Thursday afternoon, N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Joaquin grew into a Category 4 storm and threatened the state with heavy rainfall.
The storm, coming from the Bahamas, could pound North Carolina with 5-7 inches of rain, McCrory said. The mountains could see up to 10 inches. Flooding is a possibility.
That forecast sent many area high school football coaches and athletics directors scrambling trying to get games in.
In the Observer’s coverage area, 10 high school football games were moved to Thursday, including Charlotte Catholic at Harding and West Charlotte at North Mecklenburg. At least three more moved game times up on Friday, and two games switched sites. East Mecklenburg’s home game with Butler was moved to Garinger Friday. Garinger has artificial turf. North Lincoln was scheduled to host Mooresville Friday, but field conditions forced East Lincoln to move the game to Mooresville.
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Earlier in the week, Hopewell officials announced they were moving the school’s home game with Mallard Creek to Mallard Creek, which has artificial turf.
▪ Some schools, which had homecoming scheduled Friday, have moved those events to later weeks. At Providence High, athletics director Charles Lansing said his school still plans to host homecoming against West Mecklenburg Friday -- and distribute a large amount of pre-ordered barbecue to Panthers fans and alumni throughout the day.
Lansing and 4A state championship baseball coach Danny Hignight worked hard to get Providence’s field ready. The school had to postpone a highly anticipated soccer match with unbeaten South Mecklenburg Wednesday because the field was underwater.
▪ North Carolina still doesn’t receive much respect nationally for its ever-improving high school football. North Carolina, after all, is known as the “Hoop State” to many national writers and deservedly so. The high school basketball talent here, particularly in the classes of 2016 and 2018, is especially deep.
But this week, three N.C. teams -- all from Mecklenburg County -- made the High School Football National Top 100.
Two-time N.C. 4AA champion Mallard Creek is No. 36; Vance is No. 92; and Butler is No. 93.
Two other area teams are ranked: Rock Hill Northwestern is No. 58 and Rock Hill South Pointe is No. 65.
That’s five top 100 teams within about a hour’s drive of each other. That’s pretty impressive.
▪ Belmont’s South Point High, almost always a state power in 3A, started the season 1-2 and some people wondered if this would be an off-year. The losses were to Crest and Shelby, two Cleveland County teams that appear to be contenders for state championships this season. Crest is No. 1 in this week’s N.C. 3A media poll. Shelby is No. 2 in 2A.
South Point’s Red Raiders have since won two in a row -- a pair of games played on Mondays after Friday weather issues -- and are 3-2 heading into Friday’s game with Hunter Huss.
In Monday’s 45-13 win against East Gaston, senior quarterback Diontrea King ran 17 times for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He threw for 75 yards and a score. South Point had more than 500 yards of offense and, to these eyes, is back in the picture as a serious state title contender.
▪ The N.C. and S.C. Shrine Bowl teams will be announced Monday at noon on shrine-bowl.com. A total of 88 players will be selected from more than 400 nominees. The 79th Shrine Bowl game is Dec. 19 at 10 a.m. at Wofford College in Spartanburg.
Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr