High school football fans can get a preseason scrimmage treat Thursday. That’s when N.C. 4AA champion Mallard Creek will play S.C. 4A champion Rock Hill Northwestern.
Mallard Creek coach Mike Palmieri, whose team has won three straight N.C. 4AA state championships, confirmed the game would be played in a true game format and would kick off at 6 p.m. Thursday at District III Stadium in Rock Hill.
Both teams are nationally ranked in many of the preseason polls. Northwestern battered Lexington 63-13 in the S.C. 4A Division II state championship game last season, leading 42-7 at halftime. About three months later, head coach Kyle Richardson was hired as an assistant at Clemson. The Trojans’ new coach, however, is a familiar face. David Pierce has coached at the school for 31 years.
Pierce returns nine starters from last season’s 14-1 team, including QB Gage Maloney, who threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 47 touchdowns last season. Maloney has committed to Ohio University. East Carolina commit Jerry Howard (1,570 yards rushing in 2015) also returns along with Clemson commit Logan Rudolph, who had 14.5 sacks last season.