High School Sports

High School Notes: Former NFL player to coach Concord school; players of the week

Brad Lamb has been named Concord First Assembly's new football coach.
Brad Lamb has been named Concord First Assembly's new football coach. Special to The Observer

Former NFL football player Brad Lamb is the new head football coach at Concord First Assembly.

He'll operate in close proximity to Cannon School in Concord, also coached by a former NFL player, ex-Carolina Panther Brad Hoover.

Lamb was the first Baltimore Raven drafted in 1991 and played four seasons with the Bills (1991-94), where he made three Super Bowl appearances. He ended his career with the Packers in 1995.

Lamb and his wife, Angela, live in Concord with their six children. At First Assembly, he'll replace Craig Kean, who led the team to a 6-6 record last season. Lamb previously worked at the school in 2015 under Kean as director of football operations.

"We are thrilled to welcome Brad back to the family," said Frank Cantadore, head of cfa Academy. "His qualifications and leadership experience speak for themselves. We are excited for our football program and have no doubt that Coach Lamb will lead cfa Academy to much success on and off the field."

Basketball: Three Carolinas' stars named MaxPreps junior All-Americans

Three Carolinas high school stars were named to the MaxPreps junior All-America team. Concord Cox Mill star Wendell Moore, the Observer's co-All Region Player of the Year, made second team. Arden Christ School guard Jalen Lecque made third team and South Carolina star Juwan Gary of Gray's Collegiate made honorable mention.

UNC signee Coby White was named to MaxPreps all-class All-America first team. White is a two-time N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year who also was named N.C. Associated Press statewide Player of the Year. Duke recruit Zion Williamson of Spartanburg Day made second team. Providence Day's Devon Dotson, the two-time Observer Player of the Year in Mecklenburg County, made fifth team, and Moore, Lecque and Cannon's Jairus Hamilton were named honorable mention.

Hamilton shared Observer All-Region Player of the Year honors with Moore this season.

Ardrey Kell lead boys assistant Chris Caputi has been named head coach at North Forsyth, Ardrey Kell coach Mike Craft told the Observer.

CMS ADs earn statewide awards

Three high school athletic directors from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were honored at the 47th N.C. Athletic Directors Association (NCADA) state conference in Asheville March 24-28.

Hough's Masanori Toguchi received the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to athletics. Toguchi served as vice president of the NCADA last year and moved into a one-year term as president at the end of the conference.

Mallard Creek's Philip Davanzo received a N.C. Athletic Director Association Citation Award. The award is presented to individuals who have made a significant impact in their schools, conferences and/or regions in the past year. The nominee must have less than five years of experience in athletic administration.

Ardrey Kell's Brian Knab became a Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) through the NIAAA. Knab is the only athletic director in CMS to have earned the CMAA. Of the district’s 19 high school athletic directors, 13 have obtained the lesser Certified Athletic Administrator, along with the district office director of athletics and assistant director.

“The awards presented to Masanori and Philip are in recognition of their passion for the role of athletic director and excellence in how they serve their school communities and the state,” said Sue Doran, CMS director of athletics. “Brian earned a level of national athletic administrator certification that only 4 percent of athletic directors in the country obtain. I am excited about the recognition these three leaders received and am grateful they are leading the athletic programs in three CMS high schools.”



Jay Edwards Girls’ Athletes of the Week

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Charlotte Latin's girls soccer team Special to the Observer

Charlotte Latin soccer team: Charlotte Latin soccer coach Lee Horton admits he hoped his team could "go down to (the Foley, Alabama, tournament) and survive and just be competitive,” when he saw they would play two teams in Westminster, Geogia, and Eureka, Missouri, that were nationally-ranked in the Southern Coast Cup in Foley.

But Horton, in his 32nd year as Charlotte Latin’s soccer coach, gave his Hawks’ girls’ team a different message just before the trip.

“I talked to the tournament director, and he apologized for the draw we got,” said Horton, who has well over 1,000 career victories in nearly four decades as a soccer coach. “… But when I talked to the girls, I told them these games (in Alabama), no matter how tough, are going to help down the road as we try to compete for another state championship. I also said the fun part is that if we win, it would help us move up in the national rankings (Top Draw Soccer).

"… I’ve never seen this team so fired up. You could tell in warmups, just before the Westminster game, that they were ready to play.”

Charlotte Latin senior co-captain Mary Elliott McCabe came up big again, scoring the game’s only goal on an assist from teammate Anna Calloway with 20 minutes to play. Latin held off Westminster 1-0 April 6.

Westminster was No. 1 in the nation last season (Top Drawer Soccer) and No. 10 in the nation coming into the game with Latin.

With rain in the forecast the night and the next day, Coach Horton and company decided to celebrate the Westminster win with a trip to the Foley beach that afternoon.

“The trips we take each year are as much about bonding as they are about soccer,” Horton said. “We always benefit from these trips, but I feel this trip and this team came together more in a weekend more than any team I’ve had. … We had four or five players play the best game they’ve ever played in a Charlotte Latin uniform.”

The next day, the Charlotte Latin girls were focused again as they scored two first-half goals and held off Eureka to claim the Southern Coast Cup championship in their division.

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Charlotte Latin's Mary Elliott McCabe and teammate Cabe Sutton Jones Special to the Observer

Latin sophomore Sarah Watson scored the first goal on an assist from senior Sutton Jones, who Horton says also played at an “elite level” in the tournament.

Meanwhile, McCabe, a N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year nominee, according to Horton, and a North Carolina signee, scored the second goal on a cross from sophomore Sophia Bellavia.

The Latin defense also shined in the event, pitching two shutouts led by senior center back Julia Gass and sophomore goalkeeper Paige Nurkin (13 saves in the two games).

What makes the entire accomplishment even greater is that Charlotte Latin did all of this without all-state goalkeeper Claudia Dickey (University of North Carolina signee). Dickey is busy competing for the U-19 U.S. National team in Switzerland.

While Horton and company (7-1-1) are proud of what they have accomplished so far this season, the ultimate goal is to win a fourth straight NCISAA 3A state championship.

“Our team is really focused, driven and knows what they want to accomplish,” said Horton, who guided the Latin girls to 11 state championships in his tenure. “But they also know that nothing is going to come easy. Nobody (team) is going to give us anything.”

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Providence Day's Morgan Hart Special to the Observer

Morgan Hart and Katerina Peroulas, Providence Day soccer: The Providence Day freshman duo have both excelled in their first high school season, combining for 20 goals and 20 assists this season.

Hart had two goals and four assists to lead Providence Day to a 9-0 win over Kings Mountain on April 6. Peroulas chipped in three goals in the same game.

Hart has 12 goals and 12 assists, while Peroulas has eight goals and eight assists this season for a Charger team that is still unbeaten at 5-0-2 (1-0 in the CISAA conference play).

Both players have been hot of late as Hart has eight goals and 10 assists in the last three games, while Peroulas has six goals and four assists in the same span.

Hadley Zucker, Davidson Day track: The Davidson Day sophomore won the pole vault at the Cannon School meet, vaulting 11-6, just one inch from her career-best, April 4.

Zucker has won the pole vault in all three meets she has competed in this outdoor season, including two others at Charlotte Country Day, March 14 and 21.

Zucker is accomplishing all of this despite having to recover from a torn ACL last fall, according to Davidson Day track coach David Hall.

Chloe Parker, Lauren Phillips, Paysia Reed, Cameron Shaffner, Kayla Smith, Cox Mill softball: Four Cox Mill softball players hit home runs in five innings in the Chargers’ 14-4 win over East Rowan in their final game in the Salisbury Civitian tournament, April 6.

Cox Mill seniors Paysia Reed (Charlotte 49ers’ softball signee), Lauren Phillips (USC Upstate volleyball signee) and juniors, Cameron Shaffner (Catawba College commit) and Kayla Smith all went deep in the Charger victory.

Cox Mill senior Chloe Parker earned the win on the mound in the same game, tossing her first complete game of the season.

Jenna McCauley, Providence softball: The Providence junior first baseman hit home runs in back-to-back at bats to lead the Panthers to an 11-2 victory over Stuart Cramer on April 5.

McCauley was 3-for-3 in the same game with two home runs and four RBI in the win.

At the time, McCauley led the SoMeck7 conference in RBI (19), home runs (6, with two grand slams) and on-base percentage (.545) this season.

The UNC Wilmington commit has helped Providence to a 9-3 start, including 6-0 in the SoMeck conference play to lead the league so far.

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Charlotte Country Day's Katie Batten Special to the Observer

Katie Batten, Charlotte Country Day softball: The Charlotte Country Day junior catcher helped the Bucs to a 2-0 record last week.

Batten went 3-for-3 with a home run, five RBI, and a stolen base in the Bucs’ 12-2 win over CISAA rival Charlotte Latin on April 4.

The next day, she walked twice at the plate, caught two baserunners stealing (with throw outs) and did not allow any passed balls in a 5-2 win over another conference foe in Covenant Day.

Batten is hitting .500 with a home run, nine RBI and six stolen bases for Charlotte Country Day (3-4, 2-0 in the CISAA) this season.

Boys’ Athletes of the Week

Jeremy Boyd, Blake Dockery, Nolan Devos, Tyler Vicars, Hickory Ridge baseball: The Hickory Ridge pitching quartet helped the Ragin’ Bulls to three straight, 4-0 wins in the Jack Sink Spring Break Classic last week.

Vicars, a senior, started the run, tossing a four-hit shutout with five strikeouts to lead Hickory Ridge past Olympic, 4-0, in the tournament opener, March 31.

Two days later, Devos, a junior, earned a three-hit shutout with seven strikeouts in a 4-0 victory over Charlotte Christian.

Then, senior Blake Dockery (N.C. State signee) struck out 11 batters in six innings to lead the Ragin’ Bulls to a 4-0 win over Parkwood on April 3. Fellow senior, Jeremy Boyd, struck out the side in the same game to finish off the victory.

Luke Little, East Mecklenburg baseball: The East Mecklenburg senior also had a big week at the Jack Sink Spring Break Classic, going 6-for-13 at the plate with a home run and six RBI, while also tossing a complete-game (eight innings), one-hitter on the mound to help the Eagles to 2-1 record in the tournament.

Little’s best game at the plate came in East Mecklenburg’s 8-5 win over Covenant Day, April 4, when he went 3-for-5 with a home run, five RBI and two runs scored.

The previous day, Little tossed a complete-game, eight-inning, one-hitter to help the Eagles beat Providence Day, 3-1.

Little, a Gardner Webb signee and the reigning SW4A Player of the Year, is living up to his reputation, hitting .510 with nine doubles and 14 RBI at the plate and a perfect 5-0 with an 0.43 ERA and 57 strikeouts 32.1 innings of work on the mound this season.

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Providence Panthers Patrick Bloomingburg, left and Jack Roth, right, congratulate one another after both scored during first inning action against the Weddington Warriors on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. The teams were participating in the Queen City Classic Easter Baseball Tournament at Providence High School. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Patrick Bloomingburg, Providence baseball: The Providence junior helped the Panthers’ to three wins in four nights to win the Queen City Invitational tournament.

Bloomingburg hit .714, scoring two runs with five RBI and five stolen bases as Providence beat Piedmont (11-10, March 31), Ledford (4-2, April 2) and Weddington (8-0, April 3) in the championship game.

Panthers’ pitcher Ethan Reese also was big in the championship game victory over Weddington, tossing a one-hitter in six innings with three strikeouts.

Justin Murray, Providence Day baseball: The Providence Day senior and Dartmouth signee had another big week at the Jack Sink Spring Break Classic, going 5-for-10 at the plate with two home runs, five RBI and three stolen bases in three games.

Murray’s best game at the plate came in the Chargers’ 8-3 win over Parkwood, April 4, as he went 4-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.

The previous day, Murray struck out eight batters in seven innings in a pitching duel with East Meck’s Little in a 3-1 loss.

Murray, who also hit a home run against Lake Norman Charter on April 2, is batting .516 with five home runs, 17 RBI this season. He is also 2-1 on the mound with 36 strikeouts and a 1.00 ERA in 28 innings of work.

Nolan Bolt, Indian Land baseball: The Indian Land senior had a day to remember April 5 as he committed to Pitt Community College and led the Warriors to a 6-0 victory over defending AAAAA state champion Northwestern on the same day.

Bolt tossed a complete two-hit shutout against Northwestern in their own Wheels Tournament at Northwestern, striking out seven batters in seven innings of work. He also went 2-for-4 at the plate against the Trojans.

Bolt went 7-for-11 at the plate for the week with four doubles, seven RBI, four runs scored and a stolen base in four games as Indian Land improved to 14-6 overall and 6-0 in Region IV AAA play.

Bolt is hitting .404 with nine doubles, 13 RBI and eight stolen bases, while boasting a 0.93 ERA with 61 strikeouts on the mound this season.

R.J. Petit, Rock Hill baseball: The Rock Hill senior pitcher helped the Bearcats to a 4-1 record in five games as they won the Danny Isaac Division I championship at The Mingo Bay Tournament in Myrtle Beach.

Petit, a Charleston Southern signee, had his best game in the tournament opener, tossing a complete game, five-hitter with 10 strikeouts to lead Rock Hill (12-6, 3-3 in Region IV, AAAAA) to a 3-1 win over Pigeon Forge of Tennessee at St. James High on April 3.

Petit threw a 93 mile per hour fastball in the same game, and is 3-1 with a 0.58 ERA and Observer-best 70 strikeouts this season.

Mitchell Cody, Lake Norman lacrosse: The Lake Norman senior and co-captain had three goals and three assists in two big wins on back-to-back nights.

Cody had a goal and two assists in the Wildcats’ 14-9 victory over Oceanside Collegiate Academy of South Carolina on April 6.

The next night, Cody had two goals and the game-winning assist to teammate Matt Elder in Lake Norman’s 6-5 overtime win over Apex in the Champions’ Challenge for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Cody, the reigning offensive conference Player of the Year and an all-state pick, has 10 goals and 20 assists this year. Cody has multiple college lacrosse offers, according to Lake Norman coach James Brugger.

Want to nominate an athlete? Athletes of the week highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through April 8. The goal is to recognize all athletes in all sports, both the most accomplished and the underrated or underappreciated players. If you want to suggest someone to be included in the athletes of the week column, send email to Jay Edwards at edwardswork23@gmail.com. Please include the athelete's name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.

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