Providence Day football coach Adam Hastings said, for a half Friday night, his Chargers played their best football of the season.
The Chargers (5-3) jumped all over Charlotte Country Day before winning 42-6. Providence Day led 28-0 to start the game and 28-6 by halftime. For the game, Country Day’s three leading rushers - Reid Simmons, Russell Tabor and Rylan McLaurin - combined for 24 carries and 46 yards. McLaurin had 133 all purpose yards.
On offense, Providence Day got 232 yards passing and three touchdowns from quarterback Cody Cater, plus more than 200 yards rushing from Osita Ekwonu and Nickel Fields.
“But we’ve got to keep getting better,” Hastings said after the win. “Early in the year, we got caught up into talking about other teams and other teams’ players and focusing on what they do. Now it’s about us talking about what we do and what we can do to get better.”
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The Chargers started the year with games against private school power Fayetteville Trinity Christian (7-0, outscoring teams 306-53), S.C. 4A power Columbia Ridge View (5-2) and N.C. 1A power North Stanly (6-2, outscoring teams 329-76).
Providence Day lost all three games.
But now, Hastings believes that was the best thing that happened to his team.
“It helped us figure out what fits us best,” Hastings said. “Those first three games got us refocused and it kind of put us in a spot where we had to experience some adversity for us to understand what we had to do. Now, I look back and I’m glad we scheduled those games. I’d rather face adversity then than now.”
Since the 0-3 start, Providence Day has won five straight games by an average of 50-4. Next up is 7-1 Arden Christ School, which beat Charlotte Latin 28-13 Friday (Providence Day beat Latin 28-17 earlier this season). And in two weeks, Providence Day will face a private-school juggernaut for the Big South conference championship. Charlotte Christian, looking as dominant as any private school team I’ve ever seen, is unbeaten and has outscored its opponents 337-7. And that’s not a typo.
But Hastings said his team is not looking ahead to playing Godzilla.
“Our focus is Christ School,” Hastings said. “That’s it. Just like last week. Our focus was Christ The King and we didn’t talk about Country Day or watch Country Day film. We try to focus on having fun and having a pretty consistent message.”
And for right now, it’s working pretty well.
▪ Gastonia’s Hunter Huss, off to its best start since 1976, looks like the real thing. The Huskies shut out Boiling Springs Crest 14-0 Friday in a battle of teams ranked in the Observer’s Sweet 16, and you just don’t shut out a powerhouse like Crest (6-2), which had a three-game losing streak snapped. Huss (8-0) got its third shutout in four weeks and its fourth shutout of the season. As the weather gets colder and defense becomes even more of a premium, the Huskies are going to be a tough out come playoff time.
▪ There were lots of disappointed football coaches in Mecklenburg County that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools postponed all of Friday’s football games. And they were disappointed for several reasons: There were no safety issues Friday night; they found out about the postponements very late on Thursday night; and a lot of practice plans and hours of practice went into the tank.
CMS has a standing rule that basically says no school, no sports. I think the district should give itself some wiggle room for situations like Friday’s. There were more than 30 schools without power Thursday, which caused the district to close. But only one high school set to host a game Friday night, Mallard Creek, didn’t have power Thursday. It would not be hard to find a place to play. Also if conditions allow, waiving the no-school, no-play rule on Fridays - when students are off the next day - can be prudent.
Union County Schools, for example, were likely going to play games Friday night even if school were called Friday.
▪ One more thought about no-school, no-play: CMS needs to do a better job communicating its decisions faster. Part of the problem is oftentimes everyone has to pretty much do the same thing and it takes awhile to get everyone on the same page. I would propose letting each conference secretary - and there are three for CMS - be in charge of handling rescheduling situations for its league. Things would move faster and take the pressure off the central office.
▪ West Mecklenburg was one of the CMS schools that had its Friday game pushed back. The Hawks will now play Providence Nov. 9. Since West Mecklenburg has a bye next week, the Hawks suddenly have what amounts to fall break in the middle of the season.
Not ideal, especially when you’re riding a six-game win streak.
West Mecklenburg last played Oct. 5 when it beat Olympic 40-13. The Hawks’ next game? Oct. 26 against South Mecklenburg.
“That’s something we can’t control,” Hawks coach Jarvis Davis said. “You’ve got to go safety first and it’s something we have to deal with. We’ve got to figure out a way to keep guys motivated, hungry and grinding. Next week has to be a great week of work and the week after that has to be a better week.
“We wanted to play (Friday). The kids were texting (Thursday) as soon as they found out school was out (Friday). Our AD was calling me and trying to see if the game still could be played. But again, it’s about the safety of the kids and that’s something you’ve got to respect.”
↑Saturday football: Garinger will make up Friday’s postponed game at Indian Trail Porter Ridge Saturday at 2 p.m.
↑Concord Cox Mill: Chargers beat Kannapolis Brown 21-13 to improve to 6-2 overall, 2-0 in the South Piedmont. Before this season, Cox Mill had three straight losing seasons.
↑Richmond Senior: Beat Hoke County 53-0, limiting Hoke to 85 total yards. That was Richmond’s best defensive performance since the Raiders allowed Fayetteville Byrd 82 yards in 2016. Richmond is 42-1 all-time against Hoke.
↑Adam Robbe, Charlotte Catholic: In a 41-0 win over Unionville Piedmont, Robbe had three tackles for a loss plus an interception. Catholic (7-1) has shut out half of its opponents this season.
↑Kevin Christmas, Charlotte Catholic: Cougars athletics director and assistant football coach to be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame next Friday.
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Friday’s Top Performers
Isaiah Bess, Shelby: 14-of-21 passing for 244 yards and five touchdowns in a 55-7 win over R-S Central.
Cody Cater, Porter Rooks, Providence Day: Cater completed 23-of-35 passes for 232 yards, three touchdowns in a 42-6 win over Charlotte Country Day. Rooks caught eight passes for 104 yards and two scores.
Antonio Heath, Rock Hill Northwestern: Carried 22 times for 123 yards and a touchdown in a 21-20 win over Fort Mill Nation Ford. Nation Ford’s Nathan Mahaffey ran 26 times for 114 yards and a score.
Landon Honeycutt, Mount Pleasant: Ran 28 times for 192 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-23 win over Anson Senior.
Robert Stone, Covenant Day: Completed 23-of-31 passes for 324 yards and six touchdowns in a 69-22 win over Charlotte Carolina. Jackson Bertlesen caught seven passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
No. 3 Charlotte Christian 48, Metrolina Christian 0: The Knights (8-0) got their fourth straight shutout. Christian is beating its opponents 337-7 heading into Friday’s game with CISAA rival Charlotte Latin.
No. 16 Northwest Cabarrus 33, No. 10 Central Cabarrus 13: In a South Piedmont 3A battle between unbeaten teams, Northwest Cabarrus got a big win in front of a sold-out crowd on homecoming. Northwest Cabarrus (8-0) raced out to a 26-7 lead. Central Cabarrus (7-1) got a 6-yard run from KeShawn Harvey to close to within 26-13. But Nick Wilds-Lawing had a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter for the put-away score.
Alexander Central 49, McDowell 0: AJ Miller and Tevin Clark combined for 240 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the win. Alexander Central had 492 total yards and limited McDowell to 55 yards rushing on 25 attempts.
Bessemer City 27, Pine Lake Prep 14: Bessemer City, down 8-0 early, scored 27 straight points to win. Jarkevious Love caught a 31-yard touchdown pass and had a 25-yard scoring run. Bessemer City (5-3, 4-0 Southern Piedmont 1A) won its fourth straight game.
Morganton Freedom 58, South Caldwell 14: Freedom led 44-6 at halftime of an easy win. Jayden Birchfield threw five touchdown passes.
Northside Christian 55, Fayetteville Christian 0: Northside Christian ran up 419 total yards compared to 49 for Fayetteville Christian. Northside QB Teti Taylor completed 4-of-7 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns. Malachi Rennix ran five times for 190 yards.