Saturday, September 6, 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 questions to

Q. Victory Christian started 0-2 for the first time. We had four or five kids transfer this week to Northside. What is going on at Vcitory?

There appears to be a group of kids who didn’t like their playing time at Victory. I have talked to a few of the players and their parents and they just didn’t feel like Victory was working out anymore and wanted to play for their former position coaches, many of whom followed former Victory assistant coach Brentson Buckner to Northside. I honestly don’t like the message it sends that you can leave a school on Wednesday and be on the field for another on Friday. I love the CMS rule that prevents you from playing at two schools in the same season. Perhaps the local private schools, which includes Northside and VCC, might look into a similar rule.

Q. Keep an eye on the Butler 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.

I’ve been following the Lady Dawgs. They’re 8-0 right now. Definitely a team to watch in the Southwestern 4A with the usual suspects from Myers Park, Weddington and Providence. And you can add Ardrey Kell to the mix with former Providence coach Zoe Bell setting up shop over there. Zoe is one of the best coaches, in any sport, to ever work in this county.

Q. Is Independence going to reschedule their game with that team from Florida?

You probably know by now the game was canceled. It’s a tricky thing. The Independence principal and former Independence principal, who now supervises the east district, made the call to cancel on Tuesday when it looked like Hurricane Hanna was going to turn into the U.S. eastern seaboard a lot more harshly.

Q. Langston, thank you for being a voice of reason here regarding the hurricane and football games. My question: As a West Charlotte parent, why are so many Independence folks wanting to move the game to Memorial Stadium. After all, we came to the Big I last year. Shouldnt' they come to us now?

West Charlotte did go to Mint Hill last year. So I guess it’s only fair that Independence return the favor. Personally, I think any Independence-West Charlotte game or Independence-Butler game should always be played at Memorial. So I’d say after this year, the schools should just schedule it that way. That way everyone who wants to see the game can.

Q. Is CMS crazy? Why is Independence-West Charlotte being played on campus? Too many people for that.

I agree that the crowd is too big for a high school, but the school makes more money playing at home. I’m not sure what the exact numbers are for CMS to hold games at Memorial, but the deal could be a little more amenable to the schools.

Q. Hate to tell y'all down at the Observer, but those videoblogs totally suck. The Sweet 16 especially needs to be typed out. High tech sometimes ain't all its cracked up to be.

Sorry you don’t like the videoblogs. I think they’ll get better as we get more pictures to work in there with them. The Sweet 16 does appear typed out on the website Tuesday morning, when it hits the printed paper. The video version comes out ahead of the online or printed versions, on Monday night at 9. It was a little gadget we added to let interested folks get the poll early. Judging by the hits it gets each week, plenty of people seem to like it.

Q. Northside is going to be a powerhouse with all that talent from Victory.

Could certainly happen. Be interesting to see a Northside in the playoffs, huh?

Q. Could you please give year by year won-loss records by school of Tom Knotts' high school head coaching career? I've looked on the web, but I can't find a place to get that information.

You know I did that a few years back when the Observer's Ron Green Jr. did a really cool, in-depth look at the program when Chris Leak was there. Knotts was 3-7 for two years at Harding to start his career and took off after that. He’s averaged about 12-1 since then. Since 2000, he’s 124-4. Not too bad, huh?

Q. How will Northside be a powerhouse when Victory wasn't even good with all those players plus more talent? Northside has gone from being a CISAA punching bag to a lower level punching bag

Northside has the type talent that a 4A team would love to have. The Knights could certainly be special by October.

Q. Want to wish the best to the second-year Mallard Creek High football coach who moved here from Miami last year. We are honored and very fortunate to finally have someone with such greatness and superior knowledge. Guess he'll be the next 4A state champ. Lets see. He was 1-10 last year?

The Mallard Creek coach, Mike Palmieri, has done a good job with his kids. Why pooh-pooh on that?


CountryDay12 said...

Langston, you picked against us last night. You should know the Bucs are always in the mix. We're back, babee!

Jerry W said...

Dear Langston,

I really like your coverage and insight on local high school sports. I have never understood why Charlotte Catholic is grouped with local public schools in sports. They are not restricted as to who they may recruit (yes, it's true), and because of that, I think they have an unfair advantage. Why don't they play in the private school conferences like Country Day, Providence Day, Latin, & others. I have never heard an official explanation as to why this is allowed. I would appreciate if you would reply back with an answer.

Jim T said...

In response to Jerry W, the reason for Catholic being allowed to participate with public schools is this: they applied for, and were granted entry into, the NCHSAA many years ago. They must follow all of the rules that public schools do regarding eligibility, and in addition, there are restrictions on students transferring in. I don't know the specifics, but it is similar to the college transfer rule...when a student transfers in to Catholic (or Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons, or Winston-Salem Bishop McGuinness, 2 other private schools in the public school league), they must sit out a year before being allowed to play. This additional restriction is designed to offset the advantage they have by drawing from a wider population base.

eastern said...


Your new format is really nice but why isn't the SCOREBOARD posted anymore online? We have no way of seeing the soccer, volleyball, cross country, etc. scores. Could this please be returned to the site in the near future ?

Thank you

I'm Barack Obama & I approved this blog post said...

Langston, I love the new site redesign and the blogs and the internet TV show you all do. It's more informative than the friday night shows b/c you all actually know what is going on. why, tho, did you take away the blitz seperate section? it was the best thing about your coverage alltogether.

Anonymous said...

langston, let's say you get one school's home games to cover from now to when you retire, who are you picking?

Anonymous said...

Good story on Mallard Friday. How about one on our kids at Hickory Ridge up in Cabarrus County.

RockHill#1fan said...

Based on your stories, it seems as though Knotts has 1 or mebbe 2 yrs at Indy left. Any chance you think he comes to S.C. after that, like maybe Rock Hill?

DrJekyll said...

You are being borderline ridiculous in your comment about holding kids back from playing the same week they transfer. Have you forgotten that this is HIGH SCHOOL level football, played without financial compensation to the players directly? Why penalize the players? All they want to do is (1) play the game they personally enjoy and want to play, and (2) play for a coaching staff that knows what they're doing. You (or anyone on the paper's sports staff) should investigate what's going on at Victory and Northside (and/or other similar schools) and put out a story or two on it. What a novel idea...for a newspaper! Or are you afraid to step on toes anymore?

Anonymous said...

Nice pick...Forsyth over PDS. What were you smoking?!?!?! With that pick,anyone who knew anything about high school football would question your knowledge. But then again, is that really news??

Anonymous said...

L-Dub, what was up with picking your alma mater in a game they didnt' even play Friday? Your thoughts on LKN soccer. Will they get to 66?

Anonymous said...

You kind of wimpedout today pickign the game of week. which one should we go to?

Anonymous said...

Langston, I was at the Butler and Vance game this past Friday night. Vance came in thinking they had a chance to win that ball game when the coach made a bad call on their on 7 yard line. Question what do you think about Vance coaching staff? To me they give a lot of games away. It's like don't try and win but keep it close attitude. Correct me if I'm wrong but when a school hires a coach and his staff are they trying to put a winning program together like Ind. and Butler or just trying to get by. Now I see why kids lie and cheat to go to Ind or Butler.

'98 State Champion said...

So I guess if Shelby was in Florida, then the Golden Lions would have the national recognition that Madison County has. I doubt Madison has accomplished more in the last 40 years than Shelby has. No, but their media has. Until two years ago, you guys did a great job of keeping the Golden Lions "the area's best kept secret". The unmatched, sustained, success of the program finally forced itself upon you and the rest of the state. Now we are in everyone's "recognition" column, including Knotts'. It should have happened 20 years ago, but big city sportswriters chose to ignore us. We thank you for finally giving the program its due. We were here long before Indy, and we will be here long after Knotts leaves and their success slows. The True NC High School Football Dynasty.

Anonymous said...

This is regarding the comment about the WC/Indy game being on campus and not being in Memorial Stadium. It is absolutely a cost issue. Considering that it costs a school about $7500 to rent Memorial Stadium and that WC had to return about $17k in playoff revenue from last year, it makes it kind of hard to take the game uptown.

Of course, Independence wouldn't know anything about having to return revenues for being penalized for ANY infractions.

You're also correct that WC folks went to Mint Hill last year and that it's only fair for the Indy folks to return the trip. The WC and Indy stadium sizes are similar.

The real issue is that the Indy folks don't want to travel to "THAT" side of town.


Anonymous said...


What do you think about Vance football? Believe me I think its a big joke! The coaches there do not and will not care about winning. Which is bad for those kids, I know they lost some kids to a new school a few years back but that does not mean drop every game you play in. This past week I was at the Butler and Vance game when Vance went up 7-0 in the first the kids thought they could win. Then this bone head coach call a bone head play in the rain on their seven yard line and fumbled the ball on their two. When he did that I can see the kids faces like here we go again. The coaching staff needs to go period! They don't help this kids go anywhere. Remember Justine Byers and Bell that played there, they had to everything themselves to get in to college. Think about it does he or they call you guys to talk about any kid on the team NO! When the school looked for a basketball coach they went out and found one that had a winning record to come their. I guess the same rules don't apply when looking for a head football coach. Plus I was told he never played the game at any level high school or college so why did they pick this guy to lead a team in Mecklenburg county?

What are your thoughts about this?

Anonymous said...

Somebody tell Vance they are not alone having problems with talant dilution due new schools. West Charlotte never has to worry about this because they are too deep inner city.
The 2 new high schools opening in 2010 in Matthews and Cornelius will take from Butler and Independence but also take more from North and Vance. Vance and North are in longterm trouble. Good football talen in CMS is limited.
Gorman has tried to stop district jumping but with dilution it may not matter. CMS football will be getting weaker.
In 2010 CMS will be so diluted we seriously doubt there will ever be another state title unless West Charlotte wins one and this is a long shot since they only won a single state 4a title in 1995 since they opened in 1937 and couldnt even win in the smaller weaker segregated leagues. Even with the states best coaches Knotts or Hardin they never could beat Richmond Cty.
CMS football will decline back to pre Leak/Knotts 1990s when Providence Butler and Vance opened diluting the talent pool. If CMS is going to win state titles it will be Butler or Independence until 2010 but this is doubtful since Butler always blows the big ones and Independence blew it last yr.

The best hope for CMS may be NCHSAA re-districting to 2a 3a and small 4a if the present playoff system of 8 state titles is kept.

Anonymous said...

Interesting piece on Knotts today. If he leaves Indep next year, where does he go? Retire? What?

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your columns, and look forward to your picks for the sweet 16 every week. I am a long time Lancaster Bruin fan, alum, and former player. Lancaster had a strong tradition in the late 80's early 90's that has since decined. I remember the stands being full now they are lucky to draw any crowd at all. My question is this past week Lancaster brought the wood to Fort Mill. They had a very strong running game with a stable full of backs. They are in a very tough confrence with perinial powers Rock Hill and Northwestern along with the recent surgence of South Pointe as well. Do you believe the whipping of Fort Mill was because of a week Fort Mill team, or is there a chance this a sign of better things to come for Lancaster?

chargerdad said...

please explain the process used to select the weekly player of the week in the 1A/private school classification and how it kept you guys from selecting either Terrell Tyrance(222 total yards) or Gary Scott (348 passing yards) from PDS against the 7th ranked 4A team in NC.