The newspaper industry provided me a four-decade career experiencing inspiration, dedication and just plain fun. The start of my career while covering the Chargers, college, high school sports and Olympic athletes came full circle with Don Coryell’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction on August 5 in Canton, Ohio. I helped Hall of Famer Dan Fouts with research on Coryell’s remarkable record of first-time Pro Bowlers with the SAN DIEGO Chargers and Cardinal for Fouts’ presentation to the voters. I’ve always appreciated the undervalued role of high school sports and high school coaches in our schools and society.
PHOTO (News & Observer): Millbrook junior kicker Angel Gomez.
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By TOM SHANAHAN
RALEIGH — A steady beat echoes from the Millbrook High’s sideline once the Wildcats’ offense takes the field. Angel Gomez grabs a football, tees it up with a kicker stand and boots the ball into a portable net.
“Thack.” Reset. “Thack.” Reset. “Thack.”
The junior kicker wants to be loose and ready, but, he adds, now that we’re into the November postseason with cooler temperatures, it’s especially important to keep his leg warm. And as any football fan knows, a kicker can mean the difference between advancing and going home.
Millbrook didn’t need a pivotal extra-point or field goal in the NCHSAA 4A playoffs’ opening round last week to get by Heritage 28-21, but Gomez’s leg was involved in a game-changing play on the 49-degree night.
With 9:34 remaining and the score tied at 21-21, Millbrook was forced to punt from its 40-yard line. Gomez took the snap and saw onrushing defenders from both sides. They seemingly had him sandwiched.
Read the remainder of my N&O story here.
Previous weekly features this season:
— Nov. 10, Millbrook kicker Angel Gomez, junior gaining attention
— Nov. 3, Leesville Road quarterback Deiondre Goldston, junior gaining attention
— Oct. 27, Clayton quarterback John Montague, offers include Boston College
— October 20, Durham Jordan running back Amarion Blue, junior gaining attention
— October 13, Garner receiver/return man Isaiah Dawson, Richmond commit
— October 6, Cardinal Gibbons quarterback Whitt Newbauer, Furman commit
— September 29, Fuquay-Varina athlete Malcolm Ziglar, North Carolina commit
— September 22, Wake Forest linebacker Zane Williams, North Carolina State commit
— September 15, South Garner defensive lineman Nnamdi Ogboko, Georgia commit
— September 8, Southeast Raleigh defensive lineman Chase Robinson, underrated prospect.
— September 1, Southern Durham defensive lineman Isaiah Campbell, 30-plus offers.
— August 25, Rolesville running back Isiah Jones, committed to NC State
— August 18, Millbrook quarterback Mason Fortune, underrated prospect.
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My books tell the true story of college football integration in the 1960s and address the myths and fiction that allowed a false narrative surrounding the 1970 USC-Alabama game to usurp the credit from the true pioneers. As I said when I spoke at the National Sports Media Association book festival, no two books provide an accurate portrayal more than RAYE OF LIGHT and THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
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Click here for my story on the 1962 Rose Bowl and Segregation awarded first place by the Football Writers Association of America. I tell untold stories on Michigan State’s leading role and the true pioneers of college football integration. Click here to read the summary as a first-place story.
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THE RIGHT THING TO DO
The True Pioneers of College Football Integration in the 1960s
Foreword by Ruffin McNeill
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RAYE OF LIGHT
Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the 1ntegration of College Football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans
Foreword by Tony Dungy
Click here to purchase my children’s book, Bubba’s Dad, Duffy and College Football’s Underground Railroad
The book for now is only a Kindle version on Amazon. Print and audio platforms available soon.
Coming soon for Christmas, my next children’s book: How Duffy Put Hawaii on the Football Map