Charlotte Catholic coach Mike Brodowicz said his team really needed Friday’s 51-0 win over Ardrey Kell.
“We had been pressing,” Brodowicz said after Catholic won its third straight game to improve to 3-1. “As a coach, I set the bar awful high (in preseason) and I thought we were one of the best teams we’ve had. Our kids weren’t overconfident, but we just began to press.”
When things didn’t go right in the season opener against reigning N.C. Division I private school state champion Charlotte Christian, the Cougars began trying to make plays where there weren’t plays to be made, Brodowicz said. A team famous for its attention to detail and its patience lost a lot of both. The Cougars also made lots of uncharacteristic penalties and turned the ball over too much.
A reigning N.C. 3A public school champion returning 18 starters, Catholic was ranked No. 1 in the Observer’s “way too early” Sweet 16 poll in the summer and was promptly shut out for the first time in 17 years by Christian in its season opener.
Week 2 brought a 37-0 win over South Mecklenburg, but in Week 3, the Cougars trailed 3-0 to a Charlotte Country Day team they were favored heavily to beat. Catholic won 20-3, but it let Brodowicz know it was time to really take action.
“What happened the first three games were turnovers and penalties,” he said. “We were trying to do things outside of what we normally do. We tried to make great plays instead of just playing the game great. So (Friday), we said, ‘Let’s go out and play football. It’s a game you played since third grade. Let’s have fun. Let’s play with passion like you did in Pop Warner.”
What happened? QB Chris Walton threw three touchdown passes, five different players scored. The game was over by halftime, when Catholic’s star lineman Ari Rodriguez walked off the field and said to everyone who would listen, “We’re back.”
And Catholic, all of a sudden, looks like Catholic again.
If you’re an N.C. high school team playing 3A football, that’s not what you wanted to hear.
In the first three games, Catholic averaged 300 yards of offense, but kept coughing the ball up when it got close to the end zone. Not Friday. So if you combine an offense that’s finishing with a defense that’s allowed nine points in four weeks, well, you have yourself a bona-fide state title favorite again.
“All our problems were above our shoulders,” Brodowicz said. “This was a game we needed to have. We hit on all cylinders.
“I think we’re right where we need to be.’
↑Military flyovers: With the annual Patriotism Bowl at Rocky River High School to honor and raise money for military causes, the Marines did a helicopter fly-over past several high school stadiums Friday. Social media loved it.
↑Mooresville: Blue Devils beat A.L. Brown 24-21 to improve 3-0 (more below).
↑Luke Maye: UNC basketball star caused a bit of a stir watching his youngest brother, Drake, play quarterback in the Myers Park-South Meck game (more below).
↑Olympic: Trojans got a field goal in overtime to beat Hopewell 38-35. Hopewell tied the game at 35 with 51 seconds left in regulation. Watch.
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▪ Not sure there’s a better young coach around than North Meck’s Eric Morman. After Friday’s 28-21 win at Rocky River, the second-year coach has led the Vikings to a 3-0 start. Before he got to North Meck last season, the Vikings had one winning record in 10 years.
Morman’s first team was 9-4.
His second could be better.
▪ I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Richmond Senior second-year coach Bryan Till and how his combination of discipline and detail were going to return the Raiders to their state championship form.
Richmond went up to the Raleigh area a few weeks ago and turned some heads by standing toe-to-toe with two-time state champ Wake Forest before losing 49-28 in a game that was closer than the score. Two weeks later, the Raiders came to Matthews and beat a senior-heavy Butler team.
That’s the kind of win the Raiders used to get in their heydey, and Till is getting away from Richmond’s run-heavy ways of the past. The Raiders’ star is a sophomore QB named Caleb Hood, who threw for 201 yards against Butler and has Richmond on track to extend long streak. In every year ending with an “8” in the past 40, Richmond has won a state title: 2008, 1998, 1988, 1978.
▪ Providence Day had big hopes for the season, returning two top 75 national recruits in juniors Porter Rooks and Jacolbe Cowan, but after Friday’s 29-14 loss at North Stanly, the Chargers are 0-3.
But the Chargers’ opponents, so far, should all be playoff teams. Those teams are 8-2 combined. Providence Day now enters a part of its schedule in which it should be favored until it plays Charlotte Christian, potentially for a conference title on Oct. 26. By then, playing the tougher competition could pay dividends and this slow start would be a distant memory.
Friday’s Top Performers
Elijah Burris, Mountain Island Charter: 10 carries, 274 yards and four touchdowns in a 60-0 win over Victory Christian. Teammate Bryson Howell had nine tackles, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Keonte Cherry, West Mecklenburg: Had four interceptions in the Hawks’ 62-12 win over Independence. Four interceptions in a game is second-most in state and Mecklenburg County history. Cherry returned two for touchdowns, covering 84 and 40 yards. He tied the 19-year-old N.C. record for interception returns for touchdowns in a season with four. Teammates Preston Brown (13-of-18, 345 yards, four touchdowns) and Khafre Brown (four catches, 147 yards, two touchdowns) also had big games.
Jadus Davis, Metrolina Christian: Had 298 yards total offense in a 33-8 win over SouthLake Christian. He ran seven times for 125 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown. He had five catches for 82 yards, and he had a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Sam Howell, Indian Trail Sun Valley: Led his team, No. 8 in the Sweet 16, to a 38-21 win over rival and No. 16 Indian Trail Porter Ridge. Howell, a Florida State recruit, had 440 passing yards, 100 rushing yards and accounted for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing).
Drake Maye, Myers Park: Sophomore quarterback played only one half of the Mustangs’ 56-6 win over South Meck, but completed 13-of-16 passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns. Tailback Jatoine Fields ran seven times for 79 yards and two scores.
Robert Stone, Covenant Day School: Covenant Day fielded a varsity team for the first time this season and Stone threw for 218 yards and two touchdowns to lead Covenant Day to a 28-14 win Friday over Concord Cannon in the school’s first home game. Covenant Day (1-2) won its first game ever.
No. 2 Mallard Creek 77, Berry 0: The Mavericks set a school record for points and improved to 2-0. Mallard Creek has only played twice in the four available playing dates. Its season-opening game with S.C. power Dutch Fork was canceled because of weather. Berry, which is allowing nearly 50 points per game, fell to 0-3.
Charlotte Country Day 44, Wake Christian 7: The Bucs got 136 pass yards and two touchdowns from sophomore Russell Tabor, plus 197 yards rushing and two scores from junior Quintin Cooper.
Pinecrest 36, Providence 14: Pinecrest outscored Providence 20-0 in the second half. For the game, Pinecrest had 251 yards rushing and limited Providence to 14. Providence QB Mason Boothe threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Pinecrest got 181 yards and a score from tailback Zaythan Hill.
Mooresville 24, Kannapolis Brown 21: Making his second varsity start, Mooresville QB Hunter DeBerardino led his team to a fourth quarter touchdown to win. He finished with 235 yards passing and two scores. Quamir Conner, who caught the game-winning TD pass from DeBarardino, ran 28 times for 114 yards and had two catches for 83 yards.
Boiling Spring Crest 27, Shelby 6: Crest took a 13-0 lead before Shelby scored and then shut out its rival for the final three quarters Friday. Crest’s Peyton Kimmberlin threw two touchdowns and ran for another.