Myers Park football coach Scott Chadwick was worried about his team being rusty in the first round of the N.C. 4AA playoffs Friday. The Mustangs hadn’t played since Oct. 26.
It didn’t take too long for Myers Park to show Chadwick that he didn’t have to worry.
The Mustangs won 55-7 over Providence and ended the five-game winning streak of the tri-champions from the SoMeck 7 conference.
Trey Bly returned an interception 75 yards for a score on the game’s first possession. And after the Mustangs grabbed a 14-0 lead, Cameron Roseman-Sinclair intercepted another pass, returning it 33 yards for a three-score lead.
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“We had a little bit of rust there at the start,” Chadwick said, “and we knocked it off pretty quickly.”
In practice recently, Chadwick has had his starters either hitting or competing with each other, breaking with the usual traditions of having starters as a group facing reserves as a group.
“I told the guys that the way we try to keep from getting rusty is that we have some pretty good guys to go against in practice,” Chadwick said. “We didn’t want to get anybody hurt, but we were trying to stay sharp.”
Myers Park (11-1) has reached 11 wins for the third straight season under Chadwick. Before he arrived, the Mustangs had won that many twice in a school history that dates back to the ‘50s.
Next week, Myers Park will try to tie the 12-win school record it set last season in a rematch with Southwestern 4A conference rival Butler. Butler beat Myers Park 39-22 on Oct. 5, mainly because the Mustangs couldn’t stop Butler from running the ball.
Next week will be Butler’s first game in a month. Chadwick is glad his team didn’t have to wait that long.
“I feel like getting a game under our belts was a good thing,” he said. “Us just getting back out there felt good, so I’m glad we had the opportunity to play.”
↑West Charlotte: The Lions beat Lake Norman 14-7 in rare home playoff game. It was their first postseason win in eight years. West Charlotte’s Demontrez Walker had 91 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
↑East Lincoln: East, a No. 16 seed, upset No. 1 Canton Pisgah 13-10 in the 2AA playoffs.
↓Rock Hill South Pointe: The Stallions’ run of four straight state titles ended in a 50-49 double overtime loss to Central Daniel - on a controversial 2-point conversion. Immediately after the game, Stallions coach Strait Herron announced his retirement. South Pointe thought it had stopped the runner short on the final play. After a brief delay, the officials said the runner had crossed the goal line. Watch.
▪ Watching the high school football scores come in Friday night, I thought about the players at Charlotte Latin. The Hawks lost to Charlotte Country Day in the N.C. Independent Schools Division II semifinals last week, but they played the game with a heavy heart.
A close friend of the team committed suicide the day before the semifinal and at least one Hawks player informed the team he would not play. The Hawks could not have been fully focused on Country Day, a team that Charlotte Latin beat in the regular season. I don’t know if Latin would’ve won last week with clear minds or not, but I felt bad that they didn’t get the chance.
The Latin campus was so affected by this tragic loss that the school postponed its National Signing Day celebration by one day this week.
▪ There’s always much discussion and hand wringing over whatever playoff format the state puts out, but I am not a fan of these second-round games between conference heavyweights. Next week, we get Hough at Mallard Creek and Myers Park at Butler. Those are four top 10 teams in the state.
I noticed in volleyball that an eastern team made a playoff run through the west, and I remember in the old days going up to Durham to cover West Charlotte in early round football games. I’d like to see, at least in 4AA, a true 32-team bracket, eschewing geography. I’m betting most coaches would, too.
“I’m not a proponent of treating each conference equally,” Myers Park’s Chadwick said. “I think there’s got to be a better way of automatically rewarding conference finish when conferences are not equitable. You’re going to tell me the I-MECK is the same as every other conference in the state? C’mon.”
Chadwick said that you could argue that some second-place teams like his Mustangs and Vance would be stronger seeds than some conference champs.
I asked him if he would support an open seeding in 4AA regardless of geography.
“I’d be all for it,” he said.
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Plays of the night
▪ Myers Park’s Elijah Bowick showed why he’s headed to Virginia Tech with an amazing catch in an easy win over Providence.
▪ West Charlotte’s Malcolm Breedlove had the game-clinching interception against Lake Norman.
Kennique Bonner-Steward, Hough: He completed 11-of-16 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-35 win over North Meck. He ran 13 times for 128 yards and two scores.
Nyier Clark, Vance: He caught 11 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns in 50-7 win over Northwest Guilford. He also had an 87-yard kick return.
Jaylen Coleman, Indian Trail Porter Ridge: Ran 15 times for 241 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Winston-Salem Reynolds. Porter Ridge rushed for 387 yards, six touchdowns as a team.
Naseem Jones, Belmont South Point: He ran 24 times for 191 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-7 win over Mount Pleasant. South Point had 358 yards total offense on 56 plays, double what Mount Pleasant (154) got on 36 plays.
Drake Maye, Myers Park: 13-for-22 passing for 315 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-7 win over Providence in the first round of the N.C. 4AA playoffs. Receivers Elijah Bowick (6-146, 2 TDs) and Moose Muhammad (4-151, 1 TD, interception) also had big days.
Thomas Shields, Rylan McLaurin, Charlotte Country Day: He had state championship-sealing interception in a 17-14 win at Metrolina Christian in the N.C. Independent Schools Division II state final. Rylan McLaurin’s touchdown catch on fourth-and-22 in the end zone was the game-winning points in the Bucs’ first state championship in eight seasons.
Demontrez Walker, West Charlotte: 91 yards receiving and two touchdowns in a 14-7 win over Lake Norman. West Charlotte got its first playoff win since 2010.
Charlotte Country Day 17, Metrolina Christian 14: The Bucs (8-5) posted the most wins the school has had in six years and won its first state title since 2010, when the legendary Bob Witman was coaching. Witman’s son, Drew, won his first state title Friday in his fourth season. Tailback Quentin Cooper ran 23 times for 201 yards and a touchdown. Metrolina got 131 yards passing from Angel Gonzalez.
Hough 48, North Mecklenburg 35: Hough led 34-14 entering the final quarter before North quarterback Aaron Scott led a big fourth-quarter push. Scott threw for 404 yards and four touchdowns in his final game. Hough, which plays at Mallard Creek next week, got 140 yards rushing on just eight carries from tailback Evan Pryor.
Mooresville 51, McDowell 10: Keshaun Black had two touchdowns and Sean Hill had two rushing and one passing in the Blue Devils’ win. Hill ran 10 times for 103 yards. He completed 3-of-6 passes for 54 yards. Quamir Conner ran eight times for 105 yards
Shelby 27, West Lincoln 8: Shelby took a 20-8 halftime lead and held West Lincoln scoreless in the second half. In the fourth quarter, Dashawn Christopher had a 90-yard interception return for a score. He finished with 10 tackles, two interceptions and one tackle for a loss.