After a 1-3 start, Providence Day’s football team has a real shot at what seems like an unlikely Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association championship. But first-year coach Adam Hastings isn’t the least bit surprised.
“Absolutely not,” Hastings said Thursday afternoon. “From the first couple days working out over here, I knew these guys really wanted to be good and I knew we had the pieces to compete.
“The kids worked so hard and (former coach Bruce Hardin) did a great job setting us up for success. But we’re not talking about conference championships over here, we’re just talking about being 1-0 this week.”
Since the 1-3 start, Providence Day has won four straight games. The Chargers (5-3, 1-0 CISAA) trail only Charlotte Christian (5-3, 2-0) in the league standings. Christian plays Victory Christian in a nonconference game Friday night. Providence Day plays at conference rival Charlotte Country Day (3-5, 0-2). Providence Day and Charlotte Christian play each other in the regular-season finale on Oct. 30.
Charlotte Christian has won the past three N.C. Independent Schools championships. Providence Day won a state title under Hardin in 2011 and lost to Christian in the 2012 final. In 2013, the Chargers were 6-6 and lost 56-21 to Christian in the first round of the playoffs. Last season, Providence Day finished 3-9 and lost 49-21 to Christian in the first round.
Hastings, 32, left Ardrey Kell High after the 2014 season to return to Providence Day, where he was a former assistant coach. His team started slowly this fall, losing to Davidson Day (8-0), Forestview (4-4, second place in the Big South) and Marvin Ridge (5-3, on 5-game win streak) among its first four games. Turns out those three teams are strong, and the Chargers have continued to improve as they’ve adjusted to Hastings’ system.
Quarterback John Schweitzer and running back Gabe Montgomery have sparked an offense that has averaged 53 points in the win streak, which includes a surprising 33-21 win over private-school power Charlotte Latin Oct. 8. Latin was about a minute away from beating Davidson Day last week.
“Our guys have just continued to grind and they have trusted each other and trusted the process,” Hastings said. “And they’ve been able to put together a couple of good games. The practices have been super competitive and that stuff has paid off for us.”
▪ Hough High’s Marquill Osborne, a member of the Observer’s Great 8 preseason all-star team, was selected to play in the 2016 Under Armour All-American Game.
Osborne will be presented his All-American game jersey Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. during a special ceremony at Hough. ESPN ranks him the No. 8 cornerback nationally and Osborne has committed to Tennessee. His play has helped Hough upset two-time state champion Mallard Creek and get in position for the school’s first conference championship. Hough hosts West Charlotte Friday.
The Under Armour All-America game is Saturday, Jan. 2 in Orlando, Fla., and will be televised live at noon by ESPN2.
▪ For the season, Osborne has a team-high 29 catches for a team-high 333 yards as a receiver. He also leads the team with three interceptions.
▪ Vance has a team motto, “All Gas, No Brakes,” that generally applies to its high-octane offense. But Vance’s defense also is having a good year, particularly rushing the passer. The Cougars have 22 sacks, led by four players with at least four – linemen Chris Smith (5), Lazarus Deal (5), Chris White (4) and Jabril Walker (4.5).
▪ Two weeks ago, Monroe’s Tristan Thompson died in an automobile accident. In last week’s 45-20 win against Mount Pleasant, defensive back Desmen Robinson wore Thompson’s No. 6 jersey and recorded 11 tackles and his seventh interception this season. Named honorary captain before the game, Robinson also caught a touchdown pass.
▪ Charlotte Catholic secured its 16th straight winning season with a close win at South Meck last week. It’s the second-longest streak in the school’s history. The Cougars had 17 straight winning seasons from 1973-90.
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