Aaron Mellette (SLHS), wide receiver at Elon University, has finished eighth in the Walter Payton Award voting and has been selected to play in the 2012 FCS Senior Scout Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Dec. 15.
The Walter Payton Award is presented annually to the top player at the FCS level. This was the second time that Mellette was included as a top 20 finalist and the sixth consecutive season that an Elon player has landed in the top 20 balloting for this award. The top three candidates will now wait until the FCS Awards Banquet in Philadelphia, Pa., on Dec. 17 to find out who this year's winner will be. Finalists include Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke, Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet and Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein.
Last week, Mellette was also named to the FCS Senior Scout Bowl first team as a wide receiver and will now prepare for the Dec. 15 contest to be played at 6 p.m. in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Senior Scout Bowl pits FCS All-Americans from Northern FCS schools playing their counterparts from Southern FCS schools. Other North Carolina players making the South squad include Eric Breitenstein from Wofford, Jeremy Kimbrough and Demetrius McCray from Appalachian State, and Jamie Dunaway from Gardner-Webb.
Dalton Brown (NHS), Danny Dillon (LCHS) and Campbell University (1-8, 0-6) were introduced to the new Fighting Camels head coach last week, retired Carolina Panthers defensive back Mike Minter. Minter retired from the Panthers in 2007 and has quickly risen through the coaching ranks starting as a high school head coach at First Assembly Christian School in Concord where he won two N.C. independent schools state championships in three years. He then served as a college assistant coach at Division II Johnson C. Smith and this past season was the special team’s coordinator for Liberty University. Minter hopes to turn around Campbell much like John Fox did when he took over the 1-15 Panthers and had them playing in the Super Bowl two years later.
Tobias Palmer (NHS) and N.C. State (7-5, 4-4) have accepted an invitation to play Vanderbilt in the 15th Annual Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, Dec. 31, at 11 a.m. This will be State’s first Music City Bowl appearance and its fourth bowl game in the past five seasons. Offensive Coordinator Dana Bible will serve as the interim head coach until new Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren finishes his coaching responsibilities at Northern Illinois University. Doeren brings an impressive resume as he was a finalist for the 2012 National Collegiate Coach of the Year and led the Huskies to a No. 18 national ranking and their first-ever 12-win season. In two years at the helm of the NIU program, Doeren has compiled a 23-4 record, won two MAC Championships and mentored Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch. Prior to NIU, Doeren was the defensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach at Wisconsin. Doeren also believes in academic excellence as Northern Illinois ranked in the top five for FBS teams in student-athlete academic progress rate and was the only school to have a player win the National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award in both 2011 and 2012.
Ulyess Upchurch (LCHS) and 18th-ranked Louisburg College came up just short as Ellsworth CC kicked a field goal in the closing minutes to win the 2012 Graphic Edge Bowl, 30-27, at the University of Northern Iowa’s Uni-Dome. Upchurch recorded one solo tackle on special teams in the loss.
Andrew Stryffeler (LCHS) and Florida Atlantic were handed a 35-21 loss by the University of Louisiana Lafayette, bringing a dismal 3-9 season to a close. Stryffeler finished his junior season starting three games at defensive end and playing in six while recording eight tackles, four solo and four assisted, a quarterback hurry and a forced fumble.
Kemory Mann (NHS) and East Carolina (8-4, 7-1) have accepted an invitation to play in the R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl against Louisiana Lafayette in New Orleans on Dec. 22 at noon. The Pirates and Ragin’ Cajuns have met 10 times previously with Louisiana Lafayette leading the series 6-4. This will be ECU’s sixth bowl appearance in the last seven years.
Ace Chalmers (SLHS) and Davidson CC (10-1) added three wins to their nine-game winning streak by blowing out Pfeiffer College 106-57, downing Belmont Abbey JV 87-56, and shutting down Johnston CC 79-31. Chalmers came off the bench versus Pfeiffer to score four points and add three steals, three assists and three rebounds. He would later score seven points and added two steals and an assist in the Storm’s victory over Belmont Abbey. Mt. Zion Prep visits Davidson today and the Storm hosts the DCCC Storm Classic this weekend where they will face Northern Virginia CC on Saturday and Clinton JC on Sunday.
Akeem Richmond (SLHS) and East Carolina (5-1) went 1-1 last week, defeating Georgia State 62-53, but then falling to UNCC, 76-64. Richmond came off of the bench to score three points in 10 minutes of play in the Pirates' victory over the Panthers, and would add two points and a steal in ECU’s loss to the 49ers. The Pirates will host St. Andrews today at 7:30 p.m. for their only game of the week.
Josh Mellette (SLHS) and Wake Tech improved to 6-3 on the season with a win over Richard Bland College, 74-52. The Eagles will travel to Cape Fear CC this Friday for a 7 p.m. contest.
Elijah Buie, Dwayne McEachin (Grace Christian) and Davis College (3-5, 1-0) went 1-1 last week, losing 83-69 to Valley Forge Christian College, but then bouncing back to defeat St. John Fisher College’s JV, 88-60. The Falcons will play three games this week, hosting Cazenovia College today, traveling to Broome CC on Thursday and then returning home again Saturday for a 5 p.m. game against Mid-Atlantic University.
Alex Tucker (LCHS) and Francis Marion University (3-1) had another offensive explosion by blowing out Barber Scotia, 150-76, with everyone on the team scoring and seven players hitting double figures. Tucker contributed six points, six rebounds and three steals in the win. The Patriots will be off this week.
Julian Martin (SLHS) and N.C. Wesleyan has hit an early hot streak as the Battling Bishops improved to 7-0 this week by defeating Mary Washington, 89-85, in overtime; Mid-Atlantic Christian, 77-53, and Maryville on Sunday. Against Mary Washington, Martin was the leading scorer off of the bench notching 12 points and one assist in 20 minutes of play. Wesleyan will travel to Guilford on Saturday for a 2 p,m, game.
Yazzy Butler (SLHS) and the UNC Pembroke improved to 4-2 on the season picking up a 63-58 win over Wingate. The Lady Braves will be off this week.
All-American Mike Williams (SLHS) (8-1) and 12th-ranked UNC Pembroke (1-0) easily cruised by Belmont Abbey, 28-15. No, 1 ranked Williams earned a decision over Joseph Maumoynier, 12-3. The Braves will travel to Buena Vista, Va., Saturday to participate in the Southern Virginia Open.