High School Sports

Unbeaten Vance ascends to No. 1 in the Observer Sweet 16 football poll for the first time in school history

Vance running back/receiver Jeremiah Hall (27), an Oklahoma recruit, has helped lead his team to a No. 1 ranking in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll for the first time.
Vance running back/receiver Jeremiah Hall (27), an Oklahoma recruit, has helped lead his team to a No. 1 ranking in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll for the first time. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Vance High’s Cougars, off to a school-best 5-0 start, have taken over the top spot in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll for the first time in school history.

Vance beat Independence 52-14 Friday and jumped three spots to No. 1. The Cougars are averaging more than 56 points per game.

“I knew, on paper, that our early season schedule would be tough,” coach Aaron Brand said. “I’m most surprised our makeshift offensive line has been able to do some good things, and we’ve stayed relatively healthy. But conference play starts for everybody now and we know we haven’t done anything yet. We’ve just taken care of the business we were supposed to, and we’re fortunate to be 5-0.”

The Cougars moved up after Rock Hill South Pointe upset nationally ranked Mallard Creek 17-6 Friday, making the rankings difficult.

Mallard Creek, which fell to fifth, has beaten No. 2 Butler. Butler, ranked No. 2 last week, beat Hough 21-10 Friday.

Northwestern, ranked No. 3 last week and now, lost to South Pointe earlier this year. Northwestern beat Spartanburg 35-31 Friday. South Pointe was ranked ahead of Northwestern before losing to a Maryland private school two Fridays ago. After the Mallard Creek win, the Stallions move up one spot to No. 4.

▪ One new team joins the poll this week: 3-1 West Meck is averaging more than 45 points this season and has won three straight. The Hawks are into the Sweet 16 rankings for the first time in three years. ... Elsewhere, Myers Park (5-0), enjoying its best start in 33 years, jumped four spots to No. 9.

Charlotte Observer Sweet 16 Poll

Team (Class)

Rec.

Prv.

 1. Vance (4A)

5-0

4

 2. Butler (4A)

4-1

2

 3. Rock Hill Northwestern (5A)

4-1

3

 4. Rock Hill South Pointe (4A)

4-1

5

 5. Mallard Creek (4A)

3-1

1

 6. Charlotte Christian (IND)

5-0

6

 7. Charlotte Catholic (4A)

3-1

7

 8. Davidson Day (IND)

4-1

8

 9. Myers Park (4A)

5-0

13

10. Charlotte Latin (IND)

5-0

10

11. Concord (3A)

4-1

11

12. Lake Norman (4A)

4-0

12

13. Hough (4A)

3-2

9

14. South Mecklenburg (4A)

2-2

14

15. Ardrey Kell (4A)

2-2

15

16. West Mecklenburg (4A)

3-1

NR

Dropped out: Sun Valley (3A, 4-1). Also receiving consideration: Lincolnton (2A, 5-0); East Lincoln (2A, 4-0); Robinson (3A, 4-1)

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