WWAY’s Thursday night sports – September 26


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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Week number six of the high school football season will kick off on Friday. Click the play video icon to see our preview of Friday’s action.

COLUMBUS, OH (AP) – Nathan Gerbe scored his second goal of the game with 38 seconds remaining to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in a preseason game Thursday night.

Nikita Nikitin scored on a one-timer from the left dot in the first period for Columbus, which wrapped up its preseason schedule. Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves.

Gerbe pulled the Hurricanes even at 18:04 of the second period, bursting from the corner and squeezing the puck past Bobrovsky. Gerbe topped that deke on the winning goal, going forehand to backhand and scoring easily.

Cam Ward made 25 stops for Carolina, which plays its last preseason game Friday against visiting Buffalo.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


GREENVILLE, NC (AP) – East Carolina has gone from being one of the nation’s worst defenses during coach Ruffin McNeill’s first year to one of its better run stoppers early in 2013.

After giving up an NCAA-record 572 points in 2010, East Carolina ranks 10th nationally by holding opponents to 82.3 yards rushing per game heading into Saturday’s trip to North Carolina.

While it’s only a three-game sample for 2013, it’s a promising start for defensive coordinator Rick Smith. Smith is in his second stint as an assistant here, returning in January to take over for fired coordinator Brian Mitchell.

East Carolina is allowing opponents to gain 2.7 yards per carry, about half of what they were during that demoralizing 2010 season. That year, the Pirates allowed teams to average 227 yards rushing.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


CHAPEL HILL, NC (AP) – North Carolina coach Roy Williams says suspended guard P.J. Hairston can practice with the team when it begins workouts Friday.

Williams suspended his leading scorer indefinitely in July after he was charged with speeding and reckless driving. He had also twice been cited by authorities during the offseason while driving a rental vehicle linked to a felon.

In a statement Thursday, Williams said it is Hairston’s “first step toward permanently earning his place back on the roster.” He also said Hairston will sit out an undetermined number of games.

Hairston said in a statement that he was sorry for actions that brought “such negative attention” to the team and his family. He says he knows he “let a lot of people down.”

UNC’s first game is Nov. 8 against Oakland.

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


RALEIGH, NC (NC STATE) — With the exception of two tip times in November, NC State men’s basketball has completed its 2013-14 schedule. The slate features 18 regular season games at PNC Arena, a December contest at Reynolds Coliseum, an exciting non-conference lineup and an enhanced ACC schedule.

The non-conference schedule, featuring home games against Northwestern and Missouri and trips to Cincinnati and Tennessee, was recently updated with tip-off and television information. There are two start times yet to be determined, NC State’s exhibition at PNC Arena against Morehouse College on Saturday, Nov. 2 and the team’s Saturday, Nov. 30 date with Eastern Kentucky. Those two start times will be released once NC State’s football kick-off times for those dates are released.

NC State, coming off consecutive 24-win seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances under head coach Mark Gottfried, will open its 2013-14 season at home against Appalachian State at 7 p.m. The team’s first four home games in November all begin at 7 p.m.

The Wolfpack will see Northwestern and Missouri come to Raleigh in December. Northwestern visits Wednesday, Dec. 4 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m. Missouri comes to PNC Arena Saturday, Dec. 28 for an 8 p.m. contest on ESPN2.

ACC action opens at home against new member Pittsburgh on Saturday, Jan. 4 at noon. NC State closes the month of January with three consecutive home games, including its final conference match-up against Maryland.

In all, Gottfried’s program will appear on ESPN networks 17 times during the 2013-14 regular season. The team will play seven times on the ACC Network, five times on the Regional Sports Network and once on CBS.

NC State fans will get their first glimpse of the young Wolfpack team Friday, Oct. 18 when the program hosts Primetime With The Pack: Operation Our State at PNC Arena at 7 p.m. The event will feature player introductions, skill contests and an intrasquad scrimmage. The first game action comes Wednesday, Oct. 30 when NCSU hosts an exhibition vs. UNC Pembroke at Reynolds Coliseum, followed by the exhibition vs. Morehouse. Admission to both exhibition games is free.


WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — With the 2013-14 schedule finalized and fall conditioning drills in the books, the UNCW men’s basketball team officially opens fall practice Friday, Sept. 27, at Trask Coliseum.

The Seahawks, 10-20 overall one year ago in Buzz Peterson’s third campaign, are restocked – both on the roster side and coaching sideline – for the new season.

In legislation approved last May, college basketball teams are allowed to practice two weeks earlier than usual. Teams can begin practice 42 days before their first game of the season, providing for up to 30 practices in the six-week period leading up to the season opener.

UNCW opens its regular season in early November with a two-game swing to the Upper Midwest to face Iowa and Iowa State on Nov. 8 and 10. The Seahawks will be practicing twice on Saturday and Sunday to kick off the first weekend.

“Every college coach is excited about starting practice and we’re looking forward to getting started,” said Peterson. “For us, we have three new assistant coaches, so we’ve had to take time during the week to go over the practice drills and way we want to play.

“(Strength and conditioning coach) Pat Murphy has done a great job in the weight room and some of the guys have really benefitted from that.”

The Seahawks will be trying to offset the loss of all-time great Keith Rendleman, who has taken his game to the professional ranks in Korea. Peterson has added four new players, including three transfers and one freshman, to go along with 11 returnees.

Meanwhile, Peterson has a full complement of players ready to go following individual workouts.

“We’re doing something a little different this year. We’re doing to do a couple two-a-days, shooting some in the morning and coming back in the afternoon and going hard. We’re going to get our offensive work in and then have a good hour and a half of solid defensive practice.

“You miss out on a lot of shooting in the preseason because you just have two hours on the floor. You’re trying to teach skill work and development work, so shooting fades away a little bit. I’m a big believer that if you’re doing to shoot the way you want, you have to do it competitively, so we’re doing to a lot of competitive drills with our shooting.”

The Seahawks will play a pair of exhibition games against Belmont Abbey (Oct. 30) and Methodist (Nov. 3) in preparation for the regular season opener against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. UNCW’s home opener is Saturday, Nov. 16, against Wingate in a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Season tickets remain on sale daily at the UNCW Ticket Office in Trask Coliseum or by visiting UNCWsports.com.

Midnite Madness, the annual celebration to kick off the start of basketball season, will be held Friday, Oct. 4, at 9:30 p.m. at Trask Coliseum and the Basketball Tip-Off Luncheon is slated for Oct. 16 at Buffalo Wild Wings on Eastwood Road.


ST. LOUIS (AP) – Colin Kaepernick threw two touchdown passes, Frank Gore had his first 100-yard game of the season and the San Francisco 49ers’ defense stepped up without some of their stars in a 35-11 rout over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night.

Anquan Boldin had five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, and Gore had 153 yards on 20 carries and a 34-yard score for San Francisco (2-2), which was outscored 46-10 the previous two games. Navarro Bowman had two of the 49ers’ five sacks with a strip leading to a fourth-quarter scoring run by Anthony Dixon.

The Rams (1-3) had an overtime win and tie against San Francisco last year, and took the early lead Thursday before falling flat. Greg Zuerlein banged in a 40-yard field goal off the right upright to end a nine-game scoring drought in the first quarter, but the 49ers answered with 28 straight points.

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