The annual High School Football Kickoff Night returns to Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 20, with a twist.
The series goes from doubleheader to a tripleheader featuring neighborhood match-ups. It kicks off at 2 p.m., when Charlotte Latin will face a Charlotte-Mecklenburg School in football for the first time. The Hawks will play Providence High. The schools are 2.7 miles apart.
At 5 p.m., Myers Park will face Charlotte Country Day for the second time. It’s a rematch of Myers Park’s 19-14 win a year ago when the Mustangs intercepted a Country Day pass in its end zone to preserve the win. Myers Park and Country Day are 3 miles apart.
The marquee game is at 8 p.m., when reigning 4A state champion Charlotte Catholic will face 2015 N.C. Division I state finalist Charlotte Christian, which has won three of the past four state titles in its class. The schools are separated by 8.4 miles.
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Tickets – good for all three games – are $10 and available at cltkickoffnight.com
“It’s great for our program and it’s great for the city,” Charlotte Christian coach Jason Estep said. “It’s nice to play a great opponent in the city instead of leaving the state to play these opponents.”
This is Christian’s third year playing in the kickoff event. The Knights beat Sun Valley 28-19 in 2013 and lost 28-21 to eventual N.C. 4AA public school state champion Mallard Creek in 2014.
Estep said it was “a thrill” for his team to be invited back this season.
“It’s phenomenal to even be asked to play, especially in the nightcap,” he said.
Charlotte Latin coach Larry McNulty said he was excited to face Providence and second-year coach Brad Bowles, whose team was 5-7 last year. Latin, a perennial private-school power, was 8-4 last season and lost to Davidson Day in the NCISAA Division I state final.
Country Day looks to continue rebuilding under second-year coach Drew Witman, who was 3-7 his rookie season. Myers Park was 7-6 last season and made the second round of the playoffs under coach Scott Chadwick.
Charlotte Catholic coach Mike Brodowicz said he is excited to again kick off the season against Christian. Catholic beat the Knights 5-0 last August.
“We have a tough time finding games with what our tradition has built,” he said. “Christian is a first-class organization and it gives us a great test early on, and we’re very excited to play them again, and it’ll be a slugfest again. And to see that Latin had never played a CMS school was a shock to me.
“So for people to see how good the private school programs are is a win-win. (Latin-Providence is) a quality game for CMS schools because all these kids know each other and the parents know each other. Everybody wants to see different match-ups and this (kickoff series) is a great opportunity to see how the football is here top to bottom.”
Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr