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): Rolesville junior quarterback Braden Atkinson.
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By TOM SHANAHAN
ROLESVILLE — Braden Atkinson continues rolling up big numbers as Rolesville High’s season marches on. The Rams’ quarterback joined the 3,000-yard club last week with a 371-yard performance, bumping his total to 3,185 with 40 touchdowns.
The junior is a second-year starter, but it wasn’t long ago he didn’t strike fear in Triangle football. At the start of the 2022 season there were doubts — including his own, he admits — that an untested sophomore coming off torn knee ligaments could direct the Rams’ high-powered offense. The injury limited his 2021 junior varsity experience to two games.
If we think back to the 2022 preseason, wide receiver Noah Rogers’ star power led the Rams. Mr. Rogers’ elite neighborhood included a commitment to Ohio State as North Carolina’s top-ranked high school wide receiver. So, it was natural to ask Rogers in the preseason about questions surrounding his projected quarterback.
“Don’t worry about Braden,” Rogers said. “He’s going to be good.”
Read the remainder of my News & Observer story here.
Previous weekly features this season:
— Nov. 17, Rolesville quarterback Braden Atkinson, junior with two offers gaining attention
— 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