Since the spring, fans of the South Mecklenburg High Sabres football team have been talking about a “New South” out on Park Road. The school was returning 16 starters and 26 lettermen from the 2013 team, including several major college prospects like defensive back Steve Griffin, who has committed to Tennessee, and cornerback Chance Kennedy, who has an offer from North Carolina.
Only the “New South” didn’t start so well, losing 49-0 to Independence Aug. 22.
“There’s a certain mystique with our young men and the Big I (Independence) and when things went bad early, we struggled to get it back together,” Sabres coach Rocky White said. “But there was no panic. We’ve done a good job of refocusing and doing the little things we’ve worked on the last couple of years to get to where we are now. We knew we’d be OK.”
South Mecklenburg (3-1) has won three straight games, tying for the most wins by the school since 2011. The Sabres will play Friday at Harding (1-2) to open SoMeck 8 4A play. After that, South Meck will have four of its final six games at home. Things are shaping up for what could be a program-changing season.
“It’s what we’re working for,” White said.
It’s what their fans have been waiting for, too.
The Sabres won the 1981 N.C. 4A championship with an unbeaten team under coach Jim Seacord that still stands as arguably one of the best teams Mecklenburg County has produced. From 1982 to 1998, the Sabres had 10 winning seasons, including making it to the 1993 N.C. 4A Western Regional final under Steve Shaughnessy, before losing 24-23 to West Charlotte at Memorial Stadium.
But since 1998, the Sabres have had only two winning seasons – 7-5 under James Martin in 2010 and 9-6 under Martin in 2008.
In the past 16 seasons, South Mecklenburg has averaged 2.6 wins per year, including two winless seasons and three one-win seasons.
But that could change. Since the loss to Independence, South Meck is allowing 11 points per game.
“We knew we had a bunch of kids coming back on defense,” including nine starters, White said. “So us playing good D is not a surpirse. That first week, to us, we felt like it was an aberration, even though Independence is very good. They’re very strong, very fast, very physical and all that stuff, but we felt we’d be a good team all along.”
Trey Ramsey is the new baseball coach at Lake Norman High. He replaces Robert Little, who’d coached there since the school opened in 2002. Little resigned to become assistant principal at South Iredell.
Ramsey, a Lenoir-Rhyne grad, is a former baseball coach at South Iredell and was an assistant at Providence.
Charlotte Country Day (33-1) has moved up four spots in MaxPreps national ranking, to No. 18. Country Day will have a big match at 5:30 p.m. Friday at home against rival Providence Day (20-2) for first place in the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association. Both teams are 3-0 in league play.
Country Day finished runner-up at the Hillcrest (S.C.) Invitational last weekend, beating the No. 7-ranked team out of Tennessee, Baylor High, in the quarterfinals, and beating the No. -ranked team out of South Carolina, Wando, in the semifinals. Nationally ranked Hillcrest, the No. 1 S.C. team, beat Country Day 2-1 in the finals. Hillcrest has won three straight 4A state titles. The loss ended Country Day’s 51-game win streak dating to last season.
Country Day’s Katharine Franz and Asya Patterson made the all-tournament team.
Participating teams: Ardrey Kell, Charlotte Christian, Charlotte Latin, Covenant Day, Boiling Springs Crest, Fort Mill Nation Ford, R-S Central, Providence Day, Providence, Weddington.