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Thomasville prepares for East after another blowout
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DENTON — Thomasville football has nine more days to prepare for a two-game stretch to finish a regular season that has seen the Bulldogs dominate the competition with but a single exception.

The team’s bye week came after yet another resounding win against an overmatched opponent, this time a 63-0 victory at South Davidson. When it next takes the field, Thomasville (6-1) will attempt to put together its seventh 30-point performance of the season.

The Bulldogs are set to take on East Davidson, which will enter next week’s cross-town contest aiming to right the ship after a pair of difficult losses, a one-point defeat to North Rowan and a 49-0 shutout against Salisbury. Thomasville coach Kevin Gillespie is cautioning his team against looking past the Golden Eagles regardless of what the win-loss ledger says.

“Their record is better, and they’ve been playing people tough,” Gillespie said. “I haven’t seen them yet, but … they play hard, they fly to the ball, they’re going to wad it up a little bit. I bet that’s what it’s going to be, and we’ve just got to get ready.”

The Bulldogs again scored in all three phases last week, starting the scoring early with a blocked punt 97 seconds into the game. CJ Dickerson threw for a trio of scores and ran for one, an 81-yard scamper. Jabrii Carolina added a pair of rushing scores, Lymeake Washington had two receiving touchdowns and Javaughn McKinney’s interception — one of four picks by the team on the night — went for six.

Thomasville racked up 63 points on just 32 plays and 358 yards of total offense. Dickerson accounted for 169 yards from scrimmage, Carolina had 78 and Washington added 95 combined rushing and receiving.

Given the running clock triggered midway through the second quarter, Gillespie said the game is one difficult to judge without reviewing the tape. He said the coaching staff would do just that, and then the team would turn the page. Its mission remains the same — improve daily.

“It’s hard to judge how good we played, especially when you’re scoring on defense, offense and special teams,” Gillespie said. “We’ve got some guys with some skill. Our message to them is the same. … We’re here to get better. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, it doesn’t matter the score or the situation.”

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.

Panthers overcome slow start, roll 31-14
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TROY — A week after Ledford football sustained its first defeat of the 2021 season, the Panthers were able to rebound from that loss to Central Davidson in a 31-14 victory over Montgomery Central last week.

Nathan Carr completed 17-of-23 passes for 281 yards and accounted for two of his team’s four touchdowns, one passing and one rushing. Owen Finley caught a touchdown pass and returned a fumble for a score, providing the Panthers with the cushion they needed.

Though his team came away with the win, Ledford coach Chris Doby was mostly disappointed in his team’s effort and believes his squad must ramp up its performance this week against Oak Grove as it returns home to face the Grizzlies.

“I think we came with the intention of playing a good football game, but I don’t think we accomplished playing a good football game,” Doby said. “I’m not going to take anything away from them. That team fought, that team never gave up. I told them we were too inconsistent. We’d make a big play, big play, give up a play. … Then we’d have to make a big play again to get ourselves out of whatever hole we had dug in.

“To me, it’s a night that we’re going to have to learn from, just like last Friday.”

Doby referenced the 46-34 loss to Central, which began with a 32-14 halftime deficit before a furious rally fell short. On the heels of the team’s first unfavorable outcome, Ledford’s performance against Montgomery Central indicated a short week hampered its ability to prepare for the Timberwolves. The Panthers announced Tuesday that the varsity game had been moved up to Thursday from its original date on Friday.

“Playing tonight wasn’t in the plans,” Doby said. “We lost a day of preparation. I’m not going to make excuses. We’ve got to make plays whenever they say it’s time to kick off, and we’ve got to make that decision.”

A slow start was mitigated with 44 seconds to play in the first quarter when Finley scooped up a Timberwolves’ fumble and rumbled 35 yards into the end zone for Ledford’s first score. A 66-yard catch and run by Nic Morgan in the second set up a 6-yard connection from Carr to Finley to make the score 17-0 at the break.

In the second half, Montgomery Central fought back, getting on the board midway through the third with a 41-yard touchdown reception from Ziquan Smith. Unfortunately for the hosts, it took less than three minutes for the Panthers to march right back down the field for a touchdown with 4:42 remaining in the third.

Cory Cranford would later get into the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown plunge late in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice for good.

Doby noted that his team is capable of showing the resolve necessary to overcome adversity and uncertainty, particularly with scheduling. It wasn’t the first time the Panthers have won after not playing the expected opponent on the expected date. In Week 2, Ledford’s scheduled game against West Davidson was cancelled due to COVID-19-related issues, instead becoming a game on the same day with Walkertown.

“There’s been a couple of times this year when we’ve had … 36 hours at the most,” Doby said of preparation time. “We found out we were playing Walkertown … and we came out and played our hind end off. Where is that fire every day? It’s a look in the mirror. Are we going to be the best we can be every day and every play? I told them I’m happy with the win, it’s better than the alternative, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.

Piedmont food insecurity could see increase
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DAVIDSON COUNTY — An overview on the status of food insecurity in the Piedmont Triad provided a glimpse of the challenges faced by members of area communities in finding sources of nourishment.

The Davidson County Board of Commissioners received an update on a recent regional food system assessment by the Piedmont Triad Regional Food Council for the 12 counties in the Triad. Jennifer Bedrosian, PTRFC food systems coordinator, offered an in-depth look at what numerical data reveals about segments of the population her organization seeks to target for assistance.

Communities of color are at least twice as likely to live in poverty as white communities with per capita income between $20,000 and $29,000, Bedrosian noted. According to Rachel Zimmer, a faculty member at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center who serves as chair of the PTRFC, her research yields the same disheartening results.

“Economy follows race in this country, unfortunately, due to a lot of mapping issues that have happened in the past,” Zimmer said.

Locally, food insecurity rates are projected to increase by 1.5-3% this year. Childhood food insecurity rates project to be about 8% higher, climbing from 28-34% in 2020.

Commissioner Steve Shell appeared displeased that data points were offered for racial demographics, as opposed to socioeconomic ones. Impoverished white communities, he argued, face similar issues in securing necessary resources and are not prioritized by those offering assistance.

“Most of your food banks are in urban areas,” Shell said. “I don’t think we need to be talking about race. I think we need to be talking about economic status. It’s a cultural issue; it’s not a race issue. You’ve got a lot of poor white communities. Those should be the two being compared in an overall analysis.”

Several highlights were mentioned in contrast to the disparities in local communities. A pivotal advantage Davidson County enjoys, Bedrosian said, is its partnerships. Thomasville Farmers Market, Davidson-Davie and food council members were all mentioned as helpful players in the mission to alleviate food insecurity issues.

“Locally, in Davidson County, you all are fortunate to have a local food policy council here that is working on some of these things,” Bedrosian said. “They are leveraging their community gardens, especially in Thomasville, as a way to build skills and provide space for workshops with cooperative extension. They are also currently working with Davidson-Davie Community College to support their sustainable ag program and build distribution pathways for future farmers.

“The Lexington and Thomasville farmers markets are working together to provide a winter’s farmers market so that residents have access to local produce year-round. Grace Kanoy and the local food council members are great resources.”

Randolph County Commissioner David Allen, also a PTRFC member, provided a breakdown of food production in the area surrounding Davidson County. Davidson ranks sixth of 12 counties in the Triad in acres operated in 2017. Randolph operates the second-most acreage in the Triad and tops the list in cattle production. A total of 67% of the food consumed in the Triad is imported from outside the region.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.