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My N&O story: Xavier Pugh emerges from shadows in the playoffs

PHOTO: Millbrook running back Xavier Pugh.


Millbrook High’s running game needed something extra last week.

The Wildcats, known for their explosive passing attack, faced top-seeded Hillside’s balanced offense in an East Region semifinal of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.

Xavier Pugh, Millbrook’s overshadowed running back, delivered — three times. The senior’s third rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter was the game-winner in a 19-14 victory.

“Every game he got better and better for us this year,” said Millbrook coach Jimmy Vereen.

Click here for the remainder of my N&O story.


 I invite you to follow me on Twitter @shanny4055.

— Tom Shanahan earned first place from the Football Writers Association of America for Enterprise Story on the 1962 Rose Bowl and segregation. He is the author of Raye of Light, a book on Michigan State’s leading role in college football integration under Duffy Daugherty in the 1960s.

— I tell untold stories of college football integration. Click here to read why.

Now that @MSU_WGolf freshmen Brooke Biermann and Katie Lu have finished their first season, they did some #NIL work for me before returning home. They discussed their summer reading list. @MSU_Football #True1960sPioneers— Tom Shanahan (@Shanny4055) May 12, 2022

RAYE of LIGHT story of Duffy Daugherty and southern Black high school coaches, most prominently Bubba Smith’s father Willie Ray Smith, laying tracks to college football’s first fully integrated rosters. This was tipping point — don’t believe Bear Bryant/USC revisionist history.— Tom Shanahan (@Shanny4055) June 8, 2021

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