This is the best night of the year for Mecklenburg County high school football fans. There are great games everywhere.
Vance is at arch-rival Mallard Creek; and Ardrey Kell is at arch-rival Providence. Charlotte Christian can clinch a share of a conference title at rival Charlotte Country Day; and Rocky River plays at Butler in a game that could determine the Southwestern 4A Conference championship.
And then there’s South Meck-Catholic. The Sabres are pushing a renaissance of South Meck athletics and dubbed themselves “The New South.” Friday, they will cross over Park Road and face rival Charlotte Catholic. Both teams – like Ardrey Kell and Providence – are unbeaten in the SoMeck 8 Conference.
Friday is one of those days you wish you could be three places at once. Way back in the day, Mecklenburg County schools would play Thursday, Friday and Saturday games at Memorial Stadium. This is one of those weeks I wish they still did.
• I say this every year, but it bears repeating: High school athletes in Mecklenburg County, particularly in football, should realize how lucky they are. There are up to seven newspapers, five TV stations and anywhere from 2-5 blog sites covering their exploits each week. Many won’t get anywhere near this kind of exposure in college.
• In past seasons, I was puzzled by local TV stations starting Friday night highlight shows with a far-away game when a heavyweight matchup was played in Charlotte. Glad to see some have incorporated a Charlotte game of the week and a regional game of the week. That makes more sense. Problem this week is which Charlotte game to choose.
• In case you didn’t know, former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss is an assistant coach at Victory Christian under former Carolina Panther Dee Brown. Moss’ son, Thad, is a tight end/defensive end working on a monster season. He has 25 catches for 411 yards and five scores. He has 41 tackles, six sacks, an interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
• A key to the Ardrey Kell-Providence game will be how much pressure the Knights can apply to Providence quarterback Caleb York. Ardrey Kell has five defenders with at least three sacks: Will Sapyta (4.5), Matt Messler (3), Twazanga Mugala (6.5), Raymond Wright (3) and Rhett Huddleston (5).
• If star running back Jaret Anderson (ankle) can’t play for Charlotte Catholic Friday against South Meck, that’s a big blow. Anderson has 882 yards, 12 touchdowns and averages nine9 yards per carry. But Catholic has rushed for 1,982 yards , with five others with more than 100 yards each. The Cougars average 7.3 yards per carry. They’ve also thrown for 774 yards and seven scores. There’s more balance than in recent years. That balance, even without Anderson, will make Catholic a tough out for South Meck.
• Until last Friday, Davidson Day junior Khalil Moore hadn’t played since the Albemarle game to start the season. During the summer, doctors thought he had a sprained wrist. Turns out, coach Chad Grier said, no blood was reaching Moore’s thumb and he needed surgery. Moore – who started as a 5-foot-3, 100-pound freshman – returned for last week’s 17-14 win against Charlotte Country Day. Moore, who is now 5-10 and 165 pounds , had a interception return for a score and a game-winning touchdown catch.