High School Sports

Davidson Day coach Chad Grier hopes team won’t be rusty after 2-week layoff

jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Davidson Day’s players cannot wait to play Friday night’s home football game against rival Charlotte Country Day.

The Patriots haven’t played anyone since Sept. 18.

“Our guys are chomping at the bit,” coach Chad Grier said. “They’re anxious to play, but certainly a little rusty.”

After beating Community School of Davidson 48-0 on Sept. 18, Davidson Day won by forfeit over Victory Christian and then had a bye week. Grier said the break actually seems longer than two Fridays with no football.

“We’ve spent some time in the weight room, which is good for us,” Grier said, “but we’ve got Country Day and (Charlotte) Latin back-to-back, which is a real test for our coaches and our kids. And you can’t really prepare for what happens on Fridays until you get there.”

This season, Victory Christian, SouthLake Christian and Davidson Day were moved into the private school’s large class, or Division I, for theplayoffs after all three teams dominated lower divisions the past few years.

However, SouthLake is playing a modified schedule after losing players. Victory Christian is also suffering from low numbers. The Kings have regularly had 18 to 20 players and were down to 12 or 13 just before they were to play Davidson Day, which led to the forfeit.

Davidson Day (6-0) has 28 players , 13 of them seniors. Grier likes his team’s chances to compete for a Division I state title against a field that includes Country Day, Latin, Charlotte Christian and Providence Day.

“We welcome the challenge,” Grier said “We want to play at that level.”

▪ Mallard Creek has played the bulk of the season without starting running back Chauncery Bowman, who was dominant in a 58-6 win against Independence to start the season. He ran 13 times for 107 yards and two scores, caught a touchdown pass and didn’t play anywhere near a full game. Against national power Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes the next week, Bowman suffered a high ankle sprain on the Mavericks’ second offensive play , coach Mike Palmieri said.

So he’s missed almost five games. Bowman, who did see some action last week against Hopewell, will start when the Mavericks (6-1, 2-0), No. 1 in the Observer’s Sweet 16, face No. 7 Hough (5-1, 1-0) Friday.

“Anytime you lose a good player, it hurts,” Palmieri said, “but we have confidence in the guys behind him. In the long run, it will help us out that we had the opportunity to play some guys.”

▪ Sitting on a four-game win streak -- where his team is outscoring opponents 45-4 -- Palmieri said the Mavericks are about where he wants them. But he knows the team must be, as he said, “extra focused” for Hough. Hough led 30-0 last year before Mallard Creek rallied in the second half to win 37-30.

“We can’t start off like we did last year,” Palmieri said. “We know Hough is a good program. They’re well-coached and we have to play real well. It’s just not going to happen often that you’re able to come back like that.”

▪ Pretty good five days last week for Mooresville junior Donshel Jetton. On Monday, Sept. 28, he rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-25 win against rival Statesville. Four days later, Friday, Oct. 2, Jetton rushed for 153 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-0 win over North Lincoln. He was named Charlotte Observer Player of the Week and also won a national award.

▪ Didn’t really see this coming, but all three public school conferences races in Mecklenburg County will be interesting. Mallard Creek is still a big favorite in the MECKA, but Hough, Vance and A.L. Brown are capable of an upset.

In the Southwestern 4A, Butler’s had key players sitting out, and that has opened up the league title race. It might take until the final week to decide it. Charlotte Catholic, Providence and South Meck are tied for the SoMeck lead, and that conference title also might not be decided until the final week.

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

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