Capitals

North Carolina QB sets prep mark in 104-80 win

North Carolina QB sets prep mark in 104-80 win

DAVIDSON, N.C. (AP) Will Grier is still trying to get his head around throwing for a national record 837 yards passing and 10 touchdowns in his team's 104-80 win in a North Carolina high school state playoff game last Friday night.

The Davidson Day High School junior quarterback, being recruited by several top schools around the country, surpassed the mark of 764 yards passing set by Pacific Palisades (Calif.) QB David Koral set in 2000. Davidson Day High advanced to the N.C. Independent Schools' Division II championship game with the win over Harrells Christian.

Grier says ``it was craziest thing I've ever been a part of. It was ridiculous.''

In the wild game that lasted nearly four hours, the teams combined for 184 points surpassing the existing state mark of 142 set in 1930.

The game ended close to midnight and Grier had no idea he broke any records until the following day.

``My Twitter account just blew up,'' Grier said.

Grier said it seemed like the game might never end, but that the Wildcats felt unstoppable on offense.

They scored on every possession except one.

``My goal is always to win; I'm not a stat guy,'' Grier said. ``I could really care less about records, just as long as we win. Looking back on it though it was like `Oh my goodness.' Our offense was quick and we just had one of those nights where we were on. Our offensive line played their best game and the receivers kept making plays. You have to give credit to them.''

Chad Grier, Will's father and Davidson Day's head coach, is certainly used to some high-scoring games - Will has thrown 64 touchdown passes this season, one shy of a state record -but he said he's never seen anything quite like what happened Friday night.

``I sure didn't come in with a plan for us to score 104 points, and I sure as heck didn't have a plan to give up 80,'' Grier said.

Given the explosive nature of the offenses, the game was always fairly close with Davidson Day never leading by more than 24 points.

The Wildcats felt like they had to keep scoring on every possession to stay comfortably ahead.

``You have to credit the kids at Harrells Christian,'' Chad Grier said. ``They just kept fighting - and kept scoring.''

As a coach and dad, the elder Grier had to find something to critique his son on after the game.

``He did throw one interception so I told him what a dumb throw that was,'' Chad Grier said with a laugh. ``I told him he has to work on his backside throws. You have to find something.''

Grier has scholarship offers from Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wake Forest and East Carolina, which is his where his father played in college. He's also being recruited by Alabama, Duke, N.C. State and Oregon, among others.

Grier said he hopes to make a decision on where to attend college in the spring.

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John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference

John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference

In each of the first three games of the series, the Columbus Blue Jackets always had an answer for the Washington Capitals.

The Caps built a two-goal lead in each game and Columbus was able to battle back and tie it each time.

In Game 4 on Thursday, however. the Blue Jackets had no answer in a 4-1 loss to Washington and that includes head coach John Tortorella.

"We weren't good," Tortorella said to the media after the game. "There's no sense asking me things about the game. I'm telling you, we laid an egg. I'm not going to break it down for you. We sucked. We sucked."

Tortorella is known for having some fiery interactions with the media. By his standard, Thursday's postgame presser was fairly tame.

The Capitals may have won Game 3, but Columbus certainly looked like the better team for most of the night. That was not the case in Game 4 as Washington dominated from start to finish. That led to the contentious postgame presser.

"We laid an egg," Tortorella said. "That's all I have to say, guys. I'm sorry, I'm not going to break it down for you. Nothing went well for us. It's on us, we have to figure it out and we will."

Reporters continued to press the head coach until he finally walked out.

Before you laugh too hard at this, it is important to consider that this may be a calculated move by Tortorella.

Sure, there have been times in which he has lost his temper in the past, but these outbursts may be more premeditated than we think.

Consider this. After their worst game of the series, a game in which the Blue Jackets only scored once and saw a 2-0 series lead evaporate in two games at home, we're talking about the head coach. We're not talking about the loss or the performance of the players. Instead, we are talking about Tortorella walking out on reporters.

Even if Tortorella was not willing to give any answers on Thursday, he will need to find some soon. The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday with all the momentum on the Caps' side.

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

The Caps put together their best performance of the series Thursday in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 4 of their 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series.

The win pulled Washington even with Columbus in the series 2-2.

Here's how the Caps got the big win.

4 Reasons why the Capitals beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

1. Tom Wilson factors in the offense

Wilson’s hands are good for more than just punching.

He proved that again on Thursday as he scored the first goal for the second consecutive game. Chandler Stephenson and John Carlson provided the pressure on Sergei Bobrovsky. With Bobrovsky scrambling in the crease, Evgeny Kuznetsov passed the puck back to Wilson who fired the one-timer past the Columbus netminder.

In the first two games of the series, Wilson had no points and no shots. In the last two games, he has two goals and 13 shots on goal.

2. A great keep-in by John Carlson

We saw how dangerous it was when penalty killers fail to clear the puck in Game 1 when the Caps failed to clear in the third period leading to the game-tying power play goal.

In Game 4, the roles were reversed. Trying to kill off an Artemi Panarin penalty, Cam Atkinson attempted to clear the puck with the backhand. Carlson skillfully corralled the puck out of the air at the blue line to keep it in the zone.

The power play was able to reset and T.J. Oshie scored the rebound goal soon after.

3. Braden Holtby closes the door to finish the second period

After the Caps took the 2-0 lead, the Blue Jackets made a late push to try to pull one back.

In the last 10 minutes of the second period, Columbus had 13 shot attempts, five of which were not net. Several of those shots were high-quality opportunities, but Holtby came up with the big saves that the team was not getting earlier in the series.

His play ensured the Caps took the 2-0 lead to the locker room.

4. Alex Ovechkin extends the lead to three

Washington entered the third period up 2-0. In each of the first three games, the Caps held a two-goal lead and allowed the Blue Jackets to battle back and tie the score. Even with a two-goal lead, it still felt at the start of the third that the next goal would decide the game. If Columbus pulled within one and got the crowd back on their side, we have seen what that momentum can do for them.

This time, however, Ovechkin struck first. After a board battle behind the net, the puck trickled out to the faceoff circle. Ovechkin grabbed it and quickly snapped the puck past Bobrovsky before anyone could react.

The goal gave Washington their first three-goal lead of the series and shut the Blue Jackets’ comeback down before it could begin.

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