As the North Carolina high school football regular season comes to a close, it’s time to look at those teams that are preparing for postseason play. Here are two key match-ups from the South Meck 8 4A conference to look forward to this week:
Ardrey Kell (6-3) AT Charlotte Catholic (8-1)
The Knights will face a Charlotte-Mecklenburg giant when they take on the Cougars, who are 5-0 in conference play.
Ardrey Kell won their last game 56-6 over the Phillip O Berry Cardinals, with junior quarterback Luke Hefferly throwing an impressive five touchdowns. The biggest test will be for their defense, which has struggled against the run. Even though they held Berry to six points, it will be a much more difficult task going up against the Cougars’ high- powered offense.
Catholic won big against a depleted West Mecklenburg team last week, who was without its star quarterback Richard Latimer, who missed the game due to a concussion. Their defense had 5.5 sacks and held West Meck to just six points. They will have to put that type of pressure on Hefferly if they hope to slow him and the rest of the Knights offense down Friday night.
This looks to be an exciting game, as these two teams fight to win the conference. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Harding University (4-5) AT Olympic (3-6)
The Rams square off against the Trojans as they make their first playoff push in nearly
Olympic came away with the big upset over South Mecklenburg last week, routing the Sabres 43-14. Junior quarterback Dylan Earney didn’t have the best passing game, throwing two interceptions. Junior Elias Crawford carried his team, pounding the ball on the ground for 240 yards and three scores. Harding is good at stuffing the run, so if the Trojans hope to win their second straight game as underdogs, they will have to do it through the air.
Harding won big last week against the Providence Panthers, beating the team for the first time since 1992. In their last three games they have scored a total of 150 points. This is in large part due to their two-headed offensive monster that features sophomore running back Quavaris Crouch, and senior ATH JaQuan Rankins, who have helped build Harding’s confidence after their 1-10 finish last season.
A win for Harding will bring them to .500 for the season and would also keep their playoff hopes alive.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Staff Writer for TCSB
Who: Davidson Wildcats (4-0) at Charlotte 49ers (1-5)
What: Battle for the Hornets' Nest Trophy
Where: Halton Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina
When: Tuesday, December 1 at 7:00 PM
Line: Davidson -8.5
PG: Jack Gibbs (21.o ppg) Vs. Braxton Ogbueze (9.7 ppg)
SG: Brian Sullivan (16.5) Vs. Adrian White (12.2)
SF: Peyton Aldridge (18.0) Vs. Jon Davis (7.2)
PF: Jordan Barham (12.3) Vs. Joseph Uchebo (8.5)
C: Jake Belford (7.8) Vs. Bernard Sullivan (11.0)
Matchup To Watch
Jack Gibbs Vs. Braxton Ogbueze: While Ogbueze hasn’t had the best start to the season as he’s shooting just 30% from the field, Davidson’s point guard has been fantastic, scoring an average of 21 points-per-game. However, the Florida transfer certainly has the athleticism to slow down Gibbs, which would give the 49ers a tremendous edge in Tuesday’s game.
Season Thus Far: Davidson Wildcats
Davidson has taken care of business through its first four contests, beating UCF, College of Charleston, Mercer, and Denison (D-III) at Belk Arena. While the ‘Cats haven’t been particularly impressive in those wins (they beat a heavy-underdog Charleston team by way of a last-minute comeback), you can’t deny Davidson’s talent and potential under Bob McKillop, who won his 500th game on Saturday.
Season Thus Far: Charlotte 49ers
Charlotte, meanwhile, has really struggled under first-year coach Mark Price through six games, as evidenced by a 55-point loss to Michigan in the Battle 4 Atlantis preseason tournament last week. However, closely-contested losses against Syracuse--a game which Charlotte outscored the Orange 43-33 in the second half--and Washington show that Price’s team has some fight. As per the usual with a new coach, the 49ers will likely improve as the season moves on, but you have to wonder how the relatively young team will rebound after such a slow start.
The Wildcats come into this year’s battle on a two-game winning-streak against the 49ers, beating Charlotte 92-86 at Belk Arena last season.
Interesting note: Charlotte beat Stephen Curry and the Elite-Eight bound Wildcats early into the 2007-2008 season.
Davidson undoubtedly struggles to defend size, as evidenced by UCF’s scoring outburst of 85 points in the Wildcats’ season opener. However, that’s exactly where Charlotte struggles, as the 49ers start three players under 6’3. Look for an experienced, talented Davidson team to win this rivalry matchup handedly.
Charlotte: 12/5 at Miami
Davidson: 12/6 at North Carolina
Coming off an Atlantic-10 championship, Bob McKillop’s Davidson Wildcats have much more expected of them than they did a year ago, when the team was picked to come near the bottom of the conference at the onset of the season. This time around, as articulated by McKillop in recent press conferences, Davidson won’t be taken lightly in the A-10 and will have to manage without former A-10 POY Tyler Kalinoski. Simply put, they’ll have targets on their backs in 2015-16.
Players To Watch:
Games To Watch:
Though it was indeed Lenoir-Rhyne, Davidson was excellent in its first and only exhibition game of the season last Saturday, putting up 96 points without projected starter Jordan Barham and sweet-shooting reserve Jordan Watkins, who both sat out with minor injuries. If the ‘Cats can continue to shoot as well as they did all of last season and on Saturday (clearly the achilles-heel of a motion Bob McKillop team), Davidson should contend for another A-10 championship and an NCAA tournament berth.
Kyle Drabek’s clean start was washed away in the third inning of Monday's ballgame, when the visiting Gwinnett Braves tagged the Knights’ starter for five runs amidst a light drizzle at BB&T Ballpark.
The initial cut came when Mallex Smith--the Braves' centerfielder--doubled to deep left field with the bases loaded, scoring two runs. From there, a walk and two hits allowed the Braves to finish with a monster, five-run third.
But the bleeding didn’t stop there.
No, the Braves added five more runs in the sixth inning, which then gave Gwinnett a 10-1 advantage.
Drabek started that sixth but couldn’t find his control, allowing a walk and a hit before getting pulled in favor of relief pitcher Miguel Chalas. However, Chalas offered little effective relief, as he was rocked for three hits and three runs before finishing the frame.
Despite the large deficit, the Knights still managed to push across three runs of their own Monday night, one of which came by way of a solo homer by DH Chris Jacobs in the fifth. Jacobs' blast marked his first long ball at the Triple-A level.
Charlotte also added runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, when Tyler Colvin singled to score Dayan Viciedo to make it a 10-2 ballgame at the end of the sixth. A 6-4-3 double play in the seventh allowed for Charlotte's Drew Garcia to score the team's final run.
However, the Braves got the last laugh Monday with an RBI double by Daniel Castro, which grabbed Gwinnett a 12-3 lead--the game’s final score.
The Knights and Braves will square off Tuesday at 7:05 pm. Brad Penny is the probable starter for Charlotte.