High School Sports

High school football anthem protests? OK in CMS, won’t fly at one Louisiana school

In Mecklenburg County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said it will not prevent high school athletes from protesting during the national anthem, calling it unconstitutional to do so.

In at least one high school in Louisiana, a protest such as taking a knee for the national anthem could send that player to the bench. Or worse.

Parkway (La.) High principal Waylon Bates wrote an open letter to his student-athletes and parents Thursday warning them that his school “requires student-athletes to stand in a respectful manner throughout the National Anthem during any sporting event in which their team is participating. Failure to comply will result in a loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal.”

Bates added that repeated attempts to protest would result in the student-athlete being permanently removed from the team.

Schools throughout the nation are potentially faced with dealing with this issue after hundreds of NFL players used the time before and during the playing of the national anthem last week to protest police brutality in the black community and to send a message to President Donald Trump, who criticized them publicly.

Several Mecklenburg County coaches told the Observer they had talked or were planning to talk to their teams about the issue and would support any protests, though some coaches have long had a policy to keep their teams off the field during the anthem.

At Harding High Thursday, the Rams cheerleaders knelt during the anthem a few days after Trump suggested that NFL owners fire any players who don’t stand for the “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

At a rally in Alabama last week, Trump said: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, (to) say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!”


▪ Mallard Creek beat Lake Norman 34-3 Friday. I’ve been impressed by the Mavericks’ business-like approach to their 6-0 start. The Mavericks were one of the region’s most heavily penalized teams a year ago when they lost an uncharacteristically high three times and failed to win a fourth straight state title. This year’s team is much more disciplined and playing with an understanding of exactly what’s ahead of them – a potential state title – and that’s a credit to the job being done by coach Mike Palmieri and his staff.

▪ How good is nationally ranked Rock Hill South Pointe? Well, the Stallions were leading 24-17 at halftime Thursday against Ridge View and had to play the second half without star quarterback and Clemson commit Derion Kendrick, who was ejected after his helmet was ripped off and he got into a pushing and shoving match before halftime.

▪ Even without Kendrick , the Stallions – No. 1 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 – scored 32 points in the next 15 minutes to win 56-19. South Pointe is 6-0. Stallions reserve quarterback Tahleek Steele threw two touchdowns in the second half.


Up, Jaleel McLaughin, Forest Hills: Had 336 yards rushing, four touchdowns in a 46-39 win over Central Cabarrus Thursday. He had an interception return for a fifth touchdown.

Up, North Mecklenburg: Vikings (6-0) remained unbeaten after a 19-6 win over West Charlotte Thursday. North Mecklenburg has doubled its win total from 2016 when it finished 3-8.

Up, Nickel Fields, Providence Day: In a 24-14 win over reigning NCISAA Division I state champion Charlotte Latin Thursday, the freshman led Providence Day with 19 carries for 112 yards. He also had six catches for 75 yards and a score plus a 15-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Up, David Cutcliffe, Duke: The Blue Devils’ coach apologized to high school football coaches, players and fans at a news conference this week for Duke and Miami playing a college game Friday. “I’m a firm believer that Friday nights belong to high school football,” Cutcliffe said. “I would prefer that no college teams play on Friday. I can’t live in La-La land. We all know that programming and television is going to ask, more and more, for nontraditional playing nights. ...It’s a part of our culture in college football.”

Up, Bessemer City defense: Five sacks in a 49-13 win over Highland Tech Friday. Bruce Gunter had 103 yards rushing and two scores for Bessemer (6-0).

Friday’s Top Performers

Ishod Finger, Metrolina Christian: 20 carries, 240 yards, three touchdowns in a 45-6 win over Northside Christian. He added 100 yards in punt returns on three attempts. Teammate Angel Gonzalez threw three touchdown passes.

Caleb Hood, Dante Miller, Richmond Senior: In a 28-7 win over Pinecrest, Hood threw for 176 yards and a score plus 27 yards rushing. Miller ran 19 times for 119 yards and two scores.

Dustin Noller, Rock Hill Northwestern: 25-of-36 for 314 yards and five touchdowns in a 37-20 win over Fort Mill. Jamario Holley caught 10 passes for 137 yards and four touchdowns.

Caleb Small, Hickory Grove: In a 49-26 win over Asheville School, Small rushed 36 times for a school-record 276 yards and three touchdowns. He had two 2-point conversion runs. Small will use his team’s bye week to head to Houston next week to help with hurricane disaster relief efforts.

Devon Weiss, Alexander Central: 20 carries for 127 yards and a score in a 38-33 win over Watauga.

Friday’s Roundup

Charlotte Christian 44, High Point Christian 12: The Knights scored 20 points in the second quarter to run away with this nonconference game. Quarterback Garrett Shrader threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Justus Woods, who has committed to Stanford, ran for 101 yards on 15 carries and had 37 yards receiving.

Hough 45, Mooresville 10: Jarrett Nagy ran for three scores as Hough took an easy IMECK 4A conference win. Cam Lewis had a 51-yard field goal. That was a school record and tied for fifth-longest in Mecklenburg County history.

Carolina Pride 27, Hickory Hawks 14: Nikhil Gangdahar threw two touchdown passes, covering 62 and 45 yards in the win.

Alexander Central 38, Watauga 33: Gunnar Anderson threw a 46-yard pass to Kendall Flowers with 70 seconds left to lift Alexander to the win. Alexander tailback Devon Weiss ran 20 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. Anderson threw for 171 yards and two scores, and he ran for 70 yards and two scores. Watauga’s Anderson Castle threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns.

Newton-Conover 55, Bandys 7: Newton-Conover led 41-7 by halftime in the win. Tyler Stinson ran 13 times for 170 yards. Shamar Baker ran for 109 yards and threw for 179.