More than 200 unsigned high school football seniors are expected at Saturday’s second annual Carolinas Senior Football Showcase at Charlotte Latin School.
The free one-day event is designed to help unsigned seniors, who meet certain academic standards, a chance to play in front of more than 30 Division II, Division III and NAIA schools from around the country. On site volunteers iinclude ESPN college football analyst Tom Luginbill, former Carolina Panther and local TV personality Eugene Robinson and former Panther turned preacher Derwin Gray.
The showcase is one of four affiliated with the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. They are being held in Houston, Los Angeles, South Florida and Charlotte between Feb. 10 and March 3. Players go through a series of drills in front of Division II, Division III and NAIA coaches. They include a 40-yard dash and several strength and agility tests.
For more information, visit carolinasfootballshowcase.com
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North Mecklenburg’s Jabril Griffin has been selected to play in the East-West All-Star game next summer in Greensboro. The game features some of the state’s top public school seniors.
Jay Edwards’ Winter Sports Boys Athletes of the week
Sam Mahoney/Stephen Kim and Charlotte Latin Swim Team: Coach Patty Waldron and the Charlotte Latin boys’ swim team have found a different way to win during their run of NCISAA 3A state championships.
This year, the Charlotte Latin team were as dominant as ever, scoring a school-record 398 points, as they won an unprecedented sixth straight state title by another school-record -- 98 points -- at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, Feb. 19.
"Honestly, I thought the state meet was going to much closer, because we lost a ton of points (seniors graduating) from last year," said Waldron, in her 11th season as Charlotte Latin’s swim coach and 38th year overall. “We got a neat combination of contributions from our senior leadership to our freshmen. That’s not to diminish the sophomore and juniors, because many of them stepped up big for us, too.
…Our theme this year was "Swim out of this world," and that’s exactly what we did."
Charlotte Latin senior, Sam Mahoney (Washington University (MO) signee) led the way, winning the NCISAA 3A, 200 and 500 freestyle state titles in final meet in a Hawks’ uniform. Mahoney had never won an individual state championship before his final state meet.
Mahoney also led 200 and 400 freestyle relays team to state titles with teammates, Will Egan, Jackson Davis and Stephen Kim (both relays same four swimmers). The 200 freestyle team also set a NCISAA 3A state record, finishing in 1:28.36.
"Sam (Mahoney) could be one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever met," Waldon said. "Every time he swims for Latin, it looks like it’s the most important swim he’s ever had. He has an incredible personal drive."
Latin also got a major boost from freshman, Stephen Kim, who also doubled as an NCISAA 3A, individual state champion, winning the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley titles.
Overall, Charlotte Latin set six school records and broke one state record at the 2018 state championships.
"Winning (state championship) never gets old," said Waldron. "Honestly, the kids are achieving what is possible. Sometimes things are possible, but they don’t always happen. But it’s been special to see group after group accomplish what they are capable of doing.…In the end, you still have to be able to take that moment in time at the state meet, where you go out and earn that championship, and we earned it again this year....We hope to have the chance to do what we do and be the best, and be the best team we can be again next year."
Kyle Barone, Cannon School Swimming: The Cannon School senior set a pair of NCISAA 3A state records to win state titles in both the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly at Greensboro Aquatic Center, Feb. 19.
Barone, a Georgia Tech signee, swam a new NCISAA 3A state record time of 48.60 seconds to win the 100 butterfly, while also swimming a 50.13 to win the 100 backstroke in state record fashion.
Barone also helped both Cannon’s 200 medley relay (with Hayes Leatherman, Jacob Lafferty and Peyton Skill) and 200 freestyle relay teams (with Alex Coale, Hampton Dickens and Skill) to third place finishes at the NCISAA 3A state meet.
Tim Connery, Christ the King: The Christ the King freshman led the Crusaders’ to the NCISAA 1A/2A state championship (team) setting new state records in both the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley as he won both individual state titles, Feb. 19, at Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Connery won the 100 backstroke in a 1A/2A state record 49.38, while he also set a new 1A/2A state mark in the 200 individual medley (48.68). Both record swims earned him High School All-American status.
Connery also helped the 200 medley relay (with Ben Duckworth, Alex Adams and Keenan Burgess in 1A/2A state record 1:36.94) and 400 freestyle relay (with Adams, Burgess and Danny Koenigsberger) to 1A/2A state championships.
Coach Tom Donahue and the Christ the King boys’ swim team won their second NCISAA 1A/2A state title in the last three years (2016, 2018). The program (and school) have only been in existence for three years.
Jamarius Burton, Independence Basketball: The Independence senior led the Patriots to their 19th straight victory, scoring 33 points, grabbing nine rebounds, dishing out seven assists and nabbing four steals, to beat Ardrey Kell 72-65 in the 3rd round of the 4A state playoffs.
Burton also had 19 points, five rebounds and eight assists in Independence’s (28-1) 74-66 second round win over West Charlotte Feb. 22.
Burton (who averages 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists per game) has received recent offers from Alabama-Birmingham, George Mason, Temple and Western Carolina and gotten recent interest from Georgia Tech, Michigan and Virginia, according to Independence coach Preston Davis.
Trey Wertz, Providence Day Basketball: The Providence Day senior scored 33 points, including seven three-pointers, in his final high school game, an 87-80 NCISAA 3A state semifinal loss to nationally ranked High Point Wesleyan Christian Feb. 23.
Wertz, a Santa Clara University signee, finishes his Providence Day career as the No. 3 scorer in school history with 1,739 points. He did it with great efficiency this season, making 57 percent of his two-point shots, 42 percent from three-point land and 90 percent from the free throw line.
Wertz is also the school’s all-time leading 3-point shooter with 276 made 3-point shots, which ranks him No. 5 in state history, at least according to the N.C. High School Athletic Association record book. The N.C. Independent Schools do not have a record book.
Providence Day finished 25-10 this season.
▪ Wertz and teammate Devon Dotson were named to the Esmark All-American team, which honors high school players who have “displayed exceptional achievements on the playing field, in the classroom and in the communities where they live.”
Nas Tyson, Forest Hills Basketball: The Forest Hills junior averaged 24 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Yellow Jackets (27-2) won all three of their 2A state playoff games last week.
Tyson’s best performance came in the Forest Hills’ 64-48 win over West Stokes Feb. 24, when he had 29 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
The two-time Rocky River conference player of the year has an offer from Hampton University, according to Forest Hills’ coach, Matt Sides.
Coleson Leach, East Lincoln Basketball: The East Lincoln senior guard averaged 23 points and four assists per game to lead the Mustangs to 2A state playoff wins over North Surry, Draughn and R.S. Central.
Leach’s most memorable game of the week came in the first round win over North Surry, where he not only had 27 points, including five three-pointers, but also scored the 1,000th point of his career in the 83-60 win Feb. 20.
Leach also had 22 points in East Lincoln’s 72-60 second round win over Draughn, Feb. 22, and 20 points in the Mustangs’ 79-69, 3rd round victory over R.S. Central, Feb. 24.
Leach averages 16 points, four assists and three rebounds per game for the Mustangs (25-5) this season.
Luke Stankavage, Ardrey Kell Basketball: The Ardrey Kell sophomore had a week to remember, averaging 28 points per game in 4A state playoff contests against Grimsley and Independence.
Stankavage started his week with 25 points in a 71-59 second round win over Grimsley Feb. 22.
Two nights later, Stankavage had a career-high 31 points, making a school-record 15-of-15 free throws in a 72-65 loss at Independence. Stankavage received an offer from West Carolina University immediately after the game, according to Ardrey Kell coach Michael Craft.
Stankavage, who is a straight-A student, averaged 11.5 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal per game for the Knights (23-6) this season.
Jay Edwards Winter Sports Girls Athletes of the week
Journey Muhammad, Ardrey Kell Basketball: The Ardrey Kell senior point guard had a big week, averaging 22.5 points (more than 10 points better than her average), 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals in two playoffs victories over Berry and Harrisburg Hickory Ridge.
Muhammad had a career-high 27 points to lead Ardrey Kell (25-3) to a win over at Hickory Ridge (then No. 1 in the Observer Sweet 16) who had won 24 straight games.
Muhammad also had 18 points in the Knights’ 63-44 second round win over Berry, Feb. 22.
Muhammad has set the single-season, school record for three pointers in a season (75) and career (162). She also holds the Ardrey Kell girls’ basketball school-record for assist (336).
Muhammad, the daughter of former Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver Mushin Muhammad, has college basketball interest from North Greenville University, Clarke College and Roanoke College, according to Ardrey Kell coach Jeff Buseick.
Dazia Lawrence, Mallard Creek Basketball: The Mallard Creek junior guard averaged 19 points, 4.5 assists, three rebounds and five steals per contest in 4A state playoff wins over Butler and South Mecklenburg last week.
Lawrence’s best game of the week came in 58-38 second round victory over Butler, where she had 22 points and six steals for the Mavericks.
Janiya Downs, South Rowan Basketball: The 5-foot-11, South Rowan junior point guard averaged 30.5 points, 11 rebounds, 3.5 steals and three blocks per contest in two N.C. 2A playoffs games last week.
Downs started her week with 31 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and four blocks to lead the Raiders to a 68-46 first round win over Maiden, Feb. 20.
Two nights later, Downs poured in 30 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in a tough 63-60 loss to North Wilkes.
South Rowan finished their season with an 18-9 record.
Downs is being recruited by multiple teams, including the Charlotte 49ers, Appalachian State, Campbell, Duke, James Madison, Marshall, Michigan State, Western Kentucky and West Virginia, according to Coach John Davis II.
Amanda Hoffman, Christ the King Swimming: The Christ the King junior led the Crusaders’ girls to their second straight NCISAA 1A/2A state championship, winning the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle state individual titles.
Hoffman set a new 1A/2A state record with a time of 56.91 in the 100 butterfly and also beat the field by more than 10 seconds to win the 500 freestyle.
Hoffman also helped both the 200 medley relay (with Annie Donahue, Sophie Filiault and Jordan Lamoreux) and 400 freestyle relay (with Kaylee Mosher, Donahue and Lamoreux) to 1A/2A state championship swims.
Sophie Lindner, Covenant Day Swimming: The Covenant Day senior finished her high school swimming career, winning both the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly state championships at the NCISAA 3A meet, Feb. 19 at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Linder, a University of North Carolina signee, set a new state record in the 100 butterfly, posting a time of 54.97 seconds in her championship swim.
Amy Draeglin, Charlotte Latin Swimming: The Charlotte Latin junior led the Hawks to an NCISAA 3A state runner-up finish, winning the 100 freestyle, while coming in second in the 200 freestyle Feb. 19 at Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Draeglin also anchored both the 200 freestyle relay (with Lindsay Flynn, Jessica Flynn, Matigan Simpson) and 400 freestyle relay teams in a state record time of 3:29.85 (with L. Flynn, Evelyn Peters and J. Flynn) to NCISAA 3A state title swims.
Want to nominate an athlete?: Athletes of the week highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through Feb. 25. The goal is to recognize all athletes in all sports, both the most accomplished and the underrated or underappreciated players. If you want to suggest someone to be included in the Athletes of the week column, send email to Jay Edwards at email@example.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.