Charlotte Christian coach Jason Estep intentionally front-loaded his teams football schedule this season.
The Knights had a young group and Estep wanted to give them some experience against strong competition, even if it meant a slow start. Christian started the season 2-3, but now Esteps strategy looks like it may be beginning to pay off.
Charlotte Christian beat reigning state champion Providence Day at home Friday to win the Charlotte Independent Schools conference championship. The Knights also handed private state power Charlotte Country Day its only loss of the season.
Both of those wins were on the road.
For its work, the Knights won the conference and also won the No. 1 seed for the N.C. Independent Schools Division I state championship tournament, which begins Friday. Christian, which will host Charlotte Latin, also moved into the Sweet 16 at No. 16 this week.
Also moving into the poll was York, which rejoined after a few weeks out. York upset previous No. 2 Rock Hill South Pointe 31-17 Friday.
Rk. School (No. 1 votes) Cl Rec Pts Prv 1. Butler (3) 4A 10-0 48 1 2. Mallard Creek 4A 9-1 45 3 T3. Charlotte Catholic 3A 9-1 39 5 T3. South Point 3A 10-0 39 T6 5. Rock Hill Northwestern 4A 8-2 35 T6 6. Rock Hill South Pointe 4A 9-1 33 2 7. Statesville 3A 10-1 32 8 8. Porter Ridge 4A 9-1 27 T9 9. Crest 3A 9-2 24 4 10. Independence 4A 9-2 21 T9 11. Hickory Ridge 3A 10-1 17 12 12. South Caldwell 4A 11-0 15 13 13. East Lincoln 2A 10-0 12 T14 14. Hough 4A 9-2 8 11 15. York, SC 4A 8-2 7 NR 16. Charlotte Christian IND 7-3 2 NR
Dropped Out: A.L. Brown (3A, 8-3), Charlotte Country Day (IND, 9-1). Also receiving votes: Albemarle (1A, 10-1), Charlotte Country Day. For rules on the poll and eligible teams, visit charlotteobserver.com/preps; a three-man panel of Observer sportswriters voted.
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