South Charlotte

Knights' Pickett runs into record books

Charlotte Country Day beat Charlotte Latin to win its first state title since 2004; Latin played in its eighth straight championship game in the process. And after a down season in 2009 - by Charlotte Catholic standards - the Cougars bounced back to go 14-.

Meanwhile, Ardrey Kell and South Mecklenburg emerged as contenders in an impressive Southwestern 4A conference.

So with all these talented teams, which players emerged as the best?

Here is what we think:

All-South Charlotte News Coach of the Year: Jim Oddo, Charlotte Catholic. Some people might have thought legendary coach Oddo was slipping when Catholic finished 7-5 and didn't win the conference title in 2009.

But Oddo, 74 years old and in his 37th year as head football coach at Charlotte Catholic, might never have been better than this season, as the Cougars made it to the N.C. High School Athletic Association Western Regional championship with a relatively young team.

While Oddo's overall success is no surprise, achieving that success in such a dominant fashion against a brutal schedule is, as Catholic has taken down Charlotte Latin, state champion Charlotte Country Day, Providence, South Mecklenburg, A.L. (Kannapolis) Brown and Weddington in the process. The Cougars also went a perfect 6-0 to reclaim the ME-GA 7 conference title.

All-South Charlotte News Player of the Year: Justus Pickett, Ardrey Kell. Pickett has been a standout for the Knights since he stepped on campus. This season he eclipsed even his lofty standards, rushing for more than 2,300 yards and 30 touchdowns, while accounting for more than 3,000 yards overall as an all-purpose threat. Pickett, recruited by Auburn, Florida, West Virginia and Stanford, averaged an eye-popping eight yards per carry and nabbed six of the top 25 individual rushing performances in Mecklenburg County history this season alone.