Tuck’s last ride
The Roxboro Community School baseball team took the program’s only coach in its history for a heck of a final ride. The Bulldogs finished second in the North Central Athletic Conference and wrapped up the regular season with a 1-0 loss to league champion Falls Lake Academy.
It would be the last time for a while that RCS would lose.
What followed was four consecutive playoff wins, three on the road, with the shortest trip being a two-hour voyage to top-seed East Surry in the 1A regional semifinal. RCS outlasted two pitchers who have already committed to Divison I programs during the run and earned itself a home game in the best-of-three 1A West regional final against Uwharrie Charter. The season ended one step too soon, as the Bulldogs lost in two games to Uwharrie Charter, the eventual state champion.
Following the finale, RCS coach Pete Tuck announced to his team that this would be his last year leading the Bulldogs’ baseball program.
It certainly was an emotional run, but a great way to go out for Tuck after 28 years coaching baseball, mostly in Person County.
The night the state champs went down
The season for the Roxboro Community School softball team was certainly filled with highs. The Bulldogs finished the season 19-2, won the North Central Athletic Conference championship in dominating fashion. They won all but two of their conference games this season by double digits, but it was a victory outside of league play that was the most impressive.
RCS and Eastern Alamance entered their March 13 game at Bushy Fork undefeated and ranked in the top five in their respective classifications. The Bulldogs got outstanding pitching performances from both Karsin Lee and Madison Adams and did just enough offensively to eek out a 2-1 victory. RCS scored both of its runs against Madelyn Lawson before freshman flamethrower Kenna Raye Dark wrapped up the final three innings inside the circle. The Eagles returned the favor with a 3-0 win in the rematch with Dark, a University of North Carolina recruit, going the distance in the win.
The Bulldogs finished the season 18-2 but were knocked off by North Stanly in the second round of the 1A state playoffs.
Eastern Alamance capped off a magical season with a Mid-State Conference title and went on to win the program’s first-ever 3A state championship. The Eagles defeated Central Cabarrus 4-2 in eight innings in the deciding game of the best-of-three series with Morgan Lawson belting the game-winning two-run homer.
From 27th seed to regional semifinals
As surprising as the RCS baseball team’s run to a regional final series may have been, it wasn’t even close to the biggest surprise of the school year. The Bulldogs’ boys basketball team limped into the state playoffs after a 92-89 upset loss at home to Franklin Academy in the first-round of the North Central Athletic Conference tournament.
RCS was seeded 27th in the 1A East and caught a seemingly-unfriendly draw against a Research Triangle team that won by 30 when the teams met in early December.
It was certainly different in the rematch.
The Bulldogs stunned their former conference rivals, 78-67 in overtime and followed that with a furious rally in the final minutes to knock off Voyager Academy 70-68 in the second round.
The upsets didn’t end there as they shocked 25-1 Northwest Halifax 85-81 to earn a regional semifinals meeting with NCAC foe Henderson Collegiate. The Bulldogs took the game late into the fourth quarter before Henderson Collegiate pulled away for a 71-57 victory.
RCS ended its season at 15-15, but the 2018-19 version of the Bulldogs will be most remembered for what they did in March.
The back-to-back thrillers on the pitch
The Roxboro Community School soccer team enjoyed its best season in the program’s history. The Bulldogs finished the season 15-5, finished second in the highly-competitive North Central Athletic Conference and advanced to the third round of the 1A state playoffs.
Their special season took off on in late April with wins on back-to-back nights at home against East Wake Academy and Voyager Academy.
Both games were decided by 2-1 scores and set the stage for the highest finish in the conference in school history.
The return of lacrosse
One of the unique aspects of the athletic department at Roxboro Community School is its lacrosse program and it returned after a brief hiatus.
The team played a JV schedule in its first year back with the hope of moving back to the varsity ranks in the near future.
The baseball games between Roxboro Community School and Voyager Academy have a little extra intensity about them, and the first meeting of the 2019 season was no different.
The Bulldogs rode an outstanding pitching performance from William Leonard, but the Vikings rallied to tie the game 2-2 in the top of the seventh. RCS answered in its final at-bat, capped off by a walkoff basehit by senior Ian Coleman.
It was the second year in a row that RCS defeated Voyager at Optimist Park in walkoff fashion.
Rallying back against Voyager
It was a bit of an up-and-down season for the RCS volleyball team with one of the lowest points coming when it squandered an opportunity to win the North Central Athletic Conference title on the last night of the season when it lost 3-2 to Voyager Academy.
The teams met on back-to-back nights, with the Bulldogs rolling to a 3-0 victory in the first match.
It just so happened that the longtime NCAC rivals found themselves matched up in the opening round of the 1A state playoffs. The Vikings won the first set before the Bulldogs woke up and ripped off the next three to advance to the second round.
RCS got to the third round before losing to Perquimans in five sets.