Mallard Creek (N.C.) beat Butler (N.C.) 26-7 to win the Air Raid 7-on-7 high school football tournament at Northwestern on Tuesday.
The Mavericks are ranked in the top-10 nationally in MaxPreps’ preseason poll and they showed glimpses of why they were given such a high ranking with a dominant win in the final against their Charlotte rivals.
Besides the hosts, York and Rock Hill also competed in the tournament, with the Bearcats reaching the consolation semifinals. Rock Hill progressed through the consolation bracket, beating Northwestern in overtime before losing to eventual finalists Butler.
Northwestern defensive coordinator James Martin – who not only coached the Trojans in place of Kyle Richardson, who is on vacation, but also organized and ran the 12-team event – was relatively pleased with his team’s showing.
“The biggest thing is building off the spring,” said Martin. “This was our first tournament of the year, our only tournament. We had a lot of great things that we did and we’ve got some things we’ve got to work on. That’s why you do this during 7-on-7, because other teams can show you where your weaknesses are. So it was good to be out there facing all these teams from two states.”
South Mecklenburg went 5-0 in Pool A, while Union County won Pool B with a 4-1 record, thanks to a head-to-head win over Mallard Creek, also 4-1. South Meck’s total number of points scored gave it the No. 1 seed headed into the double elimination round, but the Sabres were surprised in the first round by 12-seed Charlotte Catholic B. And South Meck made an early exit when Northwestern won their elimination game 32-14 to stay alive.
The Trojans, York and Rock Hill all fell into the consolation bracket after losing first round games. But like the hosts, York and Rock Hill beat Blythewood and Clinton, respectively, to move on. York’s win penned in a consolation second round matchup with Northwestern, won by the Trojans 32-14. Rock Hill moved past Charlotte Catholic’s B squad (defeated by Butler in the second round), to meet Northwestern in the third round of the consolation bracket.
That contest went to extra time and the Bearcats scored on their four downs from the 20, before denying the Trojans’ attempt to equalize on the next possession for a 21-14 win.
Despite the loss, the tournament went well, especially for Martin.
“Kudos to all the coaches that were here. When they have their teams in order it causes everything to run smoothly,” said Martin. “Everybody knew where to go.”
Rock Hill marched on in the searing heat, but fell short to Butler, 23-14, in the next game.
The Bulldogs then knocked off Union County to set up another meeting with Mallard Creek, North Carolina’s defending 4AA state champions. The Mavericks beat Butler 23-17 in the first game, and again bested the Bulldogs in the final, 26-7.
Butler was playing in the tournament for the first time. Coach Brian Hales said, “obviously, the facilities are top notch. It’s beautiful down here and all the competition and the coaches they were able to get out here today, it’s been great.”
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T
Which schools participated?
Charlotte Catholic A
Charlotte Catholic B
Rock Hill Northwestern