Save Money in this Sunday's paper

In my opinion


Charlotte-area high school football playoffs: A night of magic

By Langston Wertz Jr.

What an amazing Friday night for area teams in the second round of the N.C. prep football playoffs.

Everywhere you looked, there were some emotional story lines:

• Rocky River, down 29-16 to Porter Ridge at home, scored 21 points in a five-minute span in the third quarter to keep its magical season going. Rocky River won 37-29 and discovered something about itself. After running back Ellijah Jett gave his team a lead with a 22-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, quarterback Nalil Ramadan ran in for the final score.

“We weren’t going to leave here tonight without a win,” said Jett, who has been invited to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American underclassmen combine. “We believed in ourselves and we were going to fight until the end.”

• Lincolnton switched Division I-recruited defensive tackle Darian Roseboro into the backfield against top-seeded Winston-Salem Carver and Roseboro helped produce a 28-27 upset. He ran 11 times for 45 yards in the fourth quarter. Four of those runs gave his team a first down. He also had a touchdown as Lincolnton ended Carver’s 11-game win streak. Carver, which had fallen behind 14-0 in the first quarter, rallied to take a 27-21 lead with five minutes left at home. But Lincolnton drove 65 yards in 13 plays before QB Jordan Easter hit Justice Charles with the game-winning, 13-yard touchdown pass with 88 seconds left.

• In South Carolina, Rock Hill South Pointe, starting six sophomores, upset favored Goose Creek on the road, ending the Gators’ 38-game win streak. This came after South Pointe wasted a 10 point second-quarter lead and trailed 21-17 at halftime. However, South Pointe produced a brilliant defensive effort in the second half to rally and win.

• In north Charlotte, Will Grier put the exclamation point on one of the greatest careers in Mecklenburg County history. He threw for 592 yards and six touchdowns in a 69-28 win against Harrells Christian. Davidson Day won its third straight state championship. In Grier’s final two games as a high school quarterback, he threw for 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns.

• In Concord, the Spiders got 221 yards and three scores from running back Rocky Reid but had to hold on for a tough 21-14 win as Piedmont backup QB Hadden Gsell drove his team down the field for two late-game touchdowns. Time ran out before Gsell could lead a third.

• In Morganton, Forestview, a No.9 seed, upset No.1-seeded Freedom 35-34 after sophomore Moe Neal scored on a 1-yard sweep with 16 seconds to play. Forestview advanced to the third round for the first time in school history.

• In Statesville, Asheville Reynolds kicker Thomas Blakey’s field goal in the third overtime gave his team a surprise 52-49 win.

• In Asheville, Weddington braved cold conditions and No.-2 seeded Asheville to win 14-10. Warriors quarterback Ryan Black had a 20-yard touchdown with nine minutes to play. His team -- especially his defense -- made that stand up. Weddington advances to the third round for the first time in school history.

Wertz: 704-612-9716; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more

Quick Job Search
Salary Databases