High School Sports

Charlotte Latin defense clamps down on Charlotte Christian; Hawks remain unbeaten

Charlotte Latin receiver Melvin Rouse breaks free of Charlotte Christian defensive back Willi Lohoff-Gaida during the second quarter Friday night at Charlotte Christian.
Charlotte Latin receiver Melvin Rouse breaks free of Charlotte Christian defensive back Willi Lohoff-Gaida during the second quarter Friday night at Charlotte Christian. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte Latin’s defense shut down Charlotte Christian’s high-scoring offense Friday night, and the visiting Hawks took a commanding 35-10 victory in a meeting of undefeated private school football powers.

The Hawks put the lid on the Knights’ trademark big-yardage plays, limiting Charlotte Christian to 274 yards of total offense.

Meanwhile, Latin’s offense overcame a sluggish start and dominated much of the second half.

“The defense really did the job,” said Latin coach Larry McNulty, whose team improved to 9-0 and can wrap up a perfect regular season next Friday with a victory at Charlotte Country Day. “When we had that slow start on offense, it was the defense that kept up going.”

Charlotte Christian (8-1) led 3-0 until the closing seconds of the first quarter, when Bates Jones threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Conrad Song. Once the Hawks got on the scoreboard, their offense seemed to click. They added second-quarter touchdowns on passes from Jones to Ryan Ensor and Melvin Rouse, led 21-3 at halftime and were ahead comfortably the rest of the way.

The Knights drove for a touchdown on their opening series of the second half, but Latin answered with a long scoring drive.

As the second half wore on, Latin running back Demarkes Stradford seemed to get stronger. He rushed for 130 of his 168 yards after intermission.

“Demarkes is a really good running back, and he played a fine game tonight,” McNulty said.

Quote: “It’s not over yet. We face a Country Day team next week that is getting better and better. And we could be seeing these guys (Christian) again in the playoffs.” – McNulty.

Records: Charlotte Latin is 2-0 in the CISAA, 9-0 overall; Charlotte Christian is 1-1, 8-1.

Worth mentioning: Latin was hurt by penalties. The Hawks were whistled 15 times for 161 yards. … Jones completed 14 of 17 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns. McNulty said Jones has been completing about 80 percent of his passes the past four games. ... Latin has defeated two of the state’s top private school teams, Davidson Day and Charlotte Christian, in back-to-back games. ... Knights quarterback Garrett Shrader completed 20 of 33 passes for 150 yards, but the Hawks kept most of the completions to short yardage.

What’s Next: Charlotte Latin will play next Friday at CISAA foe Charlotte Country Day; Charlotte Christian will play next Friday at CISAA foe Providence Day.

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