Providence High coach Brad Bowles said he’s shocked that senior running back Julian Boddie doesn’t have a Division I college scholarship offer yet.
The senior running back is helping his team put together the type of season -- and himself the type of star-quality resume -- that should land him in the SoMeck conference player of the year discussion.
Boddie had 206 yards rushing and two touchdowns in Friday’s dominant 38-14 win over Sweet 16 No. 10 West Mecklenburg. Boddie now has more than 1,400 yards rushing for the season for a team that suddenly is edging closer to Mecklenburg County’s elite.
“I can’t quite figure out why he doesn’t have offers yet,” Bowles said of Boddie, who is 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds. “It blows my mind.”
Providence’s win Friday was the most shocking result of the night, and it was no fluke. The Panthers (5-3, 2-1) held West Mecklenburg (6-3, 2-2) to its lowest point total of the season and Providence moved into second place alone in its conference, just behind No. 6 Harding (8-1, 4-0).
Providence took a 31-7 halftime lead on a West Mecklenburg team filled with major-college recruits and outrageous team speed. For a Panthers team that had lost two close games to top 10 Sweet 16 teams -- 41-38 to No. 9 Myers Park and 26-25 to No. 5 Butler -- this was a program-changing win.
The Panthers haven’t had a winning season since 2014. In 2015 and 2016, Providence won eight games combined. Now, Providence will be favored in its final three regular-season games against Olympic, Berry and South Mecklenburg. If the Panthers win those, they’ll not only match their win total of the past two seasons combined, they’ll also likely get a home playoff game.
“This win obviously helps our kids so much,” Bowles said. “They work so hard and it’s a great thing to get into a victory formation and not have to drive in the fourth quarter and try to score and win.”
I asked Bowles if this is the kind of win that helps Providence “turn the corner” toward respectability.
“I think so,” he said. “I think it is for our program. It was a big win and we’ve won a couple games this year we didn’t win last year. We’ve been in them and it’s a stepping stone for us.”
▪ Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell had six first-half passing TDs in Friday’s 42-14 win over Monroe and completed 17 of 28 passes for 325 yards, also all in the first half. He has 95 career touchdown passes, breaking the old Union County record of 90. Howell is a junior with one year remaining. N.C. High School Athletic Association records start at 102 career touchdown passes, which ranks ninth. Howell could get there in a few weeks at this rate.
▪ The Independence-Butler rivalry isn’t what it used to be. Not too long ago, this was one of the best rivalries in the Carolinas, with the teams often meeting for conference championships or even playing for the right to go to the state championship. Friday, Butler won 49-6. It won 49-3 in 2016 and 31-0 in 2015. Independence, which last beat Butler in 2014, was held to 67 yards rushing Friday and five first downs.
Butler’s Christian Peters threw for 115 yards and a score. Jamal Worthy ran 13 times for 58 yards.
▪ It was a tough day for Providence Day’s students and fans. The football team celebrated homecoming with a dominant 34-14 win over rival Charlotte Country Day, but the team was missing 16-year-old Nathan Ward Kocmond, who had been missing from his south Charlotte home since Monday, when he left to attend a Boy Scouts meeting. His parents have said the teen suffered a concussion six weeks ago and has been dealing with headaches and depression in recent weeks.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen stepped in to help on social media, tweeting Thursday: “Very scary situation in the Charlotte community. Providence Day FB player missing. Please RT and help bring Nathan home.” The message was retweeted more than 3,000 times.
On Friday, Kocmond’s body was found in Montgomery County, about 90 minutes from Charlotte.
↑Bessemer City: Yellow Jackets won 24-6 at Pine Lake Prep to stay unbeaten. Bessemer City (8-0) is enjoying the best start in school history. The school record for wins is 10.
↑Hough: Huskies won their sixth straight game and beat rival North Meck for the seventh straight season Friday. Hough won 35-34 after trailing by 18 points. Huskies QB Kennique Bonner-Steward scored the game-winning points on a two-point conversion in the final 100 seconds.
↑Dustin Noller, Rock Hill Northwestern: QB was 26-of-39 for 357 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-18 win over Clover. Receiver Jamario Holley caught nine passes for 207 yards and three scores. Since elevating former South Mecklenburg coach James Martin from defensive coordinator to head coach in mid-season, Northwestern has gone 3-0. Martin took over for David Pierce, who was 2-3 when he was replaced. Pierce is no longer on the coaching staff but still working at the school.
↑South Rowan: Beat Thomasville 29-25. South Rowan, which has its first two-game win streak since 2009, had previously never beaten Thomasville.
↑East Mecklenburg: Eagles beat Rocky River 20-19 in overtime after Rocky River missed a two-point PAT attempt. There was controversy about whether the Rocky River player actually scored.
Friday’s #BIG5 Top Performers
Carson Cross, Marvin Ridge: He had four interceptions in a 25-18 win over Cuthbertson. That’s a Union County record for interceptions in a game and second-most in N.C. history. Four players share the record of five, including former Harding star Roland Gregory (1981) and Boiling Springs Crest’s Keenan Little (2001).
Marcus Graham, Mountain Island Charter: 421 yards total offense and six touchdowns in a 67-14 win over Community School of Davidson. He had 161 yards rushing, 202 passing and 58 receiving.
Chris James, Providence: James helped spark a 38-14 upset of No. 10 West Mecklenburg by getting two sacks and intercepting two passes. The junior linebacker returned one for a touchdown.
Porter Rooks, Providence Day: 5-star sophomore college football recruit caught nine passes for 153 yards and a score in a 34-14 win over Charlotte Country Day on homecoming. Quarterback Cody Cater threw for 259 yards and two scores.
Cameron Roseman-Sinclair, Myers Park: He had an interception in Mustangs territory to seal a 9-7 win over previously unbeaten Hickory Ridge.
No. 4 Charlotte Christian 62, Metrolina 15: The Knights played without five defensive starters but still dominated Metrolina Christian, ending Metrolina’s four-game winning streak. Christian quarterback Garrett Shrader completed 12-of-14 passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns. Stanford recruit Justus Woods, a senior running back, ran 11 times for 180 yards. Metrolina Christian star Ishod Finger ran 30 times for 268 yards and a touchdown. On defense, Charlotte Christian intercepted four passes.
No. 12 Shelby 51, R-S Central 0: Malik Surratt was 22-of-30 passing for 255 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Tucker Greene caught six passes for 105 yards.
Christ School 42, Charlotte Latin 35: Down 42-21 in the third quarter, the Hawks tried to rally but came up short. Latin outgained Christ School 489-471 and running back DeMarkes Stradford had a big night, rushing 21 times for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
Alexander Central 55, McDowell 21: Bryson Godfrey ran 15 times for 218 yards and two scores, averaging 14.5 yards per carry. Devon Weiss ran 22 times for 168 yards and a score. He averaged 7.6 yards per attempt. Alexander Central outgained McDowell 662-319 yards and rushed for 535.
Maiden 30, North Lincoln 6: Keygan Mayfield threw for 43 yards and ran for 95 yards and two scores in an easy win. Reed McRorie was 10-for-15 passing for 133 yards and a score for North Lincoln. Maiden ran for 291 yards and allowed just 52 rush yards.
Richmond Senior 42, Hoke County 7: Dante Miller ran 10 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns in the win. The Raiders led 28-7 at halftime.