Top Observer-area high school football games this week:
Metrolina Christian (6-1) at No. 4 Charlotte Christian (6-1), Friday, 7 p.m.: Metrolina Christian gets a test against the NCISAA Division I state championship favorite. Christian’s defense gets a test against one of the area’s best running backs. Metrolina’s Ishod Finger has rushed 141 times for 1,539 yards and 22 touchdowns. Finger ran 16 times for 245 yards and five touchdowns in last week’s 61-10 victory over Asheville Christian. He also had a 75-yard interception return.
No. 7 Hickory Ridge (7-0, 3-0 Southwestern 4A) at No. 9 Myers Park (6-1, 2-1), Friday, 7 p.m.: Hickory Ridge has had a good run since joining the Southwestern 4A, finding itself tied for first with Butler. Myers Park, tied for second with East Meck, lost to Butler last week and likely must win to keep alive any conference title hopes.
Hough (5-2, 3-0 I-Meck 4A) at No. 16 North Mecklenburg (7-0, 3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.: After an 0-2 start, first-year Hough coach Matthew Jenkins has led his team to five straight victories and a tie with North Mecklenburg and Mallard Creek for first place in the conference. Friday’s a big test for both teams.
Providence (4-3, 1-1 SoMeck) at No. 10 West Mecklenburg (6-2, 2-1), Friday, 7 p.m.: West Mecklenburg is one game behind Harding for first place in the league and cannot afford another conference loss. Providence, too, is trying to keep title hopes alive.
No. 4 Butler (5-1, 3-0 Southwestern 4A) at Independence (1-6, 0-3), Friday, 7 p.m.: Once the county’s hottest rivalry, and almost always for a league title, Butler-Indy is still a big game for both schools. Butler has won five in a row and wants to continue a march to a league title. Independence has lost five in a row but a victory over their high-flying rivals would make the Patriots’ season.
Note: Rankings are from Observer’s Sweet 16 poll