Friday night was an interesting night of football for Mecklenburg County public school teams.
▪ Let’s start with Hough, which was manhandled last week by Mallard Creek, losing 41-7 in the IMECK championship game. But Hough needed to rally quickly to play Vance for an important game Friday. The winner got second place and an automatic playoff berth. The loser would have to get in with a wild card.
Hough shook off last week’s loss to stun Vance 47-14 Friday. It was the most eye-opening result of the night. Credit Hough coach Matthew Jenkins for getting his team ready to play and, in one quick swoop, Hough again looks like a dangerous playoff team. Vance, all of a sudden, is a team looking for answers after having a five-game win streak snapped.
“We didn’t have anything,” Vance coach Aaron Brand said. “We didn’t have any juice. We lost in every facet of the game. On offense, on defense and they beat everybody on special teams.”
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Hough was facing its old coach, Miles Aldridge, who was fired from Hough after going 7-5 last season and is defensive coordinator at Vance. But he still teaches at Hough.
▪ Vance’s starting quarterback, Nigel Summerville, picked up two unsportsmanlike penalties in the game and was sent to the locker room in the third quarter. He was not ejected but was disqualified, Brand said, and he should be eligible for next week’s playoff game.
▪ In the Southwestern 4A, Porter Ridge stunned Hickory Ridge 34-7 and prevented a three-way tie for the league championship. Porter Ridge ran for 400 yards. Jaylen Coleman had 210 yards and three scores. Malcolm Hines had seven carries for 127 yards.
Hickory Ridge started the night tied for first place in the league with Butler and Myers Park. If all three teams had won, there would’ve been a hat draw to determine the champion and playoff seedings. Butler and Myers Park won, so those two tie for the title, but because Butler beat Myers Park 28-7 earlier this season, the Bulldogs win the title.
Myers Park gets the No. 2 seed and automatic bid. Hickory Ridge will be looking for a wild-card berth.
▪ Butler QB Christian Peters was 8-for-11 for 202 yards and a score in a 54-21 win over East Meck. Butler ran 55 plays for 417 yards. An offense that struggled earlier in the season now looks like the typical coach Brian Hales offense as the playoffs approach.
▪ In the SoMeck, Harding beat Olympic 41-0 to win the league title outright. Harding (10-1, 6-0) -- led by star tailback Quavaris Crouch (above) -- won its sixth straight game and matched its win total of the past four years combined. Harding has double-digit wins for the first time since 1988. The last time Harding had an unbeaten conference run was 1987, the same season coach Tom Knotts led the Rams to the state . 4A championship game against Garner at Memorial Stadium.
▪ Providence (8-3, 5-1) beat South Meck 42-12 and will get the No. 2 seed in the SoMeck. The Panthers enter the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the state. Since losing 46-23 to Harding in September, the Panthers have won four straight, averaging 45.25 points. Providence and coach Brad Bowles have the most wins for the school since 2010, and its best conference performance since 2005.
▪ Charlotte Catholic is not a public school, as you know, but it plays in the N.C. High School Athletic Association, with other public schools. The Cougars dropped from 4A to 3A this year and joined the Union County-based Southern Carolinas conference.
Catholic dominated in year one, finishing with a 49-21 win over Marvin Ridge. Marvin Ridge was at home, unbeaten and playing perhaps the biggest game in school history. The Cougars took the drama out of the championship game early. Catholic has won 58 straight conference games and hasn’t lost one since 2009. The Cougars have won 22 straight regular-season games and would anyone bet against them reaching the class 3A championship game right now?
↓Rock Hill South Pointe playcalling: Stallions went up 60-8 over Midland Valley on a fake field goal touchdown with seven minutes left.
↑Rock Hill South Pointe dominance: The Stallions, bidding for a fourth straight state title, won their 16th straight postseason game Friday.
↑Lenoir Hibriten: Beat Morganton Patton 35-0 to finish the regular season unbeaten and win the Northwestern Foothills 2A title. Hibriten snapped Patton’s six-game win streak.
↑Alexander Central: Rushed for 505 yards in a 57-14 win over South Caldwell to win the seventh league title in school history. Bryson Godfrey ran 15 times for 171 yards and four touchdowns. Devon Weiss ran 13 times for 113 yards and another score.
↑Kings Mountain: Mountaineers (10-1, 7-0) beat Boiling Springs Crest 38-14 Friday to clinch the Big South 3A championship. It’s the 11th league title in school history.
↑Miles Staton, Carolina Pride: He had four sacks and six tackles in a 32-19 win over Sandhill Titans.
↑A.L. Brown: Beat Concord 14-12 in the Bell Game, defeating its rival for the third straight year. With Brown back to the 3A class and rejoining the South Piedmont conference, the game returned to the end of the regular season, where it belongs.
↑Holton Ahlers, Greenville Conley: Tied NCHSAA state record with nine touchdown passes in a 78-43 win over Greenville South Central Friday.
↑Elijah Bowick, Myers Park: Notched his second straight 1,000-yard receiving season in Friday’s 10-0 win over Independence. Khamal Howard ran 18 times for 92 yards and Brayden Hawkins threw for 132 yards for the Mustangs. Bowick caught a 20-yard touchdown pass and had five catches for 64 yards overall. Myers Park got back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time and a school-record fifth shutout in a season.
Charlotte Country Day 39, Metrolina Christian 25: Metrolina scored to pull within 32-31 with less than a minute left and could’ve tied the game or tried to win with a two-point conversion, but the score was called back for penalty. Later, on the same drive, Country Day senior Will Payne strip-sacked Metrolina QB Myles Saxton and sophomore Stephen Payne, Will’s younger brother, returned the fumble 70 yards for a put-away score with 29 seconds left.
Country Day advanced to host Cannon in next week’s NCISAA Division II semifinal. Cannon School (7-4) upset No. 1 seed Statesville Christian (9-2) 35-3 Friday.
Country Day’s Tyler Shearer was 8-of-9 passing for 135 yards and two scores. Tailback Q Cooper ran eight times for 120 yards and two scores. Jack Stajos had 10 tackles on defense as the Bucs did a good job on Metrolina star Ishod Finger. Finger, the nation’s No. 9 rusher, had 26 carries for 135 yards. He finished the season with a Union County record 2,481 yards and 30 touchdowns. Saxton threw for 165 yards and three scores. He ran 12 times for 61 yards.
West Charlotte 50, Hopewell 6: West Charlotte (5-6, 3-4 IMECK) won its second straight game in dominating fashion. The Lions beat Mooresville 35-7 last week. It’s the most wins for the Lions in seven years.
Rocky River 44, Garinger 13: Last week, Rocky River beat Independence to give coach Orlando Gray his first win. Friday, the Ravens dominated Garinger to give Gray his first two-game win streak at the school.
West Meck 73, Berry 8: West Meck (8-3, 4-2 SoMeck) won for the fourth time in five weeks. Berry, which beat Rocky River 12-9 to start the season, lost its 10th straight game. West Meck scored the most points since beating East Gaston 79-0 five years ago.
Charlotte Latin 30, Wake Christian 7: Charlotte Latin advanced to the NCISAA Division II semifinals with an easy first-round win. Martin Sumichrast threw for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Belmont South Point 35, Shelby 15: In a battle of the state’s top two 2A teams, South Point jumped out to a 21-3 lead and ran off for a stunning win.
Maiden 28, Lincolnton 21: Keygan Mayfield threw a 75-yard pass to Montrell Stinson for the game-winning points as Maiden rallied to win. Mayfield threw for 136 yards and three scores. He ran for 111 yards and another score. Lincolnton’s Tyshaun Harris ran 25 times for 135 yards and a score.
Friday’s #BIG5 Top Performers
Cody Cater, Providence Day: Completed 25-of-34 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-14 win over High Point Christian in the first round of the NCISAA Division I playoffs.
Caleb Hood, Richmond Senior: Completed 24-of-46 passes for 424 yards and four touchdowns in a 69-47 loss to Scotland County in the Sandhills 4A championship. Georgia recruit Zamir White ran for 310 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries. Teammate Warren Bell ran 21 times for 210 yards and three scores.
Milan Howard, Charlotte Catholic: 16 carries, 236 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-21 win at Marvin Ridge in the Southern Carolinas championship game. He averaged nearly 15 yards per carry.
Zach O’Bryan, SouthLake Christian: Caught a pass for 25 yards in a 30-17 win over Rabun Gap in the private school playoffs. He had a sack for a safety and a fumble recovery.
Garrett Shrader, Charlotte Christian: 356 yards total offense in a 52-12 win over Arden Christ School in the first round of the N.C. Independent Schools Division I playoffs. He completed 15-of-24 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He ran 11 times for 67 yards and another score.