Up & Coming Weekly

January 14, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 24 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 24 UCW JANUARY 15-21, 2020 HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS Fireworks damage Cape Fear football field by EARL VAUGHAN JR. EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWSports@gmail. com. 910-364-6638. When Cape Fear football coach Jake Thomas brought his son to club wrestling practice after New Year's Eve, he was met by a disappointing sight on the school's football field. Someone had used a small area near the base - ball-field end as a launching pad for fireworks. Photos taken by Thomas showed a burned out spot on the turf of the Cape Fear field with the litter from the various types of fireworks used by whoever trespassed illegally on school grounds still there. Thomas said it certainly could have been a lot worse, and has been when he's seen peo - ple who've driven vehicles onto athletic fields and left damaging doughnuts cut into the turf with the wheels of their trucks or cars. But seeing the Cape Fear field marred by the fireworks was not a pleasing sign for Thomas, who estimates he and members of his coa - ching staff spend in the vicinity of 200 hours a year doing everything to the field from cutting the grass, tending to the health of the soil and painting it for Thursday and Friday football con - tests during the season. "When I was first coming into coaching, you don't appreciate how much time you spend on field maintenance, painting the field, all those things,'' Thomas said. "You really don't get a full understanding until you do it yourself.'' Thomas said the fans who show up on Friday night only get to see the end result and don't rea - lize the total amount of work that the football staff puts into making the field not only safe to play on but appealing to the eye. Beyond the work on the field, there are rules in place about who can and can't use school practi - ce facilities like the football field. Thomas noted that not even Cape Fear varsity and junior varsity athletes are allowed to be on school property working out without a member of the coaching staff being present with them. "There are liability issues,'' Thomas said. Even in the school weight room, athletes can't lift without having a coach there to oversee what's taking place. Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools, said those who used the Cape Fear football field for shoo - ting fireworks were guilty of trespassing. "If definitely has to do with safety reasons, but it's also a liability issue,'' Aldridge said, "having folks on our grounds if they are injured. The liability falls on us.'' Aldridge said high schools are not allowed to use fireworks at their games on Friday nights because it's a fire code issue. While it used to be all right when Aldridge was a coach at South View in the early part of 2000, the fire marshal later ruled that it was not allowed. During its run to the state football cham - pionship in 1991, South View had a fan who brought a musket-like gun to games that was fired following each Tiger touchdown. Aldridge said that practice is also no lon - ger allowed due to firearms restrictions on campus. Thomas said he did not make an official police report of the incident at Cape Fear but he has asked members of the Cape Fear com - munity to help identify who was involved, especi- ally if they were students, so proper discipline can be administered as needed. Aldridge said the county will likely not get invol- ved and will let Cape Fear handle the matter at the school level, including any decision regarding offering a reward for identifying those involved. Student Activities Director Vernon Aldridge said high schools are not allowed to use fireworks at their games on Friday nights because it's a fire code issue. MLK Dream Jam pits local public vs. private schools by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Karl Molnar has seen the perspective of local high school basketball from the sides of a private school and public school coach, going back to his days at Fayetteville Academy and his current role as varsity boys coach at Terry Sanford. He's keenly away there has been friction bet - ween the two groups in the past, but he also thinks the coaches involved share a common bond that should help them pull together. "I hated there was distance between them,'' Molnar said. "I like to think at the end of the day, your job as coach is to do the best you can.'' In an effort to bridge the gap and get everybody at the same table for a change, Molnar came up with the idea of the inaugural MLK Dream Jam, which will be held on this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, Jan. 20, at the Terry Sanford gymnasium. The schedule will feature a mixture of Cumberland County Schools and local private schools playing head-to-head in both boys and girls basketball games, the action beginning at 11:30 a.m. and continuing through the final game of the day at 7 p.m. A total of six games are sche - duled. Molnar said he tried to involve as many public schools as possible in the event. Some schools accepted quickly while some others weren't able to commit to the tournament because they had prior obligations or their sche - dules for this season were already full. Molnar said a handful of coaches, who he didn't identify, still didn't want to take part in the event. In determining the matchups for the one- day event, Molnar said he tried to go by overall records and any head-to-head competition that had already taken place. He is hopeful that the level of talent in this inaugural competition will draw the interest of a number of college coaches. "We've heard from some coaches who are coming to see the talent in Fayetteville,'' Molnar said. "The hope is as this event progresses over the years, we'll have all the top public schools and all the top private schools playing in the same event.'' Admission to all games will be $10 Molnar said. Fans will be allowed to stay and watch as many games as they like on a single ticket. MLK Dream Jam schedule Here is the schedule for the inaugural MLK Dream Jam at Terry Sanford High School as of Tuesday, Jan. 7. The schedule is still subject to late changes: GIRLS 11:30 a.m. - Terry Sanford vs. Freedom Christian Academy 1 p.m. - Richmond Senior vs. Village Christian Academy 2:30 p.m. - Cape Fear vs. Trinity Christian School BOYS 4 p.m. - E.E. Smith vs. Freedom Christian Academy 5:30 p.m. - Pine Forest vs. Trinity Christian School 7 p.m. - Terry Sanford vs. Village Christian Academy Karl Molnar

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