1. Harding will bounce back: The reigning N.C. 4A state champions have been outscored 97-27 in two games and were upset by Garinger last week. Garinger has won twice in its last 65 games. But Harding, which has at least eight Division I college recruits, has too much talent to keep losing. The Rams host West Charlotte Friday.
2. Indian Trail Porter Ridge and Weddington will make deep playoff runs: The Union County rivals play Friday at Weddington and both teams are talented enough to play well into November. Both will challenge for league titles, too.
3. Independence will get on a run: Playing for QB Davyne Simpson, who died at 16 this month, the Patriots blew out Hopewell in their season opener last week. Indy plays 0-2 Olympic at home Friday and has a real shot at a 5-0 or 4-1 start that will put them, at least early, in the Southwestern 4A title hunt.
4. West Meck won’t be a sleeper too long: The Hawks played Sweet 16 No. 7 Vance to a one-touchdown game, missing seven key players. West Meck beat West Charlotte 46-18 last week and plays at Garinger Friday. A showdown with Independence would be next.
5. Charlotte Catholic’s about to get on a roll: After being shutout by Charlotte Christian to start the season, the reigning N.C. 3A champs beat South Mecklenburg 37-0 last week. That was the start of what will be a long win streak. Christian may have poked the bear - and now everyone else has to deal with it.