A few surprises from Friday's opening night:
That Richmond Senior and defending state 4AA champ New Bern ended their game after being tied at 21 in regulation and decided against an overtime session. This was the biggest game in the state Friday, and I would rather have had a winner.
That Anson County handled Marshville Forest Hills so easily (42-14). The Bearcats graduated a lot of big-time players last June but with four scoring plays of at least 35 yards, it looks like the Bearcats still have a number of players with big-play ability.
That Victory Christian, stocked with size, transfers and a lot of Division I talent, lost 21-7 to a first-year N.C. 3A school that has no seniors, Northern Guilford, at home. Not the way you want to start a season that's supposed to get you to a state final.
That West Charlotte, with five players who dressed last year, could go to Gastonia and beat Ashbrook 26-10. New coach Aaron Brand, who played quarterback in high school and college, might have a good one in sophomore Ahmad Brown, who threw for 200 yards in his first game. Along with Lions sophomore tailback Scoot Simmons, Brown could give West Charlotte a potent backfield for the next three years.
That the Charlotte Catholic-South Meck game was played at such a high level. It attracted an overflow crowd and the whole thing felt like a playoff game. South Meck parent Larry Kennedy Jr., a former Florida All-American, said it felt like "Friday Night Lights." There was an incredible amount of passion, from the players and the fans. Usually when I think of the best rivalries in town, West Charlotte-Indy, Indy-Butler and Country Day-Latin come to mind. Let's quickly add this one to that list.