For the first time since December 2008, Independence High School is No. 1 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 football poll.
Independence is tied at the top with preseason No. 1 Mallard Creek. Mallard Creek jumped from No. 2. Independence was ranked third last week. Butler, the former No. 1 team, struggled in a 28-20 win over Myers Park on Friday. The Bulldogs are now third. Mallard Creek, Butler and Independence all received one first-place vote from a panel of three Observer voters.
For Independence, this is a return to familiar ground.
The Patriots, who won 109 straight games and seven straight state championships between 2000-07, were once almost always perched atop the poll.
Independence was last No. 1 heading into the 2008 N.C. 4AA semifinal home game with Richmond Senior. The Raiders won 30-22. The Patriots lost their top spot and didn’t regain it – until this week.
This year’s team is 7-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state among all teams, regardless of class, by MaxPreps. The Patriots have allowed just 24 points in seven games and have five shutouts.
South Mecklenburg, which has won six straight games, moves into the Sweet 16 for the first time this year.
There are four ties this week: Independence and Mallard Creek at No. 1.; Mooresville and Concord at No. 5; Hough and East Lincoln at No. 13; and South Meck and Davidson Day at No. 16.
|1. Independence (4A)||7-0||45||3|
|1. Mallard Creek (4A)||6-1||45||2|
|3. Butler (4A)||7-1||44||1|
|4. Charlotte Christian (IND)||5-1||38||4|
|5. Mooresville (4A)||7-0||32||5|
|5. Concord (3A)||7-0||32||9|
|7. Charlotte Catholic (4A)||6-1||31||6|
|8. Providence (4A)||6-1||25||7|
|9. Vance (4A)||6-1||23||10|
|10. York, S.C. (4A)||7-1||20||11|
|11. Rock Hill Northwestern (4A)||6-2||19||8|
|12. Weddington (3A)||7-0||14||12|
|13. Hough (4A)||4-3||11||13|
|13. East Lincoln (2A)||7-0||11||14|
|15. Rocky River (4A)||6-2||7||15|
|16. South Mecklenburg (4A)||6-1||5||NR|
|16. Davidson Day (IND)||7-0||5||16|
First-place votes: Independence 1, Mallard Creek 1, Butler 1
Dropped out: None. Also receiving votes: Hickory Ridge (3A, 6-1)