On Campus

Local players defy odds in the NFL
Aug. 13, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

The chances of a high school football player making it to the NFL are .09%, yet three local players continue to defy those odds. Aaron Mellette (SLHS) #13 is playing with the Baltimore Ravens, Dennis Godfrey (LCHS) #64 is playing with the Dallas Cowboys and Tobias Palmer (NHS) #83 is playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. These three continue to compete during pre-season in hopes of landing on their respective team’s 53-man roster. All three players saw action this past week in their team’s pre-season games.

Mellette hauled in only one reception in the Ravens' 44-16 win over Tampa Bay, but he made it a good one as the 21-yard pass from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was for his first NFL touchdown.

Dennis Godfrey was thrown into the mix quickly, having been signed by the Cowboys on Tuesday and by Wednesday was already going against second string defensive linemen in drills. Godfrey made his pro football debut at offensive guard on Friday night as the Dallas Cowboys were defeated by Oakland, 19-17, dropping their pre-season record to 1-1.

Tobias Palmer continues to be in the wide receiver mix for Jacksonville and was featured as a punt returner for Jaguars in their 27-3 loss to Miami last Friday. Palmer led the team in punt returns with three for 11 yards.

In NFL action this week, Mellette and the Ravens will host Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Godfrey and the Cowboys will travel to Arizona for a 4:30 p.m. game Saturday. Palmer and the Jaguars will face the Jets on at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

College Football

Andrew Stryffeler (LCHS) and Florida Atlantic held their first full-contact practice on Saturday. The Owls open their season on Aug. 30 at Miami. Stryffeler will make his only trip to North Carolina in week two as Florida Atlantic travels to Greenville to face East Carolina for a 7:30 p.m. game on Sept. 5.

Danny Dillon (LCHS) and Dalton Brown (NHS) and Campbell University donned full pads for the first time last Monday and had their first scrimmage last Tuesday. Pre-season camp will end on Aug. 24 with a fan appreciation day where fans can meet the players, coaches and tour the facility. The Fighting Camels have been picked to finish eighth in the PFL and will open the 2013 season on Aug. 31 on the road as they travel to Charlotte to play UNCC in the the 49ers' first-ever football game.

Mike Stryffeler (LCHS) has returned to his alma mater, Campbell University, after spending two seasons at the University of Montana as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach and completing his Master of Science degree in Health and Human Performance. Stryffeler will serve as assistant director of strength and conditioning for the Fighting Camels, overseeing volleyball, track and field, men’s soccer, softball, and assisting with football and baseball.

Dequan Swann (LCHS) and N.C. A&T will start their first two-a-day practices on Wednesday. N.C. A&T will host Aggie Fest on Aug. 24, an event filled with music, food and youth football competitions. Spectators will have the opportunity to meet the Aggies' fall sports teams. A&T will then open its 2013 season on Sept. 7 at Appalachian State.

Darcus Elliott (NHS), Ashton Gaines (SLHS), Ulyess Upchurch (LCHS) and Cody Lanier (LCHS) reported to camp at UNC Pembroke last Wednesday. All practices are open to the public. The Braves will open the 2013 season on at 8 p.m. Sept. 5 in front of a national audience as CBS Sports broadcasts Pembroke hosting 2012 national runner-up Winston Salem State. Later in the season, the Braves will again be featured on national television as they travel to defending national champion Valdosta State on Nov. 7 for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

Chase Arrington (LCHS) and Gardner-Webb University went full pads for the first time Saturday morning. The Bulldogs are picked to finish third in the Big South Conference this season and will open play at 6 p.m. Aug. 31 hosting Furman. All of Gardner-Webb’s games will be carried on the Big South Network this season.

Michael Reives (SLHS) and Averett University will open the 2013 season Sept. 7th as they travel to face Hampden-Sydney for a 1 p.m. game.

Brian Stryffeler (LCHS), Freddie McCullum (SLHS) and Wingate University will open the 2013 season by hosting St. Augustine's on Sept. 14 at 1:30 p.m. at Irwin Belk Stadium.

Tony Marsh (CCHS), James Foushee (LCHS), Reese Setzer (LCHS) and the rest of the Guilford players will report to camp on Wednesday. The Quakers have been picked to finish fifth in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Guilford will open the season on Sept. 7 when the Quakers travel to face crosstown rival Greensboro College at 1 p.m. in the 17th Annual Gate City Bowl.

T.J. Lett (LCHS) and Austin Johnson (LCHS) will report to camp soon with Brevard College. The Tornados will open play on at 2 p.m. Sept. 7 at Presbyterian.

Tre Wells (LCHS) and Greensboro College have been picked to finish seventh this season in the nine-team USA South Conference. The Pride will open play against Guilford in the Gate City Soup Bowl on Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. at Grimsley H.S. in Greensboro.

Men’s Soccer

Ben Grossfuss (LCHS) and Lynchburg College will open their 2013 season on Aug. 30 by traveling to Roanoke College to participate in a four-team tournament. The Hornets will face Richard Stockton University on Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. and Averett University on Aug. 31 at 5 p.m.

Brady Heath (LCHS) and Methodist University will open their 2013 season on Aug. 30 at Birmingham Southern in a 7:30 p.m. match. 

Women’s Soccer

Olivia Sturdivant (LCHS) and Kennesaw State opened their 2013 season with a 3-0 loss to Wofford in an exhibition match last week. The Owls will play their second exhibition match on Saturday as they host Clayton State at 7 p.m.

Jill Davis (LCHS) and High Point University held an intrasquad scrimmage Monday and will travel to Cullowhee on Friday night for an exhibition match against Western Carolina at 7 p.m.

Volleyball

After a year sabbatical, volleyball is back at Central Carolina Community College. Head Coach Bill Carter is excited to bring the sport back to CCCC and is looking forward to the upcoming season. Local athletes Anna Swindell (LCHS), Erica Davidson (Lee Christian), Haley Bryant (Grace), Makaila Gillum (Lee Christian) and Alisha Adkins (SLHS) have all made this year’s squad. The Cougars will open this season on the road on Aug. 27 with a 6 p.m. match against Davidson CC.