AC Reynolds Rockets squeak past Dudley


Call them a little bit lucky.

But above all, call them Western Regional champions.

The AC Reynolds Rockets withstood a wild couple of minutes as Greensboro Dudley drove to the 2 and appeared to be heading to a state championship game for a third straight year.

But in the end Reynolds kept its poise, and when defensive back Damien Martin knocked away a pass with 15 seconds left, the Rockets knew they were bound for Raleigh after a 9-8 win in a hard-hitting NCHSAA 4-A regional title game here Friday night.

“These kids, their heart is so big, they’re so tough, they always give great effort, they wanted this so bad,” said Rockets coach Shane Laws, who had trouble hiding tears after leading the Rockets to their first regional title since 2002.

Reynolds advanced to the 4-A title, which will be at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh next Saturday. The Rockets will play the winner of today’s game between New Hanover and Harnett Central.

The Rockets (13-2) trailed 8-0 at half after the offense gained just 17 yards and gave up a safety. While the offense struggled the defense was solid, allowing just a 14-yard touchdown pass from Alex Moore to Devarris Martin with 3:23 left in the first half.

The Rockets’ defense came out and stopped Dudley (13-2) on two three and outs and picked up a safety of its own after a poor snap on a punt in the third quarter.

The Rockets’ offense finally showed some life when Caleb Pressley hooked up on a 41-yard pass play with Cody Owenby, who gained 25 yards after the catch for a first down to the 9.

“We talked at halftime about needing one big play and we got it,” said Pressley, who was chased by the Dudley defense for most of the game.

On the next play, A.J. Marion went around the right side for a 9-yard score to tie the game at 8-8.

The Rockets’ kicking game has been spotty all season but Austin Pelle sneaked the ball over the cross bar to give the Rockets a 9-8 lead with 3:30 left in the third quarter.

The defense continued to challenge Dudley, which entered the game having won the last two 3-AA championships.

“We just kept playing hard, kept pressuring them,” said Rockets linebacker Courtland Clavette.


  1. I have argued on the boards with Ragsdale fans and parents. I have stood with them on issues and against them on issues. 99% of the time, their arguments are in support of their kids and teams.

    Dan, you don’t represent the Ragsdale people that normally post on here. What a classless comment! If one or two jerks relished in the pain of a Ragsdale loss then why address it and sink to their level. You are no better than them.

    Dudley’s success over the last 3 years has been good for Guilford County. These kids deserve your applause for a great season. Both Ragsdale and Dudley have helped to let the rest of the state know that Guilford County is area filled with football talent. Both schools have A+ programs, led by A+ staffs, with great fans. Throw in the success of the programs over at Northern and Page…..the rest of the state has to recognized that it doesn’t get too much better than what goes on in Guilford County on Friday Nights in the Fall.

  2. Hey Dan, you are your name, spelled backwards, a Nad! Both Ragsdale and Dudley coaches are great men, great coaches, and great role models. I know them both, and have brought honor to their schools, and to themselves.
    If your mommy ever finds out your acting like this, you could get a spanking, and lose your TV privileges. You need a diaper change, cause you’re full of poop!!!!

  3. Unfortunately, you people are making the wrong arguments and certainly are not asking the right questions.

    The question(s) is/are, how can one school (A.C. Reynolds), one city (Asheville), and one state (North Carolina) continue to have the long term success that we have had and continue to be under-represented in key areas such as collegiate recruiting and in the Shrine Bowl? Moreover, when discussed and compared to the quality of football in other states, NC always get mocked as being sub-par in every way. I contend otherwise.

    Hypothetically, take Asheville High and AC Reynolds. Combine these schools and no school could compete with these student-athletes, EVER. So, if you represent the entire county instead of a cross-section of a county, then your argument is weak. Everyone “sleeps” on what we have to offer but everyone has to admit, there has always has been a monoply against Western North Carolina, espically in The Shrine Bowl. So, to a degree, I can feel the expressed frustration from our colleagues.

    Until people begin to actknowlege that the road to the State Title and to the The National Championship will unquestionally run through Western North Carolina; then you expect to feel our continued free expression regarding our dominance between the white lines.

  4. JG: back off the Shrine Bowl comments, until you know what your talking about. No one, and I repeat, NO ONE knows more about the Shrine Bowl than I(espicially on this board) The western half of NC had more players this year than the east. So, where is the point you want to make??

  5. Here are a few of the comments I read after last week’s game that were not deleted!

    … #73 for Ragsdale was getting his butt whipped all night long and in the end…(Andy I am surprised you allow anyone to single a player like this)

    Better luck next yr, Tiger cubbies.

    Why not take pride in that phat “L” you took on Friday?

    The tigers get their butts handed to them and the fans can’t take it, LMAO!!

    Shut up and quit cryin’ already.

    You Ragsdale guys are really starting to sound like a bunch of *******!!

    You choke in every game when the stakes are the highest and then you want to blame everyone and everything but yourselves …

    ragsdale chokes and cannot win a big game in any of the major sports”. they were a better team tha dudley and they choked—including the coaches! craziest play calling i’ve ever seen! stick to those individual sports, tigers. you were a superior team!!!!!

    Andy you need to stop being so sensitive to Dudley’s feelings and pay attention to what’s being written on other posts! Our pain last week was just as real as anything felt by the Panthers and their fans last night. It sucks to lose. But the arrogance of the comments above sure looks stupid now.

    Just so the rest of you know – I do not have to celebrate anything about Dudley’s season other than it’s over.

  6. JG: Our website offers the history and name of every player that has participated in our game. This year makes 73 years of continues play, giving us the worlds oldest high school all-star game. Do some research as to who came from where. I personally don’t have the time, as I’m tying up lose ends before the kids arrive in Spartanburg next Saturday. Let me know your results…

  7. FootballUMP is an expert. Do not question the great FootballUMP. He knows more about the Shrine Bowl than anyone – let me repeat ANYONE!

    Hey FootballUMP no one really cares that you perceive yourself to be the Shrine Bowl guru. JG can state his opinions on this board like anyone else. That is of course if he does not make fun of Dudley. Heaven forbid anyone do that. That would be grounds for deleting his comments. Have fun at Ragsdale’s expense all you want. Heck single out players. Andy does not seem to mind that.

  8. Sentive People,

    What are you complaining about? Everything said last week may have been true! At the end of the day we have rings to show for our success over the last 3 years. What does Ragsdale have to show for it? You know some of you Ragsdale fans are drinking the posion and hoping someone else dies. Bottom line we lost last night and offer no excuses unlike some of you Ragsdale fans. Dudley will take this lost last night and rebound and not point the finger. We’ve manned up and accepted the lost. Until Ragsdale can beat Dudley when it counts most then you talk!!!!!!!!! 4 title games for Dudley since 2003 is quite a success.
    Now to my classy Ragsdale folks congrats for a great season and I hope this baby of a rivalry continues for years to come.
    To my Dudley student atheletes keep your head up you guys are part of a first class program and having nothing to be ashamed off.
    To Coach Davis my hats is off to you man. Thanks for all you have done for Dudley High School and for Guilford County. You have help groom some boys into young men and given many of them and avenue to get a free education through hard work in the class room and as well as the field.


  9. FootballUMP:

    Personally, I have always drawn the line at Winston-Salem, which does not include Charlotte. That is and always be Western North Carolina dispite where a board votes to gerrymanders the boundaries.

    Unity is what we need not division and I do not approve of any such comments against Ragsdale, Dudley, and / or Guilford. These athletes are just boys with dreams and I support them with all my heart for they are my brothers.

    None-the-less, I will continue to advocate for Western North Carolina and Asheville in particular. And, if you look historically at the Shrine Bowl recipients (Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetville, Wilmington, Durham, Greensboro) and so on are heavly represented year after year.

    From what I remember, there are about 3 players selected from WNC annually. But, if you really want to go there, we (NC) are 16 – 34 since 1957. Further more, when was the last time a coach was selected from Western North Carolina to coach in the Shrine Bowl? 2005?

    Fix that my friend and you can select whoever you like.

  10. someone please tell me why Dudley cant develop a kicking game? Any soccer players there that could help them?

  11. KH where in my post do I say anything bad about Dudley? Learn to read. I am griping at Andy for his double standard of allowing Ragsdale’s team and individual players to be bashed on his board and he deletes the first post that says anything bad about Dudley.

    Everyone from Dudley that thinks they are being “classey” says “You have nothing to be ashamed of”. WE KNOW THAT! WE ARE NOT ASHAMED OF ANYTHING! We take pride in our team, coaches, school, and FIELD! We do not ask for handout’s, or create academies so the state does not shut down our school for poor academic performance. HE HAVE PRIDE! You think you have it.

    I get tired of hearing how we should celebrate these teams. You celebrate your team and I will celebrate mine. I celebrate the klids that live in our community. They aren’t living with Grandma while mom and dad live in High Point. I have no feelings for Dudley good or bad. Regroup your team – I really do not care.

  12. Senstive People,

    Do you have proof that is going on at Dudley or are you just talking? You do know that Dudley led Guilford County in Scholarship money last year right? So we must be doing something at Dudley.

  13. jt…what part of Dudley’s scholarship money was academic? You do know that athletic moeny and academic money are lumped together, right?

  14. Look JT, there are lots of reasons that Dudley’s scholarship money is high compared to other schools, so let us not even enter into those discussions. I do know for a fact that one scholarship that a student received was way overvalued for this statistic. If you value a scholarship that is $40-50M per year @ $400M, then the numbers mean absolutely nothing. Also if you receive 12 academic scholarships, in my opinion, youthe school should only count the one that is accepted. Otherwise the numbers are more like the stimulus package or the job creation numbers, absolutely meaningless!!!!!
    I am sure that other schools in the GCS do the same thing.

  15. I did not have the breakdown. Yes i know the two are combined. But my point is for the kids to receive and actually be admitted to college the kids must be doing something in the classroom. The poster took a swipe at the quality of education at Dudley so I made the statement in defense of Dudley.
    People want to be quick to talk about the quality of education received at Dudley without realizing if you break down the demographics school by school you will see the results are simliar rather it’s at Page, Ragsdale, Dudley, Smith, Grimsley etc.
    Not get off topic but and i know that this not the foroum for this conversation but Dudley is compromised of 95% or so of black kids, take the group over all grades and compare them to any other blacks students grades in any school in North Carolina and the results are really close………….. Now take the top 10% of Dudley High school black students and compare them any top 10% in guilfordcounty or north carolina and you will see the results are once again similiar.

  16. My point remains the same! If the scholarships offers are coming to students of Dudley then the students must be doing their part in the classroom rather one student receive 12 offers or just 1. Yes every school reports every offer.
    So to that point they were still number one in Guilford County.

  17. What proof do you need? There is a Dudley Academy. It was developed after the standardized text scores were so low that the state threaten to shut down the school. That is the proof.

  18. The Dudley Academy has been open since I in school and i graduated in 1995.
    You know you guys want to make it a Dudley problem when it is County Problem, a State Problem, and a National problem.
    Stop hiding the hand that throws the stone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What school do you represent?

  19. Hope for a downfall? No different than the disdain I read about Ragsdale when their team lost last week. Everyone does not have the love for Dudley that you have. Remember you would care less what people thought of you if you realized how little they thought of you. Stop being so vain.

    We had to listen to all the crap last week. This week its your turn.

    By the way I love how the problems at Dudley are everyone’s problem but their own. I had no idea. I do not know what I was thinking to consider that anyone at Dudley would take responsibility for their actions. My bad.

  20. SP, if you would read my post you would know what i was talking about academics being a problem bigger than Dudley. Go back and read my post again.

    What i said was if you break down the demographics and look at black students at Dudley, Ragsdale, Smith, Grimsley, or any other school you would find that as a whole the grades and test scores are a mirror image of each other.

    Take the top 10% of students and Dudley and you will find they are just as impressive as the top 10% at any school in this county or state.

    It’s a difference in debating about what did or did not happen on a football field. Not once did anyone from Dudley attack Ragsdale academics.

    I cannot speak for you but i can speak for myself and i am doing my part to help out kids who may be less fortunate.

  21. First, let me say that the Ragsdale win was a denfensive win with a int returned to the 1. Remember, it still took us 3 tries to get in from the 1!!! Last nights game was a failure by an incompetent OC. He continued to run at blitzes and told the QB to throw to one person. I think he should be FIRED!!!! Look at the stats in todays news and record. There in noway you would think we didnt win that game. Truth is the players are constantly pushed to be better and our coaches are not as good as their egos think they are. We had the TE and receivers open all night long and the QB had instructions to throw to a particular individual. The truth is they are more afraid of him than respect him. The program is definitely one of favorites both on the field and in the coaching staff. We need a true OC. Too many proven players didnt touch the ball last night. #13 had single coverage while they doubled and tripled #11 and only had the pass thrown his way once with the CB giving a 10 yard cushion. Our OC needs to go to offensive set school. We ran so well out of the spread!!!! With the receiver corp that DC respect. How many times can you get away with playing your players purely on passing downs!!!!! We ran ISO to blitz sides all night. Then when the QB passes elsewhere they grill him. I give the D their props, but imangine if we had a real OC. Reidsville has one!!! If we could only get one!!!!! The wildcat is not a PRIMARY set!!!! the kids should be hurt and disgusted and the coaches imbarrased. I’m interested to see how coach Davis handles this situation!!!!! He is so stout on correction of his players. Let see how he handles one of his own that everyone in the STATE knows cost his team the game. It was clear in the page game that he dosent posses the football IQ for tight games and now its even more evident. The stats show the kids did enough to win. I feel we are seeing the end of a program!!!! Coaching is required when your pool of athletes weakens and all who are true dudley fans know that offensively we are lost. Too many athlete and not enough football IQ if you ask me. I know that our coaches have big egos and am interested to see where those egos go when the team that lines up across from you are better and you have to find and exploit a weakness!!! Cant always impose your will on folk. Its true that the best team does not always win, but the most prepared coach does. Our OC is a JOKE and he knows it. He’s a good guy, but its hard for me to beleive he ever played QB. If they keep up the favoritism and egos the dudley program is dead!!!! allot of the guys dont even want to play for him. The clock is ticking on the program and if the proper adjustments are not made I give them a year. Folk ask about the field goal. ONLY and idiot dosent kick it with over 3 minutes to go and your on your opponets 4. Worse case we miss and play solid defense and get it back..HIT and its over. Cant have confidence in your kids when you dont have confidence in yourself. All the games we won by large margin….. Hey coach thats when you work on you NEW sets!!!!!!!!!!!! They were nearly drawing plays in the dirt last night!!!! Some ol sand lot mess. I think the Panther nation is pissed and has a right to be!!! If you can honestly do a self assesment of your performance and find it lacking, go get the knowledge you lack!!!! the kids deserve better, the school deserves better. A fourth grader with enough film could set a defense against us and ACR did that and we had no back up plan. I dont even think we had a plan. Look out for Smith and Page next year. They know about the ISO’s and trust me!!!!!! The only thing we will change is our cleats!!!!!!! So, sad !!!!!

  22. Lost is hard for everyone. My son is a part of the football team and it is upsetting to read some of the comments adults are making. I agree, there’s no way we shoud have lost but we did. Coaches be proud of your teams and their efforts. Young men I hope you all set goals and reach for the higher calling. Thanks to all the guys for a great season and much thanks to QB for allowing us to see some passing. Go Panthers

  23. Spotit where were you last week when Ragsdale’s young men were being thrown under the bus? Your son’s pain is not greater than my son’s. I looked I did not see you post any where. So you want us to “stopit” when it’s upsetting t you but not when it’s upsetting to others? I don’t think so.

    JT I am not attacking the academics. I am attacking the FACT that because Dudley Academy exists you get kids from all over the county to attend your school. Strange how there certainly seems to be a lot of really good athletes. I am sure that’s just coincidence.

  24. Thanks for the complaints from the readers that think their comments get deleted and others do not.

    I was on here yesterday removing comments, had to remove some last night, had to remove some more this morning.

    Last weekend was a fun time removing comments.

    A while back I took down a whole post when Ragsdale and Northwest got into. That is not the first time we have taken down the entire post and all the comments that go with it. Sometimes good articles get removed because the direction ends up going the wrong way…..

    I didn’t get into this to be a baby sitter and I don’t do it to provide an attack forum. It is designed to be a community forum that allows input from the community….

    We spend a lot of time checking this site and if you are having problems with the way your issue is being treated then leave something in the Gripe or Complaint Box or E-mail me at…..

    This is supposed to be fun and informative, maybe it still can be…….

  25. SP go look back again at last weeks post you will see that i felt for those kids also because I have friends whose boys play for RHS. You just LIED. I am not a child basher. You grown ups make me sick including you SP. I believe you when you say your son is upset because he worked his butt off and all he gets is you and other immature adults acting like kindergartens.

  26. Stopit – I stand corrected with regards to your posts last week, I apologzed for making that mistake. I have made no comments on this board that bash a player or coach. I’m sorry that makes you sick.

  27. If any of you caught Coach Davis interiew last night you would know even in defeat we are winners……….. Coach Davis said in his interview “Now my focus is to help these kids get into school”. Sure i would have like to win the game last night but that statements means a lot to me. Our young men including the young men at Ragsdale, Page, Smith etc all need go men like Coach Davis in their lives. Not saying these other school do not have this in their Coaches or at home but hats off to you Coach Davis.

    Coach Davis Thank You! To the young men of Dudley High. This to shall pass. Thank You guys for making us proud!

  28. I used to have alot of respect for Ragsdale but now they’re starting to remind me of some of the other athletic programs in this area. You can’t win games on the field of play so you have resorted to attacking our school and our community. And further, I think it was Ragsdale that started this beef in the first place by talking all the smack about our athletic facilities. The boys saw those comments and took it to HEART and in turn made it their business to knock you out the playoffs and in turn DENY you that opportunity for a chance at playing for the state 4A crown. You don’t like our field, be a part of the SOLUTION and offer valuable suggestions to the athletic staff for CONSIDERATION.

    Dudley and Ragsdale are BOTH out the playoffs for this seasom and the score is now 0-0; only difference between Dudley and ragsdale at this point is that some of our kids woke up THIS MORNING and smiled to themselves knowing that they had won it ALL last year and can wear their rings PROUDLY and the ones coming back know that next season is new opportunity to win it all once again and if that means KNOCKING OUT Ragsdale and any other football team along the way, so be it!! You WILL see The D-BOYZ of Dudley High School again and that is BAD NEWZ so GET READY!!

    And with that, I am done.

  29. I have not visited this site since last Friday night and after reading the many insults I am glad I did not post all week. Although many of the insults appeared to not come from Dudley fans. Plus, who wants to visit a site that allows people to anonomously taunt kids?

    Every Ragsdale player I have spoken with said the Dudley kids played clean and are not smack talkers. That’s a credit to those kids and the coaches. I think any issues people had were with administrators at Dudley, coaches at Dudley and a few fans that enjoy sitting on the visiting side taunting 17 year olds and tossing peoples seats and blankets aside that had been there for hours (but I guess that’s part of playing at the Tarp). The kids seem to be good kids.

    Old Head, you want a better field? Then go to work. Syngenta offered a free truckload of free fertilizer a year or so ago and the school wanted to know if they would come out and spread it also. That field would not be hard to fix but it will take work from your staff (I’m not sure they want it fixed; it’s a tremendous advantage). It is not the responsibility of the County School system. At most schools the coaches mow, fertilize, seed and paint their fields. It’s a matter of pride and hard work. Unlike our current administration in Washington, there is no bailout. Get to work. There is no entitlement.

  30. If there is any hatred or ill will,it is time to put it aside. The football games are all over and now we all have to start moving on and get ready for next year.

    Some players will move on to college, others will be back for 2010. Some coaches will also move on and others will have that weight room open this Monday afternoon.

    We all battled hard, but 2009 is behind us now and we will have to head indoors for now and let the roundballs roll……..

    Always remember we are all in this Guilford County thing together and in the long run we are one and working for one common cause, another Championship….

    Let’s win together and let’s share together and we will can then all proud and promote the great job that these kids are doing here in the County.

    Eastern Guilford played South Johnston to a three-point game and South Johnston is going for the title this Saturday. Just another example of how our Guilford County kids are there and with Dudley, Ragsdale, Northern and others we were right in the middle of the Championship Hunt again this season…….

    Good job kids and a good job to the parents that raised you…….

    Who will do it in basketball?????

    Dudley 4-A
    Northern 3-A
    High Point Andrews 2-A

    Greensboro Day School
    High Point Wesleyan
    Westchester Academy

    High Point Central

  31. Jigga j, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment,was there,and saw . . . . a confused ,chaotic staff when the kids needed direction and leadership . . . .and what they saw was a bunch of confused coaches. As a coach, you gotta leave the ego and coach . . . . good or bad teams, you’ve got to coach in tight situations and being able to handle it with poise . . .that’s how you “threepeat” as was stated by the coach in preseason. Poise in tight situations, that’s how you win when the pressure is on. See u at grandma’s !

  32. We see ya Ol’ Bawl Coach. The kids really were let down as well as the fans. Its over now and I think there is more issues that some of the players have that will have to be ironed out. Most coaches dont realize there is a psycological element to the profession. Cant keep bashing some kids and expect them to lay it all on the line for ya. Some kids can get bashed and take it on the chin, but when the turn around occurs you have to recognize it. I think its a great practice to praise as much as you bash. I think we have seen where this leads if you look at the KU situation. I agree that the poise wasnt there and going forward we wont be as stacked as past teams, so poise, scheme and all the other small things that can kill a program or team MUST be present. Gotta run. Gotta clean up after that Tsunami!!!!LOL

  33. Welcome to 4A playoff football Dudley, just be glad your not in the 4AA west, with Page.

  34. Dudley playing in 4a ball had nothing to do with the lost. not to discredit AC from winning the game but we just did not execute and put this team away early. Don’t act as if we were dominated! Dudley dominated this game in the stat column we just did win in the column that matters most and that is points scored. Dudley has never back from competition if a school calls we play them!

  35. Great season for both schools . PLEASE QUIT ACTING LIKE BIG BABBIES LET IT GO.
    What are we teaching our children???? LET IT GO


  36. we lost friday and it hurts but we will pull through & thank everyone that posted comments it shows support for your teams football is not life though take it easy

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