When Bryon Fields got on the phone with Duke football coach David Cutcliffe the night of Oct. 18, the Providence Day standout felt something good was about to happen. And he was right.
Moments into the conversation, Cutcliffe offered Fields a scholarship to play for the Blue Devils, a team Fields had been following closely since his sophomore season. The senior knew where his heart was.
“(Cutcliffe) told me to take some time and think about (the offer),” Fields recalled. “I said, ‘Coach, I’ve already thought about it, and I’m ready to commit right now.’”
In an instant, Fields’ dream of becoming a major-college football recruit had become a reality.
“I can’t describe how great that feeling was,” he said.
Fields also had offers from Appalachian State, Wofford, Furman, Georgia State, Richmond, Army, Air Force and Navy. But all along, he felt he could play in a Bowl Championship Series conference, and now he’s set to join the Atlantic Coast Conference-affiliated Blue Devils.
“It was his dream,” said Fields’ dad, also named Bryon. “(Duke) sent him a little message after his sophomore year, and from that moment on, that’s what he was working toward. Duke, academically and otherwise, was the perfect fit for him. So it was gratifying for us to see his hard work pay off and see him finally achieve the goal he set for himself. As a parent, that’s what you want.”
While Providence Day has sent its share of players to compete at the college level, Fields become the first under fifth-year Chargers coach Bruce Hardin to earn a scholarship to a BCS program.
“We’re really proud of him,” Hardin said. “(Duke coaches) had been following him all season, and finally they made a decision that he was what they wanted. I know he wanted to play in the ACC, so I’m really proud for he and his family. I think the best words to use are ‘well-deserved.’ He’s a great young man in the classroom, and he brings that same type of energy to the football field every day.”
Christian secures league title
Over the past six seasons, Charlotte Christian has compiled a remarkable list of accomplishments: The Knights have won a state title (2008), sent numerous players to big-time college programs and cemented themselves among the elite private-school programs in the state.
The only thing that had eluded them was an outright conference title.
Now, they can check that off their football bucket list.
Last week, the Knights toppled reigning state champion Providence Day, 24-16, to claim the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association crown.
“I think we tied in 2009, but we’ve never won it outright, so it’s a great accomplishment,” said Knights coach Jason Estep, who’s led the program’s resurgence.
Then, Estep stopped smiling.
“This feels good, but, man, I want the other one,” he said, referring to the 2012 state title. “(Our) kids do, too, and I think we’ve put ourselves in position to play for it.”
To secure the conference crown last week, it took a Herculean effort from the Knights, and that’s just what they received from senior leaders Dez
Lawrence (178 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Eric Lynch (230 passing yards, one touchdown). Junior Bo Hines added 114 receiving yards and a touchdown.
“I just knew it was time for me to step it up,” Lynch said. “This was the conference championship, and I wanted to leave it out there on the field. I just tried to do everything I could for my brothers out here.
“We’re growing as a team. The tough schedule we played early is helping us now. It feels good going into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed with homefield advantage and our fans and families behind us.”
The win also had special meaning for Lawrence.
“This is my first (conference title), and to get it against PD – which is a great program with Coach McGarity and Coach Hardin and all those great players like Bryon Fields and their (defensive linemen) and Chase Ferguson – it feels good. You know that you actually earned something.
“Now, we have to work on (improving) the little things if we want to be state champs.”
Area players are Oasis All Stars
Ten players from south Charlotte schools have been selected to play in the eighth-annual Oasis All Star Shrine Classic game.
Charlotte Christian’s contingent is led by a North Carolina recruit Dez Lawrence, defensive end Adrian Robinson and offensive lineman Zach Myers.
Charlotte Country Day’s selectees are Wake Forest recruit Michael Radford, defensive lineman Royce Turnbull and offensive lineman Reavis Ford.
Providence Day will be represented by Duke recruit Bryon Fields, quarterback Chase Ferguson and offensive lineman Alex Pourlos.
Charlotte Latin lineman Sam Wilson also was named to the squad.
The Oasis All Star Shrine Classic is a showcase game featuring many of the top senior private-school players from North and
South Carolina. At least six of the past players have moved on to the NFL.
This year’s game will be played at Mooresville High School on Nov. 24 at 1 p.m.