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By Sonny Jones

Hope you had a merry Christmas. Hope you’ll have a happy New Year.


After a week with no Bladen County sports teams playing the break is over.

The Bladen Offroad Christmas Tournament opens Wednesday afternoon at West Bladen High School with Scotland (6-1) playing North Brunswick (5-5) at 2 p.m. That will be followed by Dillon Christian (5-3) playing St. Pauls (3-5) at 4 p.m. Wilmington Laney (10-0) will meet Whiteville (0-6) at 6 p.m. The host Knights (8-1) will cap the first round against Pamlico (3-6) at 8 p.m.

Four boys’ games also are scheduled Thursday and Friday. The championship game iset for 8 p.m. Friday. Admission is $6 per day. Click here to learn about some of the top players on each team.

Elsewhere, the East Bladen boys and girls basketball teams are participating in the Hoggard Holiday Classic in Wilmington. Day passes are $10 each and are available by clicking here. Games will be played at John T. Hoggard High School, 4305 Shipyard Blvd., Wilmington.

The East Bladen boys (7-1 will play its games in the James Hebbe Gym. The Eagles will play Topsail (2-8) at noon on Wednesday and play South Brunswick (2-7) at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The East Bladen girls (8-0) also will play its games in the James Hebbe Gym. The Eagles will play Wilmington Ashley (6-1) at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday and play Wilmington Laney (7-4) at 6 p.m. on Thursday.


Two games of interest Wednesday.

Duke (8-4) plays Central Florida (9-4) in the Military Bowl at 2 p.m. on ESPN. The Blue Devils are a 3 1/2 point favorite as ACC coach of the year Mike Elko turned things around in his first season.

North Carolina (9-4) plays Oregon (9-3) in the Holiday Bowl at 8 p.m. on FOX. Great quarterback matchup between the Tar Heels’ Drake May (4,115 yards passing, 35 TDs) and Ducks’ Bo Nix (3,388 yards passing, 27 TDs). Oregon is a 14 12 point favorite.

The drive to watch every bowl game continues. Streaming is my friend.
Games played: 22 (through Dec 27)
Games watched live: 13
Games streamed: 8
Games to watch: 1

• BIRMINGHAM BOWL: East Carolina 53, Coastal Carolina 29
(Played Tuesday, Dec. 27, watched Dec. 27)
No surprise this became the highest scoring game of the bowl season. May well be the highest when all games are played. Awesome performance by Holton Ahlers, who passed for 300 yards and five touchdowns and ran for a score. First bowl win for the Pirates since 2013 and first bowl appearance since 2014. Good to have ECU winning again.

• CAMELLIA BOWL: Buffalo 23, Georgia Southern 21
(Played Tuesday, Dec. 27, watched Dec. 27)
The former quarterback of the Bulls, Kyle Vantrease, who started 26 games for Buffalo during his five years at the school, couldn’t lead his current Georgia Southern team to victory. Buffalo used a balanced attack to control the clock, three field goals from Alex McNulty and 11 straight carries by Tajay Ahmed to literally run out the clock for its third straight bowl win. Vantrease finished the season with 604 pass attempts for 4,253 and 27 TDs.

• FIRST RESPONDER BOWL: Memphis 38, Utah State 10
(Played Tuesday, Dec. 27, watched Dec. 27)
Folks in Greenville may remember Seth Henigan and the Tigers. East Carolina outlasted Memphis 47-45 in a classic four-overtime game. In the First Responder Bowl, Henigan, who is planning to return to Memphis next season, threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers dominated Utah State. It was 24-3 at half.


• 1975 — The Dallas Cowboys beat the Minnesota Viking 17-14 on Roger Staubach’s desperate 50-yard pass to Drew Pearson in the final minute of an NFC Divisional playoff game. Staubach later tells reporters he got knocked down on the play, closed his eyes and said a Hail Mary. The term “Hail Mary” is born.


• MILITARY BOWL: Central Florida vs. Duke, 2 p.m., ESPN

• SOCCER: Manchester City at Leeds United, 3 p.m., USA

• HOCKEY: World Juniors – United States vs. Slovakia, 4 p.m., NHLN

• BASKETBALL: UNC Wilmington at Monmouth, 5 p.m., CBSSN

• LIBERTY BOWL: Kansas vs. Arkansas, 5:30 p.m., ESPN

• BASKETBALL: Davidson at Fordham, 7 p.m., CBSSN

• NHL: Boston at New Jersey, 7:30 p.m., TNT

• NBA: L.A. Lakers at Miami, 7:30 p.m., NBATV

• HOLIDAY BOWL: North Carolina vs. Oregon, 8 p.m., FOX

• TEXAS BOWL: Texas Tech vs. Mississippi, 9 p.m., ESPN

• NHL: Calgary at Seattle, 10 p.m., TNT

• NBA: Denver at Sacramento, 10 p.m., NBATV

Sonny Jones can be reached at wibbyj@gmail.com.