In late December, the Observer will announce its high school football awards.
The newspaper will name All-Star teams for players and coaches inside Mecklenburg County (All-Mecklenburg) and outside Mecklenburg County (all-region).
Here’s a selection of players on the newspaper’s midseason watchlist.
Prince Bemah, Gastonia Huss, LB: Charlotte 49ers recruit had 103 tackles as a junior. As a senior, he’s led Huss (7-0) to its best start since 1976 with 79 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Kennique Bonner-Steward, Hough, QB, Sr.: Temple recruit has led Hough to a 7-0 start and a No. 2 ranking in The Sweet 16. Completing 65 percent of his passes for 1,629 yards, 19 touchdowns, Bonner-Steward has rushed for 293 yards and three scores.
Preston Brown, West Mecklenburg, QB, Sr: Completing 65 percent of his passes (110-of-169) for 1,699 yards, 21 touchdowns to go with 425 yards rushing and two more scores. West Meck (6-1) has won six straight.
Elijah Burris, Mountain Island Charter, RB, Jr.: Averaging nearly 16 yards per carry, Burris leads the state with 1,707 rushing yards on 109 attempts. He has 20 touchdowns and just one fumble in seven games.
Kevin Coss, Charlotte Catholic, DE, Sr.: You could pick several Cougars defenders to put on this list. Catholic has allowed 30 points in seven games. Coss, a returning All-Mecklenburg star, has 34 tackles and six sacks.
Power Echols, Vance, LB, Soph: Cougars coach Aaron Brand is convinced Echols is the best defensive player in Charlotte. He anchors a defense that allows 11.7 points per game.
Sam Howell, Indian Trail Sun Valley, QB, Sr.: Howell is completing 55 percent of his passes (102-of-170) and ranks No. 6 in the state in passing yards (1,820) and fourth in touchdown passes. He’s also a top 70 rusher in the state (743 yards, seven touchdowns).
Elijiah Metcalf, Jacob Roberts, Mallard Creek: Metcalf, a sophomore receiver, caught three touchdown passes against West Charlotte last week. For the season, he has 17 catches for 429 yards and six touchdowns from QB Casey Kelly (50-76, 1,050 yards, 15 TDs). Roberts, a senior linebacker, anchors a defense that allows seven points per game. Roberts has 48 tackles, 14 for loss, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, two sacks and one blocked punt returned for a touchdown. And he’s only played about half of the games so far.
Jaylon Sharpe, Rocky River, LB Sr.: Reigning Southwestern 4A Player of the Year has 43 tackles, an interception and two caused fumbles. At least two coaches have told the Observer this season, after playing Rocky River, they are thankful they won’t face him ever again.
Savion White, Rock Hill South Pointe, Sr.: Game-winning sack against Lancaster last week. Has 75 tackles, four sacks for the season for 6-1 team.