Panthers Fall As Darnold Debuts; COVID Hits Charlotte-Area High School Sports
Many football fans in the Charlotte area had their eyes locked on Bank of America Stadium this weekend as new Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold finally took to the field in a Panthers uniform. But Carolina’s hopes were dashed when the Ravens beat the Panthers 20-3. In this week’s Time Out For Sports, The Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr. fills WFAE “All Things Considered” host Gwendolyn Glenn in on what went wrong in the Panthers’ second preseason game.
One moment that grabbed a lot of attention was placekicker Joey Slye, who’s had an inconsistent start to the preseason, missing an easy field goal attempt in the first half of the game. That led Panthers coach Matt Rhule to say that while Slye’s “not produced at the level we need him to,” the team is going to try to “find a way” to fix things.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if there was another kicker in camp, but I don’t think he needs to make a change,” Wertz said.
Listen to the full audio as Glenn and Wertz analyze the game. They also talk about the biggest wild card in sports (and everything else) right now: COVID-19.
Wertz says he’s worried about what high school sports will look like as the delta variant continues to spread in the Carolinas. Already, we’ve seen multiple games canceled or postponed in the Charlotte area — including after COVID clusters were confirmed on Ardrey Kell High’s cheerleading team and the Independence High football team.
"I'm really concerned about high school sports, period, this fall," Wertz said.
Here’s a look at some other things in this week’s Time Out For Sports:
- The threat of COVID-19 is real and can have deadly consequences for athletes and others in the sports community. As Glenn and Wertz discuss, a 32-year-old offensive line coach for Western Carolina University’s football team, John Peacock, died last week after a fight with the virus.
- UNC Chapel Hill landed a major recruit over the weekend. Travis Shaw, a five-star defensive lineman from Greensboro’s Grimsley High, committed to the Tar Heels. Wertz says he's "the No. 1 player in North Carolina, by far" and a "big-time get" for Chapel Hill.
- The announcement that former Carolina quarterback Cam Newton of the New England Patriots will miss five days of practice due to a misunderstanding over a COVID test protocol.
- The ACC announced teams that can’t play because of COVID-19 outbreaks will be charged with a loss.
- In Charlotte, a football matchup between Julius Chambers High and Raleigh’s Cardinal Gibbons High turned into a six-hour marathon of a game because of weather. Chambers came out on top, 35-29.
Listen to the audio to hear the full conversation.