High School Sports

Area’s top private-school powers of past five football seasons to finally clash

Charlotte Christian coach Jason Estep has led his team to three state titles the past four seasons. His Knights host reigning Division I state champion Davidson Day Friday
Charlotte Christian coach Jason Estep has led his team to three state titles the past four seasons. His Knights host reigning Division I state champion Davidson Day Friday jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Davidson Day and Charlotte Christian have never played each other in high school football. That will change Friday night.

The private school titans will meet in a Division I independent schools state semifinal at Charlotte Christian. Since 2011, when Davidson Day went 11-1 in its first varsity season and won a Division III state title, these teams have dominated N.C. private-school football.

Since 2011, at least one of the schools has won a state championship. In 2012 and 2013, both accomplished the feat - Charlotte Christian in Division I and Davidson Day in Division II. Last season after moving up in classification, Davidson Day won its first Division I championship with a 31-13 win against Charlotte Latin. The week before, Latin beat Christian 14-7, ending the Knights’ three-year run as Division I champions.

Christian looks to return to the championship round. In its way is another team that came to power at about the same time. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

▪ Fort Mill Nation Ford quarterback Kirk Rygol is having quite a season. He completed 35-of-45 passes for 419 yards and five scores in a 43-36 win against county rival Fort Mill last week. For the season, Rygol is second in the Observer’s coverage area with 3,109 yards and 31 touchdowns.

▪ The Carolinas’ No. 1 passer, Davidson Day’s Sam Hartman, has thrown for 3,315 yards and 42 touchdowns. The passing yardage ranks him No. 12 nationally and currently 15th best in Mecklenburg County history for a single season. For the county, he’s 12th all-time in touchdown passes for a season. Hartman, a junior, committed to Wake Forest.

▪ Monroe’s Johnny Sowell is the 2016 Charlotte Touchdown Club Coach of the Year. Sowell, who led his team to the 2AA state championship last December, lost his starting quarterback early this season, but has gotten the Redhawks back on the track. Monroe (8-2), which has not lost to a 2A team this season, has won seven straight games heading into Friday’s regular-season finale against rival Forest Hills.

▪ Statesville Christian will make its first N.C. independent schools playoff appearance Friday against visiting Northside Christian. Former Wilson Hunt three-sport star Angelo Cox is in his second season as Lions coach. After going 3-8 in 2015, Cox’s team is 9-2.

▪ According to USA Today research, there are 714 undefeated teams nationally, including 23 in North Carolina and eight in South Carolina. Texas (46), New York (40) and California (37) have the most.

▪ In a 43-42 loss to Independence last Thursday, Rocky River quarterback Tyshawn Carter completed 22-of-32 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns. On 15 carries, he gained 99 yards and scored twice. ...Concord First Assembly’s Seth Sturdivant was 13-for-29 for 350 yards and seven touchdowns in a 54-48 win over Village Christian. That’s one score for nearly every two passes and a 27-yard average per completion.

▪ Another name to add to the list of best players you probably haven’t heard much about: Hough linebacker Kevon Hilliard, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior, has 48 tackles, 10 sacks and an interception this season. He’s received recruiting interest from Clemson, N.C. State, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr

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