Three Mecklenburg County teams that have not had much recent success made some pretty major statements Friday night.
And two of them did so despite losing.
I think, come the playoffs in November, you’ll be reading about Harding, North Mecklenburg and Providence and watching their highlights on the Friday night TV shows. These are not the typical local teams that are part of the conversation at playofftime. But it appears that will change this fall.
▪ Friday night, North Meck whipped Cox Mill 35-10 to improve to 4-0. Not many people are paying attention, but first-year coach Eric Morman -- who learned how to win as a player at state power Richmond Senior -- has the Vikings looking pretty legitimate. North Meck hasn’t started this well in more than a decade.
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▪ Providence is 3-2 after Friday’s 26-25 overtime loss to Sweet 16 No. 6 Butler, but the Panthers have taken two top 10 Observer Sweet 16 teams to the wire this season. Providence lost 41-38 to No. 7 Myers Park after the Mustangs intercepted a Providence pass at the Myers Park 10 yard line with 13 seconds to play. Providence running back Julian Boddie, who had 168 yards rushing Friday, said his team is playing with a chip on its shoulder, determined to prove that high-academic Providence can be a major sports power, too. Appears that way in 2017.
▪ Finally, there’s Harding, which had a chance to pull off the upset of the year, as it led Mallard Creek in the third quarter. Don’t be deceived by Mallard Creek’s 30-9 win. Harding had a fumble at its 1 that Mallard Creek converted for a 10-9 lead. After that, the Rams had two more fumbles, a bad snap on a punt and a pass returned for a touchdown in the final 14 minutes.
Now, Mallard Creek can make you lose your lunch late in games with its discipline, size and championship experience, but after beating a top 10 S.C. 5A team last week, perennial power Gaffney, and giving the Mavericks all they wanted for much of Friday’s game, the Rams appear to be a lock to make a second straight playoff appearance.
The guess here is they make some noise when they get there.
↑Bryson Porzenski, Providence: Senior kicker walloped a 51-yard field goal in first half against Butler. That ties for the fifth-longest field goal in Mecklenburg County history. Porzenski also had a 37-yarder in the first half.
↑West Stanly boys’ basketball team: After getting word that Houston University coach Kelvin Sampson was starting a hurricane relief effort, the team sent a box of school T-Shirts to the flood-ravaged Houston region.
↑Tyus Fields, Hough: Major-college recruit made a huge play in the Huskies’ 35-23 win over Ardrey Kell Friday. With Ardrey Kell on the Hough 5 with first-and-goal, he intercepted a pass in the end zone, returned it 105 yards for a score and gave his team a 28-16 lead with 8 minutes to play.
↑Mooresville: Blocked a Julia Knapp potential game-winning field goal attempt with eight seconds left to upset previously unbeaten South Iredell 14-13. South Iredell fell to 4-1. Mooresville (2-2) snapped a two-game losing streak.
↑Riley Ferguson, Butler: Former Bulldogs All-American will play on national TV Saturday. Click here for more
▪ Charlotte football fans got a look at the nation’s best high school running back Friday when Scotland County visited West Mecklenburg. And Georgia recruit Zamir White showed why he might go down as the best back in N.C. history. He ran 24 times for 235 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-27 win over a talented West Meck team. Teammate Syheam McQueen ran 18 times for 162 yards and two scores.
▪ Sweet 16 No. 1 South Pointe played up to its ranking Friday, handing Buford (Ga.) its first-ever loss to an out-of-state opponent and its first home loss in five years. South Pointe is ranked No. 10 in the national High School Football Poll. Buford is No. 67. Buford is an 11-time Georgia state champion that is 58-5 since 2013 and now 9-1 all time against teams from outside of Georgia.
The leader of the Stallions, Clemson commit Derion Kendrick, also got a major shout out from a former state championship Mecklenburg County basketball coach and a US Army All-American Bowl recruiter.
Former Olympic High coach Ty Baumgardner, who led the Trojans to a 30-0 season and a state championship in 2013, watched Kendrick play Friday. He called Kendrick “the best dual-threat QB I’ve seen in a long time.”
Erik Richards, the All-American game recruiter, had similar praise.
▪ Buford paid South Pointe $17,000 to travel for the game, which was originally scheduled to be played in Rock Hill. Not bad to get a payday and the type of win that will elevate the Stallions’ stature nationally.
Friday’s #BIG5 Top Performers
Quavaris Crouch, Harding: 37 carries for 226 yards and a touchdown against Mallard Creek. Teammate Maleik Foust had two sacks.
Adonis Henderson, Mallard Creek: Two defensive touchdowns in Friday’s 30-9 win over Harding -- an 81-yard fumble return and a 32-yard interception return.
Derion Kendrick, Rock Hill South Pointe: Led his team to a 33-27 win at national power Buford (Ga.). The Clemson recruit threw for 134 yards and two scores and ran for 211 yards and two touchdowns.
Jarrett Nagy, Hough: Ran 35 times for 274 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-23 win over Ardrey Kell. He also led the Huskies with nine tackles on defense. Nagy set a school record for single-game rushing yards and turned in the 44th best single-game performance in Mecklenburg County history.
Nigel Summerville, Vance: Completed 18-of-28 passes for 253 yards and two scores, and added a rushing touchdown in a 49-22 win over South Mecklenburg.
No. 9 Shelby 20, Kings Mountain 17: The Golden Lions (5-0) avoided the upset in overtime after holding Kings Mountain to a field goal. On its possession, Santana Eaves caught a 17-yard scoring pass from Malik Surratt for the game-winner.
Charlotte Country Day 15, Northwood 14: Rylan McLaurin had the game-winning 11-yard run with 40 seconds left on the road in Pittsboro. McLaurin finished with four catches for 81 yards and a score, plus his rushing touchdown.
Charlotte Latin 54, Carolina Pride 26: Senior Demarkes Stradford ran seven times for 203 yards and three touchdowns. His scores covered 70, 52 and 54 yards.
Hickory Grove 40, Carolina Gladiators 8: Quarterback Jalyn Hargett-Boyce had 159 yards total offense and two touchdowns in the win. On defense, tackle Joshua Orugboh had five tackles, including a sack and a tackle for loss.
SouthLake Christian 41, Christ The King 0: Bailey Jones threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Braeden McCarthy had six catches for 120 yards and a score. Luke Binkley had nine tackles and an interception on defense.