1. A bubbling rivalry, Ardrey Kell at Myers Park, will continue simmering: These southeast Charlotte schools are becoming big rivals. Here’s another reason the rivalry will continue growing: Myers Park assistant Joe Evans was head coach at Ardrey Kell in 2015 and ‘16. Despite making two playoff appearances, Evans resigned. You can be sure he’ll have the Mustangs primed for Friday’s home opener. Ardrey Kell, which has lost eight straight non-conference games, will want badly to avenge last season’s 23-20 overtime loss to Myers Park.
2. Hopewell at Independence will be emotional for both teams: This is Independence’s first game, and first since news broke that quarterback Davyne “Flash” Simpson died after having been placed in a medically induced coma. Hopewell was among many area teams to honor Simpson by placing his No. 9 on the back of their helmets.
3. Providence at Hough will challenge for best game of the night: Yes, there’s a lot of attention focused on Mallard Creek-Butler and rightly so, but No. 1 Hough will get a test Friday. This year’s Providence team, which scored 45 points on East Meck last week, looks better than the 2017 team that went 9-4 and upset the Huskies 31-27. Look for the Panthers’ pass game to test Hough’s secondary, which is stocked with college prospects.
4. Charlotte Catholic will score this week: Not sure how “bold” this one is. Catholic was shut out for the first time since 2001 last week by Charlotte Christian. This Cougars’ team still, to me, looks like it could run the table and be the best ever at Catholic. I figure the shutout and playing against their “across-the-street” rival from South Mecklenburg might bring out the best in Big Red Friday.
5. Harrisburg’s Hickory Ridge to continue quiet ascent: The Ragin’ Bulls have averaged 10 wins over the past four seasons and been to an N.C. 3AA semifinal and a 4A quarterfinal in 2016 and 2017, but they are still flying under the radar. New coach Sam Greiner believes his team is rugged and built for the playoffs (The team’s theme? “Winter is coming”). After a shutout in Week 1, Hickory Ridge will continue to dominate in Week 2 at home with Central Cabarrus.