Harding University High junior Quavaris Crouch has had quite an exciting 48 hours.
On Saturday, Crouch led Harding to its first state football championship in 64 years. The Rams beat Scotland High 30-22, completing a turnaround for a team that was 1-10 two years ago. Crouch ran 23 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns, despite playing through a bone bruise so bad in his shin that he hadn’t practiced in two weeks. Crouch, who also had six tackles on defense, was named championship MVP.
On Monday, Crouch was named N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year and was elevated to a five-star recruit by Rivals.com. Rivals now ranks Crouch as the No. 2 overall prospect in America for the class of 2019. Only Mater Dei (Calif.) High quarterback JT Daniels, a Southern California recruit, ranks ahead of Crouch, who is uncommitted.
The Gatorade award recognizes athletic excellence, high academic standard and exemplary character. Crouch is a finalist for the Gatorade’s national player of the year award.
A 6-foot-2, 230 pound junior, Crouch rushed for 3,283 yards and 33 touchdowns this season. He had 48 tackles and 14 sacks on defense. His rushing total ranks No. 3 in Mecklenburg County history and No. 11 all-time among all N.C. running backs.
He also led Harding to a 14-1 record. That tied a school-record for wins set in 1987, when the Rams lost to Garner in the . 4A state championship.
Crouch, who carries a 3.31 grade-point average, is a devoted member of his church community and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also volunteers as a peer mentor at his school.
“Quavaris Crouch has to be one of the most imposing running backs I’ve seen in a long time,” said Berry coach Travis Witherspoon. “He has tremendous balance, and if you let him get to the second level there aren’t many players who can catch him in a foot race.”
▪ The final Sweet 16 high school football poll will be announced later this month.
Other Observer football players of the week
Nasjzae Bryant, Mallard Creek: 20 carries for team-high 106 yards in the Mavericks’ 21-0 loss to Wake Forest in the 4AA final.
Chase Foley, Charlotte Catholic: The Southern Carolinas Defensive Player of the Year had a game-high seven tackles in the Cougars’ win over Hibriten. Foley, a Leigh recruit, was Catholic’s defensive player of the game on a day when the Cougars shut down one of the state’s best offenses.
Milan Howard, Charlotte Catholic: Ran 29 times for 160 yards in the Cougars’ 28-14 win over Havelock in the 3A final. Catholic won its fifth state title.
Miles Simon, Lenoir Hibriten: He caught two long touchdown passes and recovered an onside kick with 69 seconds left in a 16-14 win over East Duplin. Hibriten won 16-14 in the 2AA state finals, capturing the school’s first state championship.