Charlotte Christian gets statement win
Charlotte Christian coach Jason Estep said he could’ve opened the season with an easier schedule that would have the Knights looking better on paper than their 3-3 record suggests, but he felt his team would be better off in the long run by playing out-of-state powers.
“We could’ve been 5-0 if we wanted to,” Estep said. “But we wanted to put our guys in position where they had to battle a little bit, and I think it’s helped us.”
So far, so good as the Knights opened Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association play last week with a 56-7 victory over Charlotte Latin that improved their record to 3-3.
Charlotte Latin didn’t cross midfield until the Knights inserted their second-string defense.
“That was encouraging,” Estep said. “We have a lot of weapons on offense and we were able to get them the ball in good spots.”
The Knights received strong performances from quarterback Eric Lynch, who threw for 149 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another; and running back Dez Lawrence, who collected 119 total yards and two touchdowns. As a team, they ran for 319 yards and had six players score touchdowns.
The win, which Estep said was easily the most complete game his team has played, puts the Knights alone in first place in the CISAA, at least for the time being. But going forward, Estep said his team has to cut down on penalties and mistakes.
Charlotte Christian hosts Carolina Pride on Friday, Oct. 5, and Estep said it’s important for the Knights to continue their momentum.
“(The Pride) are a good football team,” Estep said. “(Results against common opponents) is one of the criteria for playoff seeding, and everyone in our conference plays (the Pride). We have to come out and take care of business.
“We’re going to take what they give us and just go. We have to keep it going. Every game is big for us the rest of the way.”
Latin staggering after blowout loss
After falling to Charlotte Christian, 56-7, on Sept. 28, Charlotte Latin coach Larry McNulty summed up his team’s performance.
“We got taken out behind the woodshed and got a good whooping,” McNulty said. “They beat us in every phase of the game. They were too big, too strong and too fast.”
After beginning the season 4-0 and allowing an average of 15 points per game, the Hawks have surrendered 62 (to West Virginia’s Bluefield High) and 56 points in consecutive games. The road doesn’t get any easier, as defending private-school state champion Providence Day invades Patten Stadium on Friday.
“We have our backs up against the wall,” McNulty said. “It’s fight or flight now, you know?”
McNulty was pleased that the Hawks, who have 27 freshman and sophomores on their roster, didn’t give up in the Christian game, but he said they lacked execution.
“When we did do something right, it seemed we ended up shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said. “We have to be better than that.”
Chargers set for conference play
Providence Day has survived a brutal non-conference schedule and, after defeating Class 2A public school East Rutherford, 42-13, on Sept. 28, has begun the year 5-2 with losses to powers Belmont South Point and Indian Trail Porter Ridge.
Coach Bruce Hardin said he’s been pleased with the way the Chargers have stuck together and feels the tough non-conference schedule will pay dividends as they open conference play against Charlotte Latin Friday.
Hardin said the East Rutherford win was a good example of how his team has come together. Hardin said quarterback Chase Ferguson, running backs Gunner Guelli, Lawson Ives and Braxton Mosack, receivers Daniel Stack and Mark Brame, defensive lineman John Carrick and linebacker Robby Rucho stood out, but added that it was a total team effort.
“Our defense played great and kept getting the offense the ball back,” Hardin said. “We had good play on offense, and I was proud of our execution, effort and how physical we were. It was a good game for us.”
Although Latin has lost two consecutive games, Hardin said facing the Hawks will be a good challenge and barometer for his team.
“I respect (Hawks) coach (Larry) McNulty, and he’ll have his guys ready,” Hardin said. “They’re young, but they’re a really good football team and will be a test for us.”
Hardin said containing sophomore running back Denzel Pearson will be one key, but the Chargers will have to play mistake-free football if they are going to win.
“They remind me of us a couple of years ago,” Hardin said. “They have a lot of talent but are so darned young.
“It will be a donnybrook. You can count on that.”
Country Day stays unbeaten
After defeating Woodberry Forest (Va.), 23-3, on Sept. 28, Charlotte Country Day ran its record to 6-0 on the year. Coach Bob Witman was happy with the win but said the outcome doesn’t tell the whole story, as the Bucs had the ball inside the Woodberry 5-yard line on four occasions but only came away with nine points in those instances.
“We ran the ball really well, and I think we threw it OK,” Witman said. “But we have to be able to put the ball in the end zone when we get it down there. That was discouraging.”
Witman also was not happy with three second-quarter turnovers.
“On offense, we just weren’t as crisp as we could have been,” Witman said. “We will have to be better than that if we’re going to do anything the rest of the way.”
On defense, Royce Turnbull, Michael Stanback and Pete Showalter stood out. Witman said the defense allowed only one first down, on a fake punt, in the first half. Woodberry switched to a Power-I formation from its Spread attack to try to generate some offense, but the Bucs held strong.
Next up is reigning Division III champion Davidson Day, whose offense, Witman said, could be one of the Bucs’ biggest tests to date.
“They’re the most explosive team we’ll probably face this year,” Witman said. “We’re going to have to limit our mistakes and keep the ball out of their hands. They can move the ball and score points, so we have to play our game to be effective.”