “The fact that he only lost four total games in two matches demonstrates the kind of focus he has right now. Even though he was playing with a sore back, I knew he would put in a very professional performance.”

    In singles, Cooprider blanked Drexel’s Jeganathan Srivinvasan, 6-0, 6-0, in the semifinals before beating W&M’s Will Juggins, 6-3, 6-1, in the championship match.

    Cooprider combined with Kosta Blank for two victories in doubles. The 28th-ranked team in the ITA ratings downed Drexel’s Skyler Davis and Dan Koehler, 8-2, and defeated W&M’s Anton Andersson and Aaron Chaffee, 8-3.

    Cooprider was a First-Team All-CAA selection in singles and doubles for the Seahawks. He is tied for fifth all-time on UNCW’s singles list with a 54-21 record and holds down sole possession of fifth place in doubles with a 54-17 mark.

    Cooprider and the Seahawks nailed down their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance with the CAA crown and will learn their postseason destination during Tuesday’s NCAA selection show.


    ST. JAMES PLANTATION, NC (WWAY) — The CAA men’s golf tournament will tee off on Friday morning at the Reserve Club at St. James Plantation in Brunswick County. UNCW is considered to be the heavy favorite to capture the CAA title.



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