Wow, what a fantastic weekend!

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 12, 2007

It just doesn’t get any better than this past weekend.

Rams win…Hawks win…Pack wins…and I had a chance to meet one of my all-time favorite musicians. After all of that, the good Lord could have called me home and I would have died a happy man.

The weekend was jumpstarted Friday night in the opening round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Class 1-A State Football play-offs.

Two hundred and fifty-six teams swung into post-season action across the state on Friday. Of those, 128 remain, one of which is my high school alma mater, Northampton-East.

Congratulations to head coach Greg Watford, his staff (including my pal Leslie “Junior” Long, a former Ram football standout) and his players on a fine season.

The Rams finished second this year in the Tar-Roanoke Conference and whipped Mattamuskeet, 39-13, this past Friday in the state play-off opener. NCHS-East will take an 8-4 overall record to Jones Senior High School in Trenton this Friday in the state quarterfinals. Good luck guys!

Saturday afternoon in Newport News, the Chowan Hawks trailed Newport News Apprentice School 28-0 with under three minutes to go in the third quarter of the 58th annual Oyster Bowl. But there’s no quit in this Chowan club as the Hawks rallied to forge a 35-35 tie at the end of regulation (scoring the game-tying TD with 19 seconds left) and then went four overtimes with the ‘Builders before pulling out a thrilling 61-55 victory.

Senior quarterback Josh Floyd went out in style, accounting for over 300 yards of total offense and seven TD’s (four passing, three rushing). That performance led the Chesapeake, Va. native to Oyster Bowl MVP honors.

It’s been a long season for head coach Lorick Atkinson and the Hawks. Saturday’s win in their season finale was only their second of the year, but coach Atkinson has this program going in the right direction. If Chowan’s administration can see their way clear of adding more football scholarships, the future looks bright for the Hawks.

Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, the Wolfpack of NC State snapped a three-game slide against arch rival UNC as they beat the Tar Holes, 31-27. But, as it always seems, this game came down to the final seconds, even though the ‘Pack had earlier built leads of 17-0 and 24-10.

State’s quarterback, Daniel Evans, apparently became confused over jersey color as he threw two interceptions that were returned for long touchdowns. That eventually helped the ‘Holes take a 27-24 lead before Jamelle Eugene scored on a one-yard run with 1:41 remaining to swing the lead back to the ‘Pack.

You have to hand it to the Tar Holes, they converted a few critical plays on their final possession, eventually driving to the ‘Pack’s seven yardline where four incomplete passes followed and NC State grabbed their fourth straight win after a dismal 1-5 start.

If we can beat Wake Forest this coming Saturday, the Wolfpack will secure the “North Carolina Championship,” having defeated ECU, UNC and Wake.

My fantastic weekend was capped off Sunday night in Edenton where The Charlie Daniels Band played at the Fairgrounds.

With a VIP and Press Pass in hand, myself and my boss, Jeff Findley, had the opportunity to go backstage and meet the legendary Daniels. And what a great man he was….taking his time with each and every person he met, signing autographs and posing for hundreds of photos.

Then the 71-year-old Daniels took the stage and put on one heck of a show. Despite a cold night, Daniels and his talented band kept things upbeat, which helped the crowd ignore the temperature that had dipped to below 40 degrees by the time he took the stage.

As expected, Daniels paid tribute to America’s military veterans. After all, Sunday was Veteran’s Day.

And, as expected, Daniels reached deep into his musical repertoire and delivered classic hits such as The South’s Gonna Do It Again, Long Haired Country Boy, Trudy (my personal favorite) and The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

If any upcoming weekend gets any better than this past one, just go ahead and bury me…I couldn’t stand it!