Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Davidson Day QB Will Grier picks Florida

Davidson Day's record setting junior quarterback Will Grier will play college football at Florida.

Grier, 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, was named the Gatorade N.C. high school football player of the year and was named the quarterback of the N.C. Associated Press all-state football team.

As a sophomore, he completed 250-of-398 passes for 3,785 yards and 49 touchdowns while rushing 97 times for 925 yards and 11 scores.

Last season, he completed 324-of-414 passes for a N.C. record 5,785 yards and a N.C. record 69 touchdowns. He rushed 95 times for 813 yards and eight touchdowns.

He sat national records with 837 yards and 10 touchdowns in a playoff game and led Davidson Day to its second straight state championship.

Two weeks ago, Grier attended a Florida practice an team banquet and his father said it became obvious to the junior quarterback that he wanted to go to Gainesville. Grier will graduate from Davidson Day in December 2013 and enroll at Florida in January 2014, allowing to participate in off-season workouts prior to the start of the 2014 season.

"Will is blessed to have this opportunity and feels so strongly about it that he is ready to commit now so he can focus on his schoolwork, improving his game and helping his team prepare for a third consecutive state championship next year," Grier's father and coach, Chad said. "He has been humbled by the amount of attention he has received from colleges across the country and is very appreciative of the relationships he has established with several coaches. Will is a fierce competitor and he is excited about the opportunity to help Florida win national championships."

Grier announced his five finalists last month, listing Florida as the leader followed by -- in the order he listed them -- UNC, Tennessee, N.C. State and Oregon.

Chad Grier said his son's relationship with the Florida coaching staff was a large part of the decision.

"Will is extremely comfortable with (head) coach (Will) Muschamp and (assistant) coach (Brent) Pease, both of whom made him feel as if he will be a big part of the Gators future," Chad Grier said. "(Will) has had great visits to Florida and has been most impressed by the academic reputation, the strength and conditioning staff, the culture of the program, the level of competition both within the program and within the SEC, and the projected 2013 recruiting class. I spoke with Coach Muschamp and Coach Pease yesterday and I am very proud that Will is going to play for men who care about him as a young man and who believe in him as a player."

Grier will participate in the Under Armour Combine in St Petersburg, Fla Jan 4 and will attend the 58th annual Columbus, Ohio Touchdown Club Awards Banquet in February.

He plans to play baseball for Davidson Day and will attend the Manning QB Academy and the Elite 11 QB camp, his father said.

Below is a highlight video from his 2012 season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

East Lincoln's Mike Byus named NC AP prep football coach of the year

 AP Sports Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – East Lincoln coach Mike Byus followed an unbeaten run to a state championship by being named The Associated Press high school football coach of the year for North Carolina for the 2012 season. 
Byus led the school to its first state title in football, completing the run with a win against three-time defending champion Tarboro in the Class 2-A final. 
“The right place, the right time, the right group of kids combined with the right coaching staff,” Byus said. “If you do something like this, obviously you get a break here and there. You can't do something like that without getting the breaks to bounce your way a few times.” 
Byus earned 10 of a possible 17 votes from sports writers across the state in results released Tuesday. Matthews Butler's Brian Hales was second with three votes after guiding the Bulldogs (15-0) to a third 4-AA championship in four seasons. 
Madison County's Mark Gosnell was third with two votes – the only other coach to receive more than one vote – after guiding the program to a school-record 13 victories. 
Byus, 51, is in his eighth season at East Lincoln (16-0), which averaged nearly 41 points per game and won games by an average margin of 24 points. The team continued to thrive all season, even after losing senior quarterback Garrett Young for two games due to a knee injury. 
East Lincoln trailed only three times all season, the last coming in the 2-A final before scoring the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. 
East Lincoln led Tarboro 17-6 at half of the state final before giving up 14 straight points in the third quarter and falling behind. But the Mustangs responded with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Young's 13-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Brock with 7:55 left and ultimately gave East Lincoln the championship. 
Byus credited his players, saying they always put in the work to prepare for any opponent. 
“I talked to them all year about reaching their ceiling,” Byus said. “I said, `Guys, I don't know how good we can be, but I want you to be as good as you can be.’ … So after the (final) game, my quarterback came up to me and said, `Hey coach, did we reach our ceiling?' I said, `I think we pretty much did about all we could do.“’ AP-WF-12-18-12 2115GMT

The voting breakdown for the 2012 Associated Press prep football coach of the year for North Carolina, as cast by 17 sports writers around the state. 
Mike Byus, East Lincoln (10) 
Brian Hales, Matthews Butler (3) 
Mark Gosnell, Madison County (2) 
Jeff Craddock, Tarboro (1) 
Carson Gowan, McDowell County (1)

Winners of The Associated Press prep football coach of the year award for North Carolina: 
2012–Mike Byus, East Lincoln 
2011–Jim Bob Bryant, Havelock 
2010–Scott Young, West Rowan 
2009–Joey Price, Wallace-Rose Hill 
2008–Scott Young, West Rowan 
2007–Ken Avent Jr., Warsaw Kenan 
2006–Chris Norman, Shelby 
2005–Danny Wilkins, Asheville 
2004–Greg Thomas, Greenville Rose 
2003–Roy Kirby, Shelby Crest 
2002–DeWayne Kellum, Chocowinity Southside 
2001–Bob Lewis, Clinton 
2000–(tie) Rick Brown, Durham Jordan; Tom Knotts, Charlotte Independence 
1999–Harold Robinson, Williamston 
1998–Daryl Barnes, Richmond County 
1997–Daryl Barnes, Richmond County 
1996–David Elder, Hickory 
1995–Allen Brown, Thomasville 
1994–Anthony Price, Durham 
1993–Ken Browning, Northern Durham 
1992–Ken Browning, Northern Durham 
1991–(tie) David Gutshall, Burlington Cummings; Walter Barnhill, Hoke County 
1990–Ray Davis, Southern Nash 
1989–Bobby Poss, Hope Mills South View 
1988–Jim Taylor, Shelby 
1987–(tie) Clyde Parrish, Red Springs; Jim Biggerstaff, Belmont South Point 
1986–Mickey Bridgers, Northern Nash 
1985–Denny Hicks, Kings Mountain 
1984–Marion Kirby, Greensboro Page 
1983–Glenn Sasser, Charlotte Myers Park 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Olympic coach left with $8,100 credit card charge when tournament folds

Olympic High coach Ty Baumgardner has been left with an $8,100 charge on his personal credit card after a post-Christmas tournament his team was supposed to play in suddenly folded.

The nationally ranked Trojans were scheduled to play in the Gulfshore Invitational Dec. 27-31 along with about two dozen other top programs from around the country. Baumgardner prepaid $8,100 for 20 airline tickets for his team and staff, charging them to his personal credit card under assurances from tournament organizers that he would be reimbursed.

Last Friday, tournament organizer Alexander Getta emailed coaches, including Baumgardner, that the tournament would be canceled due to lack of sponsorships. Getta initially found another sponsor, but told coaches he would not be able to uphold a promised $10,000 travel stipend. Teams began to drop out and forced Getta to shutter the event.

That move left Baumgardner in a tough spot. US Airways, so far, has not been willing to reverse the airline charges. Baumgardner said it was offering a credit -- after a $150 fee, per ticket, to change iternary.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Baumgarnder said. “US Airways has been very helpful, but the people we’ve talked to so far have said their policy is tickets are non-refundable. They can give a credit, but it’s $150 to change destinations. We’ve been in contact with some higher ups to see if anything can be done because of this unusual circumstance. Maybe they’ll show some holiday cheer and help us out.”

-- Olympic is also out three games. It’ll be hard to replace them since N.C. public schools have a 24-game play limit and most schedules are filled. Private schools in the area are more flexible but Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has a rule preventing scheudling non-tournament regular-season games with privates.

As a last resort, Baumgardner said he might ask CMS to waive the rule, but he hoped to possible find games to fill the schedule.

Wertz column (link): This incident should open door for CMS to allow public-private competition

West Charlotte boys, Myers Park girls still atop Observer Sweet 16 polls

School (Class)
West Charlotte (4A)
Olympic (4A)
Concord (3A)
Cuthbertson (2A)
Ardrey Kell (4A)
Vance (4A)
Hunter Huss (3A)
Mallard Creek (4A)
Shelby (2A)
Hickory (3A)
Statesville (3A)
East Rutherford (2A)
Rock Hill South Pointe (4A)
North Rowan (1A)
Lake Norman (4A)
Hough (4A)

Dropped Out: Harding (3A, 4-3); South Mecklenburg (4A, 3-4); Charlotte Christian (IND, 6-3). Also receiving consideration: Piedmont (2A, 6-0); Foard (3A, 8-0); St. Stephens (3A, 7-0); NW Cabarrus (3A, 5-0); Rock Hill (4A, 5-1)
School (Class)
Myers Park (4A)
Ardrey Kell (4A)
Hickory (3A)
West Rowan (3A)
Hough (4A)
Crest (3A)
Forestview (3A)
Providence Day (IND)
North Mecklenburg (4A)
Carson (3A)
West Charlotte (4A)
Charlotte Christian (IND)
Harding (3A)
Alexander Central (4A)
Clover, SC (4A)
South Point (3A)

Dropped Out: Robinson (3A, 2-3); Berry (3A, 4-4). Also receiving consideration: Rock Hill Northwestern (4A, 5-1); Freedom (3A, 6-1); Monroe (1A, 3-0)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

West Charlotte jumps into USA Today national poll

West Charlotte’s boys (5-0) are No. 1 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 boys’ basketball poll. After a win over national power DeMatha Catholic (Md.) Saturday, the Lions moved to No. 22 in USA Today's national poll. West Charlotte is ranked 23rd by MaxPreps in its national poll.

Read more here:

Davidson Day QB Will Grier named N.C. Gatorade state football player of the year

From staff reports

CHICAGO (November 29, 2012) — In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Will Grier of Davidson Day School as its 2012-13 Gatorade North Carolina Football Player of the Year. Grier is the first Gatorade North Carolina Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Davidson Day School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Grier as North Carolina’s best high school football player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award announced in December, Grier joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS, Okla.), Terrell Suggs (1999-00, Hamilton HS, Ariz.), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Mich.).

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior quarterback led the Patriots (11-2) to the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state championship this season. A returning MaxPreps All-American, Grier threw for state-record totals of 5,785 yards and 69 touchdowns against just six interceptions, completing 324-of-414 passes (78 percent). He also rushed for 813 yards and eight touchdowns on 92 carries. In three NCISAA Division II state playoff games, Grier completed 83-of-103 attempts for 1,749 yards and 21 TDs in addition to rushing for 111 yards and three scores on 18 carries. His 834 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air in a 104-80 victory against Harrells Christian Academy in the state semifinals set unofficial national records.

Grier has maintained a 3.70 weighted GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating his time as a youth football and basketball instructor, he has volunteered extensively on behalf of his church and at an area retirement facility.

“I think he is the best high school quarterback I’ve ever faced as a coach,” said Larry McNulty, head coach of rival Charlotte Latin High since 1985. “He’s going to go to pretty much any college he wants. He’s that talented. He’s a very, very, very good high school player and a quality young man. That whole program revolves around Will Grier.”

Grier will begin his senior year of high school next fall.

Monday, December 10, 2012

9 new teams join Observer Sweet 16 basketball polls

Here are the Charlotte Observer Sweet 16 basketball polls for the week of Monday, Dec. 10

Rk.    School (Class)    Rec.    Prv.
1.    West Charlotte (4A)    4-0    1
2.    Olympic (4A)    3-0    2
3.    Concord (3A)    3-0    3
4.    Vance (4A)    4-0    7
5.     Cuthbertson (2A)    6-0    8
6.     Hickory (3A)    3-1    4
7.     Shelby (2A)    5-0    16
8.    Harding (3A)    2-2    5
9.    Ardrey Kell (4A)    6-0    NR
10.    East Rutherford (2A)    5-0    NR
11.    Hunter Huss (3A)    3-1    NR
12.    South Mecklenburg (4A)    2-2    6
13.     Mallard Creek (4A)    4-0    NR
14.    North Rowan (1A)    4-2    14
15.    Hough (4A)    3-1    NR
16.    Charlotte Christian (IND)    4-2    15
Dropped Out: Rock Hill Northwestern (4A, 1-5); Freedom (3A, 3-2); Garinger (4A, 1-4); Myers Park (4A, 2-3); Rock Hill (4A, 2-1). Also receiving consideration: Charlotte Latin (IND, 6-1); Foard (3A, 4-0); NW Cabarrus (3A, 3-0)

Rk.    School (Class)    Rec.    Prv.
1.    Myers Park (4A)    5-0    1
2.    Ardrey Kell (4A)    6-0    2
3.     Hickory (3A)    4-0    6
4.     Forestview (3A)    5-0    8
5.    Providence Day (IND)    6-1    9
6.    Charlotte Christian (IND)    6-1    3
7.     Harding (3A)    3-1    5
8.     West Rowan (3A)    4-0    NR
9.    North Mecklenburg (4A)    6-0    NR
10.    Hough (4A)    3-1    10
11.    Lake Norman (4A)    4-1    14
12.    Carson (3A)    5-1    NR
13.     Crest (3A)    2-0    NR
14.    Robinson (3A)    2-1    11
15.    West Charlotte (4A)    2-1    12
16.    Berry (3A)    2-3    4
Dropped Out: R-S Central (3A, 3-3); West Mecklenburg (4A, 2-3); Lake Norman Charter (IND, 0-3); Anson Senior (3A, 2-0-1). Also receiving consideration: Kings Mountain (3A, 5-0); Parkwood (3A, 4-0); Crest (3A, 2-0); Alexander Central (4A, 6-0); Porter Ridge (4A, 3-1)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hough wins state cheerleading championship

RALEIGH— Apex Middle Creek captured the Carolina Cup in the 10th annual North Carolina High School Athletic Association state invitational cheerleading championships at the Raleigh Convention Center on Saturday.
Cheer Ltd., Inc., the NCHSAA’s corporate partner that assists with the invitational championship, has established the Carolina Cup to recognize annually the top high school varsity cheerleading team in the state. It goes to the varsity-level team that earns the highest cumulative score in the whole competition, regardless of the division in which it competes.
Middle Creek scored 128.6 points, the highest score of the entire event, to win the large varsity division and grab the Carolina Cup.
Previous winners of the Cup include Ledford, Raleigh Millbrook, Jamestown Ragsdale, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons, North Gaston and Raleigh Sanderson.
Ledford earned the title in the super large varsity division. Cornelius W.A.Hough was the top squad in the medium varsity division and Raleigh Leesville Road was the champion in the small varsity division.
In other varsity results, the non tumble categories went to Canton Pisgah in the large and North Buncombe in the small.
East Forsyth took top honors in the small varsity co-ed division while Davie was the winner of the large varsity co-ed competition. Northern Vance was first in the high school non-mount category.
In junior varsity competition, Weddington was the champion in the small junior varsity division while Greenville D.H. Conley took the large jayvee category and Eastern Guilford captured the junior varsity non-tumble division.
A total of 119 teams registered to participate in the event.

10th annual Invitational Cheerleading Championship
Raleigh Convention Center
December 8, 2012

Final results: champions are listed, followed by the runners-up and point totals in each division.

Small junior varsity (5 to 15 members)
Champion— Weddington (105.9).
Corinth-Holders 101.65, Apex Middle Creek 100.65, Jacksonville White Oak 91.85, Havelock 89.05.

Large junior varsity (16 and up)
Champion— Greenville D.H. Conley (110.15).
Panther Creek 107.4, Cary Green Hope 103.7, Holly Springs 103.35, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons 103.05, Lenoir Hibriten 102.85, Newport Croatan 99.75, Wilmington Hoggard 87.1, Western Harnett 85.05, East Duplin 79.1.

Junior varsity non-tumble
Champion— Eastern Guilford (108.05).
South Lenoir 104.6, Pembroke Purnell Swett 104.15, East Forsyth 103.4, SouthWest Edgecombe 102.05, Fayetteville Pine Forest 101.05, Canton Pisgah 97.45, Lumberton 96.0, Wilson Fike 94.75, Camden 94.6, Rocky Point Heide Trask 89.2, Wilson Hunt 88.7, Hampstead Topsail 88.25, Lake Norman Charter 78.8.

High school non-mount
Champion--Northern Vance (75.55).

Small varsity non tumble
Champion--North Buncombe (114.15).
Franklinton 112.4, Camden 111, Hampstead Topsail 110.95, Asheville A.C. Reynolds 109.55, SouthWest Edgecombe 108.1, Eastern Guilford 102.7, Matthews David Butler 99.05, Swain 98.25, Durham N.C. School of Science and Math 96.7, Hope Mills South View 95.8, Forest Hills 95.75, Durham Voyage Academy 95.65, Pasquotank 95.05, Wilson Fike 94.05, Pamlico 92.8, Oxford Webb 90.2, Rocky Point Heide Trask 77.7.

Large varsity non tumble
Champion-- Canton Pisgah (113.1)
East Bend Forbush 112.7, Currituck County 111.35, Elizabeth City Northeastern 102.8, Southern Wayne 100.75, Jamestown Ragsdale 100.6, South Brunswick 98.7, Warren County 98.55, Hope Mills Gray's Creek 97.3, Farmville Central 97.2, East Duplin 95.75, West Brunswick 95.35, East Mecklenburg 94.65, North Johnston 94.45, Tarboro 93.85, Havelock 87.35, Rocky Mount 87, Wilmington New Hanover 83.15.

Small varsity (5 fo 12 members)
Champion-- Raleigh Leesville Road (103.95).
Roxboro Community 75.9

Medium varsity (13 to 16 members)
Champion— Cornelius W.A. Hough (125.1).
Maiden 116.7, Asheville T.C. Roberson 111.8, Harnett Central 104.15, Monroe Piedmont 102.35, Cherryville 101.45, Charlotte Catholic 99.8, North Lincoln 99.6, Wilmington Hoggard 99.1, South Iredell 95.45, Greensboro Dudley 88.8, Lake Norman Charter 87.5, Knightdale 86.8, Newport Croatan 85.85, Dixon 84.75, Swansboro 75.75, Monroe Parkwood 70.65.

Large varsity (17 to 20 members)
Champion-- Apex Middle Creek (128.6).
Raleigh Sanderson 125.8, Waxhaw Marvin Ridge 120.2, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons 119.85, Indian Trail Porter Ridge 115.9, Cary Green Hope 111.8, Greenville D.H. Conley 111, South Lenoir 109.95, Corinth Holders 109.1, Southern Alamance 108.6, Randleman 100.85, Weddington 99.3, Fayetteville Terry Sanford 82.1.

Super large varsity (21-plus members)
Champion— Ledford (115.4).
Holly Springs 115.35, Lake Norman 113, North Gaston 112.5, Fuquay-Varina 104.15, Cary 99.1, Winterville South Central 96.65, Northwest Guilford 95.65, Pikeville Charles B. Aycock 95.35, Cleveland 89.3.

Small varsity coed (2 to 4 males)
Champion— East Forsyth (110.9).
Overhills 108.9, Lumberton 105.9, South Caldwell 99.05, Raleigh Athens Drive 86.55, Fairmont 77.95, Western Harnett 74.85.

Large varsity coed (more than 4 males)
Champion-- Davie (116.85).
Pembroke Purnell Swett 88.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No. 2 Olympic kicks off season in style, 102-48 over Butler

Olympic coach Ty Baumgardner said he didn’t have to give his team, ranked No. 2 in the Charlotte Observer Sweet 16 poll, any speeches about playing with enthusiasm or energy before Tuesday’s game at Butler.

The Trojans, No. 2 in the Sweet 16, were the last Charlotte-Mecklenburg team to kick off the season, and Baumgardner said they were tired of playing against themselves.

Olympic beat Butler 102-48. The Trojans led 31-10 after the first quarter and 62-22 at halftime. It was the first game back for several key Butler players who were part of the Bulldogs’ third N.C. 4AA football championship in four years Saturday.

“The score is misleading,” said Baumgardner, whose team has a huge game at No. 12 Myers Park Friday. “The football players played but it was after one day of practice. Butler will be much better when those guys get into basketball shape.”

Olympic had six players in double figures: Deriece Parks (10), Javon Patton (16), C.J. Jackson (14), Dante Simmons (14), B.J. Gladden (15) and Quincy Eaddy (11).

“We played OK,” Baumgardner said. “We did some things well and there were some things we didn’t do so well. We have a lot to work on.”

Link to photo slideshow from this game

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Butler's place in history and the top 10 Meck Co teams ever

Now that I've had time to think about it, I wanted to address where I think 2012 Butler's place in Mecklenburg County history is.

And I think it's pretty far up there.

I guess the only thing that's really unfortunate is we never got to see this team at full strength. QB Riley Ferguson missed six of 15 games with a broken hand. Stud defensive lineman Grant Polofsky missed the stretch run with a torn ACL. Even in the championship game, as Butler built leads of as much as 42 points against overmatched Fayetteville Britt, the Bulldogs lost their best two-way player, Michigan recruit Channing Stribling, to what coach Brian Hales called a deep thigh bruise.

At full strength all year, these Bulldogs could've been extra scary. As it was, Butler was rarely pressed and pretty much cruised to a third state title in four years, polishing off a four-year run where Butler was 57-2.


So, where does this team -- blessed with a stud tailback (Josh Glisson), one of the nation's best quarterbacks (Riley Ferguson), one of the nation's best receivers (Uriah LeMay), one of the nation's best linebackers (Peter Kalambay) and several guys who would start for ANYONE in the state (Stribling, Polofsky, LB Sean Wiggins) -- where does it stand against the best in Mecklenburg County history?

I think it matches up favorably with all that have come before it.

Now, I think some of the great Charlotte Catholic teams and some of the all-time great private school teams at Country Day and Charlotte Latin don't make the top 10 list because they simply didn't have the size, speed or numbers to compete with the other super teams here. That's no knock against them. They were all great teams, but here we're talking about the Mount Olympus of Mecklenburg County football, and here's my list:

10. HARDING 1952-53: I put both teams together. The Rams, coached by the legendary Dave Harris, didn't lose a game for 35 straight games and won two state titles.

9. CHARLOTTE CATHOLIC 2005: For me, this was the best Cougars team. Big offensive line. Stud running backs. Speed. It won by an average of 23 points and these Cougars held nine teams to seven points or less in rout to a state 3AA title.

8. MALLARD CREEK 2010: One of two teams on my list that didn't win a state championship. This team was nationally ranked and beating teams by nearly 50 points per game behind All-American QB Marquise Williams. Williams injured his ankle against Ardrey Kell in a second round playoff and was limited in a quarterfinal game against Vance. With Williams at full strength, Mallard Creek beat Vance 44-24 in the regular-season. With him sitting much of the rematch and limited, Mallard Creek lost the rematch 10-7 and ruined what could've been one of the greatest matchups in county history: nationally ranked Mallard Creek against nationally ranked Butler, which later won the 2010 state title.

7. SOUTH MECKLENBURG 1981: Led by superstar tailbacks Steve Griffin and Kelvin Crooms, a pair of Shrine Bowlers, the Sabres shut out two playoff opponents and allowed the other two to score just 17 points and rolled to a 14-win unbeaten season and a 27-14 win over Fayetteville Sanford in the NC 4A championship game.

6. WEST CHARLOTTE 1996: The second non-championship winning team on my list. This was the best West Charlotte team I've ever seen led by All-American QB Keith Matkins, who signed with South Carolina, and USA Today offensive national player of the year Steve Shipp, a wide receiver who signed with Florida. The '95 Lions won the NC 4A championship and this team was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation in 1996. It held seven opponents to eight or fewer points with future Wilmington Hoggard state championship winning coach Scott Braswell and future Independence head coach Bill Geiler coaching the defense and the county's best ever coach, Tom Knotts, running the team and the offense. But the Lions D fell apart in a 42-41 home playoff loss to Greensboro Page behind a splendid tailback named Carlos Doggett. Had this team won it all, as expected, it would challenge, still, for the best ever around here.

5. BUTLER 2010: Won its games by nearly 35 points per game behind sophomore QB Riley Ferguson. It's scary to think how good this team may've been if senior Christian LeMay was back. LeMay didn't play but he was the nation's No. 2 ranked quarterback in 2010 and he eventually signed with Georgia. As it was, Butler still averaged 46 points per game, held seven teams to single digits and won the state final -- behind Auburn-bound stud linebacker Kris Frost -- 44-0 over Wake Forest-Rolesville.

4. INDEPENDENCE 2002: Chris Leak's senior year and he has at the height of his (high school) abilities. This team won by an average of nearly 40 points and outscored playoff teams 207-40. Knotts got a viral illness in the playoffs and wasn't himself. He missed a 20-7 playoff win over Scotland Senior but this team kept rolling. Of all the teams I rank here, this one might be low.

3. BUTLER 2012: I think this team slots in here. Hard to deny all the high major Division I recruits and just pure overall talent. Like so many of my teams on this list, you wonder good it really could've been with Ferguson and Polofsky healthy, but these Bulldogs were dominant for nearly the entire season and put a huge exclamation point on the season with one of the more lopsided championship games I've ever seen. There was never any doubt.

2. INDEPENDENCE 2004: This was the biggest Independence team, with Division I sized linemen, superior skill athletes and All-America QB Joe Cox quarterbacking the whole thing. The state's overall talent was down and Charlotte was a good bit down, but man, these guys were good. They won by an average of 46 points. The closest game was a 47-19 win over Richmond Senior in the semifinals.

1 INDEPENDENCE 2001: For my money, Leak -- a three-time national high school player of the year (two in his age group, one overall) -- is the best prep player ever from Mecklenburg County. This was his best team. These Patriots won by nearly 40 points per game and began the year with a 77-13 win over an Austin East (Tenn) team that came in with a national ranking and a state championship win streak. The 2001 season ended with a 49-25 win over Wilmington Laney in a state final where the Patriots faced a bit of a chllenge -- and rolled to Leak's second straight state title.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

N.C. state finals to be televised

From staff reports

For the second consecutive year, Time Warner Cable will air all eight North Carolina High School Athletic Association, football championship games live.

All of the championship games will air on Time Warner Cable Special Events Channels 520 or 521 with the exception of the 4AA title game that can be seen on News 14 Carolina. Time Warner Cable customers can catch the action online as well, with live streaming at

Replays will also be available free on Time Warner Cable’s Carolina On Demand.

NCHSAA State Football Championship Schedule:

Friday, November 30 – NCHSAA 4A game, New Bern vs. Porter Ridge – 7:30p.m. – Channel 520                                                                        

Saturday, December 1 – NCHSAA 1A game, Plymouth vs. Murphy – 11:00a.m. – Channel 520                                                                         

Saturday, December 1 – NCHSAA 2A game, Tarboro vs. East Lincoln – 11:00a.m. – Channel 521                                                                              

Saturday, December 1 – NCHSAA 4AA game, Jack Britt vs. Butler – 11:00a.m.  – Channels 14, 114, 414, 1114                                                                                    

Saturday, December 1 – NCHSAA 1AA game, Southwest Onslow vs. Swain 3:00p.m. – Channel 520

Saturday, December 1 – NCHSAA 3A game, Havelock vs. Concord – 3:00p.m. – Channel 521

Saturday, December 1 – NCHSAA 2AA game, Carrboro vs. South Iredell – 7:00p.m. – Channel 520                                                              

Saturday, December 1 – NCHSAA 3AA, Northern Guilford vs. Charlotte Catholic – 7:00p.m. – Channel 521

On Sunday, following the live coverage of the games, Time Warner Cable digital customers can fast-forward, rewind or pause all of the plays as many times as they want on Time Warner Cable’s Carolina On Demand, channels 199 and 1047.  Carolina On Demand is Time Warner Cable’s award-winning On Demand channel dedicated to bringing Carolina-oriented programming into the homes of nearly one million customers across the Carolinas.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Davidson Day QB Will Grier trims college list to five

Davidson Day's record setting quarterback Will Grier, a junior, has narrowed his potential list of college choices.

Grier said Florida is the leader followed by, in order, UNC, Tennessee, N.C. State and Oregon.

Here's some thoughts I offered up on Grier last week after he led his team to a second straight state title

Davidson Day’s Will Grier finished his junior season with 5,609 yards passing. No N.C. quarterback has ever thrown for as many. No N.C. quarterback has ever thrown for 68 touchdown passes like Grier did, either.

Nationally, only three QBs have thrown for more yards in one year, and only three have thrown for more touchdowns. Grier’s records might not be entered into the national or N.C. High School Athletic Association state record books because he plays for a private school.

There’s also a push to discredit him for the competition he plays against. I’ve seen public school athletes run up incredible numbers against worse competition and their records are proudly listed in the record books. But I’d also love to see what Grier could do playing for, say, Butler, against, say, Mallard Creek – or vice versa. I’d love to see him play at a big private school, like Charlotte Latin where his father played, playing against the stiff competition the Hawks face.

But he’s at the school his family has chosen for him, and all I can tell you about him is that I think he’s the real thing. His multiple BCS college offers prove it, and I’ve had three high school coaches tell me – this year – that he’s among the best they’ve ever seen.

Friday night, after Grier’s 315-yard, four-touchdown performance in a state final win at Arden’s Christ School, Christ School coach Mark Monroe had this to say about Grier:

“I’ve been coaching for a long time, and he’s the best quarterback I’ve seen.”

Read more here:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nation's top BB recruit here for Charlotte Challenge Fri-Sat

On Tap: The Charlotte Hoops Challenge
The nation’s No. 1 recruit, Andrew Wiggins, will be at Waddell Language Academy, 7030 Nations Ford Rd, for the tournament today and Saturday. Wiggins, a 6-foot-7 forward, plays for Huntington Prep ans has schools like Florida State, Kansas, Ketucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse among his finalists

There’s also some big games on the schedule like Berry’s girls, No. 4 in the Sweet 16, against No. 9 Providence Day, or Cuthbertson’s boys, a state runner-up last season, facing another in Davidson Day.

Here’s the schedule
Friday: Davidson Day vs. Cuthbertson, 11 a.m.; Heathwood girls vs. Charlotte Christian, 12:30 p.m.; N. Rowan vs. Peachtree Ridge, 2; Mt Tabor vs. South Meck, 3:30; Quality Eduation vs. Huntington Prep, 5; Berry girls vs. Providence Day, 6:30; Oldsmar vs. Kennedy Charter, 8
Saturday: W. Craven vs. Davidson Day, 11 a.m.; Providence Day girls vs. W. Craven, 12:30 p.m.; Kennedy Charter vs. Huntington Prep, 2 p.m.; Oldsmar vs. Quality Education, 3:30; Peachtree Ridge vs. Berry, 5; S. Meck girls vs. Heathwood Hall, 6:30; N. Rowan vs. Cuthbertson, 8

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ardrey Kell boys get huge upset at No. 5 Harding

Ardrey Kell ran out to a big early lead and held on for a 59-54 win at sold-out Harding Tuesday.

The Rams, preseason No. 5 in the Observer’s Sweet 16, lost their season opener.

Steven Santa Ana had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Knights (2-0). He had the same totals in Monday’s season-opening 84-44 win over Marvin Ridge.

Against Harding, Tate Small had 14 points, seven rebounds and five steals.

“It was a total team effort and a great win in a hostile environment,” Ardrey Kell coach Mike Craft said. “I’m really proud of how we protected the lead and held them off in the end. Harding is a very good team but our players accepted the challenge tonight.”

A few final thoughts on Davidson Day QB Will Grier's record-breaking season

Davidson Day’s Will Grier finished his junior season with 5,609 yards passing. No N.C. quarterback has ever thrown for as many. No N.C. quarterback has ever thrown for 68 touchdown passes like Grier did, either.

Nationally, only three QBs have thrown for more yards in one year, and only three have thrown for more touchdowns. Grier’s records might not be entered into the national or N.C. High School Athletic Association state record books because he plays for a private school.

There’s also a push to discredit him for the competition he plays against. I’ve seen public school athletes run up incredible numbers against worse competition and their records are proudly listed in the record books. But I’d also love to see what Grier could do playing for, say, Butler, against, say, Mallard Creek – or vice versa. I’d love to see him play at a big private school, like Charlotte Latin where his father played, playing against the stiff competition the Hawks face.

But he’s at the school his family has chosen for him, and all I can tell you about him is that I think he’s the real thing. His multiple BCS college offers prove it, and I’ve had three high school coaches tell me – this year – that he’s among the best they’ve ever seen.

Friday night, after Grier’s 315-yard, four-touchdown performance in a state final win at Arden’s Christ School, Christ School coach Mark Monroe had this to say about Grier:

“I’ve been coaching for a long time, and he’s the best quarterback I’ve seen.”

Read more here:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Garinger soccer coach uses iTunes to motivate players

David Garrett used his experiences helping inner-city soccer players with his organization, One7, to turn Garinger's boys' soccer team into one of the best in the ME-GA 7 conference.

Garrett coached several of the Garinger players with One7 and when they told him the Garinger job was available, he took it. He wanted to create a "new culture" within the soccer program, where players are held accountable, show sportsmanship and ultimately succeed on the field.

"We devoted several hours each day to rebuild the program from the inside out," Garrett said in an email. "Bringing discipline, excellence and a focus of integrity to our program."

Garrett trained the team hard, holding weekend practices at 6 a.m. and running timed two-mile runs before training sessions. He struggled for the first month finding eligible players, but once he did Garinger was competitive. The Wildcats (9-4) shutout Berry and Olympic in their first two conference games and had competitive matches against Charlotte Catholic, which made it to the 3A state semifinals.

Garinger was the top 4A seed from the ME-GA 7 3A/4A and lost in the first round of the state playoffs 2-0 to North Mecklenburg.

The team also started a tradition of awarding a member of the opposing team a "man of the match" award, given to the player "who shows the most class and sportsmanship during the game," Garrett said. The award was usually a $15 iTunes gift card.

"This is a valuable lesson for our boys about the importance of sportsmanship," Garrett said. "Our captains also praise the team as a whole for the positive things they did in the match."

Garrett was hired just two weeks before the start of the season this year. He looks forward to continuing to the improve the program next year.

"I feel that (this season) totally transformed the lives of the kids involved," Garrett said. "Even after the season has ended our players grades are continuing to get better. ... Next year you will be blown away at what happens with Garinger soccer."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

SW Onslow shuts out Lake Norman Charter in NC 1A soccer finals

   RALEIGH -- Southwest Onslow goalkeeper Nicholas Matics was selected as the Most Valuable Player on Saturday afternoon as he helped lead his Stallions to a 2-0 victory over Lake Norman Charter in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 1-A men's soccer championship at Dail Soccer Field at North Carolina State University.

            Matics was credited with six saves on the afternoon. The Stallions, with a stout defense and Matics in goal, allowed only 13 goals in their 18-game season.

            Sophomore midfielder Paul Bishop put Southwest Onslow on the board in the ninth minute as he won a challenge for the ball and then tucked it into the net for a 1-0 Stallion lead.

            That goal stood until the 67th minute when Austin Tausch, Southwest's leading scorer on the season, crossed a ball that wound up deflecting off a Lake Norman defender  and going into the net for a 2-0 advantage.

            For the game, Lake Norman Charter had seven shots on goal to four for the Stallions and had a 5-1 edge in corner kicks.

        Both teams were playing in their first NCHSAA men's soccer championship, although the Stallions have made it to the regional level on four occasions. Southwest finished the season with a 14-2-2 record and won its final 12 matches, while Lake Norman Charter wound up 19-4-1 overall.

            The Raleigh Sports Consortium serves as a host city sponsor for these championships, along with the city of Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

Dail Soccer Field, Raleigh

Southwest Onslow                                                0            2            --            2
Lake Norman Charter                                          0            0            --            0

9th minute            SWO--Paul Bishop

67th minute            SWO--own goal

Friday, November 16, 2012

Football Friday Obs: "hated Charlotte", recognizing Davidson Day records, big games

 Forgot how much I missed games at Memorial Stadium when the place was closed for repairs. There’s no better spot in town to watch a game and if the stadium could get some needed renovations, it would be even more special.

• I think Davidson Day quarterback Will Grier’s 837-yard, 10-touchdown pass performance last week should be recognized in the state and national record books. Davidson Day and Harrells Christian are established schools in a statewide organization.

• Interesting how, state-wide, Charlotte teams have become the hated and the hunted. Guess winning nine of the past 12 big-class state titles will do that. Anyone remember when Charlotte went from 1981 through ’94 without winning anything?

• The state may be watching East Forsyth and Butler in a Battle of the Titans, but Belmont (Statesville at South Point) and Union County (Sun Valley at Porter Ridge) might just shut down. And I’m not sure that if you get to Charlotte Catholic (playing Kannapolis Brown) at the final school bell, it would be early enough to get a parking spot and a seat.

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nationally ranked Goose Creek bumped from S.C. playoffs

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Defending South Carolina Class 4A Division II football champion Goose Creek is out of the 2012 playoffs after its appeal for reinstatement was denied by the executive committee of the South Carolina High School League.

The league issued its decision Wednesday.

Goose Creek was disqualified from the playoffs this week after reporting it had found one of its players was ineligible. A group led by Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy presented their case to the panel. The executive committee twice voted against the Gators, ending their chances of returning to the playoffs through the public school's governing athletic body.

A spokeswoman for Goose Creek said the school was exploring its options. Reedy would not comment on the decision.

Goose Creek, ranked No. 11 in USA Today's national high school football, will be replaced by Conway.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Alec Wintering (34 points) leads United Faith past Durham Mt Zion

Alec Wintering had a memorable high school basketball season debut at home against Durham Mount Zion.

Wintering, a 5-foot-9 senior guard committed to Portland, scored 34 points in an 82-72 win. Wintering had five rebounds, four assits and three steals in the win for United Faith, which has a huge game Saturday night at home against Kennedy Charter.

Kyle Williams-Venerable (17 points, five rebounds) and Nehemiah Mabson (15 points, five rebounds) had strong games for Faith (1-0).

Kennedy Charter kicked off its season Tuesday as well, beating North Hills Christian 85-49. Najee Prichett had 20 points and three rebounds for Kennedy Charter, which got 10 pounds, seven rebounds and seven steals from senior guard Julius Hamilton.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stars, top teams from Olympic High basketball jamboree

Courtesy of Justin Byerly of Carolina Preps/Basketball Elite:

Basketball season is back. This past weekend I attended the Olympic HS Jamboree in Charlotte, an annual event in it's fifth year featuring some of the best teams in North Carolina & South Carolina. Charlotte was represented well as Harding, Olympic, Catholic & Vance high schools also participated.

The first game featured Mount Tabor High out of Winston-Salem against Harding, which features 6-8 cemter Steven Burroughs, a Presbyterian College commitment.

Burroughs had a solid game, rebounded the ball, blocked shots, and finished with around eight points. Sophomore Teyon Henry, a 6-1, shooting guard kept Harding in the game connecting on multiple three pointer's and finishing with 20. Speedster point guard Aaron Linton controlled the ball for Harding and is one of the fastest guards in the city.

Mount Tabor, one of the preseason favorites for the NCHSAA 4A state championship would pull away late for a 74-59 victory. Leading the way for Tabor was 6-4 Deion Robinson, who had 20 points, 6-4 guard Matt Madigan with 13 points and 6-4 shooting guard LaPreece Lynch, who has three D2 offers, had 14 points.

The second game of the day pitted Charlotte powerhouse Olympic against Greensboro Dudley.

Olympic jumped out to a 19-10 first quarter lead and never looked back on their way to the win. Handling the floor-general role for the Trojans is former Gastonia Highland Tech star Jevon Patton. He's a strong, physical point guard who is tough as nails. Olympic is still without Akron commit BJ Gladden, who must sit until early December because of Mecklenburg County transfer rules. Chicago bred Trey Mitchell, a 6-5 small forward had a great game, finishing with 23 points on a variety of deep shots and attacks to the basket.

For Dudley, Jacksonville University commitment Sam Hunt, a 6-1, point guard/shooting guard is great at coming off screens and knocking down shot after shot. Hunt finished with 21 points in the loss.

The third game of the day was North Forsyth taking on Vance.

Vance coach Will Robinson has a group of very talented guards this year led by Torin Dorn (who has a Charlotte 49er offer) and Derrick Brewer, a 5-10 shooting guard. Brewer is one of the best shooters in Charlotte. He scored seven first quarter points for Vance, who took a 22-10 lead. North Forsyth  would battle back and make it a two-point game at halftime down 34-32. Kedrick Flomo, a 6-1 PG really got going in the second half and finished with 21 points. Derrick Brewer finished with 16 points, Torin Dorn finished with 12 points and 6-4, 2015 Malik Massey added 11 for Vance.

Davidson Day's Will Grier wins national player of week award after 837 yard pass night

From Observer News Services

Wharton, N.J. (Nov. 12, 2012) - Quarterback Will Grier of Davidson Day (N.C.) High School was named the U.S. Army All-American Bowl High School Player of the Week, for the week ending November 11. Will Grier threw for a national record 837 yards and 10 touchdowns as Davidson Day defeated Harrells Christian 104-80.  Grier shattered the previous national mark of 764 set in 2000 by Pacific Palisades (Calif.) quarterback David Koral. 

Grier was joined by some other outstanding players who earned U.S. Army All-American Bowl High School Player of the Week nomination honors. One nominee was U.S. Army All-American running back Thomas Tyner of Aloha (Ore.) High School. Tyner’s 431 yard performance increased his total yards for the year to over 3,000. Tyner’s 5 touchdowns helped Aloha High School win its playoff game against Glencoe (Ore.) High School 38-35. The U.S. Army All-American Bowl High School Player of the Week was designed to recognize the nation’s top high school performance of the week.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Davidson Day's Will Grier sets national record with 837-yard passing night

Davidson Day junior QB Will Grier threw for a national record 837 yards in Friday's 104-80 win over Harrell's Christian.

Yes, you read the right: 104-80.

In a high school football game.

Grier's 837 yards passed the old national mark of 764 was set by Pacific Palisades (CA) QB David Koral in 2000. Friday night, Grier completed 35-of-42 passes and threw for a new N.C. record 10 touchdowns. The 10 touchdowns ties six other players for the national record, originally set in 1990.

Early reports had Grier throwing for nearly 800 yards and 11 scores, but Davidson Day coaches carefully reviewed the film to confirm the passing totals.

Grier, who is 6-3 and 190 pounds, now has 5,294 passing yards for the season, breaking former Independence QB Chris Leak’s 10-year-old N.C. and Mecklenburg County mark of 5,193 (Unofficially Raleigh Wakefield’s Connor Mitch threw for 643 yards Friday in a 76-34 loss to Garner which would give him 5,344 passing yards for the season).

Grier has 64 touchdown passes this season, just two short of former Independence QB Joe Cox’s eight-year-old county and N.C. record. Grier’s 64 TD passes ties Leak for sixth-most in national history.

Grier has scholarship offers from East Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wake Forest. Duke coach David Cutcliffe was on campus Friday, and Chad Grier said his son is being heavily recruited by Alabama, Duke, N.C. State and Oregon.

There's been a lot of conjecture about Grier's age this season, something that his father, Chad, has heard about. Chad Grier, a former East Carolina QB, is the Davidson Day coach.

Chad Grier said his son turns 18 next April and that he repeated half a year in sixth grade when the family moved him from public to private school.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Central Academy's grand football gesture touches a community

One of the beauties of high school sports, sometimes, is the purity of it all. There are sometimes special moments that go way beyond just a game.

Such a moment happened last week in Mount Airy.

Towards the end of Mount Airy’s 47-14 playoff win over Monroe’s Central Academy, Mount Airy put in a special needs player Austin Bowman.

Bowman had run the ball at the end of some games but had never scored. Mount Airy was near the Central goal line and Central coach Tad Baucom, who knew of Bowman's story, had an idea. He wanted Bowman to score.

Baucom was out of timeouts but asked the refs to stop the game to coordinate a treat for Bowman. Baucom consulted Mount Airy coach Kelly Holder and then he consulted his defense.

Everybody was in agreement to make a very special moment happen.

On the next play, Central’s players dove out of the way and let Bowman finish his three-carry 38 yard night with a 16-yard touchdown run. You should've seen Bowman's face

And after the game, the teams met and prayed at midfield and Bowman got the game ball.

“There is a buzz in our school that hasn’t left us yet,” Baucom said. “This may be the best loss that any of us have ever experienced. I know it is in my 32 years of coaching.”