High School Sports

Parkwood, Cuthbertson learn important social media lesson

A Twitter fight between students at two area schools still has unfortunate legs.
A Twitter fight between students at two area schools still has unfortunate legs. AP

Last week, Cuthbertson High spanked Union County rival Parkwood 42-7. After the game, a few players from each school had words during the handshake line. Apparently a few of the players traded some Twitter direct messages back and forth afterward.

At some point, a Cuthbertson player went public with derogatory tweets about Parkwood and a nasty Twitter fight ensued that didn’t portray the players or the schools in a positive light. Understand that Cuthbertson was created by splitting off some of Parkwood’s student body and in a recent nasty Union County redistricting session, some of those same students were sent back to Parkwood.

So tensions were already high.

A week later, this Twitter fight still has unfortunate legs. I received an emotional call from a parent Thursday afternoon after she learned I was going to write about this topic. She said students are still dealing with repercussions.

Many of the tweets, however, have been taken down, apologies have been made, and I commend students from both schools who reacted strongly Saturday morning – when all of this was going down – saying one or two people don’t represent a school. But nowadays with social media and cell phones, teens have a powerful voice and can do damage quickly. Here’s hoping everyone takes a deep breath next time before they hit send.

“We met with the kids on Monday,” Cuthbertson athletics director Mike Helms said. “Our coaches have talked to the teams. We want to focus on us and not the other school and try to keep things in social media positive. When you don’t, it can blow up and you get negative attention you don’t want.”

▪ Monroe High is hosting the Union County Gridiron Clash Friday and Saturday. Friday at 7:30, Pinecrest, ranked No. 12 in the Carolina Preps 4A poll, plays 3A Cuthbertson, ranked No. 9 in the Sweet 16. Saturday, Sweet 16 No. 16 South Meck plays Porter Ridge at noon and Hunter Huss plays Monroe at 8.

The biggest game of the weekend is Saturday at 4 when No. 12 Charlotte Christian plays No. 8 Weddington in a Sweet 16 showdown between teams that reached private and public school state championship games in 2014. Honestly, that should’ve been the nightcap.

▪ There were several upsets among teams ranked in the various national polls last week. Mallard Creek, however, remained at No. 7 in MaxPreps and fell three spots to No. 9 in the High School Football Top 100. Guess “only” beating a team like Butler – with multiple national rankings and three state titles since 2009 – by two touchdowns wasn’t enough.

Several teams leapfrogged the unbeaten Mavericks, including previously unranked Colquitt County (Ga.), in the MaxPreps poll. The comment for the Mavericks in the Top 100 poll was this: “The Mavericks were given some more credibility after blowing out Independence to open the season. After Scotland County nearly equaled that effort against Independence and Mallard Creek was in a fight against a legit Butler team the outlook is a little less rosy. A showdown with Byrnes (Duncan, SC) is up next.”

Sometimes, great teams look for things to get motivated about. Guessing this might be something a few Mavericks have saved to their iPhones.

▪ Cuthbertson quarterback Austin Kendall, a member of the Observer’s inaugural Great 8, was spectacular against Parkwood last week: 19-for-22 for 355 yards and five touchdowns. The Oklahoma recruit added a rushing touchdown.

▪ I think lost in Independence’s 42-13 loss to Scotland County last week were two facts. Patriots All-Observer defensive end Christian Colon, a Penn State recruit, was dressed but didn’t play. Scotland County often ran sterling sophomore back Zamir White right where Colon would’ve been. White ran for nearly 300 yards and six scores. Still the Patriots were in position to close to 28-20 in the third quarter before mistakes killed their hopes. This can still be a good team, but 0-2 Independence must win at Olympic Friday night.

Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr