Thursday, July 31, 2008

Practice begins Friday, after summer of dreams

High school football practice officially will start Friday, but that’s not entirely accurate.

Sure, it’s the first time teams can slip on helmets and practice as a group. It often generates an ‘opening-day excitement’ for some coaches, players and fans.

But most of the players you see under the lights later this month have been gearing up all summer.

They’ve attended mandatory weightlifting sessions in steamy rooms. Been to camps in searing heat. Run conditioning drills. Competed against other schools in 7-on-7 passing games.

Worked out on their own.

There won’t be much new when practice officially begins. Many teams will begin around 8 a.m., to beat the midday heat.

You’ll see many of the same things at every school – nervous sophomores not wanting to mess up and gain notoriety on the first day, oversized linemen huffing through wind sprints, the inevitable junior varsity player who is sent back to the locker room because he’s wearing the wrong (pick one) jersey, sock, pants, etc.

Coaches will yell.

Whistles will screech.

Sweat will flow.

Then, they’ll get up early and do it again the next several days.

- Cliff Mehrtens

Local girls to be showcased in basketball event

Providence Day's Janee Johnson and West Charlotte's Nikki Burton are key players on the Georgia/Lina 76ers girls' high school team playing in the Nike Nationals this week in North Augusta, Ga.

The event brings together some of the country's best girls' traveling teams and showcases some of its best high school talent.

Burton, who plays power forward for the size-challenged Lions, is a natural point guard. Johnson, a center at Providence Day, plays inside but also is allowed to shoot 3-point shots.

The 76ers team that Burton and Johnson played for lost to a team from Illinois in the Silver bracket 73-65 Wednesday. That left the team at 2-2 for the week.

NOTE: According to ESPN's national ranking, Erinn Thompson of Bishop McGuinness, a 6-3 center, is the state's top recruit. She's ranked 18th nationally and will attend Virginia.

Concord Cannon's Krista Gross, a 5-11 guard, is No. 29. She's undecided for college. Northwest Halifax center Lakeesha Daniel (undecided) is No. 73. Statesville guard Keyrra Gillespie (undecided) is No. 90.

- Langston Wertz Jr.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Post-forfeit football standings

Eligibility violations and the subsequent penalties inflicted have jumbled last season’s high school football standings for several Charlotte-Mecklenburg teams.

You’ll see some strange-looking numbers when the season previews begin popping up in August.

The latest revision came Thursday when East Mecklenburg (0-13) forfeited its nine victories. It joined West Charlotte (0-15), South Mecklenburg (0-12) and Berry (0-11) in the give-‘em-all-back line.

When was the last time, if ever, CMS had four winless teams?

Two schools – Vance and North Mecklenburg – saw life on both sides of the forfeit line.

Vance forfeited two of its five victories, but gained one via West Charlotte’s infraction to finish 4-7.

North Mecklenburg, which had forfeited a victory against Garinger, gained it back via West Charlotte. The Vikings’ revised mark is 6-6.

Garinger was the biggest recipient. The Wildcats were 0-11 on the field, but are now 4-7 after forfeit wins against Vance, East Meck, North Meck and Berry.

Harding’s three victories through forfeit bump its record to 8-4 . Waddell also was awarded three victories, turning its 3-9 season on the field into a 6-6 mark.

In two instances, there are rare double-forfeits – West Charlotte’s 26-17 victory against East Meck, and South Meck’s 10-7 win against East Meck. Technically, East Meck had gained victories in both games via forfeit, but had to forfeit them Thursday.

Here are the updated standings for the 2007 season, involving Charlotte’s three public-school conferences:

Southwestern 4A

Butler, 7-0 conference, 12-1 overall

Independence, 6-1 conference, 13-3 overall

Ardrey Kell, 5-2 conference, 10-3 overall

Providence, 4-3 conference, 6-6 overall

Weddington, 3-4 conference, 6-5 overall

Myers Park, 2-5 conference, 4-7 overall

South Meck, 0-7 conference, 0-12 overall

East Meck, 0-7 conference, 0-13 overall

ME-CA 7 4A
Hopewell, 6-0 conference, 11-1 overall
North Meck, 4-2 conference, 6-6 overall
Central Cabarrus, 4-2 conference, 6-7 overall
Vance, 4-2 conference, 4-7 overall
Concord Robinson, 2-4 conference, 4-7 overall
Mallard Creek, 1-5 conference, 2-9 overall
West Charlotte, 0-6 conference, 0-15 overall
Queen City 3A/4A
Charlotte Catholic, 6-0 conference, 13-3 overall
West Meck, 5-1 conference, 8-4 overall
Harding, 4-2 conference, 8-4 overall
Waddell, 3-3 conference, 6-6 overall
Olympic, 2-4 conference, 4-7 overall
Garinger, 1-5 conference, 4-7 overall
Berry, 0-6 conference, 0-11 overall

-- Cliff Mehrtens