It’s been a long time since Mecklenburg County sent two teams to the N.C. 4A and 4AA state football championships, but there’s a real chance this year.
In 2006, Pete Gilchrist’s West Charlotte team advanced to the N.C. 4A finals and played Greenville Rose. Rose won 26-12. The same year, Independence’s state championship juggernaut blew out Durham Riverside 49-19. No Mecklenburg County team has reached the 4A final since, though the county has sent teams to the 4AA finals five times in the past seven seasons.
This year, there are eight teams remaining in the western 4AA bracket. Two are not from Mecklenburg County: East Forsyth (which plays Providence at home) and Lake Norman (which plays Ardrey Kell at home).
In 4A, three of the eight teams remaining are from Mecklenburg County. Vance, a ninth seed, should be favored at home over No. 16 seed Jamestown Ragdale. Ditto, No. 3 seed Charlotte Catholic at home against No. 11 High Point Central. And No. 12 seed Rocky River has a home game with No. 13 Mount Tabor.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see two regional championships in the 4A brackets that included two Charlotte teams.
• Visited with Butler High coach Brian Hales for our weekly Prep Insiders video (see it at charlotteobserver.com/preps). Hales likes Rocky River to beat Mount Tabor, but said Mount Tabor, by far, is the biggest team Butler’s played this season. Butler beat Mount Tabor 49-21 Sept. 15 after falling behind early. For comparison, Butler beat Rocky River 55-21 Oct. 17.
“From a size perspective, we’ve played Mallard Creek and Richmond and these guys, and Tabor by far is the biggest team we’ve seen, not just along the offensive and defensive lines, but also their skill guys,” Hales said. “They’re really impressive. They’re huge.”
• Hales said he would like to schedule private schools and would support a move to end a long-standing CMS rule that prevents local public schools from scheduling games against private schools. The local public and private schools can meet in tournaments and neutral site events like the Mallard Creek-Charlotte Christian season-opener at Memorial Stadium or the Hoodies House holiday basketball tournament.
My take? The rule needs to be dropped. Public schools that don’t want to schedule privates don’t have to; those that do, can. And CMS can create policy to protect its schedule and make sure all its teams have a similar number of games.
“Anytime you can play games around Charlotte, it’s fun for everybody. It’s more attractive and you get more people at the games,” Hales said.
• In South Carolina, No. 6 Rock Hill Northwestern (9-3) is at No. 3 Duncan Byrnes (11-1). Byrnes, known for its high-powered passing offense, also has quite a pass defense. Byrnes has allowed only seven passing touchdowns and 100 yards per game passing on average. For the season, Byrnes has 17 interceptions.
Northwestern has thrown for 2,724 yards and 30 touchdowns as a team this season.
• The SouthLake-Davidson Day private school state final is a game that Davidson Day coach Chad Grier has wanted to play for some time. He said he’s wanted to get SouthLake on his team’s schedule but has been unable to. If you can have a big rival without ever playing, well, these two are big rivals – two private schools on the northern end of the county playing for a championship. Should be fun.