On a night full of highlights, one Mecklenburg County player and one Mecklenburg County team had definitive statement games.
At Charlotte Country Day, Charlotte Latin receiver Melvin Rouse had the second-best receiving performance in school history after Charlotte Latin coach Larry McNulty and his staff game-planned for just that type of big game to happen.
Meanwhile, about 5 miles away, the reigning N.C. 4A champions from Charlotte Catholic sent a message to the rest of North Carolina, with another dominating win that led to another conference championship.
Let’s start with Rouse.
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He caught seven passes for 243 yards in a 47-20 win over rival Charlotte Country Day. He had touchdown catches for 56 and 88 yards.
“It was absolutely ridiculous,” said Latin coach Larry McNulty. “It was one of the better performances I’ve seen at Latin in my 31 years.”
Rouse, who initially committed to Duke, has since reopened his recruitment. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior has scholarship offers, McNulty said, from The Citadel, Wofford and Mercer. A year ago, he had 246 yards receiving in game. That was a school-record and stands as the 10th-best performance in Mecklenburg County history.
Friday’s 243-yard outing was 11th in county history, but McNulty seemed to feel it was better than the 2015 game. He said without Rouse, Latin would’ve had a hard time securing its first unbeaten regular-season, according to the coach, since 2007, much less the outright conference championship.
“We had game-planned to get him the ball a lot,” McNulty said. “And he caught a little snap pass on the line of scrimmage early and went 60 yards and made four guys miss. They couldn’t touch him. You had a feeling he would have a good night.”
▪ Now, on to Catholic.
I want to let you in on a secret. In August, Charlotte Catholic was practicing on a nearby turf soccer field because heavy rains had left the Cougars’ stadium too soggy for preseason practice.
But I remember asking coach Mike Brodowicz if his team -- which had been hit hard by graduation after winning the state title last December -- had a shot to win another title.
Brodowicz looked at me, smiled and nodded. Then he cracked a smirky grin.
He knew something.
Catholic lost its season opener to a very good Charlotte Christian team, but has won nine straight after beating Ardrey Kell 49-13 Friday. The closest margin of victory in that run is 21 points.
The Cougars’ young players have gained experienced, the Cougars have worked their way through injury issues and they look formidable heading into next week’s season-finale against Providence and the 4A playoffs after that.
▪ Weddington High was awarded the trophy Friday night for winning the Wachovia Cup in the N.C. 3A class. The cup honors overall athletic excellence throughout a full school year.
▪ Vance beat Hopewell 75-8 Friday and has put together quite the offensive season. The Cougars have scored in the 60s once, the 70s twice and average 52.3 points per game.
▪ Mallard Creek and Butler were idle Friday. Both teams will be favored in regular-season finales next week -- Butler with Independence at home, and Mallard Creek playing at North Meck.
After that, both teams get another bye on Nov. 11. The N.C. 4AA playoffs would normally begin that week, but the N.C. High School Athletic Association moved the playoffs back one week, to a Nov. 18 start, because of heavy flooding in eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew, which forced schools to postpone games. Those games will be played Nov. 11. So it’ll be a quiet week around Charlotte for almost all but the playoff-bound private schools.
For Mallard Creek and Butler, they should be well-rested heading into a postseason where each is among the favorites to win the hardware.
▪ Charlotte Latin football coach McNulty turns 70 in February and his team is favored to win a state championship in a few weeks. He could ride off into retirement with a state championship ring. But he’s not sure he’s ready to leave just yet.
“I’ve been asked that 100 times in the last two weeks,” he said, “and I have no idea. I’m having too much fun. We haven’t been 10 and 0 since 2007. And we won state that year.”
▪ From where I sit, the NCISAA Division I playoff semifinals look like this: Country Day at Latin and Davidson Day against Charlotte Christian. Not sure which team will be at home for that game, but it will be historic.
“Man,” McNulty said, “I’ve got to go up against Country Day again, and I think Davidson Day and Christian are gonna hook up for the first time ever, and that will be a ball game.”
▪ In Gastonia, Hunter Huss beat Forestview 39-6 to win the school’s first league championship since 1996. Freshman QB Zo Wallace led his team to more than 500 yards total offense.
Myers Park 58, Garinger 0: Myers Park (9-1) reached nine wins for the first time in 33 years. Quarterback Jack Davidson was 12-for-15 for 153 yards and three touchdowns. T.J. Maxey (4-73, 3 touchdowns), Aaron Jordan (9-97, 1 TD) and Jacquez Robinson (8-87, 1 TD) all had strong rushing nights. Myers Park intercepted four passes and Kevin Alford had two.
Hough 35, North Meck 28: Junior Damon Early’s 59-yard interception return provided the deciding points. Hough led 14-0 before North Meck scored four unanswered touchdowns to lead 28-14. Hough ultimately rallied with 21 straight points to win. Hough quarterback Jackson Gibbs threw for 215 yards.
Charlotte Christian 52, Providence Day 18: Gabe Montgomery’s 8-yard, first-quarter run gave Providence Day an early 7-0 lead, but Christian poured it on after that. Christian quarterback Garrett Shrader threw for two touchdowns and ran for two. Montgomery had two touchdowns for Providence Day in his final game.
Vance 75, Hopewell 8: Kingsley Ifedi had seven touchdown passes for the Cougars and threw for more than 400 yards. He threw three scores to Jaylin Carr, two to Jeremiah Hall and two to Michael Roberts.
Porter Ridge 27, East Meck 21: East Meck scored on fourth-and-30 with 57 seconds left and then recovered an onside kick, threatening an improbable comeback, but Porter Ridge held on for the win with a defensive stop.
Pine Lake Prep 14, Thomas Jefferson 0: TJ McMullen had scoring runs of 6 and 43 yards in the shutout win for Pine Lake (3-7, 2-3 Southern Piedmont). Pine Lake faces rival Community School of Davidson at home next week.
Friday’s Top Performers
Demarcus Alexander, Central Cabarrus: In a 62-41 win over North Rowan, Alexander ran 47 times for 468 yards and six touchdowns. He also had three two-point conversions, accounting for 42 total points.
Luke Bricken, Metrolina Christian: 223 yards, three touchdowns rushing in a 56-7 win over Hickory Grove.
Nigel Brown, South Mecklenburg: Cornerback recovered a fumble and had a fourth-quarter interception in a 21-20 win over Providence.
Canaan Cox, Statesville Christian: 11 carries for 225 yards and three touchdowns in a 57-0 win over Fayetteville Christian. QB Brennan Settle was 9-for-11 passing with two touchdowns.
Sam Hartman, Davidson Day: Threw four touchdowns in a 55-7 win at Rabun Gap. Clayton Cribb ran for three scores in the first half.
Cole Jackson, Lake Norman: Ran for 202 yards and two scores on 28 carries in a 24-14 win over arch rival Mooresville that clinched the North Piedmont 3A/4A title.
Bates Jones, Charlotte Latin: 13-for-15 for 299 yards and five touchdown in a 47-20 win over Country Day. Jones also ran for a score.
Trey Lagaly, Jack Brigham, Charlotte Catholic: Lagaly had three sacks in a blowout win over Ardrey Kell Friday. Brigham rushed 15 times for 188 yards and a score. He also caught a 16-yard scoring pass.
Tim Newman Jr., Charlotte Country Day: 29 rushes for 90 yards, two touchdowns for the freshman in Charlotte Latin game. Also caught two passes for 16 yards. Newman has rushed 64 times in the past two weeks.
Sage Surratt, Lincolnton: Became first N.C. player to surpass 300 receptions and 5,000 yards in a 33-20 win over West Caldwell. Surratt finished with seven catches for 145 yards. He also had an interception on defense.
Zavion Williams, Bessemer City: Four interceptions, one returned for a touchdown in Friday’s 58-0 win over Highland Tech. He also had two rushing touchdowns.