Catholic football Crestfallen, again
This year, Charlotte Catholic fell, 35-28. The teams were tied at 14 at halftime, but Crest pulled away in the second half.
“It was a good game,” said Cougars coach Jim Oddo. “The kids played hard, they did all they could do. They didn’t lay down. Our kids battled back, but we were always a few touchdowns behind.”
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Charlotte Catholic surpassed expectations this season, especially as it entered the campaign replacing most of the lineup that fueled last year’s team to a 14-0 record before falling to Crest.
“That was the story of this season,” said senior lineman Mark Harrell. “Everyone worked hard, filled their gaps and filled the team spots we needed. Everyone stepped up and played hard.”
Even Oddo admitted that he was surprised by the team’s success.
“I had no idea we’d be that good,” he said. “The kids stepped up and did a good job. They hung together and played hard and gelled well.”
The key, said senior defensive lineman Josh Conde, was keeping an eye on the season’s biggest prize during the offseason.
“Everyone was working hard, hitting the weight room,” he recalled. “Everyone wanted to make an impact. We all wanted to win states this year.”
The Cougars will bring a good amount of talent back next year, starting with fullback Elijah Hood (1,941 yards rushing, 35 touchdowns) and running back Alex Sabates (820 yards, 12 touchdowns).
“I think we’ll be good for the next couple of years,” said Hood. “We just need to hit the weight room hard and build on what we did this season (and) see if we can get to states.
“We didn’t get there this year, but we’ll get there next year.”
NC falls short in Oasis Shrine game
Several south Charlotte football players competed in the Oasis Shrine Bowl at Charlotte Country Day School on Nov. 25.
Participants included Charlotte Christian’s Will Grigg and Sam Dexter; Charlotte Country Day’s Bryan Erb, James Howe, Will White and Brian Duncan; Charlotte Latin’s Spencer Ball and Paul Griggs; and Providence Day’s Nick Velardo and Haamid Williams.
Another south Charlotte product, Brett Cockerham, also played in the game. Cockerham is a lineman who played the past two seasons at Christ School, located in Arden. Cockerham played on Charlotte Latin’s 2009 state championship team before transferring to Christ School.
The North Carolina squad, which lost to South Carolina, 25-24, was coached by Providence Day’s Bruce Hardin, Ben McGarity, Ed Prisco and Zach Johnson. Hardin named legendary Olympic High coach Joe White an honorary assistant coach.