Butler, ranked No. 2 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll, gave the rest of the state’s 4AA teams a little hope Friday night.
The Bulldogs lost 24-10 to No. 1 and nationally ranked Mallard Creek, but not before making a serious bid for an upset. If you cruised around social media or prep message boards or my emails this week, predictions were heavily in favor of a Mallard Creek blowout.
Butler held Mallard Creek scoreless for a quarter and had a 7-0 lead. Late in the game, Butler closed to within 17-10, and did this at Mallard Creek, where the Mavericks play on artificial turf and are virtually unbeatable.
Give Mallard Creek, ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation, credit for rallying to beat a tough opponent. Butler has won three state titles since 2009 and has been nationally ranked in many of the last six seasons. The Mavericks withstood a masterful game plan from Butler coach Brian Hales, one of the best handful of coaches in North Carolina, and an inspired performance by a Butler team that, no doubt, didn’t like hearing it was simply going to get run over by a run-away Mallard Creek freight train.
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▪ Independence, once the gold standard of N.C. prep football, has been outscored 100-19 in two games, but I don’t think it’s time to write the Patriots off. New coach Justin Hardin has a complex system that takes awhile to get and the Patriots have kicked off the season against two of the top five teams, regardless of class in North Carolina – nationally ranked Mallard Creek and Scotland County.
The Patriots need to win in the next two weeks against Olympic and West Meck before facing another one of the state’s top five – Vance – on Sept. 18.
▪ Harding ended a nine-game losing streak with a 42-0 win over Garinger. The Rams’ last win was also against Garinger: 46-22 last August.
Friday’s win was Harding’s first shutout since Aug. 30, 2013, when the Rams beat Garinger 15-0. Rams’ coach Sam Griner got his first win with the program. Garinger lost its 32nd straight game.
▪ Ardrey Kell’s Joe Evans, who was 12-1 at Independence last season, got his first win with his new school Friday. Ardrey Kell, which got 162 yards and two scores from Merrick Haston, beat rival Myers Park 21-9. Evans and Ardrey Kell host Marvin Ridge next week in one of the best rivalries no one talks about. Marvin Ridge is in Union County, but is geographically closer to Ardrey Kell than most any other school.
↑Vance QB Kinsley Ifedi: In first two varsity starts, Ifedi is 42-for-60 for 822 yards and eight scores. He’s completing 70 percent of his passes.
↓Concord First Assembly QB Harper Wood: three interceptions in first half on a 27-14 win against Cannon.
↑Concord First Assembly QB Harper Wood: three touchdown passes in the first half against Cannon School.
↑Rashad Williams, Adam Smith, Hough: Williams, a sophomore running back, ran 23 times for 94 yards in a 14-10 win over Mooresville. He had the game-winning score with 1:48 to play. Smith made Williams’ score stand up by stripping the ball away from a Mooresville receiver inside the Hough 20 with 10 seconds left.
Friday’s Top Performers
Chauncery Bowman, Mallard Creek: Senior running back had 28 carries for 241 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-10 win over Butler. He had a 47-yard putaway score with 31 seconds left.
Jashawn Graham, West Mecklenburg: 53 yards rushing, one score, plus a 30-yard scoring reception in a 22-20 win over West Charlotte. Hawks QB Richard Lattemore was 11-for-17 for 115 yards. West Charlotte got 200 yards passing and two total touchdowns from QB Izayah Cole.
Kingsley Ifedi, Vance: Junior QB was 19-of-27 for 382 yards and two scores in a 42-7 win over Providence. Donnavan Spencer ran 17 times for 127 yards and two scores. Myles Dorn caught six passes for 139 yards and an interception.
Antonio Wallace, South Meck: 12-of-17 for 266 yards and four scores in a 35-10 win over East Mecklenburg. Tight end AJ Elam caught four passes for 93 yards and a score.
Rud Yearick, Metrolina Christian: Completed 13-of-16 passes for 202 yards and four scores, completing passes to six different receivers, in a 71-6 win over Grace Crossing. He ran twice for 54 yards and a fifth score.
No. 16 Davidson Day 49, Christ School 6: In Arden, Davidson Day (2-0) got its second straight blowout win as Cade Carney and Sammy Cunningham had two rushing touchdowns, and Khalil Moore caught two scoring passes from QB Sam Hartman. Davidson Day visits Providence Day next week.
Charlotte Country Day 45, Robbinsville 13: First-year Bucs coach Drew Witman got his first win as Country Day warmed up for next week’s John Cook Cup rivalry game with Charlotte Catholic with an easy win.
Charlotte Latin 48, Northwood 13: Latin outscored Northwood 28-6 to bust the game open. Latin QB Bates Jones threw for 276 yards and three touchdowns. DeMarkes Stradford rushed for 109 yards and a score.
How the Sweet 16 fared
d. No. 2 Butler 24-10
lost 24-10 to No. 1 Mallard Creek
d. Providence 42-7
Rock Hill South Pointe
d. Rock Hill 33-21
d. No. 9 Mooresville 14-10
Rock Hill Northwestern
d. Woodside 47-23
d. Forest Hills 59-13
lost 14-10 to No. 6 Hough
lost 42-13 to Scotland County
d. Myers Park 21-9
d. Parkwood 44-7
at Myrtle Beach, Sat
lost 42-7 to No. 3 Vance
d. Q Foundation 33-16
d. Christ School 49-6