Charlotte Observer boys’ athletes of the week
Isaiah Bess, Shelby Football: Isaiah Bess admits he was nervous going into his first career, varsity start against Morganton Freedom Aug. 15.
But instead of worrying about the impending game, Bess spent most of last week thinking about his performance the previous week in the Cleveland County Jamboree, where Shelby lost to Jay M. Robinson.
Bess used his mistakes as motivation.
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“I felt like I played pretty bad in the (Cleveland County) jamboree, so I knew we (Shelby) had to come out and put on a show against Freedom,” said Bess, whose team lost the scrimmage to Robinson on the final play of the game. “After the first drive (against Freedom), I felt fine. Once I got all the nerves out, it was just me and my teammates out there on the field playing football.”
Bess exploded in the second quarter with touchdowns passes of 67 and 39 yards to junior Jahari Mitchell, a transfer from Lawndale Burns, to help Shelby to a 17-0 advantage. Mitchell had eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
However, Freedom roared back, cutting the lead to 24-21 in final quarter.
But just when it looked like Shelby might fold, Bess came up big again with a critical, third-down pass to keep a late fourth-quarter drive going.
Then, Bess scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to give Shelby a 31-21 lead. That was the final score.
“I saw one-on-one coverages on the back side of the trips (formation) before the play even started,” Bess said. “When I ran right, nobody was left on the back corner, it was just me and pylon. It felt really good to make a big play to help the team win the game.”
Bess put up impressive numbers in the win, going 26-for-38 for 370 yards passing and two touchdowns, while rushing for 17 yards and another score.
Shelby football coach, Lance Ware, who has guided his Golden Lion teams to 86 wins in his seven seasons as a head coach, says getting the win is most important statistic.
The victory was also significant because it was the 800th win in the history of the Shelby High, football program.
“I knew Isaiah (Bess) was nervous, being his first (varsity) start,” said Ware. “But, he (Bess) hit his first seven passes tonight and you could see his confidence grow/ He (Bess) also made a big-time play at the end (11-yard touchdown run) to help us win it. Stats are great, but to come out and respond to adversity and lead his (Bess) team to a big victory was huge, especially for a young quarterback.”
Peyton Kemmerlin, Boiling Springs Crest Football: The 6-foot-2, 230-pound, Crest senior quarterback was a perfect 12-for-12 passing for 120 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 120 yards and another score on 17 carries in the Chargers’ 28-11, season opening victory at rival Belmont South Point.
Kemmerlin’s four-yard touchdown run with 1:13 remaining gave the Chargers a 20-11 lead and essentially put the game out of reach.
Timothy Peterson, Ashe County Football: The Ashe County sophomore also had a monster performance in first varsity football game, rushing for 255 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries to help the Huskies to a 50-7 win over Avery County, Aug. 17.
Peterson scored all four of his touchdowns in the first half, scoring on runs of 16, 1, 67 and 64 yards.
Marquise Fleming, Olympic football: The Olympic High junior, 6-foot-1, 220-pounds, had a monster game at defensive end in a loss last week: 11 solo tackles, two assists, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and six quarterback pressures.
Holt Cloninger, Gastonia Forestview Football: The Forestview junior kicker play a significant role in the Jaguars’ season-opening, 20-7 win at East Lincoln Aug. 17.
Cloninger booted two 52-yard field goals, two extra points, had five touchbacks (on kickoffs) while also handling Forestview’s (1-0) punting duties.
Pierce Memmel, Patton Soccer/Football: The Patton senior made key contributions for the Panthers on both football and soccer field last week.
Memmel scored six goals in three games as the Patton soccer team started a perfect 3-0 with win over West Henderson. Memmel had four goals in the win at rival, Freedom.
On Friday night, Memmel averaged 45 yards per punt, had a touchback on his only kickoff and made six tackles for the Panthers’ football team (1-0) a 49-0 loss to Hunter Huss.
Memmel plays four positions for the Patton football, kicker, punter, defensive back and wide receiver.
Patrick Fenton, Charlotte Catholic Soccer: The Charlotte Catholic junior midfielder started his season strong, scoring the game-winning goal with 14 seconds to play in the Cougars’ 3-2 victory at Porter Ridge Aug. 13.
Four days later, Fenton came up big again, scoring both Cougars’ goals (in 13th and 72nd-minute) in a 2-0 win at Charlotte Country Day.
Charlotte Catholic is 2-0 this season.
Nathan Collins, Charlotte Christian Soccer: The Charlotte Christian junior forward scored all four of the Knights’ goal last week started the season with a tie and win.
Collins, a second-team all-CISAA conference pick last year, scored two goals in Charlotte Christian’s 2-2 tie at Cuthbertson, Aug. 16.
Two days later, Collins added two more scores, including the game-winner, in the Knights’ 2-1 home, victory over Greensboro Day.
Marcus Cleckley, Mallard Creek Soccer: The Mallard Creek senior forward had three goals overall to help the Mavericks (2-0) win their first two games of the season.
Cleckley, one of three returning starters from a year ago, had a goal in Mallard Creek’s season opening win over Olympic, August 14. The victory was also significant as Coach David Basinger’s first win in his tenure as the Mallard Creek boys’ head soccer coach.
Two days later, Cleckley scored two goals in 3-2 win at Ashbrook.
Cleckley has “earns everything he gets and likely to be named a team captain,” because of his hard work, according to Coach Basinger.
Austin Walker, Burns Cross Country: The Burns junior won the South Mountain 3K on his home course by one minute and 11 seconds over the field.
Walker ran the state’s top two-mile, 10:07.50, so far this season, according to ncrunners.com.
Meanwhile, Walker’s teammate, freshman, Hannah Dover, won the South Mountain 3K girls’ race by 39 seconds. Dover also ran the state’s top two-mile so far this season in 12:03.30.
Charlotte Observer Girls’ Athletes of the Week
Megan Frost, Myers Park Field Hockey: The Myers Park senior led the Mustangs to four straight wins and a “Play 4 the Cure” tournament title at Cary Academy Aug. 17-18.
Frost scored two goals and had one assist as Myers Park beat Cary Christian 4-0 in the championship game Aug. 18.
Earlier that morning, Frost had two goals to help the Mustangs beat Norfolk Academy 3-2 in overtime.
Frost has seven goals and two assists in four games this year, and she already owns the all-time school record in both goals (83) and assists (56) to date.
Frost, a Stanford University commit, was also a member of the 2018 U17 U.S. National field hockey team.
Ella Imhof, Marvin Ridge Tennis: The Marvin Ridge senior made a strong return to the Mavericks’ lineup after missing her junior season with a knee injury.
Imhof led Marvin Ridge to a perfect 3-0 start with singles’ victories over Charlotte
Margaret Carlton, Charlotte Christian Tennis: The Charlotte Christian junior helped her Knights’ team to 2-0 start with wins over SouthLake Christian (7-2) Aug. 14 and at Wesleyan Christian (8-1) two days later.
Carlton notched a 6-1, 6-4 upset win over Wesleyan Christian senior Brinley Bell, who is ranked No. 8 in the state and No. 56 in the southeast region, according to tennisrecruiting.net.
The “Titans’ 5”/Hopewell Tennis: The Hopewell tennis team has only five players on its team, including four freshmen and one sophomore.
But while Olivia Cainey, Amanda Cattaneo, Tanisha Figueroa Lugo, Caroline Myers, Lucy Patterson, nicknamed as the ‘Titan 5,’ are down two lines when they start each match, they have battled admirably so far this season.
Coach Dave Myers and his Hopewell team (1-2) lost two tight matches at Christ the King (4-3), Aug. 14, and at Independence (6-3), Aug. 15, to start the season.
However, the Titans beat Berry 5-4 Aug. 16 with freshmen, Myers and Cainey (who has only played high school tennis for three weeks), coming up with decisive doubles victory, 10-3. Cattaneo and Patterson also won their doubles’ match, 10-4.
Myers and Patterson are both unbeaten this season at 3-0 in singles’ and doubles’ matches.
Sidney Bing/Lauralee Hurst, Gaston Day Volleyball: The Gaston Day all-state helped the Spartans to eight straight wins to start the season and a 10-3 record overall in their first eight days of regular season play.
Bing and Hurst helped Gaston Day win four matches en route to the Cougar Classic tournament title at Calvary Day School in Winston-Salem, Aug. 10-11, beating Davidson Day, 2-0, in the finals. Both Bing and Hurst were on the Cougar Classic all-tournament team.
The Gaston Day also led the Spartans to 3-2 win at Charlotte Catholic Aug. 16, with Bing recording 46 assists and 15 digs, and Hurst contributing 22 kills, 14 digs and seven aces in the victory.
Gaston Day also performed well in the Best of the Carolinas’ tournament at Davidson Day College, Aug. 17-18, getting wins over Mallard Creek and Bishop England (who has won 18 straight, S.C. 3A state title).
Bing has 283 assists, 68 digs, 17 aces and 15 kills, while Hurst has 146 kills, 101 digs and 31 aces this season.
Maggie Young, Marvin Ridge Volleyball: The 5-foot-11 Marvin Ridge senior has helped the Mavericks to a perfect 8-0 start this season with 42 kills in 67 attempts, and only seven errors in that span.
Young, a Wingate University commit, led Marvin Ridge to victories over Butler Aug. 14 and at Cox Mill, Aug. 15, before sweeping six games at the Best of the Carolinas’ tournament at Davidson College (Aug. 17-18). The Mavericks beat previously undefeated Blessed Trinity (GA) (11-1) in the Best of the Carolinas’ championship game, 2-1.
Cierra Huntley, Davidson Day Volleyball: The Davidson Day all-state junior had a strong start to her season with 114 kills, 77 digs and 13 aces in her first week of play (Aug. 10-18) as she led the Patriots to a 7-2 record.
Huntley, a Virginia Tech commit, helped Davidson Day to wins over North Henderson (3-0), North Central (SC) (3-1) and Charlotte Country Day (3-0) this past weekend (Aug. 17-18) at the Best of the Carolinas’ tournament at Davidson College.
Allison Gambill, Hickory Volleyball: The Hickory senior outside hitter had 40 kills to help lead the Red Tornadoes (2-0) to road victories over Newton Conover and Statesville on back-to-back nights.
Gambill had 16 kills in a 3-0 win over Newton Conover, Aug. 13, before coming back with 24 kills in a dramatic 3-2 victory at Statesville.
** Information published today includes statistics through August 19.
Want to nominate an athlete?: Athletes of the week highlights high school players with outstanding performances. 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.