As East Forsyth was running up a 21-7 lead over Mallard Creek on Friday night, Twitter was lighting up with North Carolina high school football fans who are, frankly, tired of Mecklenburg County schools dominating the state’s largest classification. You could almost feel the anticipation that a Mecklenburg County team might get shut out of the state finals for the first time in four years.
And it doesn’t happen often. Mecklenburg County teams have been in the state semifinals of the 4A or 4AA classes every year since 2000, and they have failed to qualify for the final round exactly twice.
But East Forsyth was winning Friday and seemingly had Mallard Creek beat. The Mavericks rallied for a 24-21 lead, but East Forsyth ultimately grabbed a 35-27 advantage late in the fourth quarter and asked the Mavericks to drive 86 yards in the final minutes – and get a 2-point conversion – to force overtime.
Mallard Creek did that, and then won the game in overtime.
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Twitter seemed to get awful quiet.
This Mallard Creek team hasn’t been the dominant bunch many people expected from a two-time N.C. 4AA champ returning 18 starters and adding a major college tight end recruit in Thad Moss, son of NFL star Randy Moss. Instead, this Mallard Creek team has given high school football fans several of the memorable games in recent years, and showed a lot of championship heart in doing so.
The Mavericks rallied back from three scores at Spartanburg’s Byrnes, a place where three-score leads normally become 50-0 blowouts, before having a potential game-winning field goal blocked at the buzzer. They lost to Hough on a last-play interception; they beat Vance on a last-play 2-point conversion, and then there was Friday. That was the most drama of the season. A few times, Mallard Creek’s season was down to its last play. But every time, Mallard Creek made the play it needed to make.
And now the Mavericks are going to the state championship game. Again.
↑South Pointe, Rock Hill Northwestern: Neighbors, rivals, both advance to state finals – South Pointe in 3A; Northwestern in 4A – for second straight season.
↑Mallard Creek: advanced to third straight 4AA final. Only second team in Mecklenburg County history to do that. Independence made eight straight (2000-07).
↑Charlotte Catholic defense: Limited Greensboro Dudley to eight points after Dudley had scored at least 35 for eight straight weeks. Benjamin Brodowicz and Greyson Krone had interceptions for the Cougars.
Friday’s Top Performers
Jaret Anderson, Charlotte Catholic: 22 carries for 134 yards in a 17-8 win at Greensboro Dudley in the N.C. 4A semifinals.
Chancery Bowman, Mallard Creek: Ran for 124 yards and one touchdown, and caught four passes for 66 yards and a score as the Mavericks beat East Forsyth 41-38 in overtime in the N.C. 4AA Western Regional final.
Holden Rizzo, Community School of Davidson: Eight catches for 139 yards and three touchdowns in 30-27 loss to Robbinsville in the N.C. 1A semifinals.
James Smith, Mallard Creek: Senior QB threw for 202 yards and one touchdown, and ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns in win over East Forsyth.
No. 10 Monroe 46, No. 5 East Lincoln 6: Monroe scored 36 unanswered points to advance to the N.C. 2AA finals, vanquishing the 2014 state champs and ending East Lincoln’s 30-game win streak. Monroe got two interceptions from Desmen Robinson plus a 55-yard kick return and four field goals from Bryan Diaz in the win. East Lincoln played without All-American QB Chazz Surratt, the N.C. Gatorade player of the year who sat out with a dislocated elbow.
No. 12 South Point 29, Kings Mountain 7: South Point (13-2) won its 12th straight game and moved on to the 3A state finals. South Point will try to win its fifth state title in school history. The Red Raiders won titles in 1971, ’79, 2003 and 2009.
Shelby 37, Lincolnton 21: Lincolnton trailed 27-21 going into the fourth quarter, but Shelby got a 32-yard field goal from Ethan Triplett with 11 minutes, 45 seconds to play and then forced a Lincolnton turnover at its 7. Later, sophomore Xavier Brooks had a put-away 22-yard run.
Crest 44, No. 8 Concord 6: Tre’ Harbison ran for 167 yards and Crest hit Concord with several quick strike touchdown passes en route to an easy win. Crest (15-0) ended Concord’s 13-game win streak. The Spiders finished the season at 13-2.
How the Sweet 16 fared
Rank, school (Cl.)
1. Charlotte Catholic (4A)
d. Greensboro Page 17-8
2. Northwestern (4A)
d. Nation Ford 30-22
3. Mallard Creek (4A)
d. East Forsyth 41-38 OT
4. South Pointe (3A)
d. Union County 27-12
5. East Lincoln (2A)
lost 46-6 to Monroe
6. Butler (4A)
7. Davidson Day (IND)
8. Concord (3A)
lost 44-6 to Crest
9. Hough (4A)
10. Monroe (2A)
d. East Lincoln 46-6
11. AL Brown (4A)
12. South Point (3A)
d. Kings Mountain 29-7
13. Lincolnton (2A)
lost 37-21 to Shelby
14. Community School of Davidson (1A)
lost 30-27 to Robbinsville
16. South Iredell (3A)