Thoughts on the Anchor Bowl, tennis and Lou Holtz

Published 2:57 pm Thursday, October 14, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

My first Anchor Bowl was almost as cool as I thought it would be. Although there is nothing like two rivals getting together under the Friday night lights, Monday was good enough. I thought there would be more fans, but work and school beckoned early the next morning.

Marching bands always make it feel like football season, and Southside’s looked sharp and played well.

I think Northside’s trip to Raleigh for the 1A championship game in the spring has carried over, even though some of the key players graduated. The Panthers brought the swagger Monday, looking like they had been in big games before.

Southside, though undefeated, looked a little tentative early and it caused a hole they couldn’t climb out of. Northside won, 26-6, in case you missed it. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if we have a rematch in the playoffs.

I enjoyed my first in person look at the Anchor Bowl trophy. That is one gnarly-looking anchor.

Unless the wheels come off in the next three weeks, it looks like a county school could challenge Tarboro for the East title. Remember, the playoffs are no longer subdivided, so whoever plays in Raleigh will have to slay the Vikings first, barring an upset of course. Should be entertaining to follow.

Watching Northside coach Keith Boyd being surrounded by young local reporters after the game reminded me of a story from my early days.

It was the fall of 1983 and I was covering the University of Missouri Tigers for the local radio station. Mizzou was hosting Notre Dame, under the direction of Lou Holtz, that Saturday and I was to interview him at the airport as the team disembarked.

Holtz saw the gaggle of reporters with pads, microphones and cameras, so he stopped on the tarmac. The season had not gone well for the Irish and he was under a bit of pressure to win this particular game to turn his season around.

The first question out of my young TV colleague’s mouth was “Are you worried that you will be fired if you don’t win tomorrow?”

Fair question poorly phrased and badly timed. The interview ended right there.

Holtz stomped off and we left empty handed.

Lessons learned. There is a proper way to ask a question and save the hard questions for last so everyone can get a quote/soundbite or two.

Holtz survived and I did manage to get a full length interview with him five years later when he was the featured speaker at the Shrine Bowl banquet.

Moving on. Congratulations to the Washington High School girls tennis team for a fine regular season. The Pam Pack finished second in the 2A Eastern Plains Conference with a 9-2 league record and 11-4 overall mark.

Greene Central went 12-0 and 18-1 overall to capture its 28th consecutive conference championship. You read that correctly, the Rams have finished first in whatever league they’ve been in since 1993.

Who knew that Snow Hill was the center of a tennis dynasty? I learn something new every day in this job.

Katherine Pollock and Olivia Paszt have been the Pam Pack’s top two singles players with 9-3 conference records and have the same record as the top doubles team. Abbey Lewis and Ana Roberson are the number two doubles team at 8-3. We’ll keep you posted on post-season progress.