When I got the final score of Mallard Creeks 42-0 victory against Olympic on Friday night and knew the Mavericks were going to be playing Butler in the state semifinals this week I couldnt help but remember what coach Mike Palmieri told me back in August after Butler handled his team pretty well in a 27-6 win.
He said his team would see the Bulldogs again, and that Mallard Creek would be better by then.
Working in a new quarterback, the Mavericks couldnt pass the ball well in Week 1, and to beat Butler as East Forsyth found out Friday you have to be able to stretch the field. Since Week 1, left-handed QB Emerie Scaife has thrown for more than 2,000 yards for the Mavericks. He had 277 yards and three scores Friday.
And Mallard Creeks defense has been an absolute monster, allowing about four points per game since the Butler loss and shutting out five of 12 opponents.
Just like Palmieri promised, Mallard Creek is playing Butler again, and just as he promised, his team is better.
This will be Butlers biggest test of the season, and it will match two teams who really want to win. Butler, ranked as high as No. 6 nationally, will try for a third state title appearance in four years. Mallard Creek is in its second straight state semifinal and is hunting its first state final berth as well as the kind of signature win the Bulldogs got a few years ago when they kept trying to knock off Independence and finally did.
On the list of biggest-ever games in Mecklenburg County history, I think you can find a spot for this one.
• Davidson Days Will Grier finished his junior season with 5,609 yards passing. No N.C. quarterback has ever thrown for as many. No N.C. quarterback has ever thrown for 68 touchdown passes like Grier did, either.
Nationally, only three QBs have thrown for more yards in one year, and only three have thrown for more touchdowns. Griers records might not be entered into the national or N.C. High School Athletic Association state record books because he plays for a private school.
Theres also a push to discredit him for the competition he plays against. Ive seen public school athletes run up incredible numbers against worse competition and their records are proudly listed in the record books. But Id also love to see what Grier could do playing for, say, Butler, against, say, Mallard Creek or vice versa. Id love to see him play at a big private school, like Charlotte Latin where his father played, playing against the stiff competition the Hawks face.
But hes at the school his family has chosen for him, and all I can tell you about him is that I think hes the real thing. His multiple BCS college offers prove it, and Ive had three high school coaches tell me this year that hes among the best theyve ever seen.
Friday night, after Griers 315-yard, four-touchdown performance in a state final win at Ardens Christ School, Christ School coach Mark Monroe had this to say about Grier:
Ive been coaching for a long time, and hes the best quarterback Ive seen.
• There are 16 teams left on the western half of the high school football brackets. Twelve of them are from The Observers coverage area.