Friday, August 31, 2012

Should Vance-Butler move to Memorial Stadium?

Not five minutes after Vance upset Independence 35-0 Thursday night at home, my phone started ringing with people asking about going to next Saturday's Butler at Vance game.

Actually, people started calling me Thursday night after Vance took a 21-0 lead at halftime. I was with my baby boy at a basketball skills and drills workout. Those calls and emails continued today and numbered at least 50.

Vance is now 3-0 and allows seven points per game. Butler, which is off this week, is 2-0 after beating Mallard Creek 27-6 and Olympic 69-7. You could make an argument that these are the two best defensive teams in North Carolina. You can make an argument that Butler, which starts three major college commits on offense, is the best offensive team in the state.

Apparently, a lot of people are interested in seeing this game.

The majority of the calls I got all were the same: folks were asking if the game could be moved to 17,000-seat Memorial Stadium. And it could.

But it'll take a little creative thinking.

I can tell you that I spoke with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' excellent director of athletics Sue Doran this afternoon and she told me the schools had already had organizational meetings about the game. The plan is to hold the game at Vance.

Vance has a good stadium with good parking and good sight-lines. But, all of a sudden, this is the biggest game in Mecklenburg County so far this season, bigger than when nationally ranked Butler played nationally ranked Mallard Creek Aug. 17 -- at Memorial Stadium -- to start the season.

Friday night, Vance jumped onto the big stage. The Cougars handed Independence its first shutout loss since early in 1999. Independence had gone 188 games, and won seven state titles, since it was last shutout -- by Anson Senior. And this was an Independence team that many observers were wondering if the Patriots could seriously threaten Butler in the Southwestern 4A conference (and maybe the Patriots still can).

There have been rumblings about Vance, too, since Keith Wilkes took over as coach. Vance lost several key players to other schools the past two years. Those types of players came back this year and Wilkes -- who won state championships at Winston-Salem Carver -- told me about 15 times that this is one of the most talented teams, if not the most, he'd ever coached.

Looks like now that Wilkes knew what he was talking about.

And add to all of this that the game is on Saturday, when most of the area's teams and players would be free to come watch, and you have the potential for a big crowd at Vance. That's why it makes sense to go somewhere bigger if you can.

So here's a thought. Right now, Myers Park is hosting North Mecklenburg at Memorial next Saturday at 7. There are four CMS schools not playing Saturday: Mallard Creek, Hopewell, Olympic and Providence. These teams' home fields are available: Butler, Harding, Hough, Independence, North Meck.

If Myers Park were agreeable, CMS could move the North Meck game to an alternate site, or have a doubleheader at Memorial.

(Quick pause here: The junior varsity games are being played ahead of the varsity games, so in order to make this doubleheader work, jayvee games would have to be played at an alternate site. Can't have four games at one place. Or since coaches work both jv and varsity, maybe only way to make this work is split up the two varsity games).

Ultimately, it would be kind of cool to have the Mustangs play North Meck at, say, 2, followed by Butler-Vance at 7. The forecast for next Saturday is sunny with a high of 83. Great weather for the afternoon game and a great venue -- and plenty of seats -- for the evening game with the Bulldogs and Vance.

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SI hunting prep football program that's persevered

Sports Illustrated and POWERADE have launched a nationwide search for a high school that has persevered through hardship.

Sports Illustrated editors have already selected nine of the 10 schools that will be featured throughout the 2012 high school football season. The magazine is interested in “underdog” schools that have “overcome obstacles that include dilapidated facilities, crime-ridden communities, severe funding deficits and disasters, both person and natural,” according to a release.

The public can nominate a team on the magazine’s Facebook page:

Submissions will be accepted through Oct. 23. The team that is selected will receive a $25,000 program grant and a trip to New York City.

“The genuine teamwork, perseverance and sportsmanship we’ve found at these high schools are remarkable and make for extremely compelling editorial content,” said BJ Schecter, executive editor of, in the release. “This series illustrates that the most inspirational sports stories don’t always come from the pros or big budget programs.”

-- Corey Inscoe

Read more here:

Monday, August 27, 2012

No Friday Night Lights for CMS high schools -- for two weeks

For the next two weeks, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will not having Friday night football.

CMS will move all home games this week to Thursday. Next week’s home games will be played on Saturday, Sept. 8.

The change is due to inadequate police coverage due to the Democratic National Convention coming to town.

Here is the CMS game schedule for the next two weeks:

Thursday, Aug. 30 (all 7 p.m. starts): Ardrey Kell at Hopewell; East Meck at North Meck; Independence at Vance; Olympic at Myers Park; Berry at Mallard Creek; Providence at Hough; South Meck vs West Meck at Waddell; West Charlotte at Harding

Friday, Aug. 31: Garinger at Hunter Huss; Rocky River at A.L. Brown

Friday, Sept. 7: Garinger at Sun Valley; Rocky River at Cuthbertson

Saturday, Sept. 8 (all 7 p.m. starts): Butler at Vance; Harding at South Meck; Hough at Berry; Independence vs West Charlotte at Waddell; North Meck vs Myers Park, Mem. Stadium; Weddington at Ardrey Kell; West Meck at East Meck

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Davidson Day QB Will Grier continues rewriting Meck Co. record book

Davidson Day quarterback Will Grier continues a full-out assault on the Mecklenburg County record book.

He completed 29-of-36 passes for 493 yards and six touchdowns in a 42-35 win over North Raleigh Christian. Four of the touchdown passes covered at least 42 yards.

It was the fourth-most passing yards in Mecklenburg County history, trailing only West Charlotte’s Darius Thomas (502 in 2007 and 512 in 2007) and Independence’s Chris Leak (585 in 2002).

The six touchdowns ties several players for third, including Grier, who threw six last season as a sophomore.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5th annual Soccer For A Cure Tournament starts Thursday

The fifth Soccer For A Cure Invitational is Thursday and Saturday in Charlotte.

Games Thursday will be played at Ramblewood Park. Saturday games will be held at Charlotte Latin, Charlotte Catholic, South Mecklenburg and Hough.

Teams are playing to raise money for several cancer-fighting organizations: Soccer For A Cure, Cookies for Cancer and the American Cancer Society.

An event champion will be named based on a points system. Independence won last season.

Thursday’s games at Ramblewood: Sun Valley vs. North Lincoln, 6 p.m.; Lake Norman vs. Butler, 6 p.m.; South Point vs. Mallard Creek, 6 p.m.; Hough vs. Weddington, 6 p.m.; East Lincoln vs. Cuthbertson, 6 p.m; Charlotte Catholic vs. Central Academy, 6 p.m.; Porter Ridge vs. Independence, 6 p.m.; South Meck vs. Forestview, 6 p.m.; Olympic vs. Providence, 6 p.m.; Hickory Ridge vs. Ardrey Kell, 6 p.m.; Myers Park vs. Marvin Ridge, 8 p.m.

Saturday’s games at Charlotte Catholic: Hopewell vs. Porter Ridge, 2 p.m.; South Point vs. Weddington, 4 p.m.; Charlotte Catholic vs. Butler, 6 p.m.

Saturday’s games at Hough: Lake Norman vs. Central Academy, 2 p.m.; Cuthbertson vs. Mallard Creek, 4 p.m; Hough vs. Lincolnton, 6 p.m.

Saturday’s games at Charlotte Latin: Sun Valley vs. Hunter Huss, 2 p.m.; East Lincoln vs. Providence, 4 p.m.; Charlotte Latin vs. Independence, 6 p.m.

Saturday’s games at South Mecklenburg:
North Lincoln vs. Olympic, 4:30 p.m.; South Meck vs Hickory Ridge, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday’s games at Marvin Ridge:
Ashbrook vs. Monroe, 4:30 p.m.; Marvin Ridge vs. Ardrey Kell, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rock Hill Northwestern jumps into Observer Sweet 16 football poll

Rock Hill’s Northwestern High joins the Sweet 16 in the first regular-season poll of 2012.
Northwestern went on the road Friday and beat nationally ranked Gaffney 49-19.

“We felt that if we came in and just focused on our game plan we could take care of business,” Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson told the Rock Hill Herald. “We hit ‘em early and just kept on them. We felt like we were going to be in better shape, and that showed.”

Northwestern (1-0) had multiple sacks of Gaffney’s QB, three interceptions and a kickoff return for a touchdown. It also got 282 yards passing and two touchdowns from junior quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Elsewhere in the poll, there wasn’t much movement.

No. 2 Mallard Creek fell three spots after Friday’s spotty 27-6 loss to No. 1 Butler. That allowed Rock Hill South Pointe (new No. 2), Crest and Porter Ridge to each move up one spot.

Providence Day, the reigning N.C. Independent Schools champ, had an eight-point lead at No. 10 Belmont South Point Friday but ulimately gave up 21 unanswered points and lost 34-21. The Chargers fell out of the poll, from No. 15. That allowed 2A South Iredell to move up one spot, to No. 15, and allowed Northwestern to jump in at No. 16.

Rk.    School (Class)    Record    Prev.
1.    Butler (4A)    1-0    1
2.    Rock Hill South Pointe (4A)    1-0    3
3.    Crest (3A)    1-0    4
4.     Porter Ridge (4A)    1-0    5
5.    Mallard Creek (4A)    0-1    2
6.    West Rowan (3A)    1-0    6
7.    Charlotte Catholic (3A)    1-0    7
8.    A.L. Brown (3A)    1-0    8
9.    Independence (4A)    1-0    9
10.    South Point (3A)    1-0    10
11.    Statesville (3A)    1-0    12
12.    Vance (4A)    1-0    13
13.    Concord (3A)    1-0    14
14.    Burns (3A)    0-1    11
15.    South Iredell (2A)    1-0    15
16.    Rock Hill Northwestern (4A)    1-0         NR
Dropped Out: Providence Day (0-1, IND).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fort Mill's K.J. Woods, Bandys Hunter Harvey picked for baseball All-America game at Wrigley Field

Fort Mill outfielder Kevin “K.J.” Woods and Bandys pitcher Hunter Harvey have been selected for the 2012 Under Armour All-America game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field Aug. 18.

The game features 36 of the nation’s best high school players competeing in an American vs. National team match-up. Players were selected by a national committee of scouts from the Baseball Factory.

Harvey is a 6-3, 170-pound rising senior. Woods is a 6-4, 215-pound rising senior.

“Hunter is both advanced at his position and highly projectable,” said Steve Bernhardt, Chairman of the Under Armour All-America Game Selection Committee & Executive VP of Baseball Operations at Baseball Factory. “He’s a strong, three-pitch righty.”

Said Bernhardt of Woods: “In terms of power, KJ ranks near the top of his class. His mature build only adds to his imposing presence when he steps to the plate.”

Seven players in last season’s game were selected in the first round of the 2012 MLB Amateur draft.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

W. Charlotte recruit Meeks: no college decision yet

West Charlotte High center Kennedy Meeks has lost 15 pounds since the end of the past season and is down to about 270. He's also impressed college scouts with his work at a number of summer camps and showcase events.

Meeks, a 6-foot-9 senior center, told the Observer that he doesn't have a real timetable at the moment to begin his college visits, or a real short list of favorites.

He said he'll plan to visit the "schools I like most" perhaps in the fall, perhaps during the upcoming prep season.

He said he has college offers from, in the order he listed them, North Carolina, N.C. State, Louisvile, Charlotte, Georgetown and Pittsburgh. He later added that he's got an offer from every ACC school except Duke.

Indiana and Kentucky are also recruiting Meeks, whom ESPN ranks No. 2 nationally at his position and No. 28 overall.

Meeks said that all of the summer travel is hard but he's enjoying everything that goes along with his recruiting process.

"It's kind of cool," he said. "I don't ever get tired of it I'm so used to it. The summer has been great. I got a call from a scout recently who said I was the No. 1 center in the country now. That makes you feel like you've accomplished something but I know the job is not done. I've got to try to make the McDonald's (All-American) game and the Jordan (Classic) game. To play in the Jordan game here (the event has been in Charlotte for two years) would be special. I think a lot of people would come out and support me."