Mallard Creek High, the No. 1 ranked team in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll, had a bye this week, so Mavericks’ coach Mike Palmieri and some of his staff had a chance to scout Friday’s big Myers Park at Hough game.
The Mavericks will play Hough in November in a regular-season conference game, but I have a feeling the team Palmieri really wanted to see was No. 2 Myers Park.
It’s becoming pretty clear that the three best teams in the area are Mallard Creek, Myers Park and Vance, tied for No. 2 in the Sweet 16 with the Mustangs. And Palmieri knows Vance pretty well. The two teams play annually in the I-MECK 4A conference, and Vance and Mallard Creek will play the Mecklenburg County game of the year, so far, Friday at Vance.
Mallard Creek and Vance, mind you, have played in the past two state championship games.
But Myers Park, nationally ranked and rolling, is a little newer to this elite level high school football thing. Even so, the Mustangs had to get Palmieri’s attention with a 68-21 whipping of what is traditionally a good Hough team Friday.
Myers Park QB Drake Maye, the Alabama recruit, threw for a school-record six touchdowns and ran for one, and receiver Twan Flip accounted for two more on special teams and caught a touchdown pass. The Mustangs, who led 42-7 at halftime, are averaging what would be a school-record 55.25 points per game.
The best of the Mustangs’ glory teams of the ‘60s under legendary coach Gus Purcell barely averaged half of that.
“We haven’t won anything yet,” Mustangs coach Scott Chadwick said. “We’ve still got a ways to go. We’ll be hitting (Southwestern 4A) conference play next week and, for us, that’s going to be the goal, to find a way to win conference and see if we can play another week (longer) than we did last year.”
Myers Park lost to Vance in the state semifinals last season, missing a chance to reach its first state final since the Mustangs lost 18-15 to Elizabeth City in the 1957 N.C. 2A state championship game. Eight years later, in 1965, Myers Park was 11-0. The Mustangs won the N.C. 4A Western Regional championship, or state semifinal that year, but no state championship game was played.
So Myers Park has never won the state championship in football and hasn’t played in one in a long time. Last year’s team was the school’s best ever and won a school-record 13 games.
This team looks like it’s a good bit better than that.
“I like where we are right now,” Chadwick said, “though obviously it’s only September, but I do like where we are right now.”
And why wouldn’t he?
Observer Fan Vote Begins Monday
The Observer is adding a new feature. It will allow fans to vote for its high school football player of the week. Teams will have until Monday at 9 a.m. to nominate players. After that, the Observer will list five nominees and voting will commence. Voting will stop on Thursday and a winner will be announced and featured.
Three Friday Thoughts
1: Kings Mountain served notice that it’s going to be a serious contender in 3A. Yes, Shelby is a 2A team, but the Golden Lions, winners of five of the past six state titles, are elite. Kings Mountain beat Shelby 42-17 Friday, jumping out to a 21-3 lead. With star running back Lamagea McDowell transferring to Gastonia’s Hunter Huss, reigning 3A champ Charlotte Catholic may a little vulnerable. Catholic and its fans should probably pay attention to the Mountaineers the rest of the way. These two could be headed for a playoff collision.
2: This Providence Day team looks legit. The Chargers scored 28 consecutive points after being down 9-0 to a Charlotte Country Day team off to its best start in years. Providence Day hasn’t won a state title since 2011. The Chargers have a real chance this year.
3. Friday’s Mallard Creek at Vance game is going to be epic. Mallard Creek’s new high-octane “Air Raid” offense against the best defense in North Carolina. This year, I really wish we had an open-class playoff in 4AA. The three best teams in the state may all be in the western half. And wouldn’t an all-Charlotte state final be kind of cool?
↑Zach Morlidge, PIne Lake Prep: nine carries, 130 yards, three touchdowns, plus two two-point conversions and two sacks in a 64-0 win over Christ The King.
↑Jaylen Gullatte, Vance: The senior picked off South Mecklenburg twice in a 49-7 win. Gullate also forced a fumble in the third quarter.
↑Brett Adams, Charlotte Christian: completed 14-of-23 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-3 win over Covenant Day.
↑West Charlotte: Lions are 3-1 after a 58-19 win over Berry. West Charlotte started the 2018 season 5-1.
Friday’s Standout Performers
Cody Cater, Jesiah Davis, Providence Day: completed 19-of-31 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-16 win over rival Charlotte Country Day. Cater hit Jesiah Davis eight times for 131 yards. Davis also had an interception.
Nathan Mahaffey, Fort Mill Nation Ford: ran 27 times for 226 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 76 yards and a touchdown in a 31-20 win over Indian Land. Mahaffey, a Shrine Bowl pick, broke the game open with a 70-yard pass reception for a score with just over five minutes to play.
Drake Maye, Twan Flip, Myers Park: In a 68-21 win over Hough, Maye completed 21-of-25 passes for 312 yards and a school-record six touchdowns. He also ran for another score. In his past two games, he is 35-of-39 for 545 yards and nine touchdowns. Flip blocked two punts, which he returned for scores. Flip also caught a touchdown pass.
Steven Montgomery, Lance Justice, Alexander Central: duo combined for 26 carries for 271 yards in a 55-28 win over Olympic. Montgomery had 19 carries for 164 yards and four scores. Justice had seven carries for 107 and two scores.
Songa Yates, North Mecklenburg: had a 92-yard kickoff return for a score and a 90-yard interception return for a score — all in the second half of the Vikings’ 24-15 win over Harding. Harding (3-2) came into the game averaging more than 40 points per game. North Meck (1-3) got its first win of the season.
Jamal Worthy, Butler: ran 15 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-3 win over Providence.