Robert Williams and Tevin Lawshe were both 8 years old when their families moved to the University City area from out of state.In high school, they both turned into all-conference players for Mallard Creek High School’s renowned football team.This fall, Williams and Lawshe will share a distinction that has an even greater significance to their home community: They are the only members of Charlotte 49ers’ inaugural football team who played their prep football in the University City area. For Williams and Lawshe, the jump from high school to college ball was just a matter of making a 10-minute drive.“We just know the ropes (of attending UNC Charlotte) a little more since we’ve been here locally so long,” said Lawshe.Williams, whose family once lived in Michigan, and Lawshe, whose family came from Washington, D.C., played one varsity season together at Mallard Creek High. Williams was a senior and Lawshe a sophomore in the 2010-11 school year, when the Mavericks recorded a perfect regular-season record and won the I-MECK 4A Conference championship.Lawshe played right guard for an offense that averaged almost 50 points a game. Williams was at linebacker in a defense that recorded seven shutouts. Surprising many, the Mavericks’ season ended when they were upset by University City rival Vance, 10-7, in the third round of the state 4AA playoffs.Described by Mallard Creek coach Mike Palmieri as “a hard worker and a team player,” Williams said he had a couple of college offers after his senior season. He turned down Winston-Salem State and decided to attend Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory.Williams – whose younger brothers, Ryan and Dominique, also were sports standouts at Mallard Creek – redshirted his freshman year at Lenoir-Rhyne. He decided to transfer to UNCC in the fall 2012 to study criminal justice.“I heard Charlotte was starting a football team,” said Williams, who’s now classified as a redshirt sophomore. “So I decided to transfer to my hometown and play for the 49ers.”Williams secured a spot on the team as a walk-on in the spring. During preseason training camp, he said, he’s been practicing with the second- and third-team defenses.“… He’s a little bit down the depth chart right now,” said head coach Brad Lambert. “He’s a guy that’s taking a chance with us. He shows up every day and works extremely hard. There’s a lot of value in that. You never know when you go through your years what will happen.”Lawshe landed on the 49ers football team in a more traditional manner. Mallard Creek went deep in the playoffs during his junior and senior years, and Lawshe earned all-conference honors both times. The hefty offensive lineman considered several other college offers but signed with Charlotte in February.He attended Mallard Creek Elementary and got his start in sports by playing football and basketball with the Mallard Creek Optimist Club. Lawshe got his first taste of the UNCC campus attending 49ers basketball games.“Locality wasn’t a factor in my decision to go to Charlotte,” said Lawshe. “I was looking more into the football program as a whole.”Lawshe started working out with the 49ers in July. He said he’s been practicing with the second team at center and guard but understands there’s a chance he could be redshirted for a season.Williams and Lawshe are excited about the opportunity to play college football in front of their families and friends.For Williams, that includes his parents, Robert and Pamela Williams; and his grandmother, Yvonne Gabriel, who lives in Harrisburg. Lawshe’s parents, Terence and Tiffany Lawshe, will be attending, along with his brother Travis, who is also a UNCC student.
Friday, Aug. 16, 2013
2 University City residents join 49ers’ first football team
Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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