Friday, August 29, 2008

Q&A with the Observer's Langston Wertz Jr.

Observer staff writer Langston Wertz Jr. answers your sports-related questions. To ask a question, reply at the bottom of this blog or send email to

Q. Who are the top 10 teams in the Carolinas right now?
I have been wanting to do a statewide top 10 for some time that is inclusive of everyone, but a Carolinas top 10? I have to be honest, I don't know enough about all of South Carolina to really give you one, but I'll try:
1 Duncan Byrnes (S.C.); 2. Independence; 3. Rock Hill South Pointe; 4. Wilmington Hoggard; 5. Crestwood (S.C.); 6. Northwestern, S.C.; 7. Rocky Mount; 8. Dorman, S.C.; 9. Raleigh Millbrook; 10. Daniel, S.C.

Q. Langston, you used to always talk about CMS needing a city championship. Any progress towards it? I'd like to see it.

A. I'd like to see it, too. At one point there were two organizations backing a game, but talk has died down. I think it would be great for this city/county. I know players and parents always ask me about it. I think with the big four private schools adopting the eight semester rule, a big road block has been bypassed. I know a lot of CMS schools are wary of Victory Christian because Victory doesn't have an eight-semester rule.

My suggestion would be to try a city championship, over Christmas holiday -- since so many are struggling with the idea of eliminating conference tournaments - and have the big four privates (Latin, Country Day, Providence Day and Charlotte Christian) plus the CMS teams. I loved the idea of the regional events in different quadrants and bringing a Final Four to somewhere uptown (Bobcats, Cricket). If you do it right and get TV involved and radio involved, it would be the best thing to happen to high schools in my career here, I think.

Q. Langston, your thoughts on Richmond and Dudley Friday and who is the best team in Charlotte? Folks seem stupified by that one right now.

A. I think Richmond Senior has a wicked schedule, playing 4AA champ New Bern, 3AA champ Dudley and a good-looking Anson County team three straight games. They should really be playoff tested in November. (And I hope the Anson fans saw their shout out on this week's Insiders video blog:

As for Richmond-Dudley, the Raiders always get a boost from the home crowd and in the case of two pretty evenly matched teams, I'd say Richmond 20-14.

Q. Langston, you keep saying Crest is coming. What about Shelby? We're here.

A. No question, Shelby is here and I think, despite some starters graduating, the Golden Lions have a shot at a fifth straight state title appearance. Crest is young but very talented. I would expect we'll hear a little from them this year, more in '09 and a heckuva lot in 2010.

Q. Great previews on soccer and the other non-football sports. I hope you plan to do better w/covering those sports this year. You always seem to wait until late in the year.

A. Thanks, that was a lot of work done right in the middle of getting ready for football. Glad you liked our efforts. With Brett Honeycutt not with us anymore, Cliff Mehrtens and I really have to keep our pedal to the metal so to speak. As far as coverage, we've already done a few soccer games and we'll hit some other sports, too, with live coverage. We also launched our Prep Page on Thursday that is devoted to non-football sports.

Q. Langston, how far can this young Butler team go? Who do you expect to win the Butler-Independence game?

A. I saw Butler in preseason workouts and they were the best-looking team I saw along with South Pointe of Rock Hill. I think it may take a few weeks, but when Butler figures out how to match its talent with a little experience, watch out. My preseason Sweet 16 No. 1 for 2009, if I had to choose now, would be the Bulldogs. I'm going to watch them tonight play North Meck, so check back with me tonight or tomorrow and I'll give you more impressions.

Q. Aw-right Langston. You got us this morning in Greensboro with "Aggie Slide." We cant' hide from that. I have two questions. You think Smith will beat us and do you think any Greensboro prep teams have a shot at states?

A. I can't take full credit for the "Aggie Slide" line. A friend gave me that one. I just asked to "borrow" it for print. A&T sports are hurting. Football down. Men's basketball way down. Do I think Smith beats A&T? No. A&T has or should have a huge talent advantage. I think A&T brass signed this game to end the streak. If you lose to Smith, well, that would not be a good thing.

Q. LW, glad you brought the Q&A back. I wanted to know about the new QB at Butler. I heard he has skills. What do you think?

A. Christian LeMay is a 6-3 sophomore with a big arm. Coach Mike Newsome feels he's better than Jacob Charest at the same age and all Charest is -- is stastically one of the top five passers ever from Meck County. Again, I'm seeing Butler tonight. Check back with questions later for more impressions....As for the Q&A, it never left. I was on vacation some this summer and then swamped with football. Ask away now. I enjoy the banter.

Q. Langston, break down that East Meck and West Charlotte game Friday. Looks like best in town. You agree?

A. I don't know about it being the best. I kind of like North-Butler a little more. West Charlotte has five kids who played last year and went up to what I think is a playoff bound Ashbrook team and handled them. And the Lions top player, tailback Scoot Simmons, didn't have a big game. East gave up 16 yards to Waddell but Waddell only has 21 players. Tonight is a much tougher test for East and another test for the Dub.

Q. Langston, I couldn't believe the girls you left out of the volleyball preview. My daughter was one. Did you do ANY research? You should be ashamed of yourself.

A. I'm not sure what school your daughter goes to or what her name is, but think about this. I sit down to do a preview that encompasses 127 schools. I can't hit everyone if I tried. We send out questionnaires to coaches. Annually, we get about 25 percent back for our non-revenue sports. I can't know every good player and in today's climate, just because you were all-state at Bandys last year as a junior doesn't mean you're at Bandys as a senior. In the old days, we used to go through last year's teams and automatically list players on this year's lists. Can't do that anymore. I'm sorry I missed her, but e-mail with her name and stats during the year. There's time to write about her.


Anonymous said...

Langston, I saw you on TV talking about how Butler will beat Indy next year. I can see where you might think that. You got excited off one game. Come back and see the Pats again. As they say, We ready! We ready!

Anonymous said...

Langston, I saw you on TV talking about how Butler will beat Indy next year. I can see where you might think that. You got excited off one game. Come back and see the Pats again. As they say, We ready! We ready!

Viking4Life said...

Langston what did you think of North Meck QB Bradley Clay? I know he didn't get big numbers tonight, but my boy has potential.

Anonymous said...

Langston, did you see Hoggard beat New Bern again? That's twice in a row. You still think Indy is the best team in the state. new beren did beat your boy Tommy last year, remember?

TedderBear said...

Langston, what do you see in the future for CMS football? I saw Indy struggle to beat Olympic 13-6 in jv Thursday. I think a change is coming. You agree?

Anonymous said...

What's up with Chad Johnson, and why is ACC football so bad. Clemson getting smashed. Virginia got smashed. ACC football sucks.

Anonymous said...

Langston, I turned 18 today and I remember when you spoke at our school last year you talked about voting and why it's important. It meant something to me. Im curious what you think about this election? I don't know which way to go.

TheCreek42 said...

LW, East Meck is a hot team. Don't fugget about us at the Creek, tho. We're hot 2.

Anonymous said...

LW ,why do you not give indy players any credit ,as for players to watch not one indy player was on your list .the qb had 275 yds in the first half and five tds 3 passing 2 running he played one set of downs in third qt and they took him out .one linebacker had 3 sacks one db had 2 picks and you never have good things to say about the kids namely the qb .As for butler its there qb and there players ,is something wrong with indy players ,give them credit sometimes,be fair these kids read the paper too.

Anonymous said...

Yea former ex-great WCL star record holder LW loving the "easy" drub NMV took off BB Fri grinnin like a possem on tv on the BB wagon now. Dont forget though MCM swiped all NMV players.
Dont worry. When the new MH HS opens in 2010 and BB and IP will lose 50/50of theirs & DrG watching the districts like a hawk.
NMV will get hit again when the new high school in Cornelius opens as well in 2010 so its a lose lose.
We know DCL always safe and sound with their dinosaur hoods so they lucky although we understand DrG closing it down by 2010 and dispursing students in 4 diff directions. DCL will meet the famous wrecking ball like SWR but thats a secret.

Anonymous said...

LW..please take notice of WC's Travis Crosby!! He will be a star at Strong Saftey....good size, great speed and will knock you OUT (ask East Meck's RBs) Seriously...he needs to be on the radar as one of the top juniors!!

Anonymous said...

LW..please take notice of WC's Travis Crosby!! He will be a star at Strong Saftey....good size, great speed and will knock you OUT (ask East Meck's RBs) Seriously...he needs to be on the radar as one of the top juniors!!

Champ_24 said...

Hey Langston I been watching your previews and I havn't seen any thing with Statesville High on it. Statesville did just beat one of the 3a elite teams (Hickory) last week 27-12, with Hickory scoring its first points with 3:13 left in the 4th. Statesville should be ranked in the sweet 16, Langston come on man, watch them play you'll be amazed.

Anonymous said...

Butler QB nowhere near as good as past QBs. They got one good RB who breaks out. Butler nowhere near last few yrs. All their starters went both ways. They had some big busta plays. We would love to see them play Mallard Creek to see the real North team. All our best guys got redistricted there last yr. Those jv guys were killas at North b4 last yr. These starters now were ex-scrubs. Dilution.

Anonymous said...

Since 2004, Butler has had more talent than Indy and guess what, every year they lose to Indy. Last year Newsome had 11 D-1 players and good underclassmen and couldn't win any titles outright. What makes anyone with a brain think they will do better with less experience and lesser talent this year? Indy has lesser talent but the best coaching in town. TK has lost to one Charlotte team since 1989. What more has he got to do to get respect. Win 40 years straight?

dend61 said...

Langston, I play football for Butler and all i got to say is we have a better team then last year and it will take us a couple games to become a great team. I know we have the team to win a championship this year and we will do it! We have come together as teammates and as a family and if a team does not have that then you wont play good as a team. I heard Providence is talking a lot of trash right now and like we did last year and they cant say anything this year cause they are 0-2 we will beat them and show everyone that we dont have to have D1 players. We are a team right now!

Anonymous said...

As an observation only the Observer uses town names in ft of some schools but not others. Whats up with Indian Trail Sun Valley? Is there another Sun Valley? Unionville Piedmont. Is there another Piedmont? Concord Robinson? Wheres the other Robinson high school? Kannapolis Brown a given. Brown or Kannpolis would work just fine.
Yes there is Belmont South Point and Rock Hill South Pointe. Thats when you use the town name.
Even using Charlotte Catholic is unneeded. How about just Catholic?
So when will the town of Matthews get a plug with Matthews Butler? Pineville South Meck? Huntersville North Meck?
Charlotte Olympic? Charlotte Providence? Charlotte Garinger? Charlotte Myers Parks?
Charlotte Vance? Charlotte Mallard Creek?
Charlotte Latin or Charlotte Country Day is used although Latin and Country Day would work.
There is another CD in Raleigh we know.
Theres Monroe Parkwood? Is there another Parkwood? Gastonia Ashbrook? Shelby Crest?
The list goes on.

Most people know these schools and where they are located but for consistancy purposes though the CO needs to either use the towns in ft of all schools or none at all unless theres duplication.

Anonymous said...

Who is the best team right now does not matter.It's who the best team is at the end of the year.Hoddard beat New Bern 2 times early in the regular season but when they played New Bern in the playoffs when they had to play in the big boys playoff they got beat 2 years in a row.

Anonymous said...

I hate Indy isn't playing in Fla this week. As a relative of a player, I know they were really looking forward to the trip? Did CMS jump the gun here? Seems like maybe we could've waited or played Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

Anonymous said...

CMS stopped the game knowing what happened last Sept to the 109 game longest public school win streak ever in Cincy Ohio losing 41-34 in OT to Elder Catholic school of only 970 students while Indy had over 2500.
Madison HS in the panhandle of Florida has 764 students as a 2A school in a state that goes to 6A.
Obviously CMS did not want the same thing to occur 2 yrs in a row and embarrass itself and NCHSAA so they used the tropical storm excuse to cancel it.

Last yrs loss to Elder was also a major setback to NC football and to NCHSAA since it pitted the #1 school in NC with the longest national win streak ever against a small Ohio Catholic parochial school who had won only 2 state titles in its 90 yr history and mediocre overall.

Hindsight is 20/20 but the stupidity of paying to travel 500 miles and lose to a small school was overwhelming to NCHSAA. Had Elder come to NC Indy may still have an unbeaten at 124 games plus 8 state titles on their way to the 151 win record of Concord Ca DeLasalle snapped in 2004 traveling to Seattle Wash in early Sept 2004.

The loss against Elder was the worst embarrassment in NCHSAA history and proved the age old myth that NC is inferior to out of state schools in the north or Fl and western schools. NC lost stature bigtime and even the 109 game win streak against all NC schools is now suspect.

The only possible way for NC high school football to have regained any respect would have been an Indy rematch and solid victory against Elder in Charlotte in 2008 but somebody obv chickened out. Wonder who?
go fig.

98 State Champion said...

Hey LW,
Im back for a new season. Tell me this....In the article today, Knotts compared Madison County to Shelby. If he wants to play a team of that caliber, why the heck does he have to go all the way to Florida? He has a team right down the road in the Golden Lions. Tell me WHY HE WILL NOT SCHEDULE A DATE WITH SHELBY????? Is he afraid of losing to an instate 2A team? That's the only possible explaination!! Tell him to drop his fear of Shelby and BRING IT ON!! Im not saying Shelby would win, but we would definitely give them a game! He's SCARED!!! The Shelby Golden Lions are NORTH CAROLINA'S TRUE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL DYNASTY!!!

Don Dawg said...

LW...long time no talk...thanks for coming to the DAWG House last Fri. nite....looking young & tough so far....hey on another note, keep an eye on the Lady Dawg Volleyball Team....the girls are 6-0 having beat rival powerhouses Ardrey Kell, Providence and Myers Park handily already...we should be 8-0 after this week...Who Let The Dawgs Out? Don Dawg