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East Meck’s win over Butler points to greater potential

East Mecklenburg head coach Barry Shuford led his team to a 10-7 upset win over Butler Friday (Nell Redmond photo)
East Mecklenburg head coach Barry Shuford led his team to a 10-7 upset win over Butler Friday (Nell Redmond photo)

East Mecklenburg’s 10-7 upset win over nationally ranked Butler Friday night sent shockwaves throughout the state. Several readers emailed and texted me asking how big an upset this was.

I don’t think it’s time to put this one in historical perspective. Butler was playing without five or six starters and possibly some key reserves. Bulldogs coach Brian Hales wouldn’t comment about the players absences afterwards, but they surely hurt the Bulldogs chances. Coming into this game, Butler had won the past six meetings by an average of 56-4. So for those who didn’t know about Butler’s personnel issues, it had to be shocking to see “East Meck 10, Butler 7” come across Twitter.

In 2007, East Meck beat Butler 22-21, coming from down 21-0 to do it. Mike Mayhew ran for 182 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles later had to forfeit that win and eight others after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools investigation. So Friday was East’s first victory against Butler since 2001 and just its third win ever against the Bulldogs, currently No. 2 in the Sweet 16.

But here’s the thing that stood out to me: East Meck has now won three of its last four games. The Eagles were 2-9 last season and are 3-4 now. Second-year coach Barry Shuford – one of two guys to post a winning record at Garinger High since 1991 – is showing, again, why he’s an underrated and all-time great coach in Mecklenburg County history.

Need more proof? East Meck had won seven games in the five years before Shuford got there.

▪ The Hurricane and heavy rains did a number to the schedule this week. Games were moved to Thursday and Monday. Ardrey Kell’s game with Olympic on Friday was stopped in the third quarter and the teams were told to finish Monday. Olympic leads 12-7. Northwestern’s win over York was called with seven minutes to play due to lightning. There were other lightning delays. Everyone dealt with heavy rain. It was just a mess. Good news? Next Friday, the forecast looks good. No umbrellas needed (hopefully).

▪ Metrolina Christian at High Point Christian was canceled and will not be made up.

Friday’s Top Performers

Christian Thomas, East Meck: 45-yard field goal with 2:14 left to give his team a 10-7 win over No. 2 Butler. It was East’s first win over Butler in 14 years.

Antwan Bivens, Butler: 20 carries, 132 yards, touchdowns in 10-7 upset loss to East Meck.

Jerry Howard, Rock Hill Northwestern: 25 carries, 208 yards and a score in a 36-7 win over York.

Donshel Jetton, Mooresville: 18 carries for 153 yards and four touchdowns in about three quarters of work in a 35-0 win over North Lincoln.

James Smith, Mallard Creek: threw for 154 yards and two scores, ran for a 20-yard score in a 43-6 win over Hopewell.

Friday’s Roundup

Rocky River 35, Garinger 0: Rocky River (2-5, 1-1 Southwestern 4A) won easily at home despite two turnovers in the red zone.

Providence 16, West Mecklenburg 0: The Panthers won on a rain-soaked homecoming. The game was stopped in the second half for 45 minutes due to lightning. Providence, which got its first shutout of the season, won its second straight.

How the Sweet 16 fared

Rank, school

Cl.

Friday’s result

Rec.

1. Mallard Creek

4A

Played Hopewell

5-1

2. Butler

4A

lost 10-7 to E. Mecklenburg

5-2

3. Char. Catholic

4A

Beat Harding 41-0

5-0

4. Northwestern

4A

d. York 36-7

6-1

5. South Pointe

3A

Beat Union County 17-14

4-1

6. Vance

4A

vs. No. 7 AL Brown

Monday at Rocky River

4-1

7. A.L. Brown

4A

Vs No. 6 Vance

Monday at Rocky River

5-0

8. S. Mecklenburg

4A

Vs Berry Monday

at Mallard Creek

5-0

9. Hough

4A

Bye

5-1

10. Weddington

3A

Beat Char. Country Day 31-0

5-1

11. Ardrey Kell

4A

Will finish home game

with Olympic Monday

3-2

12. Mooresville

4A

d. North Lincoln 35-0

4-2

13. East Lincoln

2A

d. Lincolnton 40-21

6-0

14. Davidson Day

IND

Bye

6-0

15. Monroe

2A

Bye

6-0

16. Concord

3A

d. Central Cabarrus 20-6

5-1

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