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Area Athletes Roundup: Hilliard solves Wingate worry

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
Area athletes roundup …
Wingate football coach Joe Reich’s response when a stocky, sore-armed baseball pitcher informed him he’d like a shot at punting for the Bulldogs?
“Well, whatever, dude,” Reich told Salisbury High graduate Phillip Hilliard.
“Come on by in the summer.”
Reich had zero expectations for Hilliard, but he’s now Wingate’s punter. Hilliard, who was all-county in high school, hasn’t been fantastic, but he’s been good. He ranks fourth in the SAC, averaging better than 38 yards per kick.
Hilliard played at Shuford Stadium on Saturday as the Bulldogs thumped Catawba and was just a pooch punt away from Newman Park, where he played American Legion baseball. His three punts against the Indians were only OK, but all he needed to do was avoid making a major mistake. He accomplished that.
“Phillip’s turned an area of concern for us into something solid,” Reich said. “He puts the ball where we want it. We don’t even bring punting up anymore, and that’s a great thing. It’s like I told Phillip, if you don’t hear us mention your name the rest of the season that means you’re doing a good job.”
Hilliard, a senior in the classroom, is on track to graduate on time, but he has a year of football eligibility left. The Bulldogs may ask him to take advantage of it.
* Wake Forest’s Tristan Dorty (West Rowan) faced a Navy team determined to run the ball down his throat on Saturday and responded by taking part in 10 tackles in a 13-10 loss. He had four solos. Wake DB Josh Bush (West Davidson) contributed three solo stops.
* Virginia Union beat Bowie State 17-16 in a key CIAA battle. Jay Bostick (NW Cabarrus) was a terror for VU with a forced fumble and a tackle for an 8-yard loss. Hurley Hemphill (NWC) chipped in with six tackles for the Panthers.
* Corner Raeshon McNeil (Davie) made one tackle in Notre Dame’s 20-16 win against Boston College.
* The punting of Coastal Carolina’s Ben Erdman (West) was a bright spot in a 16-10 loss to Stony Brook. Erdman averaged 40.7 yards on six boots, and put two inside the 20.
* Catawba QB Daniel Griffith (North Rowan) was 2-for-4 passing for 24 yards in a late appearance against Wingate.
BASEBALL
Catcher Ross Steedley led the White team over the Green team in Charlotte’s six-game Fall World Series. Steedley (East Rowan) hit a grand slam, his fourth homer of the series, in Game 5. He added three RBIs in Game 6.
* Liberty right-hander Keegan Linza (North) had a strong outing on Sunday, pitching three innings and striking out three straight hitters.
OVERSEAS BASKETBALL
Former Virginia Tech standout Carlos Dixon (South Rowan) is back in Argentina this fall but on a new team.
Dixon scored 12 points in his latest outing for Centro Juventud Sionista, a team headquartered in Parana.
* Bryan McCullough (North) averaged 6.4 points in his first five games for the Polaroid Lami-Ved team in Kormend, Hungary.

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