For the third straight year, Myers Park and Charlotte Country Day will kick off the high school football season against each other.
Myers Park and Charlotte Country Day will meet at 8 p.m. at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 19. That is the featured game in the fifth Charlotte Kickoff Night, an annual showcase event on the opening weekend of high school football.
There are two other games that day: At 2 p.m., N.C. 4A power Vance will face a West Mecklenburg team loaded with college recruits, including North Carolina-bound wide receiver Dyami Brown. Vance, which had one of the state’s most potent offenses last season, lost in the N.C. 4AA state semifinals in 2016.
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At 5 p.m., first-year Olympic coach Jason Fowler’s team will face private Providence Day in the schools’ first meeting.
On Friday, Aug. 18, N.C. High School Athletic Association state power Charlotte Catholic is at N.C. Independent Schools state championship favorite Charlotte Christian. Also, S.C. powers Rock Hill Northwestern and S.C. 4A state champion Rock Hill South Pointe will play.
Independence’s new coach, Mike Natoli, will work his first game at home against former Independence coach Tom Knotts and reigning S.C. 5A champion Dutch Fork.
Many any of those teams usually make headlines on opening weekend. Myers Park and Country Day - at least in recent years - did not.
But this budding rivalry has changed all that. Until meeting in the 2015 Kickoff Night, the schools -- separated by about 3 miles -- had never played. Country Day, a 3A private school, opened in 1941. Myers Park, a 4A public school, opened 10 years later.
Myers Park won the teams’ first meeting 19-14 in 2015, then followed with a 34-7 win last season.
“I think you have to credit not just our community but their community as well,” said Myers Park coach Scott Chadwick. “It’s just how incredibly well they’ve supported this game and this event and made the (Kickoff Night) organizers want us to come back and do it again.”
Chadwick said the game might not mean as much if it were played mid-season, but with it kicking off the season, the teams and fans have all summer looking forward to it.
“It’s rare, even in a place like Charlotte that has so many schools, to find two schools as close in proximity as we are to Country Day,” Chadwick said. “These kids see each other all summer, at the pool, and at various events because we are so close together.
“So, because it’s the first game of the year, and it has an entire summer to build up to it, I think that’s the reason it’s gotten to be such a big deal.”
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Charlotte Kickoff Night Information
Date: Saturday, Aug. 19 at Memorial Stadium
Games: Vance vs. West Mecklenburg, 2 p.m.; Olympic vs. Providence Day, 5 p.m.; Myers Park vs. Charlotte Country Day, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $10 in advance online at cltkickoffnight.com
Note: A portion of proceeds will benefit Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ middle school athletics